Open Mic: What Are The Best Software Synths For iOS?

tc-11-fullscreen-0Music software on iOS has evolved rapidly, from being scorned by many Synthtopia readers (remember all the Apptopia comments?) to becoming a major platform for electronic musicians.

While iPad music software doesn’t replace desktop DAWs and plugins for most users, it does offer a useful combination of mobility, multi-touch control and power.

Because of this, it seems like some of the most innovative new software synths are now being released for iOS and the iPad.

If you’re and iOS user, let us know what you think. What are the best software synths for iOS?

130 thoughts on “Open Mic: What Are The Best Software Synths For iOS?

  1. Animoog continues to improve, and in combination with Loopy HD and the app DrumJam through Audiobus, I have many hours of chill-space bliss at my fingertips. I use Animoog to MIDI control my Kurzweil K2VX, and visa versa. iFunBox lets me install my own Timbres, so I’ve taken patch design to a new level. Some day I’ll figure out Grain Science, but I’m in no rush.

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  2. Animoog is beautiful. Magellan is amazing. The new iMini by Arturia is phenomenal. Addictive synth is awesome. Korg’s ims-20 and ipolysix sound beautiful.

    This is like asking a woodworker what saw is the best. It depends on the task at hand.

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  3. New update to Sunrizer makes it an amazing iOS synth! Also a shout out to analog drum emulators like funk box and dm-1.

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  4. Animoog, no doubt. And I’m really fond of iMS20.
    PPG WAVE has great potential, probably the best sound quality of all, but there are annoying little quirks, too few presets, and I don’t really enjoy using it as much.

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  5. I was really impressed to see the software that offered eight outputs and touch screen velocity sensitivity.
    Lets face it they are fuckin wank .

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  6. My main goto synths are:
    Animoog, Sunrizer, and Magellan. Ultimate fav is Sunrizer.ย 
    Others I use a lot:
    iMini, SynthX, CrystalSynthXT, Argon, Addictive Synth, NLogPRO, EpicSynth, iPulsaret, SpaceLab, Cassini, and GrainScience.ย 

    There are a many others that deserve a mention, but the above are the ones I love and use the most.ย 

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    1. Romeo: Due to your post, I just decided to start my week with a treat to myself of EPIC SYNTH … Fantastic recommendation, it was one that I had ruled out because , if i am honest, the icon looks a bit crap….been burned on too muny cheap but feature light apps in the early days.

      but this is AMAZING !!!

      totally lush textures, I have given this a channel opposite animoog as the two will fill some gaps in each others tone palette perfectly.

      BTW, did you discover the easter egg yet?? try rubbing your finger over the grill with the circuit board??? instant random patch generation (god knows WHY I found that in five seconds of owning it)

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      1. Cool, glad you like it.
        I agree, it’s got a really nice feel and sound to it. I was a bit dubious when it first came out as well. I felt the name wasn’t the best choice. Nice find on the hidden feature – think I removed one of my fingerprints in like a week, messing about with that!
        It’d be nice if it got Audiobus support, but it’s still a tasty little synth.
        There are just so many gems like that, that don’t get enough coverage.

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        1. Glad to hear others like the epic synth too. My post above has so many dislikes. I love that synth.

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      2. What stopped me from buying it is the fact that i already have a good Juno simulator in the form of the excellent Tal U-no 60 vst, which is free. How does it compare to that one? Does EpicSynth have features that make it better than Tal?

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        1. I think they are comparable. I like the fact that Epic Synth is on a touch screen and allows you to save presets.

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      3. OK, I decided I’d try out Epic Synth, but it isn’t usable (on the iPad 1 at least) because of persistent stuck MIDI notes which happen frequently during performance and seem to happen almost constantly with the arpeggiator! ๐Ÿ™

        Actually its MIDI support seems to be subpar – I couldn’t find any way to map MIDI controls or even to change the input channel.

        I kind of like the sounds and the simple architecture, but the broken MIDI is a deal-breaker for now.

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        1. I’m not experiencing the issues you are with MIDI; I use one of my iPad 1s in an ioDock connected to an Axiom49, and it’s fine. There’s no MIDI learn, but may be there will in the future – have you contacted the dev to request it?

          You can change the MIDI input channel in the iPad ‘settings’ app, under EpicSynth.

