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Propellerhead Thor Polysonic Synthesizer

The Propellerheads have surprised everyone, including me, with their release of Thor for the iPad. Thor is one of the key elements of the Propellerheads Reason DAW, offering vast modulation and a modular design. Perhaps most surprising of all is the fact that it is a direct port! Nothing has been stripped from the iPad version! This means you can use patches made on the PC/Mac with the iPad version and vice versa!

Thor Polysonic Synthesizer iTunes Description:

Thor for iPad puts the mighty Thor synthesizer at your fingertips. Reason's legendary flagship synth delivers a thunderous sound, god-like sound sculpting capabilities and an innovative, lighting-fast keyboard designed for iPad. Thor is a synthesis playground, a flexible sonic workhorse, but above all, an expressive musical instrument for the iPad.

Thor sounds like no synthesizer you've ever heard before - and every single one of them. Where other synths use one specific form of synthesis and one single filter, the Thor polysonic synthesizer features six different oscillator types and four unique filters. What does this give you? Simply the most powerful synth ever created; an unstoppable monster of a sound generator that utilizes synthesizer technology from the last 40 years.

On the iPad, Thor comes with a specially designed interface that's optimized for touch control and the iPad screen. Cleverly designed panels expand and fold at the touch of a button to hide or reveal oscillators, filters, envelopes and more.

Highlights:

• Play Reason's Thor Polysonic Synthesizer on the iPad.
• Load any of the 1000+ expertly crafted synth patches, or create your own from scratch.
• Create your sounds using a palette of multiple oscillator and filter types.
• Play Thor using an expressive touch interface keyboard with aftertouch and strumming.
• Collapse the keyboard to a key and scale of your choice, just like in Figure.
• Move your favourite patches from the iPad to your computer and use them with Thor in Reason.

General App features:

  • Patch compatible with Thor in Reason on your computer
  • Move patches to and from your iPad using iTunes
  • Sound bank with more than 1000 Thor patches from leading artists & sound designers (Kill the Noise, Richard Devine, Chris Petti and many more)
  • Gorgeous retina display interface
  • MIDI in - play Thor from an external MIDI source or from another app on the same iPad
  • Audiobus compatible - stream audio from Thor to another audio app on the same iPad
  • Audio in background option lets Thor keep playing in the background when working with other apps.

Note: We recommend using Thor for iPad with iPad 2 or later.

Buy Thor Polysonic Synthesizer on iTunes: $14.99


I've been playing with Thor quite a lot this morning and I am loving it! As an Ableton Live user and a synthesist, Thor has been a major temptation for me to explore Reason, but I've resisted thus far. I thought I'd avoid the temptation all together by having it on my iPad, but I think this may have back-fired! Propellerheads' nefarious plan to offer a complete version of Thor for $15 is perfect. Now I have a whole bunch of my own Thor patches that will tempt me to dive into Reason, so I can use them there. Fiendish!

Reader Comments 62

I'd write a bit more about it, but I've been using it so much that my hands are a little Thor this morning.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline odoyle

that promo video didn't do much to make me want to buy it, but I do feel like having coffee now. :)

June 20, 2013  | person_outline gatearray

Well I never thought I would see the day! Thorsome!

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

When are you going to do your video reviews of these Synthesizers again? That video you did for Grain Science was great! MORE! That was an interesting trailer, it would be really cool if you could link Thor to Figure on iPad. I can think of some great ways to make those two apps work together.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Robert N. Mullen

With nave I think I'm pretty much done for the Summer, maybe I'll visit Thor in 2014ish... maybe.

Cheers,
h79

June 20, 2013  | person_outline hoyas79

What an exceptional drive yourself into the poor house month for ios music apps!

I don't have the desktop version of this. First impressions... Really awesome to have so many presets to check out - a lot of them seem suited to sit in a mix. The mod matrix on this thing is incredible. Modulate anything with anything just about anything. One thing that looks really special is that aftertouch is a mod source, which you don't see on many ios apps. Thumbjam has it but there are only a couple destinations and you can only pick one at a time. Hoping this really does receive and handle channel pressure messages from a controller. I miss having this as an option. Sometimes it's nice to send a modulation while both hands stay on the keys.

