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iPad Music Blog

2014 06 05 13.28.23

5 best iPad synths

There are many great iPad synths – classic virtual analog emulations, granular, fm, additive, ported from VSTs or designed specially for iOS.
I use synths on my iPad since iMS-20 by KORG was introduced (3 years ago or even more…). And since then iOS synths became apps category on its own. There so many great synth apps but for this review I picked 5 best ones.
And here is my top-5 synths list:

5. Mito synth

The Mito synth app is great sounding additive synth that combines flexible additive and granular synth engines with wide range of effects: several types of distortions, filters, delay/chorus/flanger/phaser. But despite large number of features and effects it is suprisingly easy to use and program.

Mitosynth

by Wooji Juice Ltd

  • Rating

  • Premiere

    2014-06-26

  • Genre

    Music

  •   $14.99 QR code
  • Platform

    Universal

  • Version

    1.2.13 ⋅ 13 MB

  • Additional

    InfoGallery

Mitosynth

Synthesis without the spaghetti.
From the creators of Grain Science and Sylo Synth (used by Gorillaz and The Flaming Lips).
A powerful hybrid synthesiser with a magical interface.

Pick from 180 built-in patches — or design your own. Start with additive synthesis, wavetables, or a sophisticated mix. Add rich modulation, effects and filters, controlled by powerful LFOs and beyond. Make vibrant leads, vast soundscapes, compelling basses, warm bath or deep sea pads, and so much more.

The sound is complex, but the controls are not. Synth engine and UI both offer clarity and power — you’re holding in your hands a miracle of touch-screen technology, why limit it to the switches and dials of decades-old hardware?

Mitosynth takes a simple approach: With a tap, almost any dial can be switched out for a graph with automation controls, including LFOs, 5-stage DADSR envelopes, ingenious noise generator, step sequencer, BPM sync — and MIDI, of course. Plus XY pads for the hands-on approach.

And you can combine them. Use one automation to control which (or how much) of two others affect a setting. Many of the automation controls are themselves automatable. You can repeat this, going to deeper levels. LFOception!

The flexible FX chain means no messing with complicated routing tables, or stringing cables around until your screen looks like a plate of pasta: Slot the distortion, filter, delay and other effects you want, in the order you want. Simple!

Powerful like a modular synth. Clean and straightforward like a modern iOS app.


Quick List of Things You Might Want To Know Mitosynth Supports:

• Core MIDI • Virtual MIDI • Background Audio • Audiobus • Inter-App Audio • AudioCopy/Paste • AudioShare • Dropbox • Performance Recording • iCloud Drive • Universal App • Enhanced for iPhone 6/6+ screens


Also features:

• Filters, crushers, distortion, warm fuzz, flanger, phaser, echo, tube resonance and chorus. Install up to four in any order — plus a high-quality reverb

• AM, PWM, Phase Mangulation, Supercharger unison mode

• Mono and Polyphonic glide, and Regular, Toggle and Latch sustain, customisable keyboard

• Slick patch and audio management with search and tagging

• Easily share patches with friends, including any additional audio they require

• Complete manual built-in, and available for download too

...and far more features than can be listed here. Check out the website for the full details!


Note: Wooji Juice thinks spaghetti is great providing it is on a plate with a nice sauce, not your screen 🙂

4. Alchemy mobile

Alchemy is port of desktop VST/AU synth that combines different types of synthesis.
And this app made a long way from pretty simple presets player into one of the most powerful sound engines for iPad. Though it still have limitation comparing to the desktop version – new presets should be based on existing templates that don’t provide you full control on synth params. But ability to use your own samples and variety of great soundpacks in the in-app store makes it one of the best sound sources in iOS.

UPDATE: No longer available

3. Animoog

I know some musicians that bought iPad just because of this app. And there are some good reasons for that. Developed few years ago it sounds great, uses all the benefits of the touch screen, has great onboard effects and THAT moog sound. Ah, and by the way all those IAP-presets worth every cent.

Animoog

by Moog Music Inc.

Animoog

Animoog, powered by the new Anisotropic Synth Engine (ASE), is Moog Music's first professional polyphonic synthesizer designed exclusively for the iPad. ASE allows you to move dynamically through an X/Y space of unique timbres to create a constantly evolving and expressive soundscape.

Animoog captures the vast sonic vocabulary of Moog synthesizers and applies it to the modern touch surface paradigm, enabling you to quickly sculpt incredibly fluid and dynamic sounds that live, breathe, and evolve as you play them.

Visually captivating and sonically immersive, Animoog brings iPad based music production to the next level. Whether you are new to synthesis or a professional, Animoog’s unique user interface gives you the power to easily create a visually vibrant and sonically rich universe. It is the ultimate tool for total creative expression!

Animoog’s diverse library of timbres is derived from analog waveforms captured from classic Moog oscillators, both vintage and modern, and run through a boutique’s worth of high-end outboard and analog signal processors. These include modular synth panels, Moogerfooger pedals and more. 

Animoog is the newest innovation in creative tools from Moog Music, the legendary electronic musical instrument company founded by Bob Moog in Asheville, NC.

** NOTE: Animoog for iPad expansion packs can not be used with Animoog for iPhone. **

** If no sound from iPad speaker but headphone is working, this is an iPad settings issue. Go to the Settings app, General tab, set "Use Side Switch to: Mute" then turn switch on side of iPad on (Mute) and off again (Unmute). Then set "Use Side Switch to: Lock Rotation" to prevent problem in future. **

Key Features:

• Anisotropic Synth Engine (ASE) - An exciting new Moog technology that allows the user to move dynamically through an X/Y space of unique timbres to create an expressive and constantly evolving soundscape.

• Timbre page – Assemble unique sounds in the X/Y space from timbres of a wide variety of vintage and modern Moog synthesizers and pedals. Note: this is NOT simple sample playback.

• Polyphonic Modulation - Simply slide your fingers to control multiple modulation parameters in Animoog right from the keys.

• Polyphonic Pitch Shifting - Easily manipulate the exact pitch of each note in a chord by rotating or sliding your fingers.

• Delay Module - A classic analog style ping pong delay.

• Thick Module - From bit crushing to unison voice detuning and drive, this module adds depth, edge and character to Animoog’s already massive sound palette.

• Moog Filter - The classic four-pole Moog ladder filter with High Pass, Low Pass and Band Pass modes.

• Record Module - Record your performance and overdub new layers, or play along live. Transfer recordings between Animoog and any other apps which support the general pasteboard.

• Path Module - Direct ASE through Animoog’s X/Y space to create new expressive and shifting sounds that will blow your mind!

• Orbit Module - Control the rate of orbit in the X/Y space around the path you created for subtle to insane voice manipulation.

• Flexible Modulation Matrix - Amp, Filter and Mod Envelopes, LFO with infinitely variable wave shapes and sync, and four super flexible and assignable modulation slots.

• MIDI in - Use your Little Phatty or any other MIDI controller to control Animoog.

2. Z3TA+

This synth comes from the top desktop synths. First of all it is very flexible and able to do what most of the wavetable synths do. But it also gives you great control on the wave shaping allowing to easily create new and unique sounds. This is synth is great for modern sounds and it is pretty universal – you can create almost anything screaming leads, roaring basses and relaxing pads. Though it comes second in our ranking it is probably the most capable synth in terms of variety of sounds you can get and the sound quality.

Z3TA+

by Cakewalk

Z3TA+

The legendary Z3TA+ synthesizer has been used on countless records, and it’s distinctive sound has been a staple of electronic artists the world over. And now Z3TA+ iOS puts the full power of Z3TA+2 on your iPad. Packed with hundreds of presets, modulatable waveshaping, dual mode filters, and flexible effects, Z3TA+ iOS is the perfect creative synth for making music anywhere, anytime.

Feature Highlights:
• Includes over 500 presets
• User-friendly on-screen Keyboard and external MIDI control
• Waveshaping synthesis with 6 Oscillators, 6 LFOs, and more
• Modulation Matrix including 16 Sources, Curves, Controls, and Destinations
• Advanced modular effects including Distortion, Mod, Compression and more
• Performance section with Tap Tempo, assignable XY Pad, Mod Wheels, and Adaptive Pitch Bend
• Inter-App Audio, Background Audio, and Audiobus support
• Import Z3TA+ presets from iOS, or Z3TA+ 2 Plug-in, available on Windows & OS X.
• Import User Waves, MIDI Arps, Scala Tuning files, and presets via iTunes Sharing.
• Export Z3TA+ iOS presets via AirDrop, or email.
• Scala Tuning support

Z3TA+iOS will be there to quench your thirst for sound design when you’re working behind your studio rig, or on the road. It embodies every characteristic of the original synthesizer with a brand new performance section full of parameters to twist and turn your programs on the fly. Z3TA+iOS is perfect for both experienced and new users especially when connecting to other audio applications using Audiobus and Inter-App Audio. Plugin in any iPad compatible MIDI controller and take your performance to the stage.

