With the deluge of cool audio and synthesis apps on iOS, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the pack—but the long-awaited iVCS3 is raising eyebrows and potentially blowing out speakers across the land. While it’s billed as a software simulation of an analog synthesizer that found favor with bands like Pink Floyd and The Who, iVCS3 is really a virtual laboratory of sonic mayhem and aural outrageousness. It’s not useful for playing standard musical riffs, but is infinitely capable of generating insanely complex, dynamic, and downright chaotic soundscapes that will amaze, delight, and terrify, all at once.
With something of a cult following in the Android world, Caustic comes into the iOS universe with real pedigree – a rare event. But just moments after launching the app, it’s hard not to become an instant believer in this truly potent, fully featured sonic monster, and the almost overwhelming number of excellent-sounding ingredients it offers up for cooking up tasty riffs and compositions. Caustic delivers an array of synthesizers, effects, and MIDI recording tools, featuring both depth and excellent sound quality, plus a vast variety of useful presets for each and every one of its many components.
It sure is something to realize how much power is in your iPad, especially if you’re a musician pining for classic analog synthesizers — heavy, expensive, temperamental instruments that are increasingly hard to find, and even harder to maintain. Arturia, creator of the Minimoog simulation app, iMini, has done it again, delivering an exquisite simulation of the venerable Oberheim SEM (Synthesizer Expander Module), that company’s very first synth. In many ways, iSEM is an improvement upon the hardware it models, starting with the fact that it’s polyphonic.
Arturia was the very first company to get Moog’s permission to recreate the classic analog synthesizers for the desktop almost a decade ago, and its first iPad app is a slick, thick-sounding marvel that's true to the original hardware, including being easily programmable, very playable, and sonically lush. One of the coolest things about the original MiniMoog synthesizer was that it combined extreme ease-of-use with a uniquely rich, signature tone that persists as magic aural mojo to this very day, and the iMini does a stellar job of bringing that goodness to the iPad for a reasonable price.
There are drum machines, there are beatboxes, and then there’s Impaktor, an entirely original iOS drum synthesizer that uses your fingers and a tabletop to make the rhythm happen. It’s an odd approach, but one that really works for quickly making some nice beats, so long as you have headphones as well. It’s totally fun, but there’s also some real audio-sculpting depth under the hood.
Is that a synthesizer in your pocket, or is it the Korg Monotron? This little chunk of portable, battery-powered fun can create music and beats on its own, or plugged into your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. It’s $90 at Korg.com, and the lucky winner of our May contest will get one for free.
It's fall and it's rainy (especially in our neck of the woods), so you'll be looking for some indoor fun these days. We've got games and music for you, and something to celebrate a little fall classic you might know as the World Series. Save more than just pennies on these apps, with big big price cuts.
Unlike the internet, analog synthesizers really are made of tubes. Well, not all of them, but the really nice ones do contain vacuum tubes. They range from ugly green metal boxes to incredibly beautiful pieces of art with wood cases. Someone looking to buy one of these instruments better be willing to pay a pretty penny—analog gear is not cheap. So while we’d all like a Moog, it’s hard to justify the premium price unless you’re a rock star. That’s why we’re impressed that M-Audio’s Venom brings the warmth of analog into the digital age at a price even enthusiast players can afford—and frankly, it does an incredible job.