The one thing I've found to not like so far is the on screen keyboard. Seems like maybe they were going for something that looked unique but I think some usability was sacrificed in the process. Too much vertical spread between the blacks n whites.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Joe

Here's the manual for the iOS version
http://www.propellerheads.se/products/thor/manual/

I was able to figure out pretty much everything without it, except how to resize the keyboard.

Totally blown away by this release, and instead of waiting months or years after it had been announced, it was more like 7-8 hours!
Works great on iPad 2- a couple of patches that had all 3 oscillators and all 3 filters broke up with more than a couple notes polyphony, but other than that, all is smooth. The specs on this are simply amazing, and they did a great job fitting it all on the iPad.

My only complaint, and it is fairly minor, is the way the routing of oscs and filters is handled- it is kind of confusing to see where the signal is going-it all makes sense when you examine it, but I find myself having to follow the trail to see what is going where, especially serial vs. parallel filters.

But holy shit! I feel sorry for every other developer, cause Thor blew almost all the other synths away.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Zymos

To resize the keyboard just put a finger on either side on the keyboard-slider (above the keyboard) and drag.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline ChrisG

(That's one finger, not two like you usually do to resize stuff in iOS with a pinch gesture)

June 20, 2013  | person_outline ChrisG

I'm *really* enjoying this new trend of pro-level iOS music apps. A platform coming of age :)

Maybe we stand a good chance of getting some of our favorite VSTs and AUs ported? What else would we like to see?

I want Cyclop and Sylenth1. And if Renoise was stripped down and ported to iPad (like as a mobile sketchpad for the desktop version), I'd be a happy, happy man.

Pretty sure Massive would blow up even the iPad 4. But maybe someday.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline odoyle

holy junk! surprise! video didn't do much for me, in only have an ipad 'classic' but i'm downloading right now. yip yip!

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Anonymouse

What a beast. Well worth the asking price. Don't hesitate on buying this thing if you like in-depth programmability.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Rob Fenn

I have reason and love this synth. Hmmm do I now get the iPad version also :) happy problem I guess

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Ism

They act like it's easy to take an iPad and a pair of headphones into a coffee-shop and jam by yourself. Maybe I'm too self-conscious, but I think I'd feel awkward about it. Must be nice not to give a fuck, I guess.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Kerm

Lol they have headphones on! I would be a little more self aware if I was blasting noise out for all to hear!!!

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Ism

Nice. I read somewhere a while back, I think it was when they discontinued their iPhone version of ReBirth, that they were going to have more iOS stuff in the future. For them to drop this massive synth on us more or less out of the blue is just grand.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Jesse

I can't believe I spent the first minutes with this thinking that's weird, all the presets kinda sound a bit samey, the same kind of high tone riding in the background of everything; then I realised that I was inadvertently triggering Nave in the background!!

I'd love to see them release the RV7000 as an AudioBus effect - id pay good money for that it's a fantastic Reverb!

Re. Playing in public - go for it! Just a few weeks ago I was on a flight, headphones on, jammin away & then I came up for a breather and the sexy young woman two seats away leaned over and said 'excuse me, are you a producer?' ... 'do you know Ableton?' - the rest of the flight was spent deep in conversation... & yes, we're still in touch ;)

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Steve

Am I the only person who isn't quite convinced? I really loved Figure, and I was really hoping for an ipad version of that with more tracks and more control (like more control over synth parameters). But Thor is released instead. Isn't it about time we had less synths on iOS, and more workstation like devices? Even a more comprehensive 4 (or 8 track?) recorder as in Animoog and the brilliant Nave? I still can't help feeling that Propellerheads see the iOS platform as more as a toy or marketing tool for more Mac and PC based systems. Perhaps I am wrong, and Thor is a precursor to better things to come, but I'm not holding my breath.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline tom_tm

tom_tm: "Am I the only person who isn't quite convinced?"

Yeah, probably—but the good news is you are right about the other thing: more workstation stuff would *also* be appreciated.

