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ShockWave by Kai Aras

Kai Aras, the developer that has brought us the many great Numerical Audio apps, just released ShockWave! This is a Phase Distortion synth with some modularity, and holy shit it sounds amazing! ShockWave arrives with all of the features you'd expect; like MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE), AUv3, and Audiobus.

Update: Reader Carole wrote in to let me know that the current version only supports iOS 11 devices, but App Store says it will work down to iOS 9. Kai Aras stated that this is a bug and that, "the 1.0.1 update will fix that and restore support for iOS9 and 10." He expects that update to arrive by next week. To his credit the current App Store description notes that iOS 11+ is a requirement.

ShockWave App Store Description:

ShockWave is a monophonic Synthesizer designed to bring modular style workflow to the world of iOS & AUv3 plugins.

Built around the concept of Phase Distortion (PD) Synthesis, Shockwave includes a pair of PD Oscillators each capable of creating everything from pure Sine Waves over smooth Sawtooth and Square Waves to Resonance & Sync sweeps, filtered Noise and more.

In addition to the Synth Voice, ShockWave includes a dedicated control section housing a pair of 8 step sequencers, a sample & hold module as well modules for trigger divisions, logic comparisons and controlled randomness.

A pair of Low Frequency Oscillators and 2 Attack/Sustain/Release (ASR) Envelopes serve as main modulation sources and can be used in a number of ways. Envelopes can be triggered from a number of internal sources including other modules such as trigger divider, logic or chance module but can also be connected to each other allowing for a wide range of patches usually only possible in large modular systems. LFOs are individually tempo sync-able and capable of producing total of 5 different waveforms each.

The two sequencers can run independently or combine to one 16 step sequence where rate and length can be controlled independently for each of the two.

In true modular nature almost any control within ShockWave can be modulated with up to 11 sources - simultaneously. Modulations are setup simply by holding a control and dialling in the desired amount in a list of all available sources. A special X-Ray mode adds a realtime display of all currently active modulations right at their corresponding control making it easy to understand what's happening inside the synthesizer at any given time.

Synth Voice and Control Section are accompanied by built-in Delay and Reverb sections placed on send busses with all of their controls including the send levels being available as mod destinations.

Last but not least, ShockWave features a solid MIDI implementation including support for Single Channel MPE, regular and poly Aftertouch, custom CC mappings and more.

MIDI Output is supported as well and includes Note and Control Change output generated from various internal sources including Sequencers, Envelopes and LFOs making it possible to control external MIDI gear or chain multiple plugin instances for advanced, self driving patches.

Overview:
- Semi Modular Monophonic Synth Voice
- Phase Distortion Synthesis (PD)
- Dual PD Oscillators with 5 Waveforms + Noise
- Dual ASR Envelopes with variable trigger source
- Dual LFO with Tempo Sync
- Cross Modulation with Linear/Exp. FM, PM, AM & RM
- Mixer section with individual pan and level controls per oscillator
- Output VCA with variable control source
- Pattern Generator for generating sequences from various internal sources
- Quantizer to force note input into a specific scale (19 Scales + User Scales)
- Step Sequencer with 2x8 or 1x16 steps, individual rate and number of steps per row
- Trigger Divider for dividing internal trigger sources
- Probability Gate for adding controlled randomness
- Sample & Hold for additional randomness
- Logic Module to create triggers from various internal sources
- Built-in Delay & Reverb Effects
- MIDI Note and CC output for controlling external gear or chaining multiple instances
- Semi Modular Architecture
- 11 Modulation Sources
- 40 Modulation Destinations
- 2 Color Themes

MIDI Input:
- MPE (Single Channel)
- Aftertouch (Channel/Poly)
- ModWheel / Pitchbend
- Tempo Sync
- Custom CC Control

MIDI Output:
- Note
- Control Change

Connectivity:
- Standalone
- AUv3
- AudioBus
- IAA

Requirements:
- iOS11+
- iPad 4th generation or newer

Jakob Haq was prepared for the release with a detailed and delicious demo!

Reader Comments 6

Great app! Jakob Haq’s presets quite impressively show what this synth is capable of.
But why, oh why must it be monophonic? Just thinking about how some of the presets would sound in chords makes me [censored] ;-)
December 04, 2019  | person_outline Granthafen
On December 04, 2019 - @Granthafen said:
Great app! Jakob Haq’s presets quite impressively show what this synth is capable of.
But why, oh why must it be monophonic? Just thinking about how some of the presets would sound in chords makes me [censored] ;-)

That’s exactly how I felt about my Minimoog the year Sequential Circut came out with the Prophet 5 .. “why oh why must it be monophonic 😡” lol. With this I assume it’d probably be too expensive for ancient iPads like my 2017 Pro .. I don’t know .. but yeah a polyphonic Shockwave would be awesome!
December 04, 2019  | person_outline Chris Strobel
Shockwave takes up 5% of my ipad pro 1st gen when the cores are all running (the DSP in AUM is above 70, when I add shockwave it goes up 5%. If my AUM project is empty, the cores run on lower clock to save power. At that point shockwave is 25%, which is why you should always hit 70%+ before checking the power hunger of a synth or effect) (big parenthesis right there)

Anyways, I also wish it had poly, like Model 15 does with the switch.
December 05, 2019  | person_outline VGA Port Authority
You know that you can "fake" the poly by adding several AU instances of the same patch and use an app like Polythemus to split chords into all instances...purist will say that it is not the same but it definitely worth to try it
December 06, 2019  | person_outline Hubert
It's a true beast. And it's great fun to play around with! Ableton Link seems to be broken in IOS/macOS Mojave (resets itself permanently to 70bpm, no sync with desktop Live app, MIDI Tempo Sync works).
December 06, 2019  | person_outline vaikl
Been noodling with this synth some more. It has some really awesome capabilities and Jakob Haq’s presets are generally very good at showing it off. Probably one of my fav synths released this year.
December 07, 2019  | person_outline VGA Port Authority
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