Friday, March 23, 2012 by Tim Webb
When Qneo, not be confused with QuNeo, released Voice Synth back in January I had passed on it as an elaborate auto-tune toy. The recent update to 2.0 brought Pasteboard Audio importing and exporting, as well as MIDI-In, which caught my attention. Qneo graciously sent me a copy to play with, and as soon as I plugged my Rockband mic into my camera-connection kit I was glad they did! There is quite a lot to play with! The sound design options in here are not typical of synths, but they are many and interesting.
There are also a lot of entirely different ways to play with it. Aside from the auto-tune functionality, you can also record/import and sample, as well as loop and layer. All of these modes are different, but rely on the same sound design options. The center of the screen presents you with pitch and formant (vowel resonance) shifting, and differing tuning modes. Alongside is a mode selector. Live will immediately process anything you say, Repeat will wait until you have finished speaking before playing back, and Sampler will only tinker with a specific selected sample. On the other side is specific control for how you want to treat the sound: naturally, robotic, or a breathy whisper.
Things get really interesting with all of the additional knobs all over the screen. Unfortunately the knobs are radial, which seems awkward when most apps have trained us to use knobs vertically. You can use the knobs vertically, but you have to keep your finger on the far edge and even then your movement is restricted. If you can get past that, the knobs will do some wild shit to your sounds. The clipper is mean, the delay is deep and the chorus is rich. The reverb has an interesting slew function that makes things go bonkers, but everything has a dry/wet mixer knob to tone it down.
Voice Synth is really well designed, aside from the knob movement. When you get your head around it you can quickly morph your sounds in subtle or extreme ways. The actual getting your head around it part is made easy as they include a tutorial video in the app! That said, it really pays to have a strong understanding of sound design to get a meaningful experience out of it. It still feels more like a toy than a pro audio app, but it is a toy that pro audio app enthusiasts can enjoy! Below you'll find an embedded clip of me doing just that!
iPad Music App Buyer’s Guide Rating: Meh
Recommendation: Fun sound toy for pros, but perhaps overly complicated to be considered by casual users.