Waldorf Nave ‘The Most Impressive iOS Synth’ Yet

Waldorf has announced the availability of Nave, its first synthesizer app for the iPad.

Created by a power trio of Stefan Stenzel (audio algorithms), Rolf Wöhrmann (iOS development), and Axel Hartmann (graphic design), Nave turns the iPad into an advanced wavetable synthesizer.

Sound designer Richard Devine – who created presets for the new synth – calls Nave “the most impressive iOS synthesizer I have laid my hands on to date.”

Here’s a video preview of Waldorf Nave and its synthesis capabilities:

The video features Nave sounds, with no external FX or external processing.  All sound examples were directly recorded in Nave´s 4 track recorder.

This next video looks at programming sounds in Nave:

Here’s what Waldorf has to say about Nave and its synth architecture:

The Nave sound engine includes two novel Wavetable oscillators with sonic possibilities way beyond the scope of conventional wavetable synthesis. While the spectrum of a sound can be transposed independently of its pitch, the waves can be rendered from perfectly periodic to very noisy and anywhere in between. Especially sounds with an accent on formants can be produced easily, which made us integrate a speech synthesizer for the easy creation of wavetables, enabling Nave to talk and sing.

Nave comes complete with over 500 presets from highly acclaimed sound designers like Richard Devine, Sacha Dikiciyan (of Sonic Mayhem fame), Laurence Rapaccioli (Arksun), David Boldini (7 Skies), and Fletcher Kaufman (Sunsine Audio), amongst many others. All seriously showcase the depth and diversity of this impressive and inspirational iOS synthesizer – so much so, in fact, that Richard Devine was suitably moved to create no fewer than 95 presets alone, all of which are included in Nave.

The clearly structured GUI invites both beginners and advanced users alike to experiment both sonically and musically while the hosting iPad’s generous display helps make wavetable creation and editing a blast. Besides integrated speech synthesis, wavetables can also be formed from analysing audio files. Furthermore, stretching, rotating, and shifting in the spectral domain allows wavetables to be refined or distorted. Several 3D views in the fullscreen Wavetable Edit Page make editing easy and visually appealing. All factory Wavetables from Microwave, Wave and Blofeld are included, complemented by new ones that make extensive use of the enhanced possibilities.

In addition to the Wavetable Oscillators, Nave offers an oscillator module featuring the novel Überwave that can fatten your sound by up to eight detuned oscillators.

The filter offers the familiar outstanding Waldorf sound, featuring lowpass, bandpass and highpass with either 12dB or 24dB slope.

The Drive section offers different characteristics, and it can be positioned in the signal path: before or after the filter, or as a summing overdrive before or after the equalizer – for those who prefer harsh screaming sounds over delicate Wavetable sweeps.

An extended modulation matrix and diverse real time control functionality is waiting for animating Nave sounds in any desired direction.

Besides the classic virtual chromatic keyboard, Nave can be played with the “Blades” that allow for dynamic triggering of polyphonic modulation by sliding the fingers in x or y direction.

The 4-track recorder can be used to build your own Nave songs or to simply sketch your music, inspired by the sounds of Nave.


Waldorf Nave Specifications:

Per Voice:

  • Two independent advanced Wavetable Oscillators
  • Osc module with up to 8 oscillator Überosc, shapes sawtooth, triangle, PWM, white or pink noise
  • Two Ring Modulators
  • Multimode Filter with LP,BP and HP, each either 12 dB or 24 dB
  • 3 Envelopes
  • 2 LFO
  • 10 Modulation Matrix Entries
  • Drive with adjustable curve, depth and position


  • Modulation Effect with either Chorus, Flanger or Phaser
  • Delay
  • High Quality Reverb
  • Three band parametric Equalizer
  • Compressor

Additional Features:

  • Keyboard with adjustable size, scrolling and glissando modes
  • Blades with musical scales and optional chord mode
  • Polyphonic X/Y finger modulation on keyboard and blades
  • Modulation Wheel and Pitch Bender
  • Up to three X/Y Control Pads
  • Four Track Recorder with clip based editing
  • Core MIDI in/out support
  • MIDI device manager for external hardware and virtual connections
  • Sync to MIDI Clock or WIST
  • MIDI Learn
  • Audiobus compatible
  • Background Audio
  • Arpeggiator
  • Polyphonic Unisono
  • Speech Synthesizer for Wavetables
  • 3D Wavetable Editing
  • Generation of Wavetables from external audio files
  • BeatMaker & Sonoma Audio Copy / Paste Support
  • Patch Management with unlimited user banks and categories
  • Import / Export audio and sound patches from iTunes

System Requirements:

  • iOS 6 or higher
  • iPad 2 or higher

Waldorf Nave is now available in the App Store, with an intro price of US $11.99 (normally $19.99).

81 thoughts on “Waldorf Nave ‘The Most Impressive iOS Synth’ Yet

  1. nice !

    now bang in the algorithm in a chip, pack the whole thing in a box with 2.5 octave KB, throw in a dozen of knobs and a bunch of sliders, with midi in/out, stereo out and USB for editing and DAW integration, price it at 600 eu and you have a winner.


    1. I think Ipad apps for music are amazing sound modules. This no one can take away. But as far as the ipad literally as the input device… Its useless if you need to multitask and look away and keep playing

    2. Here ya go 🙂

      Kong MicroKey 37-Key USB Midi Controller by Korg $89.99
      Korg nanoPAD2 Slim-Line USB Pad Controller, Black by Korg $59.99
      Korg nanoKONTROL2 Slim-Line USB Control Surface, Black by Korg $58.05 (above are today’s amazon prices USD)
      iPad mini $329.00
      USB hub, CCK, MIDI I/O $60

      All for under £400… well, the £7,99 app might push it over

    1. Whoever thinks Apple products are obsolete after five years is going to have to convince my 15 year old iMac that it’s not supposed to work anymore . . . yet it does. Apple products may cost more than competitors, but they last a lot longer too. My 7 year old MacBook pro is also going strong, no need to upgrade yet. The 9 year old iPod could use a new battery, but works perfect otherwise. Where do people get the idea that these things don’t last? Haters gonna hate.

      1. Maybe you heard about the iPad 1 being obsolesced (for all intents and purposes) after only 2 years. It is stuck at iOS 5.x forevermore. You can indeed still use it, sure. Hell, I used a Commodore 64 back in the mid 90’s. It was still obsolete.

        A friend of mine was telling me he had an older iPod Touch, which was likely under 5 years old, but which was totally useless for running much of anything on the App Store. Even all the jailbreak links he could find on Google no longer covered his version.

        1. I have an iPad and it does everything it did when I bought it and more, and has been reliable as hell.

          Now the iPad 4 is four times as fast and can easily run apps that would bring my iPad to its knees. That’s the way technology works, and iPad 4 buyers would be pissed if developers handicapped their apps based on the original iPad.

  2. I have beeen waiting on this one since it was announced.
    I will download as soon as I get home from work!!!

  3. Why is it that some people who obviously use the best equipment to make the best music have no idea about the real world? Anytime an IOS app is released that seems to be an improvement, the hardware crowd feel the need to initiate a dick-swinging contest.
    These apps are not for you. I just bought this for about 50 times less than the $600 hardware that somebody mentioned. Am I expecting $600 worth of performance for 12 bucks?
    These are the kind of tools that start musical careers. Do you think a single-mother is going to waste rent on a synth for their 6 year old who has an interest in music?
    We know your feelings, I even agree in principle – but grow up!

    1. it’s not about ranting or complaining or mortgaging the future or ditching Apple tools etc… As far as I am concerned, I find the ipad very useful and the apps price have completely redefined the rules. Among other things, I think we all love the fact to be able to get apps for this quality for this little price (excluding the ipad costs, but rapidly amortised, or cost spread over many pas). Without the apps, many of us would never have been able to experiment cools instruments (eg, the Korgs etc etc…).

      Now, I have an ipad myself and loaded many apps. But I noticed that when it comes to making actual music, i personnally am more at ease with a Mac and a combination of hardware and vst synths. I never really managed to integrate the ipad in my set up. Some other manage well, I don’t. I guess it’s a mater of taste, flowing habits, interaction with instruments, etc…

      So, we’re only saying that : the ipad app is great. But given the boom in small keyboards boom (see latest NAMM & Messe), the (falling ?) costs of hardware, a keybooard version could also seriously be contemplated.

      Since nobody complained about the price gap between an (eg. Arturia) Moog emulation in ipad and the actual mini moog, AND the fact that the 500 to 600 eu seems to be a sweet spot for mid range keyboards, then I think this is a right range to consider.

  4. Quite frankly anyone who is still going on about how hardware is so much better is missing the point, trying to justify to themselves their expenditure, or just plain stupid… this is incredible!

    Get over yourselves and come and join in the fun or piss off because your opinion is worth nothing!

    1. Got it in one pal. Just have fun, if that is on a $2 app or a modular system worth tens of thousands. My ideology only gives me one go around, so I can’t be bothered learning the harp!

    2. Except no one is saying that, someone merely said it would be cool to have this synth in a dedicated hardware box, and you guys decided to make it into a software vs hardware fight.

      1. In isolation and without the winky, maybe I would say that I was being hypercritical. My intention isn’t to start an argument, because there is a point in what hardware guys say. However, in the threads I have looked at in the past, there is unecessary overtone of superiority – which, by the logic of far greater financial outlay required should indicate better musical outcomes!
        It’s all about perspective, and these apps give budding musicians something cool and fun to tinker with…and maybe move up from – but less likely if they are made to look like idiots.
        I must admit to having made my point, I’m not going to get into a slanging match when my intention is to observe a possible fracture with the community. For interest most of my stuff is inspired on the ipad but perspired on Ableton.

      2. Hehe I just wanted to revel in the … I told you so moment! It was more in response to Damian’s post than anything else, I should have replied to his post instead of posting generally, but I hereby declare Nave as definitive proof that iOS is more than capable and here to stay in the music world!

        This is the BOMB!!!

        I have deadlines for work this evening and it’s tearing me apart… It’s just sooo sooo good!

  5. AppStore search doesnt hit it yet. I found by seeing Waldorf Rocket Control then touching related and then it shows nave. Time for fun!

  6. Downloaded earlier. Holy God, it’s Bad.Ass. So much to create with. So responsive. Sounds and looks beautiful. Rolf, I for one salute our new synth overlord…..

  7. I’ve just been playing with and tweaking the vast array of presets, getting used to the interface, and you instantly get a sense of how much effort and thought has gone into everything; it’s beautiful.
    Oh yeah, and it sounds…..as good as I was hoping – different to PPG and Animoog, although it has the depth of PPG and then some, it has the immediacy of Animoog.
    The price is a bargain to say the least. Between this and Galileo, another excellent week for iOS users.

  8. The filter to my ears doesn’t sound very good. It’s very cold sounding. Of course, maybe that’s the point?

  9. It’s like animoog and the PPG stuff made sweet love and then had Rosemary’s Baby. Looks great…now where’s that .pdf!

  10. i think this is going to be very rewarding for people who like ios synths. [for those who don’t, well, why bother reading 😉 ]

    about 30 minutes in i’ve done two patches that are pretty cool. the app seems very intuitive and friendly.

    rolf did a good job with nlog and has done another great job with nave.

  11. a little disappointed that it doesnt support iOS5/first gen ipad… both were still supported products when this was announced back in march ’12…

    i had all but given up on this synth ever seeing the light of day (waldorf afficionados from back in the day will recall the waldorf refrain, “sooooooooon….”) but im a little sad that im going to have to buy new hardware to run it. oh well, needed to do it anyway….

  12. Richard Devine says Nave is “the most impressive iOS synthesizer” but until Jordan Rudess weighs in I ain’t buying.

  13. What a beauty !!!!! Presets sounds a bit icy to me, more like ppg than animoog, I prefer the roundness of the animoog sounds, but got to start tweaking to make then like i like it. What a great synth! Inside the i/oDock works great sounding !!!! Like to compare with the Blofeld, think it’s pretty close.

  14. Had 20 mins through the ipad speaker before work, and I can already say that it’s the best synth since Animoog, and it makes my Wavegenerator and Wavemapper purchases a joke.

  15. Bought it this morning and just came up for air after an hour long test drive. Wow. Simply put this is freakin’ awesome! An easy top-5 iOs music app. Time to dive back in…

  16. I’ve been disappointed in wave generator in terms of stability, especially using external MIDI. It’s put me off buying wave mapper.

    Is Nave stable?

    1. It’s lagging a little bit on 3. generation ipad. Annoying. No idea how midi works. personally i like wavegenerator more. But nave is must-have anyway and for the price it is great!

    1. Will never happen. At Google I/O they just reinforced again, for the third consecutive year, that Android sucks and will always suck for professional audio.

      Get over it, get a device with a decent realtime OS…

    2. Will never happen. At Google I/O they just reinforced again, for the third consecutive year, that Android su cks and will always s uck for professional audio.

      Get over it, get a device with a decent realtime OS…

    1. Win 8 has a lot of cool features ( I run it on my PC), but even Microsoft fanboys like me have to admit that they botched the Windows 8 release.

      They confused the hell out of everybody with RT and know people think Win 8 sucks. It actually runs great on my PC, but I am looking forward to the update and seeing less of metro.

  17. Playing with it for about an hour now, mostly via tinkering briefly with various presets. First impressions are that this is a very good synth and well worth this intro price. I don’t regret the purchase at all and am certain it’ll find a place in my workflow and future projects.

    That said, it’s not knocking me out to the extent Animoog did the day it arrived. Partially that’s the result of a lot of ‘icy’ presets as mentioned above (although there are sporadic warmer, deeper presets in there that show the app can achieve much more) and it’s partially the result of the preset designers not making much use of things like the blade keys’ potential. The potential is there and they’ll often default to the blade view, but frequently there’s nothing mapped to the X nor Y. Perhaps I’m missing their reasoning for defaulting to blades rather than keys. Again, I’ve really only been using this a short while (relative to what seems to be in there) and am relying on the presets to give me a view into the breadth of the app. Only made my way through about 2/3rds of the presets (there are a LOT), so perhaps I’ll see better use of some of those features as I move forward.

    I also agree with another poster above that it’s at moments very sluggish. (I’m also on iPad 3.) Some patches take quite awhile to load. And as nice as the startup screen intro with the 3D environment looks it’s going to grow more frustrating over time to have to wait that out just to get in to the app (although won’t be nearly as frustrating as IK’s pre-app ads). I also wish the keyboard lock and resize was a quicker process accessible from any playing screen rather than somewhat buried the way it is.

    Hope that all doesn’t come off too negative. Very happy with this one at the intro price and think I’d still be at the future twentyish dollars price. And I’m pretty certain I’ve yet to tap the surface of what’s buried in this app. Perhaps there are also settings/options I’ve yet to see that allow me to bypass shortcomings mentioned above like the opening screen and such. These are just my first impressions. But if somebody who could only choose one asked me right now for a purchase recommendation between this or the similar PPG or Animoog apps I’d suggest Animoog. (If money was no option, they’re all great.)

  18. I’ve really enjoyed Animoog,Alchemy,Addictive and Sunrizer but this one takes the cake.It’s very easy to use and sounds great. I feel like I got a $1000 synth for twelve bucks !

  19. Playing it on the iPad 2 and its kind of crashy. It sounds amazing, and possibly it can be debugged. It has been crashing whil I was trying to record.

  20. I can only say Waldorf gave us an excellent intuitive synthesizer with loads of potential and sound quality. The interface is superb and helps to get great sounds with ease. As you can expect with Waldorf the filter is very good, I also appreciate the”analog” oscillator with PWM. Have fun!

  21. Chord features are very good and waveforms give a wide tonal palette. The filters, effects and wave shaping options definitely sound very virus-esque. Worth the price tag no doubt. Took long enough, but good things come to those who wait I guess.

  22. Awesome App…..downloaded it and it took me away from the Tornado activity going around me in Annapolis Md yesterday…thank you to all who had their minds and souls…creative juices…past experiences…etc…in develping this and bringing it to fruition…This is One Heck Of An App!!!

    Thanks to all!!!!

  23. no randomize features!!? Can’t find any info in the manual about this. Not that it SHOULD have it but that’s how I like to work. Altogether an amazing piece of work and really great sound. Overall, I think I prefer the workflow in Animoog but I’m just getting started and won’t know for awhile…

  24. Um- this works great on my iPad 3. Not sluggish at all. Of course I have not pushed it through Audiobus yet. That will be the slug test. Everything else works amazing. I am digging the sounds and the UI. My iPad is just an extra tool in an arsenal of hardware and software. Of course I wish I had all the hardware versions of iOS synths but then I don’t have an extra couple of grand to plop down. The sounds are very cold and I like them that way. Great app and well worth 12 bucks.

  25. I am a big fan of Waldorf. But this product really disapointed me. Not impressive at all. The looking is much better than the sound, nothing new… too thin/cold sounding, not comparable to Classic Q/XT,or even Blofeld/and Largo. To my ear, Lago has a traditional Waldorf sigature sound. But none I could heard from Have. Even for Richards Devine’s sounds are also boring to my ears. I would rather Waldorf turn Largo into a stable IOS version than developing the Nave. The nave has familiar Waldorf wavatable, simiar algorithm for driving/filter/FX sections . But the sound comes out to be familar to plenty of soft synths with watable engine………..

  26. Hmmm… “not impressive at all”? Seriously, man?

    Have you listened to it through something other than the iPad speaker? Try that first and then get back to us, thanks!

  27. Does anyone else hear a crackling / clipping sound when holding multiple keys together? It seems to occur especially when holding more than 3 keys. I’m running Nave on iPad 4 with the latest updates. I can hear it both on headphones and the ipad speaker. I’ve tried it on multiple presets including the Init preset.
    Great iPad synth otherwise.

    1. have you seen what else is open? some of the synth apps don’t play well together.

      try closing some of the other apps and see if it persists. (you may need to restart the iPad.)

      i’ve had this issue with various synth/drum machines apps.

  28. All I’ve seen is a goofy vid of someone making a terrible analog brass sound, does anybody have a link to a simple video of the nave synth showing all of its presets?

  29. All the presets? @K Theres 500 presets.
    I dont like being forced to register nave with my email to get the manual. I didnt register.
    I would like the manual. Annoying.

  30. I agree with some of the other reviews that the presets are all a bit “in your face”, but I was able to get some really nice sounds after just a few minutes of playing around.

    The biggest, and killer, issue is that it crashes after more than about 30 seconds of recording. As I don’t have an alternative way of recording the output, that’s pretty much a deal breaker, and unless an upgrade comes out soon to fix this, I’ll likely have to ask for a refund.

  31. Same problem here, Nave freezes with iPad 2 when recording, first there are some clicks and pops in audio. Hopefully will be fixed soon…

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