bleep!BOX will be familiar to those experienced with dance-style drum machines. Rythms and melodies are programmed using a Step Sequencing approach.
Soundwise, bleep!BOX features 10 instruments, known as ‘Parts’. Each part plays one sound and can be programmed individually. These Parts come in 4 different flavours:
The first 3 parts are Bassdrum/Zap generators. They are simple waveforms with a pitch modulator and an amplitude envelope and can be used to produce many simple drum tones, such as Bassdrums, Toms, Zaps, Clicks, Zaps, Wood Blocks, and more unusual stuff.
Part 4 is a SnareDrum and specializes in noisy drum sounds as in Snares and Claps. We only gave you one of those so your landlord wouldn’t kick you out.
Parts 4-8 are your more general Synth Parts and have the most parameters. They can be used for a wide range of sounds and are intended for Basses, Leads, Arpeggios and Melodies, though they can also do a pretty good job as extra percussion tracks.
Finally, Parts 9 and 10 are your metallic percussion parts. They specialize in Cymbals and Hihats, though I’m sure creative users can come up with other crazy uses for these.
For each step in the Pattern, you can set the Note, Trigger Level (think velocity, accent, or volume), and also the ‘tie’ parameter which basically instructs bleep!BOX to hold that note longer. You can connect several notes into one long note this way.
You can also create a Motion sequence for one Parameter per Part. This allows you to modify that Parameter over the course of the pattern using an Envelope you can draw yourself (Motion Page).
First, make sure that your headphones are plugged in and assure that the volume level is appropriate. We don’t want you to bust your eardrums unless it’s due to a phat beat. The speaker on the iPhone is tailored to human voices and lacks bass. You may not be able to hear all of the sounds without headphones or ear buds.
After the title screen, the Sequence page is the first screen you’ll see (duh!). This is where you will spend a lot of your time, so get comfy here. In the four corners you will find the Global controls used to navigate through the application and through your Pattern. Other than the play button, any of these buttons can be clicked and dragged. Tapping them once advances to the next item.
In the upper left corner you’ll find your Play button. In the upper Right corner is the Page button. This will allow you switch through the different pages in the application, which are:
The button in the lower right corner is the Part button. Use this button to switch between Parts you are currently editing.
In the lower left corner is the Pattern Step button. Use this to switch between Steps in your pattern. Pattern Step 1 allows you to edit steps 1-16. Step 2 is 17-32, etc.. Note that unless you go to the Global page and change the Pattern Length, Pattern Step 1 is the only one you will hear.
Now that we’ve covered the 4 global buttons lets go into detail on each of the pages.
At the top you will see 6 buttons. These are different parameters specific to each step in the Pattern. Okay, we lied. Swing and BPM are not specific to each step in the pattern, but they are here for convenience. In the middle you will see 16 buttons denoting each step in the current Pattern Step. If you press Play, you will see these start to light up in order. The light shows which step is currently being played. If you click one of these buttons, you will notice that it gets a green outline, showing which step is currently being edited. You can click it again to toggle the Trigger level to 100. This is a quick way to turn on and off steps in the Pattern. You can also click the ‘Trigger’ button and use the slider and buttons at the bottom to modify the Trigger level. Pressing the ‘Note’ button at the top will allow you to change the note for that step. The ‘Oct’ button controls the octave. Use ‘Tie’ to link notes together into longer notes.
The edit page is where you can edit all the parameters for the current Part. Different parameters may get displayed depending on what type of Part is currently selected. The four buttons at the top serve as tabs into different groups of parameters.
|‘OSC’ parameters have to deal with the tone or timbre of a Part.|
|‘ENV’ controls parameters related to the various Envelopes or curves. Specifically, the amplitude and filter curves.|
|‘FILT’ contains filter and drive settings.|
|Finally ‘MOD’ deals with modifiers. You can control volume level and pan here, and also you can control how much the ‘Trigger’ affects volume, amp decay, and the filter envelope with the ‘Trigger To xxxx’ parameters.|
Double clicking on any parameter allows you to assign a Motion to that parameter. That means that the slider no longer controls the value of the parameter – it is controlled by the graph on the Motion page. A motion’d parameter will have a green background. Double clicking it a second time will remove the Motion.
Here you can draw the motion envelope. Just touch and drag. Each block corresponds to one step in the Sequencer (there are 16). The motion is as long as the pattern, so changing the Pattern Step does matter here. Text at the bottom indicates what parameter is
The Performance page allows you to remix your pattern, live. It features 3 sub pages – the Looper, Mute Page and the Pads page.
