Music Thing: There's a studio in your pocket

treo 650 Bhajis

Each week, Tom Whitwell of Music Thing highlights the best of the new music gear that's coming out, as well as noteworthy vintage equipment. Last Saturday, he was building a complete digital studio for £27. This week, he explains how to turn cellphones, PDAs and Game Boys into music workstations:

It sounds like an urban myth, but there really is a version of Cubase - the ubiquitous pro music software - that runs on a mobile phone. 'Cubasis Mobile' was developed by Steinberg, but - tragically - was nothing more than a cruddy Java ringtone composer that shipped with Siemens' nondescript M55 phone last year. Fortunately, there are numerous euro-hackers building sequencers and samplers for handheld devices, so there's no excuse to sit on the bus listening to other people's music when you could be making your own. Read on for a roundup of music software programs for the Game Boy as well as for Palm, Pocket PC, and Symbian handhelds:

Palm OS: Bhajis Loops is an astonishing all-in-one studio, including a sequencer, sampler, drum machine and a synth, created by French programmer Oliver Gillet. You even download a set of Fairlight CMI sounds to use. The full version is $26.99 from

Game Boy: Game Boy music hasn?t really recovered since Malcolm McLaren (the Sex Pistols svengali) claimed it was the future of pop a few years back. But now there?s Nanoloop 2.0, a very stylish, abstract-looking synth and sequencer for the Game Boy Advance, built by German musician Oliver Wittchow, who gets cartridges made in China and sells them for ?80 from his website

Pocket PC: Planet Griff is a British-made sequencer which can play samples, effects and run various virtual instruments. It?s surprisingly expensive, with the basic package costing ?39.99 and add-on instruments costing up to ?15 each. Details at For a cheaper alternative, try PhoenixStudio at

Symbian: Syntrax is an 8-channel sequencer from Holland, again with a synth, a sampler and various filters and effects. It was created by Reinier van Vliet, a Dutch programmer who?s been doing this kind of thing since the Amiga. It?s just $20 (there?s also a Pocket PC version) from (their site is currently down, but will be back),