Propellerhead Figure Review Roundup

propellerhead figure

The biggest buzz of the week in electronic music has been generated by the release of Propellerhead Figure for iOS.

The app is basically a mobile groove generator, letting you create short sequences using great-sounding preset drum, bass & lead synth engines. The interface eliminates the need for traditional musical skills. Groove-based quantization and a limited palette of sounds mean mean that just about anyone can get decent results.

Propellerhead CEO Ernst Nathorst Böös explains Figure like this:

“We think musicians, regardless what level they’re on, will have phones, tablets and computers, and they will use them in different situations,” he says.

“Think about email: you write an email differently when you write it on your phone, compared to sitting down at your computer, taking a deep breath and writing a longer one. It’s still emailing, but dependent on the device and the situation. That’s how we see this.”

It’s an interesting beatmaking app – but the combination of smart design and the Propellerhead Reason sound engine has led to Figure’s buzz reaching far beyond music sites.

Here’s a round up of Propellerhead Reason reviews:

Time: “Figure lets you create respectable tunes even if you’re not a practicing musician. You needn’t have played an instrument to use Figure, or have studied painting to use Paper, and both apps are so simple that you don’t have to spend hours learning the software. You just open the apps and start making stuff.”

Wired: “It sucks you in. You’ll be on a bus, half an hour from your stop and then look up again 45 minutes later, way past where you should have got off. There’s enough diversity in the included presets for the average user to not get bored for a while, and there’ll be value in here for more professional musicians, too. The only big omission, for my money, is a sequencer of some sort to lengthen the period of time that the app records for.”

Voltage-Controlled: “Even though Figure’s missing out on some vital features it’s still a blast to play around with. And for 69p in the AppStore I’m going to stop complaining, shut up and enjoy that awesome little loop sequencer that Propellerhead has given us. All in all I’m going to give this app maybe an eight out of ten. If figure had audio export and a save feature then it would most definitely get a full ten.”

MusicRadar: “Looking at the way Propellerhead is marketing the app, it’s clear that Figure is meant more as a fun toy than a serious music making application. On that level the app works beautifully; it’s exceptionally simple to use, and you’ll be making music in seconds. But because it sounds great, and packs a surprising amount of power, we’d love to be able to go past the app’s two-bar limitation and go a little deeper.”

Here’s a video review from PointBlankOnline:

Here’s another quick video review, this time from Ean Golden of DJ Tech Tools:

At US $.99 in the App Store, getting Propellerhead Figure is a no-brainer – but it will also leave you hoping that Propellerhead has something bigger in the works.

Have you tried Propellerhead Figure? If so, let us know what you think of it and how you’re using it!

12 thoughts on “Propellerhead Figure Review Roundup

  1. You choose your key/scale under the [song] tab at the bottom of the screen.

    What’s fun about Figure is that you can change any parameters key/scale/rhythm/range/sounds while your 2bars are playing for fun times by all.

  2. I am a pretty big fan of Propellerhead but I have been able an objective look at FIgure. Right now it does a number of things and does them well. It really shines at being able to create an interesting loop of music in a short amount of time. It’s also fun to use and is a great way to pass the time.

    One thing that it is not is a serious composition tool. I won’t be surprised, though, if people start feeding their loops into whatever DAW they use and string together a full song. Hell, I’ve thought about doing that myself. I’ll be quite curious to see what sort of things they add into the program as it gets updated.

  3. man it is soooo crazy that people are losing there minds over critiquing this app, i am a reason user, and i am glad to see the app coming to live but this thing is $1.00 and people are hitting it hard with chitter chatter.

    i think any harsh criticism towards this app has to be from people who got it and wanted so much more reason power in the palm of their hands. but for a dollar, you cant beat the fun of it. i don’t even think the release of rebirth to the ios was as big as this is on the internet.

    1. what rubbish. i dont care if it is 1, 5, or 15 bucks. what i want is quality product because they sure as hell can make one. is implementing save option so difficult?or more patterns? these are basics, not to speak about import export and such…
      i love this app. very cool groove machine. but it has been purposely crippled. to what agenda time will tell.
      it´s getting old going through the same loop with every new app. amazing but so many things missing.

  4. Figure is the gateway drug to the Prop’s ecosystem. It is very smart, very easy, very addictive. Reason Essential is $129 and cannot be cracked. Have enough people to beg them to have a way to not only save, but to export their idea into a DAW and Essential will be their best selling product, even more that Reason 6 and the upcoming 6.5.

  5. I’ve heard and read this already many times and it’s perfect description of this app: toilet companion. It’s just enough time to kick off with the 2 bar phrase, that you can use later(if you want) for further writing in DAW. Just to prove myself that it can be used more seriously today morning I’ve tried an “oldskool” way. Just plugged in a cable to my laptop and recorded audio straight from Figure to Ableton. Added one synth line and there it was: a sketch of a song. Hear for yourself

  6. It’s a very cute and charming app, I’ll give it that. I’ve payed more for less, and I’ve been having so much fun with it that I got my money’s worth off it. There is always room for improvement, sure, but I saw the demo they did at the Musikmesse and felt like Figure delivered what it promised. As for recording, I can always connect my iPhone to my FireWire AI and record directly into a DAW.

    Propellerhead will probably not make it so that you can save as these loops as Reason project files and export them since it’s Thor and Kong that do the sounds and these two are not in the Reason Essential package. Which means a lot of consumers will be left out if they do decide to implement it.

  7. I can remember when all I had to make music was an Electro Harmonix MiniSynth,Super Space Drum and a Gemini cartridge echo machine it’s not the tool but how you use it.
    Figure is a good app for exercising your creative ability .l like a non preset analog synth you have to save the good stuff in your memory bank .< your brain.
    It would be nice to get updates ,but a buck is a buck.And a groove is a groove .I
    In other words .IT IS WHAT IT IS .

  8. I am a huge fan of this app. So many sounds you can discover and it never fails to entertain me. One thing I’d love to see though is an upgrade where it allows you to record your mixing and also be able to share your new tunes on Facebook. But either way two thumbs up for this app. And considering it’s only $1, people should really stop sooking about it. It’s an easy to use music making app, that was their intention. If you were expecting it to be like Ableton Live well then you’re a tad silly.

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