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          1. You’re right – you can change the MIDI input channel as well as background audio in the iOS settings app!!

            However, I still get stuck MIDI notes all the time on my iPad 1, which is really a deal-breaker!!! ๐Ÿ™

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  7. Synth X deserves to be on this list simply for its interface. it is hands down the most playable & expressive interface out of any iOS synth out there. it was the first synth app i bought for my iPad and years later i keep coming back to it. i even use it as a midi controller for my hardware synths. i just wish the developer would update it on a more frequent basis.

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    1. SynthX is very responsive and expressive. I really like how you can play true unisons on it, and it’s also educational as you watch the waveforms you are playing take shape underneath your fingertips!

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  8. I just love Wavemapper by Palm as it is unbelievably cool and easy to use for a relative newbie like myself. I own just about all the synth APPS for IPAD. IPOLYSIX, Animoog are amongst the finest available. However, some of the lower priced APPS are a ton of fun too! The new and improved pioneer APP Mini Synth 2 is a blast to noodle with. Magellan is tops as is Cassini, Korg’s IM20 and Sample Tank which have all kept me up far late into the night playing around with them. It is so hard for me to chose just one or two APPS as they all have some value and merit in one way of the other. Now with the new Audiobus APP option, it just makes all of these synth APPS so much more exciting to play with all over again with all its new endless possibilities now available for all us avid noodlers and Pros alike.

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  9. I also have just about all of the major offerings and they all are great. After skimming comments, I didn’t see Audulus mentioned (if I missed it, apologies). It’s definitely a worthy. Transferring patches to Mac and the midi controls are great. It’s still a little over my head, but exploring is still very fun!

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  10. Well, the audience really likes seeing someone playing an iPad a lot more than they do watching someone at a laptop…. Animoog is certainly the best one for playing live in the field with insects, see http://www.bugmusicbook.com TC-11 is also fun but a bit unpredictable, Alchemy is interesting for complex drones and pads, and Tachyon also makes an instant impression….

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  11. DXi FM is definitely worth checking out, as is Cassini, and Addictive Synth. (Three VERY UNDERRATED and deceptively powerful synths.) For all-round versatility, though it has to be Sunrizer. I like my synths with plenty of guts and anger, and I’ve found very few iOS synths that measure up. Any other suggestions?

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  12. My ipad synth favs:
    Animoog, Magellan, Thumbjam, Nanostudio, Triqtraq, Bebot, Scape, Bloom HD, Alchemy, idensity(sampler?), Thicket, Abcdefg, tc-11

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    1. re nanostudio.

      i would love to have eden as a stand-alone synth. it does some pretty nice stuff.

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  13. I know it leaves a bit for wanting, but Finger Bassline has been pretty valuable to me. Besides a being a great, quick, no-nonsesne bass synth, It wasn’t until I started playing with it that I finally “got” how an actual TB-303 is programmed. And how people can go onstage do an entire set with just that and a 909.

    Runner ups are def. NLog Pro, Sunrizer (both for obvious reasons), Soundprism Pro (for something a little different… and for fat stacks of clever chord progressions), and Yonac’s Organ+, just for sheer ease of use and stunning audio quality.

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  14. Samplr. Although not truly a synth. The ability to play with sound with my fingers. In such a mind spinning manner. Qualifies it as revolutionary electronic expressionism. As in my first ever synth the Roland System 100.

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  15. I don’t have an opinion yet, and for the past three days I’ve been downloading and playing with just about anything I can find…. – I will offer – Im digging the synth setups with gesture interfaces. I’m just getting into this world – but I’ve been working with electronics for …. 25 years or so… so anything out of the ordinary is something I’m willing to take a chance with.

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  16. I’m kinda surprised only one person mentioned Alchemy? It’s one of the best sounding although too many presets have an overuse of reverb IMHO. Also, the keyboard could be better like Animoog and Magellan make use of more expressive performance keyboard and x/y pad..along with Korg. But again, I really like the sounds dare I say more than Animoog.

    TC-11 is easily one of the most interesting and makes the best use of the entire ipad surface. I find it almost revolutionary in terms of synth performance and playability although its mostly for experimental music and would be almost impossible (and a waste) to play a pop tune on. Also, lack of MIDI also is odd to me and I’ve contacted the developer about this.

    PPG Wavemapper has been one of the most fun for me! I’ve enjoyed many hours of making my own presets ( luckily I have an understanding girlfriend), and the sounds are some of the most interesting on an iOS synth! The overall process of making presets is not only easy but extremely fun and still deep. I love Wavemapper alongside my other Wavetable synth: Waldorf Blofeld.

    I recently just got Magellan and I’m very impressed with it so far. The considerations for performance are pretty amazing and I’ve yet to really explore it. I feel a little spoiled at the moment because I’m also exploring a new Maschine Mikro this week along with a new TE OP-1. No sleep for me but I’ll be happily exhausted!!!

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  17. Arpeggionome pro blasting out through thumb jam, animoog, ppg, and just a little garge band for the guitars all connected to my mpk25 space rock n roll ya!!

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  18. i’m very happy to see many people happy with their iOS music apps… the best sounding apps for me are… Sunrizer and Alchemy… why? because just on one sound can inspire a groove or a song… animoog and addictive synth inspires as second best to make sounds that can be used later… third in line have to be all of the Korg apps just because they bring the whole package, also music studio, and FL studio do the same… oh yeah and don’t forget that nano studio is the one that sounds the most real to me…

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  19. PPG wavemapper and wavegenerator (Wolfgang Palm is some kind of mad genius).
    SampleWiz
    Animoog
    Korg iMS-20, iPolysix.
    The iMS-20 with my akai synthstation means I won’t have to shell out for the Korg MS-20 mini.

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  20. Maybe a better question is, “If you could only have one iOS synthโ€ฆ”

    There are a lot of good ones for sure.

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    1. Nanostudio/Eden because it’s the most complete solution to date, but the standalone synths offer better (and diverse) sound creation options and better performance abilities like multitouch modulation as you play (Animoog and SynthX being great examples), not to mention other control surface options like scale-based keyboards and grid layouts.

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  21. Second on “all of them.”

    My go-to iPad synths are: Magellan, Cassini, Animoog, Sunrizer, SynthX, Addictive Synth, NLog Pro, iMS-20, iPolySix, and Eden/NanoStudio.

    Over the past year or two I’ve probably made 100+ patches for iPad synths, with the largest sets done on Cassini, Magellan, NLog and Eden. That’s about the same number of patches I’ve made for hardware synths (mainly P’08) over the same time interval, and more than I’ve made in Reason (though I do like Thor and the underrated Subtractor) as well as Live and various softsynths.

    Synths I use a bit less often are iSyn Poly, DXi, WaveGenerator, SynthStation (since my hardware broke) and the synths in Xenon and RhythmStudio (which are actually really nice apps!)

    For fun on the iPhone, I kind of like ThumbJam and BeBot. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  22. I really loooove nlog. But beatmaker 2 is always so useful for creating ideas quickly. And now you can play other synth apps within it.

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    1. I don’t get Alchemy – the built-in sounds are good, but it seems to lack the ability to create truly new presets – you can only tweak existing ones, which … sucks. ๐Ÿ™

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      1. have to say i agree with this. it does some amazing sounds, but i want to be able to make my own and choose the modulation controls. because of that, it really doesn’t hold much use for me, personally.

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        1. Pro version lets you connect with desktop version. Also, you can morph presets and generate new samples to manipulate.

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    1. I don’t think it is getting attention in this thread because it sits just outside of being a synth. Thumbjam is really more and less that a synth. You can create sounds, but they’re sample based, and aren’t really tweaked the same way as most of the synths are. I love thumbjam, but have never really considered it a synth.

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  23. Too numerous to mention, but the analog synths …

    Should encourage Korg in the hope they move to produce more hardware versions of their iOS apps for classics like the iMS-20 … !

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  24. Not strictly a synth but I love Borderlands. Even with the 4 built in samples you can get beautiful evolving textures out of it. Impaktor is also a huge amount of fun ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. I keep wondering if I could use impaktor live if I used some type of contact mic. It would be awesome if there was a way to use it with a velocity sensitive drum pad or some such thing.

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  25. Here are my top 5 synths:

    1. TC-11
    2. bs-16i
    3. Konkreet Performer
    4. iDensity / iPulsaret
    5. Audulus

    Cheers!

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      1. Just saying I would rather user a computer then a phone or ipad. I tend to get more work done. Maybe you have a stake in selling apps .. your name wouldnt be Rudess would it

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        1. Hey designworxs, challenge on. Give us a link to your best produced PC track, I really believe you will be hard pressed to beat an iOS creation. I triple dog dare you to show us up. It’s easy to talk crap when you have nothing to back yourself up with.

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  26. my too favoruite synths are Animoog (obviously) and then Impaktor, a drum synth at its core but its engine and percussion models sound fantastic and have a wealth of parameters to tweak.

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  27. Please, please don’t forget SynthTronica! Formant synthesis that will make sounds even Animoog couldn’t dream of… and it’s visually beautiful. I wouldn’t trade this one for an expensive analog modular.

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  28. i found most synths I’ve tried to be a bit disappointing… Magellan is nice but sounds a bit thin, Animoog sounds quite fat (thanks to the nice detune) but I find the animation part (whih is what makes is stand apart) a bit too playful and not really that interesting, I mean there’s a lot more potential in there than what they have used. The Korg iMS20 is also nice but a bit too messy to program… I don’t think pots should be translated so literally on touch tablets (though of course it totally makes sense for the ims20 since it wants to be a simulation of the original)

    Most other synths I’ve tried so far are either some standard VA variation or a bit too simple for my taste…

    What I really like is Samplr! Not a synth but still an amazing sample twisting instrument wich totally makes sense on a touch-based computer. Also very nice is Audulus, though it needs something like the presentation mode in Max… But they keep adding and tweaking stuff and I’m sure this will turn into one killer app soon.

    there’s many synths I have not tried yet, so I guess there might be some cool synths out there, but I’m a bit tired to spend money just to check if an app is cool or not…

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    1. Hey Papernoise,

      Good point about having a presentation mode. Right now, Audulus has a lock mode which locks the position of the nodes so you don’t accidentally move them around (the little padlock button, lower left). Coming soon, you’ll be able to “expose” knobs (and other controls) from sub-patches so they appear on the patch node itself. Combine those two together and I think you’ll get a pretty flexible presentation mode. As always, it would be cool to know your thoughts on this ๐Ÿ™‚

      cheers
      – Taylor (Audulus developer)

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      1. Hi Taylor! I might have to dig in deeper in Audulus… I’ll totally try those things out, thanks for the tip! BTW. subpatches was a great addition to Audulus especially if patches become more complex and I guess if you add that “expose controls” mode it could indeed be quite close to an actual “presentation mode”. My comment originates from the fact that Audulus makes a great and really flexible effects processor in combination with Audiobus or Jack, and this means it could also be really useful for live processing of incoming audio, a looper (like Loopy) or a softsynth. But for this to be really usable you need to have a quick access to the parameters, that’s why I mentioned Max’s presentation mode.

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    2. if you like samplr, you might like tc-11, as it has a very gestural interface (no keys at all, just a playing surface).

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  29. Btw I have a question to all of you synthtopia readers: what is your “practical” application for iOS based synths? All I ever do with them is sit on the sofa and play around with it… But I never really do any tracks with it because I find it too messy…

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    1. Ipad sits in my synthstation 49. Audio is fed into my mixing console and the signal sent to my usb audio interface into whichever DAW is running at the time.
      Just more options to choose from.

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        1. Works just fine. I also use the 12 to 30 pin adaptor on it to run the lightning ipad. Faster processor = smoother response.
          ๐Ÿ™‚

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    2. Outputting to a computer as Johnno does is probably the best thing to seriously accomplish a track.

      I do have a keyboard and iodock, but most of the time I use my ipad/iphone on the sofa with headphones… I’m not a good, serious, musician with a great attention span!

      I’m MESSY : need organization, centralization, quantization, piano roll!!

      To get something done that may get close to a song, here’s what I generally do:

      1. Punch a simple drum loop in BearMaker2 (in distinct layers/tracks so I can toggle them on/off)

      2. Sequence a bass line also in BM2, but I might use an external app for generating the sound.

      3. Do some chord progressions on the looped #1#2.

      4. mix n’ match on the timeline stuff from #1 #2 #3

      5. Add/remove: stuff drum fills, effects, filter sweep, variations, ect..

      6: improvise the lead, a lot of time in animoog or nlog with the previous things playing in BG.

