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TC-11 Multi-touch synth review

Compatible with: iPad, requires iOS 7.1 or later
Main Features: 120 built-in presets, unlimited user patches, fully controlled by multi-touch/device motion, built-in recording + AudioCopy, email custom patches to your friends, full display customization, and retina graphics
Price: $24.99

Pros:
• Audiobus support with State Saving, Inter-App Audio, and AudioCopy
• 24 oscillator waveforms
• 72 LFO waveforms
• Device motion control
• EVERY synthesis parameter can be controlled by ANY multi-touch controller
• Over 300 controllers

Cons:
• It’s a little tricky getting to the presets at first, but that’s being nitpicky.

TC-11 multi-touch synth performance

I don’t know what inspired Kevin Schlei to sit down and figure out how to maximize the full potential of what a synthesizer could do on an iPad. But, for whatever reason, all of us synth nuts should be glad he did. This man started Bit Shape Software in 2010 and went on to create the most innovative iPad synth I’ve ever reviewed up to this point, the TC-11, which has been recently updated to version 2.0. The update adds features such as: a Granular Oscillator, new patch editor with drag-and-drop controllers, a new synthesis engine, a new Table module, and more to an already outstanding synth application for the iOS platform. My gripe here is that an Android version is non-existent as of yet, but hopefully Bit Shape will see the light and make an Android compatible version. Let’s get into it.

The Interface Design & Features

 

tc-11 multitouch synth for ipad

The sleek minimal design of the interface is fantastic for those who want to run through the presets and interact with the multi-touch controllers and device motion features. On opening, TC-11 defaults to the ‘Sublime’ preset with a lovely sea-blue background highlighted by a series of circles that resemble waves when a rock is tossed into water. No matter where you touch, a brighter circle emphasizes your finger positions to give you an idea of how you are affecting the sound. On the upper left corner of the screen, you’ll see the Quick Load icon. Double-tapping this will display a list of the current group of patches for easy preset browsing. The Quick Load drop-down can be closed by either touching the ‘X’ button or any other button visible on screen at the time. On the lower right of the screen is the Navigation Bar icon. Double-tapping this will bring up the Navigation Bar on the bottom center of the screen allowing you to switch between 4 different views: Performance, Load/Share, Patch, and Settings. Each view has a different set of features with which to control playing, edit and share, or change the app settings. When in Performance view, the app will prevent the device from rotating so you can use device motion controllers.

Sound designers will probably get lost in the Patch view. This is the area where all of the sound creation and parameter editing is done and it is chock full of options. Don’t forget that every synthesis parameter can be controlled by any multi-touch parameter, as I listed in the ‘Pros’ section earlier in this review. As Bit Shape Software says on their website ‘the possibilities are limitless’. True indeed! When was the last time you played with an iPad synth that boasted among other things, an FM, Multi, Granular and 2 standard oscillators, filtered noise generators, an amplitude modulator, low-pass, band-pass, and high-pass filters, a Downsampler, Waveshaper, Phaser, LFO, AHDSR, Table, and Sequencer modules. And this is just scratching the surface. TC-11 is such a robust and deep application, that Bit Shape Software had to include a comprehensive 92-page pdf manual to accompany it. The pdf manual can be freely downloaded from their website which I will post below.

The Sounds

TC-11

With an iPad synth that has so many editing possibilities, you can imagine the sounds that come out of this thing. I can’t begin to tell you what I heard when I started messing with the various controllers and touch gestures. It’s simply immaculate. All 120 built-in presets were created using the TC-11 itself. This is great because no effort was made to try to model any hardware synth and it gives an honest representation of what sounds TC-11 can generate. I only managed to go through about 10 presets myself because I was having so much fun creating, editing and routing presets.

Conclusion

Kevin Schlei took the ball coast to coast and threw it down big time with TC-11. It would take me far too long to try and explain every single feature, it’s too deep of a synth to understand it all in one sitting. At $24.99, it might look a bit pricey for an iPad synth, be I’m here to tell you that it’s worth far more than that in my opinion. The potential to make new interesting sounds is through the roof, and I’m excited to see what Bit Shape Software creates for us in the future. Anybody reading this should go grab it right now, you won’t regret it.

A definite 5/5.

Product Page: http://www.bitshapesoftware.com/instruments/tc-11/

TC-11

by Bit Shape

TC-11

TC-11 is the only fully programmable multi-touch synthesizer for the iPad. Choose from the 160 included presets, or build your own using touch controls, device motion, and on-board modules. Create music with the next evolution of synthesizer control!

iDesignSound App of the Week 12.17.2011
- idesignsound.com

"This thing is ALIVE! TC-11 is really fascinating and I'm having some fun experimenting with it. It is very, very cool!"
- Jordan Rudess, keyboardist, Dream Theater

"TC-11 is making my jaw drop every few minutes; realizing new and increasingly complex routing options. Rating: Essential."
- Tim Webb, discchord.com

"Creating, routing, configuring, and general tweaking is unbelievably robust and complex. This is a big leap forward in design. A madhouse of sonic possibilities at your touch."
- David Israel, smitematter.com

FEATURES:

√ 185 built-in presets
√ Unlimited user patches
√ Audiobus + State Saving
√ Fully controlled by multi-touch / device motion
√ Built-in recording + AudioCopy
√ 23 modular synthesis objects
√ 22 oscillator waveforms
√ 4 controller modules: AHDSR, LFO, Table, Sequencer
√ Email custom patches to your friends
√ Full display customization

MULTI-TOUCH CONTROL:

There are no on-screen knobs, keys, or sliders to fiddle with; all synthesis is driven by your multi-touch performance. Touch relationships like distances / angles / timings perform all the controller functions. It's just you and the full screen multi-touch performance area.

EVERY synthesis parameter can be controlled by ANY multi-touch controller. The patch possibilities are limitless!

DEVICE MOTION CONTROL:

Use the iPad's accelerometer, gyroscope, and even the compass to attack your synthesis patch! Tilt and move the iPad to change any filter, effect, or module. You can create real vibrato by moving the iPad during performance, or change the speed of a sequencer by tilting forward and backward!

SYNTHESIS:

TC-11 has 8 voice polyphony for full, real-time synthesis. The audio engine has been highly optimized to deliver crisp, responsive performance. Choose from 22 oscillator waveforms, 3 oscillator types, 3 filter types, 4 unique effects, amplitude modulation, and panning control.

Fully programmable AHDSR, LFO, and sequencer modules make TC-11 the most capable iOS synthesizer in the world.

Use TC-11 in your band during live performances. Add TC-11 into your laptop orchestra. Experiment and create with the next evolution of synthesizer control!

Download the complete user guide to read more:
http://www.bitshapesoftware.com/instruments/tc-11/tc-11-user-guide-2.0.pdf

See also: