BeatBlaster is a fun new iPad app released today that offers to turn your iPad into an old-school HiFi sound system. I’m always keen to check out promising looking music apps for the iPad, and this one caught my eye when I received a pre-launch promo email about it.
The app’s old-school appearance is what initially caught my eye, and it seemed to have quite a solid set of features – so I installed it first thing this morning and it’s been providing the soundtrack to my workday ever since.
BeatBlaster plays music from your iTunes library on the iPad and from a selection of internet radio stations sourced from Radionomy. It’s intended to be used in portrait mode only and does not adjust its UI when you swap the iPad to landscape mode.
The app’s interface is divided into three main areas that you can move through with quick swipes left and right:
— The Player, which is where you can control everything from. Its top section shows an equalizer, an AirPlay button to toggle between iPad and Apple TV, and buttons for sharing songs via Twitter, Facebook, and email. You can tap to see artist info or lyrics in the equalizer area as well. On this screen you can adjust the volume with a nice dial that looks like on you’d see on a stereo system, tap to swap between radio or library or to show the speaker or turntable screens.
— The Speaker – “we managed to make it move in sync with your iPod and web radio sound”. That’s about it for this screen.
— The Library. This screen shows your music library on the iPad or the selection of web radio stations. You can view music from your library by album, artist, or song – and there’s a search bar to find something specific as well.
There’s also a turntable view that has access to some of the basic controls (play, previous track, next track, volume etc).
— BeatBlaster looks great. It really does feel like an old-school stereo – which also makes it quite fun to use. Things like giving it a power button are nice little touches.
— The UI is not just pretty, but also effective. It’s easy and intuitive to get all around the app. You move around easily with quick swipes left and right to move between the main views, a quick swipe up on the Player screen to show the minimal controller, and single taps to do things like open the turntable, swap between radio and library, or see artist info or lyrics in the equalizer section.
— It doesn’t show you your playlists that you have in your music library. This is a huge miss I think, as I tend not to sync my whole music library to the iPad – so there’s just a scattering of songs from most artists. It would be much easier to work with playlists.
— The display of albums in the music library could do with improvement too. It shows albums in very thin stripes with small text, so it’s hard to spot albums quickly.
— It tends to play certain tracks too often when you’re listening to library music. I’ve had a couple that just keep popping back on every time an album selection finishes playing. It needs to be better at getting more random with its picks.
— It has a free companion app for the iPhone called BeatBlaster Remote. This works via Bluetooth, but I can’t get it to work so far with BT enabled on both devices and even with the iPhone and iPad not more than 5 feet away from each other. I think WiFi should at least be an option for this feature.
BeatBlaster is a great looking and fun iPad app. As I said above, it’s been providing the soundtrack for my day all day today, and doing a fine job of it. It would definitely be much better if it supported playlists and WiFi for its Remote app, but those are things that hopefully can be added via an update sometime soon.
If you’re a fan of old-school stereo systems and fancy having one on your iPad, then you’ll enjoy BeatBlaster.
Here’s an App Store link for BeatBlaster; it’s priced at $2.99.
Disclosure: This app was independently purchased by the post author in the iPad App Store. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the "About" page.