      7. If it’s mostly good, record the lead in BM2 as both a sequence with virtual midi and an audio track with audiobus.

      8. Save the project, revisit later.

      It’s the way I found for structuring, making the best out of my poor musical skills and MULTIPLE great synths apps.

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    3. For the past 9 months I have been doing all my music making only on my iPad using IOS DAWs, Synths, and Beat Makers. and only recently got a hardware synth. So for me, very practical, portable and great tools for creativity.

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    4. and btw. nothing wrong with sitting on the sofa playing around with an iPad without producing and so called proper music! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    5. my workflow at the moment is to compose a track in nanostudio, using eden synth to approximate the sounds I’ll finally use. Then I export the midi file to cubasis and record each part using whatever synth and audiobus. I find nanostudio’s editor to be the best on ipad, and cubasis very nice for recording and editing samples (it’s midi editor is clunky unfortunately).

      my go-to synths are: magellan, sunrizer, wavegenerator and iPolySix

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    6. i make a beat with dm-1 bounce that put it in a clean amp model in garage band
      then i recreate that beat in the internal drums of for example ipolysix, and make a bassline, bounce only the synth to garage band too etc

      then i bounce that, load it into turnado use audiobus to bounce it back to garage band

      then i use this beat to build a beat on top of that in dm1, bounce that again put it in an empty clean amp model

      then i start to build the “real” bassline, but often my way to work or lunchbreak is too short to go further ๐Ÿ™‚

      also my gf and i totally stopped watching tv since we both have an ipad, we make beats and record stuff all the time, shes an audio engineer so we both test a lot of things with our machinedrum and analog four. connect both ipads via midi, we hav three midimates and usb hubs and controllers, and the hosts of everything, midi and audio wise are allways our ipads.

      if i wanna test stuff or play around with music for fun, then i for sure wont use a computer ever again.

      i know a lot of people dont like the ipad, and thats a thing that i cant understand, imagine when you where a child and someone would tell you of an ipad and what you can do with it, and now we live in the future, its here, and people seriously have no use for a device like that and call it a toy? i mean how uncreative is THAT ? ๐Ÿ™‚

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  30. How times have changed… It wasn’t that long ago that there were gripes about limited MIDI support on iOS. Now, hundreds of apps support MIDI, Audiobus is all over the place, and there’s a list of great sounding synths that’s as long as your arm. The iPad may have a “toy” price, but it’s not a toy. We’ve come a long way, baby.

    My personal favorites are Animoog, Magellan, and I’ll always have a place in my heart of bs-16i (not truly a synth, but I love the SoundFont sound; ThumbJam sounds great to me too).

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  31. +1 ThumbJam
    +1 everything korg!!

    Animoog is awesome:
    Keys with polypressure is very expressive and usable.
    I have some difficulty grasping the whole timbre matrix, but the preset are really good starting points.Using aftertouch midi controllers for modulation is great (channel-pressure in animoog)

    iMini: sounds really really good, but… From the bottom of my heart: FU Retronym for no background audio nor audiocopy, nor audiobus! Tabletop IAP-model feels like greedy crippleware (it’s still cheap) and is way too skeumorphic. This make it nearly impossible to integrate in my pipeline: I hope they update it (iMini, dont give a shit about tabletop)

    nLog: really cool, classic sounds, tons of parameters, runs well in background.
    Midi implementation is ok but not perfect : program changes >001 MSB crashes it, LFOs are not synched with the tempos but represents as second, arpeggiator does not output individual midi notes… Still: Love it and use it a lot!

    Audulus: DIY super-science: flabbergasting! The involvement required makes it an intellectual curiosity for me, and a really strong argument that iOS music is more than a toy.

    Magellan: Great, the key velocity using the gyros is amazing: it works!!!
    Midi: except aftertouch, everything is there: the arpeggiator, velocity, program-changes, synch, everything goes in/out. With the gyro/velocity and various scales: the best soft keyboard I tried. More resources intensive than nlog and probably animoog… But there’s two synths running at once in there!

    Nanostudio: synth sounds great, but it’s a shame it doesn’t play well with other apps: midi is way too basic, no BG audio… This leads me to:

    Beatmaker2: synth sampler mostly bleh, not a synth!! But, the midi implementation of BM2 is the most usable I know: It’s the hub of my iOS jamming! Unlike Cubasis, it supports midi clock/transport: jammed a lot with a friend on an electribe SX, everything IS synched in midi! Mpc-style beatbox with lots of good premade kits, Audiobus support, dropbox, wist, universal, no IAP!!

