SynthStation is completely redesigned in Version 3!

Akai has updated SynthStation to version 3, completely addressing all of my criticisms! Chief among those was the fact that you had to navigate through menu after menu to try and change any of your patches. Now all synth parameters are on a single page!

Glorious knobs! This is so much easier to work with now, and the on-screen keyboard is accessible for testing your changes! I did encounter one bug in testing though; it won't let me rename presets. You are limited to 64 presets, so if you want to save your work you'll have to save over a factory preset.

Buy SynthStation on iTunes: $1.99

xMod - FM Synth for iPad

xMod ain't pretty, but it is an FM Synth with 3 oscillators and a surprising amount of features. Even rtpMIDI for wireless MIDI!

I can't find any specific details for this, nor examples. It just came out last night, but the developer hasn't updated their website since 2011! Here is the iTunes description:

xMod is unique both visually and functionally. The synth is a polyphonic triple-oscillator cross-modulated FM synthesizer with 32 preset patches (sounds). Synth patches are displayed in a "sound map" that gives the player the ability to quickly move from one preset to another. Tapping the SOUND button exposes the underlying synthesizer controls. Another set of 32 user patches can be programmed, saved, and shared.

Tapping the PLAY button reveals a built in MIDI player and audio recorder behind the keyboard. Download and play multi-track MIDI files. Using external accessories like iRig MIDI you can play xMod using an external MIDI control device. xMod also supports MIDIRTP so it can be played wirelessly from another device.

Could be interesting for FM hackers! We need more apps with Mod Matrixes. I like the way they've got all the knobs on a single screen, with the Matrix! The price is kind of high for a shot-in-the-dark-app like this, but it could be a diamond in the rough. Thanks to reader Paawo for bringing it to my attention!

Buy xMod on iTunes: $4.99

Genome 1.1.0 adds Remix Pads!

White Noise Audio has released version 1.1.0 of Genome. This update adds a bunch to the best MIDI Sequencer on iOS, including the much anticipated Remix Pads! These allow you to play with your sequenced notes and CC messages in real-time, creating dynamic loops and stutters that keep time with the BPM.
Full Details:

  • Fixes for playhead visual positioning issues 
  • ‘Create’ option for Grooves (create a groove template from a pattern, such as recorded MIDI notes). 
  • Remix Pads
  • File management
  • Delete, email, Open in… (for opening files in other apps including Dropbox)
  • Improvements to Zooming
  • Zooming in and out should work a little better now in general. When zoomed out, the view now smoothly zooms in instead of abruptly zooming
  • New 'advanced' zoom mode
  • OMAC App Fast switch  
  • Important Change: Genome’s virtual port is no longer ‘on’ by default. You have to enable it via the config menu. 
  • MIDI import bugfixes.
  • Changed MIDI Panic button to an icon, and added it to the Pattern page too.
  • Network MIDI changes to accommodate issues with Copperlan driver 
  • Bugfixes and stability improvements 

Here is a demo from the developer showing off the new Remix Pads. If you're new to Virtual MIDI or Genome I have written a tutorial here: Setup to Song - A complete Guide to Genome

Buy Genome on iTunes: $12.99

Yamaha Synth Arp & Drum Pad

Yamaha have released the Synth Arp & Drum Pad. Or at least they did 3 days ago, but now it is also available in North America!

The details on this app are numerous, here are the highlights:

The Synth Arp & Drum Pad iPad app features a powerful built-in fully functional software synthesizer equipped with a rich choice of professional sounds, tones and editing features.

The application features an arpeggiator with recorded patterns from 342 different types of instruments, which allows the user to play a variety of phrases with ease; drum pads that let the user play multiple chords and percussion sounds with just one finger; and 61 different software synthesizer timbres. These features serve to make playing these phrases, chords, sounds, and timbres easy and enjoyable. The application's MIDI loop sequencer/recorder enables the user to record and store sounds, and then conduct timbre processing on the recorded sounds for further playback. This allows the user to engage in serious music production. The application also supports Core MIDI, enabling it to play instruments and sound sources that are connected to the iPad via MIDI.

Unfortunately you won't be doing much actual synthesizing here...

Synth Arp & Drum Pad includes a built-in software synthesizer, you can make use of 61 different high-sound-quality timbres, including seven drum kits, without having to connect the iPad to any other device via cable. You can control the timbres using the Cut-off, Resonance, Attack, Release, and Portamento knobs, and make use of other effects as well, such as reverb and chorus. Use the on-screen ribbon controller to change the timbre.

The fuck you say, bitch? Playing with the filter and just Attack/Release for envelopes? Sounds like you get a mere 61 samples, including a bunch that are just used in the drum kits. Perhaps this should have been called ROMpler Arp & Drum Pad. We already have Garageband, Yamaha. I was expecting more.

This has been out in Asia for 3 days, and Europe for 2, so a lot of people have had a chance to play with it already. I talked to readers KKTP, iDesignSound, and Paawo for clarification. You really are just limited to factory samples. While it comes with 342 Arp patterns, you cannot edit them or create your own. They are said to be good patterns though, and you can edit the drum patterns. In fact people are assigning the pitched sampler parts to the drums and making their own melodies. This seems like a cludgy work around to me, but I'm assured that the pads are good.

Reader Nuno commented on Facebook that if they add a pattern sequencer in the future, the app would gain some usefulness. He also lamented the lack of Audio Copy/Paste.

Buy Synth Arp & Drum Pad on iTunes: $3.99 (On Sale, from $8.99)

GlitchBreaks 1.3 Update - Another big one!

Alex "Distraub" Matheu is serious about his updates. This is another big one, and I can personally vouch for how much beta testing has gone into it! This update adds lots of nice ease-of-use features, as well as new loops provided by Sunsine Audio.

  • 20 new sounds from Sunsine Audio
  • Sample trigger pads now work with quantize
  • Re-trigger of Sample pads
  • Sample audio preview in file browser
  • Configuration saving for the options menu
  • Optimization of math routines 5-8 times less CPU usage
  • Quantize Toggle
  • Removed BPM restriction
  • Fixed memory leak in AudioCopy
  • Fixed memory leak when loading a sample multiple times onto a pad

Here's a little demo track I did while testing out the beta. I'm trying to do Glitch in a gentler, softer, style. The Synth Pad is from GrainBender and I layered that with 3 different DM1 drum loops. The drum patterns are all the same, but I changed the sample kit for each. I think it makes for an interesting effect!

Buy GlitchBreaks on iTunes: $4.99

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