Thor Polysonic Synthesizer For iPad Is ‘A Synth-Geek’s Dream Synth’

Propellerhead Software has released Thor for iPad – a new iOS synthesizer that the describe as ‘a synth-geek’s dream synth’.

Thor for iPad is a port of Reason’s flagship software synth and turns it into an expressive musical instrument for the iPad.

Thor highlights:

  • iOS port of Reason’s Thor Polysonic Synthesizer
  • Load any of the 1000+ expertly crafted synth patches, or create your own from scratch.
  • Create your sounds using a palette of multiple oscillator and filter types.
  • Play Thor using an expressive touch interface keyboard with aftertouch and strumming.
  • Collapse the keyboard to a key and scale of your choice, just like in Figure.
  • Move your favorite patches from the iPad to your computer and use them with Thor in Reason

Here’s the official intro video for Thor for iPad:

On the iPad, Thor comes with a specially designed interface that’s optimized for touch control and the iPad screen. Cleverly designed panels expand and fold at the touch of a button to hide or reveal oscillators, filters, envelopes and more.

The app is divided into three main screens: Keyboard, Knobs and Routing.

Keyboard mode features:

  • Piano keyboard with transpose and range control
  • Modulation and pitch bend controls
  • Assist function lets you select key and scale to highlight chord notes or to collapse the keyboard to only show the chord notes of the selected scale.
  • Strum function lets you play arpeggios by holding a chord while strumming across the strum control.
  • Two assignable knobs and buttons acts like performance controls
  • Settings for polyphony and portamento

Knobs mode features:

  • Access to all of Thor’s synthesis features
  • Three oscillator slots for Thor’s six oscillator types: Analog, Wavetable, FM Pair, PhaseMod, Multi Osc and Noise
  • Three filter slots for for Thor’s four filter types: Low Pass Ladder, State Variable, Comb and Formant
  • Three envelopes
  • Dual LFOs
  • Delay and Chorus
  • The Knobs screen is divided into panels that expand and collapse at the touch of a button
  • Miniature keyboard to audition your sounds as you are working on them

Routing features

  • Comprehensive but easy to use routing matrix lets you create complex modulation and signal flow setups
  • Step sequencer with 16-steps and six channels: Note, Velocity, Gate length, Step duration, Curve 1, Curve 2

General App features:

  • Patch compatible with Thor in Reason on your computer
  • Move patches to and from your iPad using iTunes
  • Sound bank with more than 1000 Thor patches from leading artists & sound designers (Kill the Noise, Richard Devine, Chris Petti and many more)
  • Gorgeous retina display interface
  • MIDI in – play Thor from an external MIDI source or from another app on the same iPad
  • Audiobus compatible – stream audio from Thor to another audio app on the same iPad
  • Audio in background option lets Thor keep playing in the background when working with other apps.

Here are audio previews of Thor:

Note:  iPad 2 or later recommended.

Thor for iPad is available for US $14.99 in the App Store.

71 thoughts on “Thor Polysonic Synthesizer For iPad Is ‘A Synth-Geek’s Dream Synth’

  1. Come on how about the title that its a ‘Soft synth geeks dream synth’ cause to be honest , it has no real value to anyone into actual synthesisers .

    1. “be honest , it has no real value to anyone into actual synthesisers ‘

      It’s your comment that’s of no real value! For the rest of us, we’d like to know when really powerful synths are introduced that only cost $15.

      This is a no-brainer purchase for anybody with an iPad.

      1. It is funny how people forget that Ipads do not grow on trees and in the uk the minimum price is 400 pounds upwards.
        You can buy pretty much a lot of ‘proper’ synth for that money. A credible user interface is needed with Ipads. So the idea is not extreme that Ipads aren’t the best thing to be buying to make music on.
        I think they might give people a taste of synths but that is all. I think sometimes people seem to think the Ipad generation is where it is at. Having years of experience of music tech. To me it is as valuable as a tenori. Well done those of you with I pads , congratulations for assisting in Macintoshs wealth, but side by side, 400 quid would buy some very nice hardware that will last way beyond any tablet.
        Nord rack,Jp8000.Novation, Juno 106,Korg gear, Mpc 2500 all these can be bought for the price of a ipad.I have yet to see anyone with a a tablet change two parametres at the same time. When I found out that Ipads where not touch sensitive , I burst out laughing when someone demoes their virtual ‘piano’ on one.