    It’s not a synth, but it augments so much my experience by sequencing/synching/automatingCC/recording and taking care of drum parts!! This app deserves way more hype!

    GarageBand: it is really good, simple, pretty, nice strings and stuff… I just wish better midi.

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  32. I’ve downloaded about a dozen and find that the ones I actually use are Animoog and iPolysix. Oh and I also like the Mellotron M3000 – boy does sound big through a PA!

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  33. Top 5:

    1. Animoog (all synths should have a randomize function, btw)
    2. Samplr
    3. iMS-20
    4. Jasuto Pro (please start developing this one again!)
    5. Borderlands (that granular app)

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  34. Cassini!!!! WhyTF it has not been mentioned?

    In addition to Cassini:
    -Animoog
    -Sunrizer
    -Addictive
    -Impactor
    -Nlog(would be, I guess, if the iPhone version shared the features with the iPad version. I tried the iPad version briefly, and I want it badly, but don’t yet have iPad and the iPhone version is too far off of the pro version)

    Almost there:
    -Alchemy
    I love its sounds, but would like to see its engine opened a bit more and user samples allowed. Now there’s not enough to tweak.
    -Nanostudio
    My previous favorite is becoming old. And audio tracks wouldn’t save it anymore either, as everyone has some kind of tracker at the end of their Audiobusses. Eden needs new features…and/or new engine besides it. Or preferably completely new app altogether.
    -Figure
    Fun to mess around, but synth is too confined.

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  35. * BassLine – Easy and fun to use.
    * Synthmate – Simple sound, easy to program, fun to play and love the colors.
    * TC-11 – Much more complex. But, I can spend a long time with one patch.
    * BitWiz – Fun to mess with. Often surprising results.
    * DXi – Easiest FM I’ve programmed.

    Honorable mentions:
    * Audulus – I just got this, but I’m liking it so far.
    * Samplr – Not really a synth, just a great app. E-bow mode is gold.
    * MoDrum – I do most of my drums in this app.

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  36. My iPad4 goes in the ioDock ( actually above with the 30pin 2 lightning connector ), audio goes to a MOTU Ultralite mk3 and sounds just fantastic !!
    Most used apps in gigs and jam sessions:

    1. Animoog – because it’s so fat
    2. Wavegenerator – so powerfull
    3. Impaktor – lot fun for percussions
    4. iMini – great leads of course ( sounds better than the vsti version )
    5. Sunrizer – for the Rolandish style of sound
    6. Manetron 2 – can’t do without when we play Berlinerschool sequencing
    7. SynthX – great and fun for good leads ( i’m hoping they soon will bring a ARP for ios out – a Odysey would be fantastic )
    8. Alchemy – perfect sounds
    drums:
    DM1 – iMaschine – Funkbox – Figure – iMPC
    effects:
    Filtratron – csGrain – LiveFX and Echopad

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  37. 1.) Animoog – I actually don’t think it sounds like it’s the best of the bunch, but it’s damn fun to play. It’s just very well-suited for a touchscreen interface.

    2.) Cassini – The interface is clunkier than it needs to be, but the synth sounds really good; at least to my ears. It also allows for incredibly in-depth sound designing. If the interface were not divided across so many pages (a necessity in many ways due to all of the controls at your disposal) then it would be my favorite iOS synth by a long shot.

    3.) iMS-20 – It just sounds good. It also has a wealth of features. From a sequencer to a drum machine, there is more here than just a quality synth. I don’t mess with any of that mess though. I just play synth. It’s only a monosynth… It’s a great app, but it’s only a monosynth. Arturia’s iMini at least lets you put their minimoog emulation in to a polyphonic mode. Such a feature would have been greatly appreciated.

    Honorable Mentions

    Magellen – Honestly, I just hate the interface (it’s just not for me). It’s a great synth, but it’s also never produced a sound that I HAD to use.

    NLog – Read about Magellen

    Sunrizer – Read about Magellen

    iMini – Sounds good, but it’s not the droid you are looking for.

    Audulus – Performance issues are the only reason I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best. The interface is serviceable, though annoying at times as well. However, I do love having a virtual modular synthesizer though.