Thor is incredible though, once you dig into patch design. It's going to free up significant space on my iPad as I delete synths it handily outperforms and out-routes.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline odoyle

I'm the opposite- I'm all about the iPad as a sound generator/ synth module, and not that interested in the all in one tablet music production studio. But that could be cause I have the iPad 2, and it can hit the wall pretty soon.

How could anyone see this as a "toy" ?!

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Zymos

If you like tweaking knobs then Thor is your ultimate wet dream - mine too ;-)

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Trueyorky

Anyway, love this synth. Just a great implementation with the keyboard (take note all other audio app devs), ribbons and the strum player. There's one or two things missing tho. Bank/category manager for users and imported presets. I imported another ~1500 presets, which ends up being just a really, really, really long list of random presets. The other thing would be a basic little record facility and perhaps a bit more extended sequencer, and Sonoma/General audio copy/paste on top of that.


Tom: With iOS 7 things will start to change. Eventually there will be no need for a closed workstation a la Tabletop or iReason. Apps will be able to call each other via audio, midi and so on system wide. So Cubasis or Auria or whatever could open and treat another synth app installed on your iDevice just like a AU/VST plugin. Question is how far away all that is, and how long it will take developers to adapt to it and update their older apps etc.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline ChrisG

Where did the anyway come from..I'm sleepy from all Thoring

June 20, 2013  | person_outline ChrisG

Damn. Another great app. When will this madness end? I've got science to do, and here I am, playing with a boatload of new sounds.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Fessaboy/Secret Base Design

I must be missing something with the keyboard. It's really counterintuitive to me. Someone give me a hint?

Don't mean to sound negative. It is a fantastic piece of synth.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Joe

Joe- are you just trying to resize it? If do, don't drag over it ( the little representation at the top, not the part you actually play), drag NEXT to it.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Zymos

Here's the manual for the iOS version
http://www.propellerheads.se/products/thor/manual/

I put together a PDF of this, for those who want an offline version, available here:

http://tinyurl.com/lm9kp9m

For some reason you can't view a preview; I think the file is too big, and Google also won't scan it for this reason. Nonetheless, you should be able to download it directly to your iPad and open in a compatible app, like iBooks.

June 20, 2013  | person_outline Jesse

@Jesse - thanks for the PDF. Downloading to Goodreader with all my other manuals!

@Zymos - no issue resizing, and I like that you have total control over this. My issue is this. Ideally I'd like to see just a regular piano keyboard. But since that's not available I'd rather work in compact mode. Otherwise, in regular mode, I'm finding it difficult to hit chords that include sharp/flat notes with much accuracy due to the vertical spacing. In compact mode, with assist turned on, trying to select the scale seems very weird to me. Major/minor, ok and I get that you can stay in that same scale and change the root note. But what to do if you want something modal, for example? Changing the color, Thor chooses what keys it will eliminate.

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Joe

Looking forward to this one having enjoyed Thor back in the day but, did they really release this without a way to organize patches and no copy /paste? I am getting tired of apps that omit these simple but vital things?

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Kobamoto rin

I really like how they released it on Thorsday!

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Andreas

Jesse, thanks for the PDF!

June 21, 2013  | person_outline odoyle

Well, after all the pants wetting and rave reviews here, I took the plunge and... I should've stuck with the coffee! I don't know what you guys are smoking but I want some!!! :)

Can we all just agree that the other big name synth released recently totally kills this thing?

June 21, 2013  | person_outline gatearray

Not agreeing with that, sorry....

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Zymos

Oh, and thanks a lot, Tim! :)

A direct port, you say? Nothing has been stripped, you say? For anybody wondering, the only effects available on the iPad version are delay and chorus!

June 21, 2013  | person_outline gatearray

@Zymos

Haha, no worries mate! I was only half-joking with all that stuff, Thor definitely has its qualities and some cool features.

_____


And about the effects, Tim... I looked at some Thor tutorials based on the VST and it included cool effects for making drum sounds etc., which is why I pulled the trigger flashing back to your post about it being a direct port. :) I guess the confusion came in that Thor is part of Reason, so it has access to more stuff in that environment than it does on the iPad.

June 21, 2013  | person_outline gatearray

Arg! I'm not liking the "expand" buttons in the knobs section, so much so that it's turned me into a crusty old pirate, arg! Wish you could at least swipe them one way or the other on your own... Arg!

