Saturday, June 22, 2013

Big doings in iPad synths

Nave Synth from Waldorf

Its been a fantastic and surprising couple of weeks for synth fans on the iPad. Two major music companies have come out with amazing iPad synth offerings. One, Nave from Waldorf was anticipated for quite awhile and the other, Thor by Propellerhead (the folks who produce Reason) just came out of the blue!

Nave is a synthesizer that uses a combination of waveform oscillators a little bit like the PPG offerings (WaveGenerator and WaveMapper) but in what I think is a much more approachable way. Rather than go through pages and pages of arcane and tricky settings (as in the PPG synths), most modulations and settings in Nave are at your fingertips or are a knob twist away. The sounds are very rich and the synth even includes a vocoder that can sing or play phrases you type into it. I've played a little with with it so far and got out one piece:

Like most wavetable synths, getting the exact sound you are after is a matter of experimentation. I don't find that I can predict in advance what the combination will sound like but then again, that is better suited to traditional subtractive synths. Nave joins some other great wavetable based synths already on the iPad: PPG WaveGenerator, PPG WaveMapper and Moog's Animoog.

Thor Synth for iPad
In a shocker, Propellerhead, took the powerful Thor synth from their Reason rack and ported it to the iPad. So what did they leave out or "dumb down"? NOTHING! This is the full Thor synthesizer with every feature from the desktop version. In addition, since it is on a touch screen, the controls are better, the keyboard can be locked into scales, it supports Audiocopy and Audiopaste and sounds phenomenal! This is a big robust semi-modular synth that lets you route almost any modulator to any destination. The only limits seem to be 3 oscillators at a time, 2 LFOs but you can mix and match oscillator types with Wavetables, FM, Analog, Multi-synth etc. The learning curve will be steep but I think I'm going to get a lot out of this synth!

Pricewise, these two are on the higher side for iPad synths $10 - $15. Compare that to desktop plugin prices and its a pretty easy buy.

Almost lost in the shuffle with these is an incredible Organ emulator for the iPad, Yonac's Galileo. This has fantastic emulations of 60s and 70s organs of all kinds for that retro sound.

Good times indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment