Arctic Keys For iPad Review – Interesting, But Buggy

Reader Tim Webb, aka Discchord, offers his thoughts on One Red Dog Media’s Arctic Keys, one of the latest software synths for the iPad.

“Arctic Keys improves upon the standard Subtractive Synth model with an elaborate step-sequencer,” says Webb. “This is great for a rhythmic control over the parameters.”

Unfortunately, Webb’s bottom line on Arctic Keys is that it’s a really interesting new synth, but ‘buggy as shit’.

It’s important to note that Webb reviewed version 1.0.1. One Red Dog Media has been rapidly updating Arctic Keys, releasing several updates to address crashes in patch browser, problems that cause keys to stop working and other issues. One Red Dog Media has also been actively responding to issues raised by Synthtopia readers.

The current version, 1.0.3, currently has a four-star rating in iTunes.

If you’re an Arctic Keys user, let us know what you think of the latest version.

Arctic Keys is $4.99 in the App Store.


  • Synthesis: analog modelling
  • Polyphony: up to 4 voices
  • Oscillators: 2 per voice, alias free, saw, triangle and square with pulse width, hard sync, ring mod, noise generator
  • Filter: 1 multi-mode resonating filter with 4 filter types
  • Envelopes: filter and amp ADSR envelopes
  • Modulation: 2 LFOs with multiple wave shapes, sample and hold, 3 routable destinations per LFO
  • Effects: master effect processors: 3-band EQ, Distortion, Chorus, Stereo Delay
  • Arpeggiator: classic apreggiator with octave shift, MIDI-sync-able
  • Sequencer: 16×4 gated step sequencer with multiple modulation destinations, MIDI-sync-able
  • Keyboard: glissando, scroll, multi-touch poly pitch bend and aftertouch


  • Sonoma AudioCopy
  • MIDI Learn
  • Live phrase recorder with audio and MIDI export
  • File and patch sharing via iTunes File Sharing, e-mail and Wi-Fi
  • Supports external MIDI in and out via CoreMIDI Networking and USB with the Camera Connection Kit
  • Audio background operation
  • Virtual MIDI cabling
  • Open Music App Collaboration compliant

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