Reactable's Rotor is a modular iPad music-making app with knobs on

You may be familiar with the Reactable (or the Reactable Experience as it now seems to be known), a tabletop electronic music system that can be controlled by moving objects around its surface. In 2010, the company behind it created an iPad version of the platform, and now it's returned with Rotor, a new app for Apple's tablet that can be controlled with its own tangible 'pucks'.

This is a modular platform that offers instruments, effects, modulators, virtual keyboards, step sequencers and more. These can be patched together onscreen, but it's when you add in Rotor's optional physical controllers that things get really interesting. You can move these twistable 'tangible pucks' around the iPad's surface, though it's still possible to use the app without them.

Rotor comes with automatic key detection and timestretching, meaning that your samples, loops and sequences should stay in sync and in tune with each other. You can record audio in from the real world and also from other apps via Audiobus, and there's also MIDI and Ableton Link support. The app ships with more than 100 loops and sessions for you to use as starting points.

The Rotor app is available now from the Apple App Store for the introductory price of £7.99/$9.99 (this is half the regular price). Its companion controllers will be released in November. Find out more on the Reactable website.

Reactable Rotor features

  • Automatic real-time key detection of your loops and wavefiles, allows to play them either as masters, thus determining the tonality of the whole session, or as slaves, thus adapting them to this computed tonality.
  • Up to 9 simultaneous voices using loops, samplers, synthesizers and line input, plus any combination of effects and controllers.
  • Create patches on the fly combining up to 24 simultaneous modules. Modulate any parameter.
  • Control everything using multi-touch gestures plus the optional ROTOR controllers (can be purchased separately).
  • Ableton Link integration allows to play in perfect sync with Ableton Live running in your laptop, as well as with other Ableton Link compatible iOS apps running in other devices. Combine multiple ROTOR instances running on separate iPads.
  • Change the tempo of your session without affecting its pitch.
  • Additional Swing and Tap tempo control.
  • The automatic real-time key detection of loops and sound files can also be applied to ROTOR's synths, samplers, sequencers and virtual keyboards, insuring that no note will ever be out of key.
  • Configure manually up to 6 additional tonalities or chords, that will also affect the tonal content of keyboards and sequencers.
  • Record and save loops on-the-fly and integrate them into your performance, without interrupting the music and creative flow. Save them for exporting them to other applications.
  • MIDI IN settings allows any object to receive external control from a different user-selectable MIDI port/channels.
  • Use the iPad accelerometer for controlling any module parameter.
  • Use ROTOR 100+ exclusive loops or import your own, in WAV or OGG format.
  • Use ROTOR 100+ sampler presets or import your own in SF2 format.
  • Contextual help and 100+ pages interactive manual with 30+ demos and tutorials.
Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.