Dusty Strings D550 Dulcimer

Dusty Strings D550 Dulcimer

By Michael Eskin

  • Category: Music
  • Release Date: 2016-01-16
  • Current Version: 4.0.2
  • Adult Rating: 4+
  • File Size: 153.33 MB
  • Developer: Michael Eskin
  • Compatibility: Requires iOS 10.0 or later.
Score: 5
From 16 Ratings


Experience playing the full, lush tones of a Dusty Strings D550 chromatic hammered dulcimer right on your iPad. This virtual dulcimer sounds and plays like the real thing! The D550 is one of the popular Chromatic Series models made by Dusty Strings, builders of hammered dulcimers in Seattle, WA since 1979. This model features standard fifth-interval hammered dulcimer tuning, plus an extended bass range (down to G2) and some additional chromatic notes to enable playing in any key. The overall range is 3.75 octaves, with a fully chromatic range of 3.5 octaves. To play, just touch the strings next to the black and white bridge markers. The Treble bridge (in the middle) has playable notes on either side, which are a fifth interval apart. The Bass bridge (on the right) can be played to the left of the markers, and the Superbass bridge (on the left) has the lowest notes, playable to the right of the markers. Toggle between a bright, clear ringing tone using hard hammers and a gentler, more piano tone using soft hammers by touching the image of the hammer in the upper left corner. To get repeated note "drag roll" effects, drag quickly horizontally across the strings. The drag roll sensitivity can be set on the settings screen. The higher the sensitivity, the shorter distance you need to move your finger to get the effect. Touch the ABC button on the upper left area to toggle the note names on/off. Touch the iPad icon on the playing area controls to toggle between "Full" and "Treble/Bass Bridge Only" style instruments. "Full" provides the full D550 instrument including the Superbass bridge. "Treble/Bass Bridge Only" focuses on the treble and bass bridges and provides the maximum string spacing for easier play on smaller screens like the iPad Mini. Touch the mixer icon on the upper left area to show the controls screen where you can adjust the balance and pan for the bass and treble bridges, enable or disable the drag rolls, as well as set the sensitivity for how far you need to drag to get the roll effect. The "Hammer Touches" setting chooses between no visible touches, visible touches, and visible touches + note label highlighting. On the controls screen you may use the "Soft Hammer Filter" control to choose between equalization of the soft hammer sounds for best sound through the iPad speaker or through headphones. The "iPad" setting optimizes the soft hammer equalization for playback through the iPad speaker. The "Headphones" setting optimizes the soft hammer sound equalization for headphones or for use when connected to an amplifier through the headphone jack. The "Headphones" setting allows the full fidelity of the lowest sound to pass through for best quality. On the iPad Pro, with its amazing stero speakers, set the "Soft Hammer Filter" to "Headphones" for best quality sound when playing with the soft hammers. From the controls screen you can also visit the Dusty Strings website to learn more about their amazing hand-crafted instruments. Touch the "Shhh" icon on the upper right corner to quiet all the strings. The app may be used as a MIDI sound module for use with CoreMIDI-enabled MIDI file player apps or controlled from an external MIDI keyboard using a hardware MIDI interface. Select the MIDI channel on the controls page. When used via MIDI, the app responds to MIDI note-on (with velocity), note-off, and volume change messages on the selected MIDI channel. The treble bridge volume and panning is used for all MIDI sounds and will respond to MIDI volume messages. The app is also a Audiobus compatible source module. To truly experience the full stereo spread of the instrument, plug in a set of headphones or amplified speakers. If plugged in, switch the "Soft Hammer Filter" setting to "Headphones" for the fullest possibly sound when playing with the soft hammers.



  • Incredible sounds, this app is full of musical possibilities

    By JRSIV1975
    UPDATE: My original review is below, I’m updating it since the dev has added MIDI & AudioBus, the only things I felt were keeping it from being a 5 Star app. The MIDI works great & Audiobus too..thank you for the update! The sounds are crazy good, so realistic. The interface and design are wonderful. The only thing keeping the app from 5 star perfection is the lack of iOS music production integration. This app needs Audiobus and Inter-App Audio compatibility. MIDI would be really useful, but at the very least let us get these sounds to our DAW apps, etc. Aside from the mildly curious who'll mess with it once or twice, the people who would really use the app are musicians/producers who are using iOS and other great apps to make music. Budge up to that market and you'll have a big time following.
  • Love it! but Please fix bundle app

    By CB Native American
    This is exactly what I've been looking for in a dulcimer app and great starter for when you're going to buy a real one! However, I have tried to purchase the bundle app numerous times and it has not worked for me and thought it was my card and it wasn't. I'd like to get the Bundle App so please fix it soon! I look forward to getting all the other apps but would like to buy the bundle app!!! Thank you!
  • Not fully compatible with Cubasis

    By What's that! Sound
    Like the Roland Sound Canvas, this app is NOT fully compatible with Cubasis. I bought it after deciding the sounds were a close substitute for my Dusty Strings dulcimer. Unfortunately, it doesn't show up in Cubasis as an available MIDI instrument. I'm guessing I can send background MIDI to it, but that's not why I bought it. Bummer.
  • Beautiful!

    By Musecrafter1
    I'm very impressed with this app. Not only does it sound beautiful, but the developer had enough insight to include IAA and Audiobus compatibility, which is an essential element in my purchasing decision. Because of this I can use the D550 with the rest of my studio. In the short time I've it I've already incorporated it into two songs and it sounds amazing! I bought this app while it was on sale for .99 cents but would gladly pay full price. This was such a good buy that I decided to try my luck with another one of the developers app (bagpipes pro) and was not disappointed. Now for me, bagpipes are a novelty, but its a lot of fun to play, comes with IAA & audiobus so it shows up in a prog rock tune I did and adds a terrific element. Kudos to the developer for these fine products and insight into the needs of electronic musicians!
  • Very very nice Dulcimer app

    By MusicInclusive LLC
    Really like this. Very interactive. Nice job!
  • Wonderful dulcimer app

    By Dulcimer Geek
    This is a great tool for getting in extra practice time when it's not feasible to bring the real thing along. The sound is true to the real Dusty String dulcimer sound that is well known throughout the hammered dulcimer community. Also handy for impromptu jam sessions when you might have left your dulcimer at home.
  • A Musical and Faithful Reproduction

    By FrInnocent
    This is the most playable and musical app I've used on the iOS platform. The sound quality is superb and inspiring. It captures the dissonance and harmonics of the original. You expect to feel the string vibrations on the screen! I'm giving it 5 stars but I also agree with the first reviewer. Add inter-app support and this instrument is complete!
  • Great hammered dulcimer app!

    By MarthaE
    This app is a lot of fun! It allows you to tap on the screen to simulate playing a Dusty Strings D500 hammered dulcimer, which has a greater range of notes than the 15/14 hammered dulcimer I normally play. I enjoy exploring the different possibilities that the extra notes give me when playing familiar tunes. This will also be a great app to take with me when my family and I go camping this summer; I will be able to practice playing hammered dulcimer without actually having a dulcimer with me. If you play hammered dulcimer, or if you've always wanted to try it, I'd recommend this app.
  • Wonderful Sound

    By lil nordy
    I have two Dusty harps and have been lusting after their hammered dulcimers for some time. This fun, easy to play, and amazing sounding app gives me the opportunity to finally have one. The resonance and tone produced is true to the instrument, and I don't have worry about misplacing the real hammers or taking a hand crafted dulcimer out in the elements. Can't wait to show it off!