        1. Well iMini sounds pretty damn close to some exponentially more costly hardware that does not run on batteries. Nave is pretty deep too, and Animoog support poly-pressure aftertouch (so it works great with your eigenharp). Beatmaker is a nice sequencing tool and compare well with an MPC…

          So I got an iodock, a nice akai keyboard with pads, a few really terrific apps running simultaneously listening to different midi channels. This have cost me about $1000 but it’s a joy to use.

          Also, netflix and some kind of real life hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy (I use mine as an omni-cookbook )

          1. Your opinions are strongly held but misinformed. You can change two or more parameters at once. You can get velocity and aftertouch from the iPad alone or you might want to play it from a hardware keyboard. Not sure where you are buying the equipment you listed from but if you can get those for that price then I’d like to know where. If you bought at iPad then you could not only get this for a low price but several other items, meaning that once you’ve bought the hardware, software is very cheap.

            1. I guess you were not replying to me but the original poster…
              I totally agree with you!!!

              I’ll just add that I sequence about everything midi with BM2. I only got two hands a not that much coordination: so recording midi CC on separate passes is the only way I am able to do it! But yes, having more hands, all the sliders on the keyboard work at same time, yeah midi !

              If OP wants a velocity sensitive input on the iPad without a external kb, there’s an app for that too… Magellan does it with the accelerometer and it’s surprisingly good (and it outputs it in midi too) !

        2. not touch sensitive? You mean my keyboard for ipad doesn’t work for this app or any of my other awsome affordable synth apps?

        3. “Nord rack,Jp8000.Novation, Juno 106,Korg gear, Mpc 2500 all these can be bought for the price of a ipad”

          so what you’re saying is that you’d rather just fiddle about on your synth than write tracks? how might you produce a track with just a JP8000 or juno 106? wait, i’m sure you mean to buy one of those pieces of gear AND a computer? or should i spend $15k extra on a vintage studar 8 track tape machine? that makes even more sense!! thank you!

      1. If I spend the time to create a sound I want it to stand out, I want to make the paint that makes a picture I’d like to be involved in. So far iPad synths sit in the poster paint categories, I like my water color software synths and dream someday of being able to afford some real oil paints like an oberheim or a nice Jim Bowen piece of hardware for 100 times the amount. I think I’d rather save up and buy one oberheim rather than a thousand iPad synths that sound rubbish. iPad is a cool controller and works okay as a rompler. I mean come on, who is going to be impressed by the sounds you make out of your iPad?

        1. You mean come on, who is going to be impressed by my obscene discretionary income with an iPad synth?

          If you consider yourself as an actual artist, stop posing naked in your grotesque ignorance, begin with drawing with charcoal… That would be impressive!

        2. It sounds like you don’t realize that Bowen’s Solaris synth is also an digitally modeled synth – or that his name is John Bowen, nor Jim Bowen.

          Save up that money, though! 🙂

        3. Are you kidding? I’ve made (and heard people make) many sounds with Animoog and Audulus that I’ve never heard before in my 20 years of being an avid electronic music fan. And I have a whole room full of wavetable, fm, and analog synths. IPAD has HUGE potential. Quit hating

      1. Yeah, 3 oscillator, 3 filter synth with flexible routing, 13 space mod matrix , step sequencer, wavetables, loopable envelopes….
        Ho hum……how generic….

    1. Will get Thor pretty soon, but I already have Nave.

      Sometimes, affordable “products” feels knowingly castrated by their creators: it might be so their higher end products might get cannibalized, or that it enticed the user for in-app purchases (I’m looking at you Animoog midi-out ):( ) or it might simply be a bit botched (Arthuria iMini, FFS WTF with the midi support!)

      Nave is none of the above, it got huge balls full of love!
      I would consider it as Waldorf /Wavetable synthesis Magnum Opus:
      very complete, sounds great… combined that with that price and it’s flabbergasting.

      I like Nave a lot.

      1. Yeah, so much of it is great, but Nave is completely, all out insane. I love that little skeuomorphically gorgeous 4 track, but mostly, the sounds! WOW! It has a bit of the Animoog in it, but also more timbre diversity. Animoog needs some new sounds. Fantastic, but it would be interesting to hear it pull off something a bit more airy, less metallic sounding.

    2. You can’t go wrong with both. I expect the following will not be a popular opinion but I really like the sound of the wavetable oscillator in Thor. It compares favorably – which does not mean better than or sonically equivalent to – my PPG 2.2 keyboard. When wavetable position is modulated by key (octave) and the filter is bypassed it’s very easy to get the classic PPG sound in Thor especially when using wavetable 13.

  2. Figure’s synth engine under the covers is Thor … so does this mean that at some point we will see this new standalone Thor iOS synth integrated into an update of Figure?

    1. It would be cool if Figure could read your custom Thor patches – it would make Figure way more interesting.

      This should be a feature they could add, either by letting figure read Thor patches or by a cloud sharing approach.

  3. the ability to create patches on the go that i can use in my daw is just GREAT!!! i wish it would be possible to export figure projects to reason as well

  4. Happy belated father’s day! Nice surprise for the morning. And yes, it IS ‘A Synth-Geek’s Dream Synth’ Lots of flexibilty, nice sound and so much more portable than that Moog Model III that I leaned on back in 1979!

  5. Second thursday in a row that I’ve woken up to a new high quality synth app release. A trend I hope continues!

  6. I’m loving this!

    Animoog, Thor and Nave are the iPad synths to beat! They’re all amazing!

    That said – I’d like to see Propellerhead push the envelope a bit more and let us use Thor as a MIDI controller for Thor in Reason. Just map the MIDI so we can control it wirelessly! Also, let us wirelessly sync patches?

    1. I was confirmed that it works on iPad 1 on PH user forum. iPad 2 and above is recommended tho. I have iPad 1, I will have to test when I get home. Cant wait.

  7. “Load any of the 1000+ expertly crafted synth patches, or create your own from scratch”

    Does this mesn it’s own native format or can it load / import patches from the desktop version?

  8. It is my favourite module in Reason and I just bought it. It is every bit as amazing on my iPad 2 as it is on my mac. So deep and powerful. It took me while to get into it, but it’s totally worth the time.

  9. I have to give props to the Props: getting rid of much the evil dongle requirement for Reason 7, and now bringing Thor to the iPad!!!

    I concur that the ability to use the same patches on desktop and iPad is pretty fantastic – it’s one thing that I really like about NLog, and it’s awesome to see it in Thor and Nave.

    I would also like the ability to easily swap patches between iPolySix and the PolySix RE and AU versions. And Korg: we’re still waiting for the iPad versions of the Mono/Poly and (heheheh) the M1 (though I’m looking forward to the latter on the Nintendo 3DS – “house” “piano” FTW!)

    But Thor is definitely a favorite, largely because of its groovy flexibility for everything from Phase Distortion to cross-modulation/basic FM to supersaw-like sounds. The only bummer is its CPU usage which drives me back to Subtractor followed by a unison module to thicken it up. My dream is to have all of Reason’s instruments implemented with the new audio routing in iOS 7… 😉

  10. Great synth but on my minipad and on my iPad 2 some sounds are affecter by a lag problem, ( i remember “a new balde” in polysynths); i hope they Will fix everything by a little optimization patch

  11. This thing is so resource-rich, it led me to wonder when enough really is enough. When you have 20 types of synths, don’t you stumble over diminishing returns after a certain point? I used to have a lot more gear, but I gradually found myself spending too much time fiddling with it and too little PLAYING it.

