Mobile app is noteworthy for composing music on the fly

A windowless basement doesn’t typically make a great rehearsal space, but the reality is that that’s where many bands practice. And Stacey Dyer Messier has been visiting many such gigs to demonstrate that even with low-ceilings and cement walls, she can get a raw recording on her iPhone that still sounds almost like it was professionally mixed in a recording studio. As the marketing force and creative strategist behind the digital audio tool Spire, Messier is on the ground finding out what makes musicians tick to create an app that caters to their needs. “Technology has made almost any musical task easier and cheaper for aspiring musicians,” said Messier, who said that Spire is a four-track recorder that allows users to record, mix and share compositions on the fly. Messier spoke with Globe correspondent Cindy Atoji Keene about how the audio software company iZotope in Cambridge has branched out to the non-professional market by offering “an audio engineer in your pocket.”


“Back in the late 90s, I remember recording vocals on an enormous 24-channel sound board. If input levels or microphone placement were awry, the tape sounded haphazard. So it was never easy for aspiring musicians like me to make a demo or a mix. Fast forward to today, when intuitive digital audio apps take the place of clunky four-track recorders. Recordings can be easily uploaded to music platforms like Soundcloud or Facebook. As one example, the band Colourz from Toronto, had a song idea they worked on using the Spire app. They laid down tracks, starting with the melody, and then kept writing from there. The end result is gorgeous cinematic electronica music. Often the audio quality just blows my mind. Spire runs on digital signal processing, allowing tracks to be automatically enhanced with dynamic EQ, compression, limiter and other mixing controls. There’s a built-in algorithm so even if your drummer is loudest person on the face of planet with a 27-inch china cymbal, the sound isn’t distorted. The app helps musicians develop their songs on the fly and share their work in progress. Imagine getting a song idea, recording it and texting it to a bandmate the instant you’ve got it down. For example, a comment can be added, ‘Here is the guitar lick I worked on.’ Here at Spire, we are constantly working to refine the app; a lot of workers at Spire are musicians and provide their input. Our sales rep is an amazing bass player and helped decipher the right level for bass tones and a sound input level check. And my husband is a scratch turnable musician. He can use Spire as a scratch pad, text it to music producer friends or store songs in the cloud. He says his music-making sessions and demos have never sounded this good.”


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