« iFretless Bass Update | App News | Auxy Studio Update »

Syntorial Update

Syntorial, from Audible Genius, is about the 30th app I've seen updated to fix serious bugs on iOS 12. I'm kind of surprised by the severity of the bugs. This looked like an incremental update. I wasn't expecting many problems at all; like last year's iOS 11 update. Syntorial was apparently crashing out completely on iOS 12 prior to this update. And they're not alone. Please hold off on upgrading until more apps are updated!

The Syntorial update notes also mention that they are removing Audiobus and IAA from this version, ahead of a new app that can be instantiated multiple times with AUv3. This puts people in an awkward position. If you want to keep Syntorial with Audiobus you cannot update to iOS 12. That seems flagrant in an app costs $130!

What's new in Syntorial v1.6.503:

- The last version was crashing in iOS 12. This version isn't. #magic
- Removed IAA and Audiobus support. Don't be mad! We'll be releasing a new app called "Primer" very soon, which will be the exact same synth used in Syntorial. Except this puppy will also be an App Extension, which you can open in Audiobus, Garageband, and any other App Extension-compatible app. Trust us when we say this is better, as you'll be able to open up unlimited Primers in one session, as opposed to being limited to just one Syntorial. That's why you shouldn't be mad. #behappy

Reader Comments 7

Might be useful to remind ourselves what this app is primarily about. It’s a tutorial on synth patch programming. The main learning method is to tweak a limited set of parameters at a time to reproduce a preset. For instance, to learn about Pulse Width Modulation, you listen to the sounds of a preset based on a pulse wave and you tweak width in your patch. Pretty effective method. Wish other apps used this as inspiration.

Because the app’s pricing structure is really out of whack with the value it provides. Maybe it’s changed since then but, at the time, it gave you a few free lessons and then you had to pay that 130$ price to have access to the rest of the tutorial. Sure, a course on synth programming could be much more expensive. But it’s a really strange move after things like Khan Academy and the whole hype cycle on MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses, pioneered by Stephen Downes and George Siemens, then reappropriated by prestigious universities).

Only tried the free lessons and never thought of using the app with anything else through IAA or Audiobus. It’s such a bold move to tell users to #behappy as you’re taking away features and merely promise to add them in another app. Even if it were a free app, it could destroy a dev’s relationship with users.
Now, if the change is caused by a technical issue, that’s much easier to understand and people could be warned, weeks or months in advance. Not ideal and many devs have burnt bridges because of their poor handling of those situations. In this case, the removal sounds like it could have been avoided or at least postponed.

Add Syntorial’s unusual business model to the mix and you get something which sounds really weird. It’s not that unusual to have apps which operate as a simple demo which can only be unlocked with IAP. Doesn’t sound like many of these apps are very successful, but it’s not that rare. At the time of my brief attempt with it, the cost of Syntorial’s only IAP did pull it apart from other “demoware” apps, especially given how “granular” the app is. It’d be so easy to imagine having IAPs for different lessons as you progress through the training. Why can’t we pay for one lesson at a time? In fact, a better pricing model would probably help the app gain traction.

It does make me think of other iOS devs who’ve made strange decisions in pricing, marketing, and updating their apps. There have been many discussions about those in the Audiobus forums. When devs engage in those conversations, they sometimes come to terms with people’s reactions and reveal themselves to have been merely naïve. But there’s a few (in)famous cases in which devs were actively dismissing users’ concerns. Wonder where “Audible Genius” fits. Not sure it’s a good idea to go and check the forums. ;-)
September 29, 2018  | favorite_border Enkerli
On September 29, 2018 - @Enkerli said:
Might be useful to remind ourselves what this app is primarily about. It’s a tutorial on synth patch programming. The main learning method is to tweak a limited set of parameters at a time to reproduce a preset. For instance, to learn about Pulse Width Modulation, you listen to the sounds of a preset based on a pulse wave and you tweak width in your patch. Pretty effective method. Wish other apps used this as inspiration.

Because the app’s pricing structure is really out of whack with the value it provides. Maybe it’s changed since then but, at the time, it gave you a few free lessons and then you had to pay that 130$ price to have access to the rest of the tutorial. Sure, a course on synth programming could be much more expensive. But it’s a really strange move after things like Khan Academy and the whole hype cycle on MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses, pioneered by Stephen Downes and George Siemens, then reappropriated by prestigious universities).

Only tried the free lessons and never thought of using the app with anything else through IAA or Audiobus. It’s such a bold move to tell users to #behappy as you’re taking away features and merely promise to add them in another app. Even if it were a free app, it could destroy a dev’s relationship with users.
Now, if the change is caused by a technical issue, that’s much easier to understand and people could be warned, weeks or months in advance. Not ideal and many devs have burnt bridges because of their poor handling of those situations. In this case, the removal sounds like it could have been avoided or at least postponed.

Add Syntorial’s unusual business model to the mix and you get something which sounds really weird. It’s not that unusual to have apps which operate as a simple demo which can only be unlocked with IAP. Doesn’t sound like many of these apps are very successful, but it’s not that rare. At the time of my brief attempt with it, the cost of Syntorial’s only IAP did pull it apart from other “demoware” apps, especially given how “granular” the app is. It’d be so easy to imagine having IAPs for different lessons as you progress through the training. Why can’t we pay for one lesson at a time? In fact, a better pricing model would probably help the app gain traction.

