April 24th, 2015 | by VoiceCouncil
You can easily navigate all the tools via the 6 icons which are always visible. A great deal of functionality manages to be surprisingly uncluttered. Expect a learning curve when it comes to the 2-track recorder and setting the octaves and scales.
You can see your decibel level, pitch and waveform live, at all times, plus you can record yourself singing along with a recording on two tracks. Every tool in the app is designed with the needs of singers in mind.
The glass-shattering feature may seem at first like a gimmicky add-on, but it is just as smart as the other tools in the app, helping you learn to control your decibel level and pitch.
App developer Jamie Vendera of Myth Buster’s fame already had many fans and students who seemed to love the app before it even came out. Some singers wish the scale/vocal exercises would span two octaves at a time.
I wouldn’t consider a singer like Jamie Vendera to be a vocal guru just because he can shatter a glass on Myth Busters. Yes, it was impressive – amazing, in fact, but it doesn’t tell me much about his musicianship, teaching skill or ability to make a great singing app. Tuned XD proved to me that Jamie Vendera knows how to make a great app.
I don’t know how he was able to put so many handy things in there without it being totally cluttered and confusing. The sheer number of scales in the scale generator is mind-blowing. The nifty stopwatch is set up to time three segments: preparation, workout and rest. You can record and save sounds on two tracks. The tuner has guitar, bass and many other instrument settings. As I used the app for the first time, one thought kept popping up again and again: “What a great idea.”
The pitch recognition, decibel reading and waveform graphic are great for increasing your awareness of your own voice, plus they are fun! I love how I can sing different vowels and watch how the waveform changes shape. How cool is that?
Each tool in here is not necessarily flashy. For example, you don’t get to choose from a list of different sounds for your metronome – you are stuck with a “ping” sound at about E6. The two-track recorder has crazy amounts of latency (a small delay) if you try to sing on one track and then sing a harmony with yourself on the second track then play both tracks back together. The scales in the training tool are always limited to one octave. Yes, each tool has its limitations, but I see this as a tiny trade-off in an app that gives you endless possibilities for vocal workouts, training and rehearsal.
Let’s go back to the two-track recorder. You can dump your favorite song into one of the tracks. Then you can record yourself singing along to it onto the other track. Then if you mute the original track and listen to your vocal recording, the musical background will be automatically much lower in volume so you can hear how you did without the original track overpowering you (also, the latency problem doesn’t apply in this scenario). I played a piano accompaniment into one track and then repeatedly recorded a vocal line over it on the other track, erasing it several times before I got it right. As a training tool, the ability to record yourself is invaluable, and this app has taken it one step further by giving you two tracks to play around with.
As much as I will rave about what a great tool this is, you have to remember that this app (and any singing app) cannot help you with your breathing, posture or reducing tension. Staring into an app can greatly impede your ability to project your voice forward as you get overly focussed on looking instead of listening/feeling. The solution to this universal problem is to hold the app up at eye level (to help with posture) and regularly look away from the app to help you focus on hearing and feeling as opposed to just looking.