Tabletop: A Modular Audio Environment for your iPad

by Coco O’Connor

Well, it was a Friday and things were a little slow at the office so I stumbled upon Tabletop. I figured while I was waiting for 5 pm to roll around, why not create a track or two? If you have an iPad, get ready for hours of fun. Tabletop, by software studio Retronyms, is an iPad app where different devices can be mixed and matched making it an impressive, expandable studio that you can hold in your hands.

When you download the free app, you can select from 11 devices ranging from samplers, mixers, effects, sequencers, and more. There are another 15 or so devices that are available for purchase to expand your library, and of course they are adding devices all of the time. According to their website, Tabletop is the first musical environment designed from the ground up for the iPad. I found it fairly intuitive and was able to get sounds fairly quickly because of the pre-loaded Demo Sessions. They have additional Premium Sessions available for purchase as well. The app enables you to play with everything: timing, keys/octaves, and even inputs/outputs. After you’re finished, you can export the session to SoundCloud, render to .wav format, or Audiocopy, which allows you to take a loop or song created in Tabletop into another app.

For those of us who’ve been dreaming of creating our very own mobile loop library, this little app is a fine place to start, and is a great way to create and organize your loops to be used in other platforms like GarageBand, Ableton Live, etc. Retronyms just released Tabletop 1.5., which includes a deeper connection to SoundCloud. They call this feature CloudSeeder. CloudSeeder makes it easy to publish your songs created in Tabletop right to the Tabletop community on SoundCloud and get feedback or maybe find some inspiration from other Tabletop users. The company seems to be very engaged via their Facebook page for support issues and suggestions, so much so that they took feedback from Facebook user suggesting a device bundle. This is a single purchase that allows users to buy all the devices that they don’t own at a discount.

As an artist, I have been collaborating with people online from all over the world for years. However, it was mainly via email and zip files and never allowed for any ‘real-time’ collaboration. It felt more like show and tell, “Hey, thanks for your track, here’s what I’ve done…. cool???” Only in the last few months with the rise of mobile platforms and their integrations with one another are we now able to collaborate in such a quick and easy way.

For more info, visit Retronyms website. To see Tabletop in action, check out their demonstration video:

…And before I knew it five o’clock rolled around and I had uploaded my track to SoundCloud.

Coco is a multimedia artist on Deeplife Records who occasionally has songs
placed on CBS- The Craig Ferguson Show, PBS, The History Channel, and
obscure foreign films. She is also a Web Producer, Crime Victims Advocate,
& Limoncello Maker… And yes, that is her “real name”, Coco
O’Connor. Her dad liked Coco Chanel and she is “Irish” by
marriage. Find her on Twitter @CocoOConnor