    I deleted three good name software synths that represented too much duplication and disk space. They were good learning experiences, but I outgrew them. I passed on a dedicated additive synth because I have a mass of waves I can stretch to suit the sounds I’d want from that angle. I carefully sampled the Best-Of sounds from my hardware, accepting the limitations of living with snapshots part of the time. (One piece really needed to retire anyway.) I’m looking at two new plugs only because I can’t duplicate what they do any other way. The result is that I get more done and enjoy it more because I have things honed to a good working palette. The things I most need to have be instinctive are streamlined now.

    So where do you lot draw such lines? Do you have several VAs because you really feel that there’s a big tonal difference? Do you have four plugs that do resynthesis?
    What’s your really-need-to-just-want ratio?

    1. Good problem to have, Fungo!

      I think it’s great that we’re getting such inexpensive software synths for the iPad and that the quality of them is getting better and better. Yeah – you’re going to delete a few – but compare that to being stuck with a $150 plugin that you don’t use.

      1. Great point. But I have become attached to some of the ones I rarely use! It is a great time to be a musician when you can delete one great instrument, and still have a whole whack of amazing sh&t that if you rely more on your creativity than on your need to have every sound in the Universe at your disposal, you can still go out and create some of the most amazing new sh&t in the Universe!

    2. Nice. Great that you can get over the attachment to all that amazing stuff. I am having a bit of a hard time with it, but too many options can indeed become a big problem…

  12. My biggest sigh or complaint is I haven’t been able to buy Nave yet let alone Thor. I am in a position where I can spend $15 on an App but have to be cautious of when and how much I spend given my current economic situation that $15 is needed elsewhere for survival.

    1. I can understand your frustration – but remember that synths cost as much as a house in the 60s and as much as a car in the 70s and 80s.

      I can remember drooling over the cover of Switched On Bach or over gear in Keyboard magazine and thinking that I’d never get a chance to play anything like that, let alone own it. Fortunately, technology has changed that!

    2. Nave is stunning and will keep you going for months, if not years. The only “reason” I will get Thor for iPad is to bounce stuff back and forth between the two platforms. I just find I don’t do that so often. Would rather keep Reason on my Desktop. The patches in the ad? I don’t know. So many of these new synths (Animoog, Magellan, Sunrizer, Nave, not really a synth but who the F cares Samplr, etc.) sound so bloody amazing, I already am overwhelmed by Sonic Options for Sound design, Composition.

      But trust me: Nave IS extraordinary.

  13. I have problems with midi implementation, i sequence it with genome and thor receive all midi channel even if you choose just one in thor midi menu, this makes impossible to work with other apps…

  14. Imagine if they added this to Reason. The option to enable a synth to full touch screen mode. I’d have to buy a touchscreen laptop/tablet and a copy of Reason again.

  15. This is NOT a real synth. Real synths have stage cred. Real synths show the world how much money I have when I take pictures of my gear in lieu of making music. Real synths cost more than $500, and were made over 30 years ago.

    1. Everybody knows real men use CVs not midi!

      It’s like a Dungeon & Dragon real life game, special items with magical abilities!
      -400 points if it’s a virtual analog meh
      +200 for wood cheeks.
      +400 for Black Forest wood cheeks.
      +600 for nonstandard CVs.
      +1000% chance of critical hit: my god a SOVIET MADE SYNTH WITH GERMANIUM TRANSISTORS AND TUBES! I never heard of it and can’t read cyrillic: AWESOME!!!

    2. REAL synths make you feel like a proto-human putting his palm on the Monolith in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Example: playing a big Prophet-5 pad through a Lexicon reverb and feeling my sternum turn into a black hole. Yeah, *that* kind of impact. 😀

      1. multitouch that black shiny monolith, power simple words nor marketing hype can describe…
        you can even bring it to the loo.

        iPad fuck yeah.

  16. Oh god, a Propellerhead product on the iPad…it’s the negative comment apocalypse

    Seriously good news, and yet another reason for me to buy an iPad (still haven’t taken the plunge!)

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