It does make me think of other iOS devs who’ve made strange decisions in pricing, marketing, and updating their apps. There have been many discussions about those in the Audiobus forums. When devs engage in those conversations, they sometimes come to terms with people’s reactions and reveal themselves to have been merely naïve. But there’s a few (in)famous cases in which devs were actively dismissing users’ concerns. Wonder where “Audible Genius” fits. Not sure it’s a good idea to go and check the forums. ;-)

I guess the thinking was that a course is so important/beneficial that normal IOS app pricing etiquette can be bypassed. I am reminded of that other app that began life at 150+(developer perceived it as different) and eventually came down to normal IOS music app price range. I don't see this course coming down to a sane price unless it's a temporary sale.

The reality is that some (a minority) with disposable incomes will buy anything.
September 30, 2018  | person grammatonfeather
Creator of Syntorial here. This is helpful feedback.

The IAA and Audiobus removal was, for the most part, for technical reasons. In short, the audio library Syntorial is built-on made a substantial change that would've required a complete re-coding of the IAA/Audiobus integration on our part. Whereas starting a new app with the same library as an auv3 extension, would already have the auv3 integration built-in. The new app is free (should've mentioned that) and is an exact replica of Syntorial's synth. We were thinking about making this auv3 app anyway, so once this technical obstacle appeared, we decided to do it. That being said, we take feedback seriously, so if we hear it enough, we'll put it back in. And the #behappy was meant to be funny, though it seems it may have come off as a little patronizing? #notfunnyafterall

As for pricing...Peoples' view on Syntorial's price differs quite a bit from platform to platform. Syntorial is available on Mac, PC and iPad, and most of the too-expensive feedback is pointed at the iPad version since it's usually being compared to other iOS apps which yes, are priced much lower. On Mac/PC however, audio software has a much wider range of pricing, in some cases significantly higher than Syntorial's price point. Since we decided to include all 3 platforms in the price, it puts us in the position of having a high-priced iOS app. That being said, we are considering breaking up the lessons. Maybe even a subscription model. Other things are on the horizon first, but it's definitely on our radar.
October 01, 2018  | touch_app hanley
On October 01, 2018 - @hanley said:
Creator of Syntorial here. This is helpful feedback.

The IAA and Audiobus removal was, for the most part, for technical reasons. In short, the audio library Syntorial is built-on made a substantial change that would've required a complete re-coding of the IAA/Audiobus integration on our part. Whereas starting a new app with the same library as an auv3 extension, would already have the auv3 integration built-in. The new app is free (should've mentioned that) and is an exact replica of Syntorial's synth. We were thinking about making this auv3 app anyway, so once this technical obstacle appeared, we decided to do it. That being said, we take feedback seriously, so if we hear it enough, we'll put it back in. And the #behappy was meant to be funny, though it seems it may have come off as a little patronizing? #notfunnyafterall

As for pricing...Peoples' view on Syntorial's price differs quite a bit from platform to platform. Syntorial is available on Mac, PC and iPad, and most of the too-expensive feedback is pointed at the iPad version since it's usually being compared to other iOS apps which yes, are priced much lower. On Mac/PC however, audio software has a much wider range of pricing, in some cases significantly higher than Syntorial's price point. Since we decided to include all 3 platforms in the price, it puts us in the position of having a high-priced iOS app. That being said, we are considering breaking up the lessons. Maybe even a subscription model. Other things are on the horizon first, but it's definitely on our radar.

I will try it now. Auv3 is a bonus (I only buy Auv3 apps in general).
Thanks a lot for this, @hanley!
Does make things a whole lot clearer than those release notes. My guess is that a simple post about the situation could go a long way to make (iOS) users happy.
As you know, there are specific pricing expectations on iOS. And people do spend a whole lot of money. But typically not in a single purchase (IAP or full app price).

Paying for individual lessons might be a very good strategy for everyone involved. In fact, it kind of relates to my three most recent jobs (mixing learning, technology, entrepreneurship, and democratization). For instance, if you can create even more modules using the same software infrastructure, that could help make Syntorial an ongoing thing. In some cases, you might be able to leverage what you have to help people recreate sounds they’ve heard (like these videos on creating a patch which “sounds like Stranger Things/Blade Runner”).
Some orgs are exploring business models around soundware/soundpacks. Banks of presets tend to be a subset of this, but typically not a big thing. (Unless it’s Serum. Because, EDM.)
Sounds to me like Syntorial could do well with preset banks which would be tied to learning.
Dunno if you’ve tried collaborating with the online training shops (Groove3, Point Blank, AskVideo…). It’d be fairly easy to pair Syntorial with sound design training.
For my money (!), NI’s Reaktor or Cycling ‘74 Max would make for an easier sell. But they don’t actually have agreements to make for bundled software/training prices, AFAICT. Educational pricing is cool (just upgraded to Max 8 thanks to it). But it’s not the same thing as unlocking features when you take specific training about specific features.

At any rate, best of luck with Syntorial. Will wait for the AUv3 with bated breath.
@Enkerli: Thanks for the follow-up! I'm going to look into it this weekend.
comment

  Post a New Comment

You are not currently logged in. Would you like to login or register?
Enter your information below to add a new comment anonymously.

I'm not a racist, but...
Usernames need to be at least 2 characters!
I'm not a racist, but...
Please don't use weird characters in usernames!
{[ Ctrl.useravailable[Ctrl.userselector] ]}
{[ Ctrl.useravailabletext[Ctrl.userselector] ]}
Wow, that's a short email address!

Comment:

Do not use HTML in your comments. Tags: [b] Bold Text [/b] [i] Italic Text [/i]
Links will be generated if you include http:// or https:// at the beginning of a URL.
Submit