1. Nave

Nave is truly innovative wavetable synth that not just gives you waveform but also allows to generate it from your samples, graphically change it or use text-to-speech option.
But it’s not just limited to the wavetables. It has great sounding analog oscillator that provides solid body to the sound and great sounding up to 8 voices Unison.
Wavetable display is another great feature that gives you 3d view and the visual control of the wave movement.

Nave

by Waldorf Music

Nave

Nave - next generation Wavetable Synthesis

Nave is Waldorf’s first synthesizer App development – created by chief engineer and 
director Stefan Stenzel, NLog mastermind Rolf Wöhrmann and Design Guru Axel Hartmann.

The Nave sound engine includes two novel Wavetable oscillators, leaving every previous attempt in wavetable synthesis far behind. The spectrum of a sound can be transposed independently of its pitch. The waves are being rendered periodically to noisy. Especially sounds with an accent on formants can be reproduced easily, which made us integrate a speech synthesizer for the easy creation of wavetables.

The clearly structured UI invites both beginners and advanced users to experiment, and the large display of 
the iPad makes Wavetable creation and editing a blast. Besides Speech Synthesis, Wavetables can also be made by analysing audio files. Further stretching, rotating and shifting in spectral domain allows Wavetables to be further refined or distorted.

All factory Wavetables from Microwave, Wave and Blofeld are included, complemented by new ones that make extensive useof the enhanced possibilities.

In addition to the Wavetable Oscillators, Nave offers an oscillator module featuring the novel Überwave that can fatten your sound by up to eight detuned oscillators.

The filter offers the familiar outstanding Waldorf sound, featuring lowpass, bandpass and highpass with either 12dB or 24dB slope.

The Drive section offers different characteristics, and it can be positioned in the signal path: before or after the filter, or as a summing overdrive before or after the equalizer - for those who prefer harsh screaming sounds over delicate Wavetable sweeps.

An extended modulation matrix and diverse real time control functionality is waiting for animating Nave sounds in any desired direction.

Besides the classic virtual chromatic keyboard, Nave can be played with the “Blades” that allow for dynamic triggering of polyphonic modulation by sliding the fingers in x or y direction.

The 4-track recorder can be used to build your own Nave songs or to simply sketch your music, inspired by the sounds of Nave.

Audio Demos:
nave.waldorfmusic.de/sound

Nave Specifications per Voice:
· Two independent advanced Wavetable Oscillators
· Osc module with up to 8 oscillator Überosc with sawtooth, triangle, PWM, white or pink noise
· Two Ring Modulators
· Multimode Filter with LP,BP and HP, each either 12 dB or 24 dB
· 3 Envelopes
· 2 LFO
· 10 Modulation Matrix Entries
· Drive with adjustable curve, depth and position

Effects:
· Modulation Effect with either Chorus, Flanger or Phaser
· Modulation Delay
· High Quality Reverb
· Three band parametric Equalizer
· Compressor

Additional Features:
· Keyboard with adjustable size, scrolling and glissando modes
· Blades with musical scales and optional chord mode
· Polyphonic X/Y finger modulation on keyboard and blades
· Modulation Wheel and Pitch Bender
· Up to 3 X/Y Control Pads
· Four Track Recorder with clip based editing
· Core MIDI in / out support
· MIDI device manager for external hardware and virtual connections
· Sync to MIDI Clock or WIST
· MIDI Learn
· Audiobus compatible
· Background Audio
· Arpeggiator
· Polyphonic Unisono
· Speech Synthesizer for Wavetables
· 3D Wavetable Editing
· Generation of Wavetables from external audio files
· BeatMaker & Sonoma Audio Copy / Paste Support
· Patch Management with unlimited user banks and categories
· Import / Export audio and sound patches from iTunes

Requires iOS 6 or later