sketchbook: rd3 groovebox for android

Audio apps for Android are still coming of age, fighting a bit of an uphill battle against the platform’s current latency limitations, but there are already a few neat options, ranging from fun toys to genuinely useful tools. Somewhere between those two extremes sits RD3 Groovebox, which combines a 303-style synth and sequencer with an 808/909-style drum machine.

The drum machine certainly isn’t as full-featured as Electrum, with a fixed 16-step layout and just a few sets of built-in sounds, and the 303 is similarly simple, with just the classic options you’d expect (three-octave range, no real velocity, etc.). It all works really well, though, and it’s great fun to play around with, especially once you get your fingers on the 303’s real-time controls. That unavoidable Android latency is there, but because everything’s sequenced, it never seems to get in the way.

You can write four patterns for both the 303 and drum machine, which is just enough to scrape out a basic song; here, then, is such a song! There’s nothing here you haven’t heard before — just some simple 303 lines and 909 drums — but it was still fun to make. RD3 has no export facility (you can save your songs, but only in its own format), so i had to use my laptop’s line-in to record it.

RD3 is 3.49€, which is perhaps a little steep for what’s there, but it’s definitely a lot of fun, and with a few additions, such as audio export, more patterns, and some effects, it could be a cracking little app. Check it out!

mp3 | vorbis | 2:46