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Jesse

@Anonymouse

Can you -or someone else- elaborate a bit about how it works on the iPad "classic"?

Thanks for the pdf, Jesse!

June 21, 2013  | person_outline A.C.

I managed to have another little play with this last night. There are problems with it and I would agree that Nave is by far a superior development,

Yes, the expand buttons are confusing.

The keyboard is innovative for sure, and in the 'assist' mode it's possibly a little on the weird side.

Sonically, it's good and frustrating in equal measure, I find the patches, on the whole sound amazing, there are some classic and very usefuk noises in there, but they have a quality to them I can't really describe which after a while I started to notice. Nave doesn't have this, it is truly versatile and every sound is unique, there isn't a Nave colouring to my ear - there is with Thor!

That's not to say its bad, far from it! I just don't think it is at the same level of professional kit that Nave is! Maybe as I play with it more I will change my mind, but for now, that's what I think.

@Zen, unless you have a need to spend, I'd save your voucher for the next incredible release, I have a feeling were going to see something new from Korg n the not too distant future :)

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

I have problems with midi implementation, i sequence it with genome and thor receive all midi channel even if you choose just one in thor midi menu, this makes impossible to work with other apps...

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Pedrismo

Same problem with MIDI implementation here.

But I don't agree with the interface complaints at all. I like a lot the expanding sections. I find it much more less distracting than the usual zoom in/out or scrolling solutions. They've managed to put a lot of content with just three separate windows, each one with a definite role. I easily found whatever I was searching for and also it's easy to visualize the signal route by following the arrows. The use of color is also functional here, with different tones for different kinds of synthesis or other stuff. I also liked the extend of keyboard options at first sight...

Sonically, I found the presets not so interesting as in Nave. But I enjoyed making my own pretty fast. Nave is still a mystery for me at this point.

June 21, 2013  | person_outline A.C.

Nave set the bar for what a first release app can be very, VERY high in terms of the whole package: sound quality, completeness of features, usability, interoperability, versatility, etc.. Though sonically a little more focused in on a particular slice of the sound spectrum, I'd make similar statements about Galileo - it was released out of the gate with everything you'd ever want to make it useable in the current iOS ecosystem.

I'll admit that though I think Thor is pretty awesome, the wow factor was a bit diminished for me by being released on the heels of some really amazing apps. Things like a great preset manager, multiple choices in on screen keyboard, full connectivity options, a great built in recorder have now almost become my expectation in an app over $10.

I don't know if we're now spoiled or if this is the new normal. Either way Thor is still a great synth, and I hope they make a couple of tweaks in a future release.

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Joe

The midi problem looks like it's easily sorted, haven't had time to try this yet, but it makes sense:

Clicking the cog icon top left

Select the + or - button in the midi section to select a channel!

Should all be rockin!

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

Not to be a whiner, but no MIDI clock sync for the step sequencer? Bummer....

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Zymos

@Baddcr – Thank you. I am going to follow your advice. I decided that if I haven't taken the plunge with those other apps by now, I must not want any of them all that much. It's time I took a breather from learning new apps and got back to writing songs.

June 21, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

For those of you not comfortable with thor have a look at:

http://www.propellerheads.se/products/thor/index.php?fuseaction=learn-thor

June 21, 2013  | person_outline the shoemaker

@A.C.
Pretty limited i'm finding. Even when polyphony is turned down from the default 8. Playing mono seems to be ok. Anything more could cause static so pads are out. I haven't played with the parameters to see what can be turned off to improve it, but going through the presets, a lot of them don't work well. In other words too unstable to play freely with confidence. I will play around more and try to squeeze more out of it.

I was expecting this though. Too excited to care.

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Anonymouse

Here is another resource for getting deep with Thor: http://www.reason101.net/tag/thor/

June 21, 2013  | person_outline the shoemaker

@Baddcr

Eeeeh...no. The problem is, even if you do that, Thor keeps still in omni mode/listening to all channels. I tried with Genome, Polystep arpeggiator, Melody Music Maker (useful app BTW!, don't get distracted by the dumb sexy girl icon!-LOL-...)

