TwistedWave: Audio Editing & Recording on iOS With a Twist

| In-Depth Review

TwistedWave Audio Editor is a perfect solution for podcasters, musicians, or anyone looking to add portability to their audio editing workflow. The range of input and output options will impress, as will the layout and functionality.

Although, some users will undoubtedly be unimpressed with the lack of multi-track editing.

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Features

TwistedWave has a solid selection of features, that will be useful to many users. Some of the key features are:

  • Undo/redo instantly
  • Apply effects, such as fade in/out, delay, compressor/limiter, pitch shifting/time stretching, amplify or normalize the audio to a given level, filter to adjust the level of the low or high frequencies
  • WAV, AIFF, CAF and AAC audio support
  • Email a link to an MP3 file encoded and hosted online
  • Import/export audio with iTunes file sharing
  • Import files from the iPod library
  • Send your audio by mail
  • Upload to an FTP account
  • Send an audio file to another application

Using TwistedWave Audio Editor

TwistedWave Audio Editor will turn your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad into a portable recording studio. Whether you are podcasting or recording music, you will likely find a use for this versatile, but easy to use waveform editor.

Unlike Garageband, TwistedWave is not a multi-track or instrument based app. Both have their positives and negatives, and in my opinion are both valuable on your iOS device for different reasons.

One key reason why TwistedWave is a better alternative, is Garageband on iOS has a limitation to the length of track that can be created or edited. The limitation is approximately 10 minutes of recorded audio and severely hinders the app as a portable solution for podcasters, or anyone wishing to record a longer audio segment.

TwistedWave, by comparison, does not have a limitation on track length. You are simply limited by the volume of storage available on your device.

TwistedWave can accept audio files that are in stereo or mono, in such formats as WAVE, AIFF, CAF, and AAC. It goes without saying that the universal MP3 format is also supported.

There are a number of ways audio files can be imported. iTunes file sharing and iPod library access are the most common. Other options include browser access from your Mac, audio email attachments, and various apps that support the Open In… feature.

Once your audio is ready for the editing process, you will notice a very simple but useful layout. The audio waveform consumes most of the available screen space in two variations. The top, and smaller, waveform gives you an overview of the entire length of the track. Whilst the larger waveform will be your main control and work area.

There is also a visual volume indicator that can assist users with analyzing the peaks and low levels within their recording. It is certainly of benefit when recording audio live within the app.

The main work area is all about touch. Tap to move the play cursor to another location, pinch and zoom to expand or compress the waveform for accurate fine editing needs, and tap and drag the cursor head to make a selection that can be then deleted, copied, or exported.

The selected area of the audio file in black.

To move back and forth throughout the audio clip, you can simply swipe from left to right.

You can also easily add additional audio via pasting or undertaking a new recording. Simply place the play cursor where you wish the new audio to be inserted and proceed with pasting or recording a new audio track. As you would expect, the audio before and after will split perfectly allowing the content to be added in-line without altering or overwriting the existing audio elements.

One of the interesting features is the AudioCopy and AudioPaste functionality. This allows you to not only easily rearrange content within an existing track, but you can take that copied content and paste it into a different compatible app. If you don’t have a compatible app on your device you will be able to view an extensive list of apps, that are presented within the app, when you select this option.

The tool bar at the bottom of the display is where all your main functionality resides. It is well laid out, but people with larger hands may feel it is restrictive especially on the iPhone sized screen. Everything from effects, to playback and recording, to cut, copy, and paste, or fading in and out can be done from this area.

Available list of audio effects.

The effects, whilst not as extensive as some other audio editing apps, are useful and offer enough flexibility for most users. Normalizing and amplification can be done via this area, as can inserting areas of silence. If you want to change the pitch and speed or apply some audio filters, that functionality is also available.

A reverse effect is also present and will change the direction of playback and editing. It is reminiscent of backmasking, a technique that presents an audible message when the music is played backwards. Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” is famously known for backmasking, despite the bands insistence of it being unintentional. When played in reverse the recording has the spoken words “Here’s to my sweet Satan”. I wouldn’t advise creating satanic rituals, or messages, with this functionality. Although, I am sure many of you could come up with some very interesting statements and audio effects.

A handy editing feature is the included ability to undo and redo edits. There is no limitation to the number of undos available, thereby allowing you to experiment without permanent implications.

An overview of the export menu.

Once you have completed the editing process, you will need to export the audio file. You can export either a selection or the entire clip. The export formats include WAVE, AIFF, CAF, AAC, and MP3. There are also additional options for MP3 that include MP3 (online) and MP3 (online via AAC).

Each export option also comes with its own specific set of additional options. Selecting formats that support variable bit rates, such as MP3, will give you the ability assign a custom rate from 64 kbps to 320 kbps. Should you select the MP3 (online) format, for example, then you can only email or upload the file to a server via FTP. Thankfully, the FTP functionality is built into the app, therefore making this process seamless.

Most of the other exporting formats will allow you to Send to iTunes, upload via FTP, Send by Mail, Send to Dropbox, and Send to SoundCloud. The incorporation of Dropbox and SoundCloud are certainly an asset to the app, although it should be noted that long form, uncompressed, or high bit rate audio files will take a longer time to export and upload.

If you’re not looking to export as a file, you can always export the audio into a new TwistedWave document, or open in another app that supports the audio format you have selected. There is plenty of flexibility within TwistedWave, that will help you get the most out of your workflow.

User interface for iPhone & iPod touch.

What I Did Like

As a universal app the identical screen layout for iPad and iPhone is fantastic. This seamless user interface makes the app a perfect solution for anyone, with both devices, wanting complete flexibility.

The import and export options have been well thought out and offer an extensive selection to choose from.

Backwards compatibility with any iOS device, capable of running iOS 4.0 or later.

The developer has a forum that allows users to suggest possible features to be added in future editions of the app. Other users can then come in and vote on features they would most like to see. It is refreshing to see a developer that is willing to listen to the community in order to further enhance their app.

What I Didn’t Like

The pause/play button is awkwardly located between the start and end (in/out) buttons. It is too easy to tap the wrong button thereby removing the playback cursor from the area you are interested in editing. This is certainly an issue on the iPhone due to the smaller screen size.

The lack of multi-track recording and editing will be of concern to many users.

Summary

The disappointment for many people will be the lack of multi-track recording and editing. Whilst it doesn’t limit my audio editing requirements, I know a few podcasters and musicians who are simply unable to use the app because of this omission. Hopefully, this feature will be available in a future update.

At US$9.99, the price is more than reasonable for the available functionality. The app performs as advertised, and as someone who has used it for up to three hours of editing per week, for the last six months, I can honestly recommend it to anyone looking for an editing solution with maximum flexibility.

Product: TwistedWave Audio Editor

Company: TwistedWave

List Price: US$9.99

Pros:

Universal app with a universal interface, easy learning curve, flexible input and output options, responsive and accurate touch controls, useable on all iOS 4.0 compatible devices, a developer open to user input.

Cons:

No multi-track recording or editing, play/pause button placement can be awkward.

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1 Comments

Rainer Maria Ehrhardt

just bought Twisted Wave and try to run it with an USB-Mike from SAMSON: It works, but I cannot adjust the recording level. The original level is much too low. If I raise the level after recording (normalize) It sounds terrible.
This makes it absolutely not usable for me.

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