Friday, December 14, 2012 by Tim Webb
Novation, manufacturer of the Launchpad and Ultranova hardware synthesizer, have released a synthesizer for iPad!
Novation Launchkey is a powerful and unique analogue modelling synthesiser for iPad 2 and above.
Launchkey gives you 60 exciting patches (synth sounds) which you can use straight away to perform or produce music. You can change the sound of each patch with 8 virtual control knobs which each alter a particular element of the patch. This means that you can instantly tweak the sound to get the tone you want.
Launchkey also has a performance area which is an alternative way to bend and warp the sound coming from the synth engine. This consists of a number of 'nodes' and a 'control point'. Grab the control point and move it between the nodes to influence the sound. This results in a fast and super-intuitive way to morph your sound in real time.
I've been playing with it a bunch this morning. It is a fun take on "performance" synths, and uses the iPad interface well. Dragging around all the on screen circle-things can make for some very nice morphs. Documentation on Novation's site is limited, and there are no videos for it yet. I can't figure out how to assign what the circle-things are controlling, and it seems like the presets are hiding that from you. This can be annoying because some of the presets have way too much resonance, but none of the knobs will let you change it when resonance is not assigned to a circle-thing... which you also can't assign!
It is fun, sounds quite good for the most part, and is also free for a limited time!