    Wave Generator & Wave Mapper – Both of these synths produce top quality sounds, but I just don’t get excited about wavetable sound creation. Wave Generator, in particular, is unnecessarily clunky in its approach to UI. Both of these synths are great at producing interesting, rich sounds though.

    iPolysix – I’ve never used a real Polysix, but, man, it just seems like a boring synth. Great app though.

    Super Secret Honorable Mention

    WerkBench – It’s not a synth, rather a sample sequencer, but it’s so fun to use that I feel like I’d be doing any reader a disservice by not mentioning it.

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    1. Hey Artifact,

      Thanks for the honorable mention ๐Ÿ™‚ With each release I’m trying to squeeze more performance out of Audulus. I’ve got some ideas I’m working on which will make the polyphonic processing run much faster.

      For the UI, please let me know what could be improved (you can contact me via the support page on audulus.com). I’m always trying to make Audulus as intuitive as I can ๐Ÿ™‚

      cheers
      – Taylor (Audulus developer)

      Thumb up 7
  38. Top 5

    1. Animoog
    2. Samplr
    3. iPolysix
    4. Epic Synth
    5. iMini

    Just find I reach for these sounds most of all when tracking and the user interfaces I find clean and understandable making for an enjoyable workflow!

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  39. Synths I use the most:

    Animoog
    iMini
    Impaktor

    and (not synths)
    Beatmaker2, DM1 and Figure

    WaveMapper is really cool but I have yet to use anything I’ve made with it.

    At the end of the day, the only way I can get anything done is to stop fiddling with all those and stick with Garageband until I get a song pretty worked out. Only then do I go back and add sounds as needed, then export to Logic. And (donning asbestos suit) I actually like a lot of the synth sounds in Garageband, they’re in many cases close to the sounds i used to get on a Matrix-6…
    But I’m more of a songwriter than a synthesist.

    I *really* wish someone would come out with an effects rack for audiobus that is more like what you’d find in a recording studio and less like a bunch of guitar pedals and amps.

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  40. Ranked according to how often I use them to make actual music:

    1. Alchemy (coupled with the PC version it’s just killer)
    2. Sunrizer
    3. Animoog
    4. Addictive
    5. Wavegenerator

    I also reach for the Novation Launchkey a lot. It IS kind of a toy but it’s an amazing toy!!!

    I also have Sampletank but I’m sooo disappointed with it. I have used it a lot, but can’t include it in a list of favorites.

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  41. I have bought/downloaded 54 apps of the music iOS music genre and I have to be honest all of them have their own good and bad points but one of the over-riding issues I have is that nothing I have tried actually keeps good time over good old midi. Not wifi not bluetooth I just want them to keep time over midi.

    They drop beats or they are just not suited for a live setup, which is what I want to use them for.

    Standalone – great.
    Audiobus – couldn’t give a damn about.

    iElectribe is the only thing that works for me
    Animoog sounds great and I do twiddle with it when playing live

    Apart from that iPad has been a HUGE waste of money for my live setup. Even the ioDock I bought doesn’t coup with SYSex.

    All in all the biggest waste off money ever. I would have been better off buying one piece of hardware that actually worked and I could trust during a live show….

    ……..sit back and watch the down-votes roll in *sigh*

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    1. Guys, why can’t you get over the fact that just because something has an Apple logo on it doesn’t mean it is the answer to everything.

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      1. Most of my iOS music software doesn’t come from Apple, but I do like GarageBand (as well as Apple’s Logic and MainStage on the Mac.)

        But GarageBand does have several annoying limitations vs. several other iOS apps (not to mention Logic), such as not being able to accept input on multiple MIDI channels, and no MIDI output.

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  42. I am hooked on Audulus. And it just keeps getting better. I have all the major ios synth apps and Audulus inspires and entertains me more than any other.

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  43. Thank you Audiobus for the killer app.
    Animoog – thanks for continuing to develop the app and fixing bugs. The sequencer is hard to use. We don’t need it. I’d rather have an arpeggiator/step sequencer performance mode view.
    (Hope they spend their time on other features or apps like Moog analog effects.)
    iMini – adding the filter-pads is a nice touch and makes the app. Great sound library – but not so easy to surf.
    Mixed together they sound great.

    DM1 and iElectribe – fun, but wish editing sounds and creating kits was easier.

