The best iPad/iPhone iOS synths in the world today
14th Feb 2013 | 16:41
Moog Animoog, £20.99/$29.99
Despite causing minor controversy upon its release - with some analogue purists arguing that an iOS app was an affront to the legacy of such an iconic synth brand - Moog’s first foray into the world of iPad synthesis has proved to be a resounding success.
Animoog is a wavetable synthesiser, albeit one stuffed with samples from Moog’s classic and contemporary synths. There are up to eight timbres splayed across an 8x16 X/Y grid, and sounds can be moved dynamically through those timbres each time a note is played.
Propellerhead Figure, 69p/$0.99
When it was unveiled at Musikmesse 2012, we instantly fell in love with Figure’s excellent Reason-powered sound and exceptionally well-designed interface.
At the time, there were a few crucial missing features that let the app down though, such as the ability to save or export work. Fortunately, subsequent updates have rectified most of these niggles and - while it’s still not as advanced as a lot of the other synths in our list - Figure now feels like a much more serious music making tool.
Between its Reason-powered synth engine, intuitive design and bargain price, there are very few excuses not to give Figure a try.
Korg iMS-20, £20.99/$29.99
With the iMS-20, Korg hit on to the winning formula of bringing a classic analogue synth to the iOS platform - complete with a faithfully retro interface - and combining it with a recreation of the SQ-10 16-step sequencer, a six-part drum machine, mixer and built-in effects.
Of course, as with any software emulation, design and features mean nothing unless the sound hits the spot Fortunately the iMS-20 scores top marks with its faithful rich analogue-style tones.
Yonac Magellan, £10.49/$14.99
With dual independent, three-oscillator synth engines, a host of filter and modulation options and a feature list as long as your arm, Magellan is easily one of the most feature packed synths you’ll find on the iOS platform.
It’s the app’s striking retro interface - which makes excellent use of the tactile playability of your iPad’s touchscreen - that really sets Magellan apart from the crowd though.
iceGear Cassini, £2.99/$4.99
Cassini sounds just as fantastic as iceGear’s first iOS instrument, Argon, but beats its predecessor by adding polyphony and a brilliantly designed interface.
It’s packed with features, making it a massively flexible instrument. Best of all it’s hugely intuitive and fun to use, so there’s little not to like.
Korg iPolysix, £20.99/$29.99
With the iPolysix Korg repeated the trick that made us fall for the iMS-20. Again, the developer gave us a faithful recreation of one of the company’s legacy synths and bundled it with a step sequencer, drum machine, mixer and effects.
Just as with its predecessor, the sound of the iPolysix is spot on, giving iPad users the sound of the classic polyphonic analogue synth.
Wolfgang Palm PPG WaveGenerator, £13.99/$19.99
With the PPG WaveGenerator, acclaimed synth designer Wolfgang Palm created one of the deepest and most pro-level instruments to be released for iOS so far.
Inspired by the original ‘80s PPG Wave synths, WaveGenerator is a Wavetable synth that allows users to create and control total unique sounds. And essential for any iPad owner who likes to get a bit experimental.
BeepStreet Sunrizer, £4.99/$6.99
Virtual analogue synths are now all over the App Store, but this is one of the best.
Sunrizer (iPad) and SunrizerXS (iPhone/iPod touch) sport two oscillators, with one of the available waveforms being an emulation of the SuperSaw that made its debut on the Roland JP-8000 synth. You’ve also got filters, various modulation options, effects and an arpeggiator.
Specs aside, the most important thing is the sound… and it’s great.
VirSyn Addictive Synth, £6.99/$9.99
Addictive synth has proved popular with iPad users for its intuitive layout and simple-to-use interface.
Fortunately, that simple front end masks a deceptively deep feature set and a fantastic sounding six-oscillator synth engine. It excels at digital tones, spectral pads and other atmospheric noises, but is equally useful for hard-hitting basses or in-your-face leads. A bargain considering the price!
Wolfgang Palm PPG WaveMapper, £13.99/$19.99
Wolfgang Palm’s second iOS synth is just as impressive as his first. Again, PPG WaveMapper is one of the most complex and impressive sounding instruments on the App Store.
In essence, WaveMapper is a wavetable synthesiser based around an intuitive Sound Map design. Its best trick, however, is the impressive job it does of making a complex concept and seemingly endless feature set seem simple and fun to use. Another essential purchase for iOS synth fans.