It seems to be a problem with virtual MIDI. With an external keyboard works fine.

June 21, 2013  | person_outline A.C.

@A.C.

Yes, I think the presets are kind of weak, as well! Maybe that's what sort of turned me off at first?

Believe me, I'm all for programming my own sounds, and Thor certainly gives a plethora of options to do so, but some of the Signature Banks really sound wimpy and uninspired. As a showcase for Thor, generally speaking they're not doing anyone any favors, but I have been able to tweak some of them to my liking and have come up with some good sounds.

If you haven't quite wrapped your head around Nave yet, my advice is to stick with it! All of the sounds it shipped with were indeed made on the iPad itself, as the UI just begs to be programmed!

June 21, 2013  | person_outline gatearray

One weird thing compared to other iOS synths is that you can't put note names on the ribbon equivalents. Indeed, there's no indication on the keyboard about what octave you're in or which note is middle C.

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Mike Grant

A few of you mentioned that you can't arrange patches and banks in Thor... I actually wrote an email to Waldorf because as far as I can tell, there is no way to arange banks and patches in Nave either. Magellan has the best setup for organizing presets, I think, letting us arange the banks and patches by dragging them up or down, in addition to the ability to highlight favorites. That is the way to go, if anyone asked me. Waldorf replied that they would consider the idea (if a sufficient number of users ask for it, I'm sure).

June 21, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

@gatearray

I will totally go deep on Nave...I am just non familiarized enough with non-substractive synthesis and...haven't had time!. In the meantime between Nave and Thor releases, my Arturia Minilab+Analog Lab arrived!...This is being a totally crazy week for a synth-freak! XD.

Thanks a lot for the answer @Anonymouse, I have a friend interested in this. Wish you luck getting the best of it :)

June 21, 2013  | person_outline A.C.

"The midi problem looks like it's easily sorted, haven't had time to try this yet, but it makes sense:

Clicking the cog icon top left

Select the + or - button in the midi section to select a channel!

Should all be rockin!"

The problem is that midi channel menu doesnt work with virtual midi!

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Pedrismo

@A.C.

it's working better than i first thought actually. with release times low and less polyphony it works reasonably well. happy i picked it up.

June 21, 2013  | person_outline Anonymouse

@Zen - that bugged me about nave too- why bother having 'lead' and 'bass' tags if you cant sort by them? I don't care who made the preset, I care about the sound type!

June 22, 2013  | person_outline RMG

I'm smashed... Listening to Black Sanbath - God is Dead and it's feckin awesome!! :-D

June 22, 2013  | person_outline Steve

Hmm, I seem to be losing posts, or my mind?

Anyway, bit crap about the midi implementation, I had a play this morning and it's not good is it :(

Use Thor and nothing else, or don't use Thor is the message here perhaps? We will know for sure if this isn't fixed in the next update!

June 23, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

This synth is great. I like the Phase Modulation Oscillators. My old CZ-1000 just broke, so this is a nice surprise for me. Hmm... Casio should get Detune Ltd to make a CZ workstation app. I'd love it. Nostalgia aside, Thor's awesome.

June 23, 2013  | person_outline kerm

Could you expand on that Steve?

June 23, 2013  | person_outline Kobamoto rin

@kobamoto I'd drunk far too many beers and smoked too much :))

Oh you mean Black Sabbath? (not sanbath) - they have a new album out called 13 and it's very very good - if you like that kind of thing?

* I changed my post name from Steve to Baddcr (SoundCloud id) and mistakenly posted as Steve again because I hadn't changed the name on my phone - stupidly confusing I know, but that's drunkenness for you!

June 24, 2013  | person_outline Baddcr

Crap! I screwed up the PDF manual I posted here, and accidentally left some pages out. Sorry guys and gals. I'll try to fix it when I get a chance. Not sure when that will be though.

June 28, 2013  | person_outline Jesse

Got a chance today to fix the manual, Thor for iPad PDF manual:

http://tinyurl.com/mc8swll

As stated in another thread, if anyone from Propellerhead is wondering how they can repay me, I will gladly accept a free version of Reason 7. :)

July 19, 2013  | person_outline Jesse
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