    For the money, Novation Launchpad gets the nod for fun.
    I got Overdub but can’t figure it out and that was kind of a waste.

    Try iConnectivity if you are having midi latency issues. And most of the time, you can ‘fix’ latency issues with timing adjustments. I’m using an iPad 2 BTW.

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  44. i was thinking about this thread and it made me realize that there’s one thing i wish many of the synth developers would do: make it so you could e-mail patches to someone else who has the same ios synth. there are a few that don’t have this capability (addictive, animoog, for instance), and it seems kind of annoying.

    maybe some devs will be reading this.

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  45. I take some of my words back about the Nano Studio.

    Now to think of it, the Eden is still the most powerful synth in iOS if you consider its multitimbrality. Many synths stop after 2 or three instances, but NanoStudio handles 16 and still has muscles to carry two effects for every part + robust global effects section!!!

    And it sounds good too.

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  46. Let’s all take a step back here and remember that Eno and David Byrne made “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” with pretty much a portable tape deck, some cardboard boxes and kitchen spoons to hit them with. We have what we need…

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  47. 1) Jasuto Pro Modular Synthesizer – great for live perfomances, had granular things and sample hell years before of Borderlands and others
    2) Audulus – another modular beast, though imho more “studio work” and less “chaotic”
    3) Animoog – very beautiful)
    4) PPG Wavegenerator, Synthtronica (FORMANT!), DXi – great different synths
    5) TC-11 – what an awesome thing! TRUE touchscreen synth
    6) BeBot, good old BeBot) Still love it (though MorphWiz and GeoSynth nice too)
    7) Borderlans, Curtis, GrainScience – fun fun fun

    Honourable mentions:
    Cassini, Maggelan, Addictive Synth, Sunrizer, TweakyBeat (great drum synth yet simple)a

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  48. No interest in generative music apps, anyone? I could play around with the likes of SpaceWiz, Scape and Aura 2 Flux all day… sometimes all at once!

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  49. TNR-i.
    Tenori is a great virtual version of a unique music concept. My favorite music app.

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  50. ok, first, no offense but I cant get into synths like MC-11… I just prefer being able to play synth using an onboard or midi keyboard. Also I cant speak for synths I have yet to purchase, but from my arsenal at the moment , the ones I like best are
    1.Imini
    2.Sunrizer (especially the supersaws patch)
    3.Ims20
    4.Magellan
    5.NLog pro
    6.DXi

    I also like some of the synths and keys built into some of the DAWS I use, such as
    1.Nanostudio
    2.Garageband
    3.Beatmaker 2 ( not blown away by the sounds that come with the sampler, but the sampler itself is very cool if you want to import your own sounds and includes multi layering, and having different sounds in different key-zones.
    4.Musicstudio 2 (not the fattest sounding synth, a little GM sounding sometimes, but with everyone else seeming to make analog type synths, it gives me some nice alternative, and it does have a few analog patches)

    I also like the Impc a lot, not a synth, but but very cool, especially that fact that you can paste audio from Nanostio and other apps.
    I cant waqit for Impc to add audiobus. If it werent for it being an MPC app, I wouldnt have brought it. At this point if a synth doesnt have audiobus I probably wont buy it.
    And also, another nice app to check out is Neo Soul Keys!!!!

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  51. I know this thread is ‘older’, but after reading all the comments, I just need to chime in. I HAVE most of the obvious ‘top 10’, but some just don’t grab me. I TRY to like Magellan, NLog and Sunrizer, but haven’t actually produced anything with them. iMS20 was so exciting to GET, but it’s just too difficult to program(w/o my glasses).
    I am surprised so few have listed Alchemy. Alchemy and Animoog are used most, by far.
    There are some newer synths, like Modular that are great for ‘retro'(which is when I fell in love with synthesizers) but lots of LABOR. Looking at Thor, PPG and Nave, so still haven’t found The One… Okay- top 5:
    1- Alchemy
    2- Animoog
    3- iMini
    4- Cassini
    5- Addictive Synth
    (Modular Synth is a new toy, so could easily take a spot)
    I also use iMaschine and Yamaha Synth Arp for rhythm and such.

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    1. as an addendum, fallen away from the limitations of Alchemy! Magellan turns out to be great and The WaveMapper, Virtual ANS and new Cube Synth are getting a LOT of play.

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