Traxxpad

Review

posted 10/4/2007 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PSP
Traxxpad: Portable Studio is exactly what it says it is, it's a program that allows you to create your own music/beats on your PlayStation Portable. Before we get into talking about the game it's important that you understand that this is not game, Traxxpad is more like a scaled-down version of Fruity Loops or any of the other computer programs that allow you to make your own music. If you're going into Traxxpad expecting it to be the next Frequency or Amplitude then you need to stop right here, this program is only meant for those people who want to express themselves using music and phat beats.

The good news is that Traxxpad does just about everything you could want a program like this to do, it features over a thousand audio samples, offers voice/microphone support, allows you to mix and remix your songs, and then gives you the opportunity to convert your music into an MP3 or add it as your cell phone's ring tone. Needless to say the software is powerful, and just as long as you have the patience to see your song to the end then you can come up with some really great music.

Unfortunately this is also Traxxpad's biggest weakness; the program comes with a steep learning curve that will likely turn a lot of aspiring musicians off right from the get-go. This is the kind of title where it pays for you to read the instruction manual ... and chances are you're going to have to go back to it several times before you even start to get the hang of what you're supposed to do. If you can get past the learning curve you will find that this is a deep program full of potential.

Like all music making software what you get out of Traxxpad is equal to what you bring to the table. If you're not the kind of person that can think of hot beats then chances are you're not going to get the most out of this program. However, if you are more musically inclined then you're probably going to come up with some sweet sounding songs. It also depends on how much time you want to put into a particular track. If you really wanted to put your mind to it then you could probably develop a song in a short amount of time (an hour or so), but it's imperative that you continue to tweak, mix and remix the song until it's perfect. That's the fun of Traxxpad; it's all about taking your song from good to downright amazing.

Traxxpad gives you a few different modes to work with, each of which features a different interface that you'll have to learn and master. It's best to take it one step at a time, usually starting with the R.T.I.S.T. editor. In this mode you have the opportunity to place the beats either by going note-by-note or by letting the track loop and just laying down notes that sound good. From there you have the option to work with the MeLOD editor, which allows you to change the pitch, sustain and so forth of notes. Once you have the sequences figured out and finalized you can go into the S.T.A.C. editor and place them around where they need to go. This mode actually allows you to piece your song together, which is definitely the most fulfilling part of the experience.

Of course, that's just a quick overview of the various modes. In practice you'll find that there's a lot more depth to each of the modes than I can explain in this review. The truth is that I could spend entire pages talking about the inner workings of each and every one different modes, what you can do with them and how they are different from one another. But this is a PSP review, not a technical manual about Traxxpad. If you're the type of person that is interested in knowing more about the various modes and how they can affect your music, then chances are you're the type of person that should run out to the store and pick up this game ... er, music making program.
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