Turn £50 into an amazing mobile music studio

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time now, but haven’t gotten around to it. So it’s time to put that right.

Whilst so much news is about iOS apps and some Android stuff here and there I try not to forget that my mobile music making started off with the good old Palm OS. So I’ve decided to write a little post about what you can do with £50 (about $80) to get yourself an amazing mobile music studio which you’ll be completely amazed at.

All you need is 2 things:

  1. A Palm Tungsten T3 from eBay
  2. A copy of Bhajis Loops

Some of you will have heard me talking about just how good Bhajis Loops is, and you might be thinking it is just nostalgia, but let’s take a quick look at what Bhajis packs in:

Sample editor

  • Samples can be loaded from SamplePacks, .wav files stored on the memory card or sf2 SoundFonts.
  • Sample editing functions: cut, copy, paste, trim, silence, undo.
  • effects and transformations: loop cross-fade, gain, normalisation, distortion, reverse, downsampling, or any of the built-in effect plug-ins.
  • Draw waveforms directly with the stylus!
  • Built-in voice recorder (not available on Sony Clié devices).
  • Sample size is only limited by the amount of free RAM.
  • Modified samples can be saved as .wav files.

Synthesis section

  • Your song can use up to 64 instruments.
  • Wavetable synthesis.
  • Low-pass / high-pass filter, cutoff and volume envelope.
  • LFO controlling the pitch and the filter cutoff.
  • Instrument layering / Keybaord mapping.
  • Different voicing modes – mono, legato, polyphonic…
  • Transposition.
  • Support for micro-tuning (for traditional or historic intervals)

Pattern editor

  • 8ppq resolution (32 steps per 4/4 bar) with shuffle.
  • 3 editors: Piano-roll, Grid, and note parameters editor to set velocity, vibrato, pan values for each individual note.
  • Complete editing: cut, copy, paste, merge, demix, undo.
  • Pattern recorder for realtime or step-by-step recording of patterns, using an on-screen keyboard or the keys/buttons of your Palm.
  • Pattern library to easily manage a collection of frequently used patterns across songs.
  • Random note generator and humanization function.
  • Scale feature to constraint the input/recorded notes in a given scale.
  • Easy input of chords in standard notation (Bmin7, Asus4…)

Song editor

  • 8 tracks on which patterns can be mixed – A pattern in itself can contain up to 64 instruments!
  • Complete set of editing features with undo.
  • 3 zoom levels.
  • Looping, markers.
  • MIDIfile import/export.
  • Wav file rendering.

Mixing and effects

  • Mixer with main fader, pan, effect send, mute / solo.
  • 4 independent effect buses + one global send.
  • Open plug-in architecture – new effects are added with each update, and you can even develop your own!
  • (Ping-pong) delay, reverb, chorus, flanger, phaser, vocoder, pitch-shifting, distortion, EQ, and many more effects!
  • XY pad: You can control two synthesis parameters in realtime with the position of your stylus or your finger on the touchscreen! Advanced tracking options to smooth or interpolate stylus moves.


  • Volume, pan and most of the synthesis parameters (filter cutoff, resonance, envelope, LFO, effect send) can be automatized.
  • Effect plug-ins parameters can be as well automatized.
  • Intuitive vectorial editor taking advantage of the touchscreen and stylus.
  • A complete range of editing features.
  • Stylus movements in the XY pad can be recorded as automation tracks.

Live! mode

  • Once you have composed your song, structure it by defining sections and bridges.
  • Bhajis Loops Live! mode allows you to chain these sections in realtime, and jump between them.
  • Exclusive Warp feature allowing complex transition rules like “If verse 1 is playing, and if the next requested section is verse 2, play verse 1 and then play verse 2 from its third bar”. The accompaniment follows what you are playing, not the opposite!
  • Mute buttons.
  • Assignable controllers.
  • Controllers can also be assigned to the hardware buttons / keys.

Other features

  • Analog clock synchronization: the left and right channels of music are mixed and output on the left channel, and a 24ppqn clock signal is generated on the right channel.
  • Full support of the 160×160, 160×240, 320×320, 320×480 and 480×320 screen modes.
  • Complete Reference manual available in several formats. Contextual help in all the dialog boxes.
  • Free song replayer.
  • WinAMP plug-in to replay your songs on your PC.
  • PC and Mac OS X conduits to render songs as .wav files, export MIDIfiles, samples or individual tracks during HotSync.

So I think you’ll agree that it is a pretty amazing piece of software, especially when you consider that it is running on fairly old hardware, i.e. the Palm Tungsten T3. Bhajis is an amazing platform for making music wherever you are.

That’s not to say that the venerable old Palm Tungsten T3 isn’t a good piece of kit! I still have one and it works fine (or at least the last time I used it anyway). And of course there’s plenty of older music apps for the palm if you decide to dabble further.

Incidentally, you may be wondering why I’ve said that the Palm Tungsten T3 is the best device for running Bhajis Loops. Simply put it was probably one of the best devices that Palm made (although I think HTC actually made it) and it has a huge (comparatively) amount of memory for a palm device. Hence it works really well for Bhajis.

So if you decide to give it a try please let me know what you think, but please don’t request a refund from me if you’re not happy!

http://static.evernote.com/noteit.js Clip to Evernote


  1. Yes, I'll second that too. Because since Nanostudio has come out, I've actually started using Bhajis again, because it's so complete, and so easy to use (great FX, great sample editor, great pretty much everything!). I'm not that sold on Nanostudio after all I'm afraid.


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