Traxxpad Review

How exactly am I supposed to review what’s essentially music studio software marketed as a handheld game? I don’t have a lot of background in music editing or mixing; other than a few days trying to "make an awesome song" in programs like Fruity Loops and the occasional play of MTV Music Generator back in the day, I’m relatively new to the scene.

Let’s start with this: is Traxxpad something a regular gamer can pick up and enjoy after a few minutes? Maybe, but likely not. There’s a very steep learning curve, and if you don’t read the instructions and play the tutorial, you won’t have any idea what you’re doing. There is a mode called MyXxer which is essentially a Traxxpad for Dummies mode, so normal gamers can find some easy fun in that. It basically boils down to playing around with sounds and placing them so they sound good.

For the other, much more detailed aspects of Traxxpad, it’s hard to imagine a regular gamer with no music production experience getting a lot out of it. That being said, people who DO aspire to make music or find a hidden part of their psyche longing to be a DJ, Traxxpad is a very solid piece of software to accomplish that. Will it replace a lot of the expensive PC programs? No. But for $40, it’s impossible to find a better solution.

The main editing modes allow you to use sounds from an insane amount of samples, or record your own (up to 8 seconds or so), allowing a lot of freedom. Want a sound or instrument not included in the normal library? Record it! With some ingenuity, it’s possible to get a lot more out of Traxxpad than meets the eye.

Traxxpad features three modules you can use outside of the MyXxer: R.T.I.S.T., MeLOD, and S.T.A.C. The R.T.I.S.T module is the basic meat and potatoes of the game where you’ll spend most of your time. You place the basic sequences of the song on the timeline, and get the core production done. With MeLOD, you can change mess around with each individual track of a sequence, and with S.T.A.C. you can load four separate sequences and put them together for your finished piece.

A very nice feature is the ability to save your tracks as an MP3 and export them to your computer. Unlike previous video game based music making programs, this time there’s actually a practical reason to use it, and an easy way to show your friend what you made without having him over or exchanging memory cards.

When it comes down to it, Traxxpad is a great application for the right crowd. Normal gamers expecting a fun new music game may be disappointed with what it offers, but people looking for a nice portable music studio (or a cheap alternative to learn the basics of music production) can do a lot worse. As far as what’s available (and has been available) in this under-the-radar genre, there is no doubt that Traxxpad is the best of the bunch at this point. Just make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before purchasing it, because only the right people will get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

(For some nice examples of what the game does [you really do have to see it in action to understand], check out Youtube. There are great Traxxpad videos uploaded by users there.)


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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