TrailMix Review – A step-synced music player iPhone app

TrailMix Review

TrailMix is a ”fully automatic step-synced music player”. What the heck is that, you ask? Good question. Let me see if I can explain it simpler terms.

TrailMix is an iPhone app for listening to music while walking or running that detects your pace using the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer, and rapidly adjusts the tempo of the song to match your stride. So, basically, it speeds up or slows down songs to always be in sync with your steps. Run faster and the track goes faster. Slow down and the track slows down. You get the idea.

It’s actually pretty clever. And while the music does sound a bit strange going faster or slower than what you’re used to, TrailMix doesn’t change the pitch, so you never get that effect of listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks singing Daft Punk.

Remember a while ago when we went through a process of adding beats-per-minute (BPM) info to our iTunes library? We tried an automatic way and a manual way. Well, with TrailMix you don’t need that anymore. The developers figured out a way to “listen” to the songs and get the BPM as they play without the need for any fancy stuff. Not even an Internet connection.

From the developers:

The app will play and sync with any song in a user’s library, as well as playlists containing up to 20 songs, whether the listener is running, walking, sprinting, or strolling. TrailMix incorporates a pedometer, and health- and fitness-related rewards from Kiip, an online service that motivates users to exercise by giving away free items and coupons. A Pro version of TrailMix, available separately for $4.99, removes banner ads and includes enhanced features like Magic Shuffle, which chooses songs automatically to match your current tempo, and Cruise Control to lock in a song at a preset beat. The Pro app also provides enhanced stats and an intelligent stopwatch that starts and stops as the user moves to keep track of workout sessions automatically.

I only tried the Pro version, so no idea if the ads are annoying. But honestly, for $5 just get the full version. No ads is a beautiful thing, and that Cruise Control feature is awesome. You basically set a BPM before you start to run and TrailMix magically makes every song fit that tempo. Most of the playlists I’ve been sharing here are based on BPM. No need to spend hours finding the right songs anymore!

I wrote a separate review of TrailMix Pro in another of my sites if you’re interested in more. I liked it.

Welcome to JoggerTunes

After many months of not exercising much, I decided it was time to get back into it. Many years ago, I was doing triathlons, mountain biking, and adventure races, but somewhere along the line work got crazy and I stopped. It’s been almost 7 years now. I miss it. My body can feel it. It’s not cool.

During these 7 mostly sedentary years, I’ve done a bit of running here and there, but nothing to write home about. And certainly not consistently.

It’s time to get back into shape.

A few weeks ago I started running regularly again. I’m pumped. It feels good although it’s still a pain in the butt to get up early. But I’m doing it. I want to run a full marathon this year. That’s my goal.

Back when I was in shape, the iPhone didn’t exist. I never used an iPod to run, so I never really knew what running to music was like. This time around though, I do have an iPhone and I’m sort of obsessed with apps. So I did some searching in the iTunes Store for running apps and found a few that I’ve been testing. I love the fact that I can track exactly where I’ve run using the GPS, see it on a map, and know the exact distance I did.

Running with an iPhone of course meant that I also have my music with me, so I gave running to some tunes a go. The first time I just randomly chose a playlist and set off.

It was a great experience, but after about 15 minutes of running to great tunes a slow song came on and it screwed up my rhythm. For the rest of the run I kept thinking I had to create good running playlists. I got back to my computer and spent the next few days obsessing over this and realised others might be interested in this as well. I also decided I needed a place to track my progress. Sort of a logbook. Plus I wanted somewhere I could capture my thoughts and learnings through the process.

Which brings me to this website.

Primarily it’s where I’ll share the running playlists I create and put to the test. But I’ll also write about the apps I use, the milestones I achieve, and most likely some random but hopefully related thoughts.

I admit this site is mostly for me. But I’m putting it out there in case others find it interesting.