The Monoplug Metronom is an advanced metronome and speed trainer for the iPad. The main feature of the Metronom is the ability for the metronome speed to gradually increase in set intervals for practice sessions. Some musicians do not practice to a metronome and find it difficult to play to a metronome when required to, such as for a recording session. If you haven’t been practicing to a metronome I recommend trying it at your next practice session. Being able to play to a metronome is a very useful skills especially if you want to be a session musician. Gradually increasing the tempo of the metronome is a good way to develop accuracy when playing to a metronome.
The Metronom Interface
The Metronom user interface features a modern flat design that reminds me of the interface designs in Star Trek. The user interface isn’t extensively labelled which did cause some trouble with learning how the user interface works initially. There is a help function that explains the buttons but it still took some time to get comfortable with it.
Nine buttons in the centre portion of the interface allows setting the time signature of the metronome. You can change your time signature from 1/4 to 9/4. There aren’t direct options to set time signatures such as 2/2 or 7/8 but you should be able to play around with the tempo to get a metronome speed that suits you. You can sub-divide each beat into smaller sub-divisions of 2, 3, or 4 sub-beats. This would help create more complex metronome beats.
The top buttons of the interface managed the tempo changes. Metronom allows you to configure the number of bars before a tempo change is trigger and the amount the tempo increases/decreases at each tempo change. You can also choose to use a fixed tempo setting like a regular metronome. One feature that’s missing here is an ability to tap tempo. If you’re not sure about your tempo, you’ll need to switch to another app to tap tempo and switch back.
The bottom section features the setup, help, play and stop buttons. There are also four metronome sounds to choose from. I find that the preset sounds doesn’t seem to be optimised for the iPad mini speakers. Cranking the volume towards maximum volume, to cut though the playing of your instrument, causes the iPad speaker to woof from the low frequencies of the metronome. A slight low frequency rolloff would help make the sounds more optimised for the iPad. Using it with earphones will be fine.
Having used Metronom for some time, the user interface does get easier to use after some time. I still really miss the ability to set tempos with a tap tempo function. Metronom does make practicing to a metronome easier if you are not used to playing to one. You start it off with a slower tempo and set it to increase in speed after a couple of bars. I find that this reduces the monotony of stopping the metronome and changing the tempo every couple of bars.
Monoplug’s Metronom is a useful tool for a musician’s practice session, besides the regular metronome. Metronom will help practices at gradually increasing tempos, developing skill and accuracy. If you do not have a speed trainer, Metronom is a good way to get started. Although there may be some shortcomings with the app, these aren’t necessarily deal breakers and could possibly be patched in future versions. Check out the Metronom product page for information.