The looper allows you to loop sections of your pattern. Touch with one finger to loop a single step. You can touch with 2 fingers to loop a section of the pattern. You can also touch with 3 fingers to reverse the current loop. Pattern Step does matter here. The looper gives you a nice overview of your whole Pattern too. Toggling ‘only current part’ allows you to just loop the current part. This is nice for playing arpeggios on specific Parts. You can also toggle ‘Lock’ if you want the loop settings to stay after you remove your fingers from the looper.
Hint: that you can loop Pattern Steps past the end of your song. This could allow you to prepare extra material that isn’t audible until you start looping it.
This page allows you to turn on and off specific Parts. You can also click and drag to toggle several parts in the same swipe.
This page allows you to audition any of the Parts. The pitch of the Part will be whatever the last played pitch was. You can toggle the ‘REC’ button if you want your playing to get recorded into the Pattern.
The song page will let you manage multiple patterns and to sequence them. When you first start bleep!BOX, you will be in the standard ‘pattern’ mode. In order to sequence patterns, click the ‘Sequence Mode’ button on this page. Pattern mode means that bleep!BOX will continue to play the same pattern over and over. When you click ‘Sequence Mode’, bleep!BOX will jump to the next pattern in the list when the current pattern finishes.
At the bottom you can see 4 x 4 buttons. Each buton represents a pattern. So you can have up to 16 patterns in a song. On each button is the name of a pattern. When in Pattern Mode, there are also copy and paste buttons for copying patterns, and a text field for renaming the current pattern. In Sequence Mode, this area is filled with the Pattern sequence. The currently playing step is highlighted. The numbers on each button represent the pattern number (corresponding with the 16 buttons at the bottom).
In Pattern Mode, you can use the buttons at the bottom to change the currently playing pattern, while bleep!BOX plays. This can be useful for live-play.
The data page is where you can save, load and delete Songs, Patterns and Parts. When saving, you will also be given the option to submit your preset to our servers for possible inclusion in future updates.
There are two ‘special’ patterns. Those are ‘init’ and ‘LastSong’. Neither of these can be deleted, however you can save over ‘init’. ‘init’ is a blank pattern that you can use as a base for new beats, if you like a clean start. Pressing the ‘init’ button will load the Init Pattern, Part, or Song. When quitting bleep!BOX, your work is always saved to LastSong, and LastSong is always loaded when bleep!BOX starts.
You can also choose to save ‘audio’. This will create a .WAV file on your device. You can choose to bounce a trimmed loop to .WAV or do ‘free’ record, which allows you to record longer performences. In ‘free’ mode, recording will continue until you press ‘stop’. Once you have recorded a .WAV, you can share it using the ‘share’ page. This includes audio copying (General Pasteboard method), which lets you transfer the file to other apps. It also allows you to email the file, tweet it, send it to Soundcloud or transfer it over WIFI to your desktop using the ‘transfer’ option.
The Transfer button not only lets you get Audio off your iPhone onto your computer, but also your patches (and lets you load new patches you may have gotten elsewhere). Pressing it will bring up a popup letting you know that the iPhone is ready for a connection from your desktop computer. It will also give you 3 possible addresses for you to type in your web browser. The recommended one is the second one (the local network address). Note: you will probably need to have a Wifi network handy for this to work.
If you are running iOS 3.2 or later, the easiest way to get audio files off of your device is through iTunes. When your device is connected, simply select it and go to the tab for your apps. At the bottom you should see some options for File Sharing:
Notice there is a file called userBackground.jpg. You can edit or replace this file to customize your background. Just save the file on your computer, make any changes and copy it back (overwrite the old file) thru iTunes. If you ever want to get the original background back, just delete this file and it’ll get replaced with the original.
The Data Page also allows you to copy and paste. The button labeled ‘copy’ will copy all Parts in the current Pattern Step. The button labelled ‘copy current part’ will copy only the current Part in the current Pattern Step. Paste, pastes. Note that no actual copy is made until you hit Paste. So, if you hit Copy and make some changes on the current part, those changes will get copied (not the settings that were there when you first pressed ‘Copy’).
Use the Clear button to clear out your notes and triggers for your Pattern without changing any of your synthesizer settings. This is different than the ‘Init’ button which resets all settings. Clear is useful if you find a Pattern where you like the sounds, but want to make your own beat.
The Global Page is where you can adjust properties that affect the entire Pattern. Here you can change the Pattern Length (the number of Pattern Steps in your Pattern). You can also modify the settings for the Delay Effect.