Modular Synthesizer For iOS First Look

In this video, Tim Webb (Discchord) takes a look the upcoming Modular synthesizer for iOS.

Modular is a software modular synthesizer that uses a skeuomorphic interface, based on the design of traditional hardware modulars. It will be a free app that offers a collection of free modules that you can patch together. Additional modules will be available as in-app purchases.

The app is not out yet, but is expected to be available Sept 12th. See the Pulse Code site for more info.

Check out Tim’s preview and let us know what you think of Modular!

24 thoughts on “Modular Synthesizer For iOS First Look

  1. Migth be a good synth. But why, WHY use the hellish patchcord system on an virtual modular synth? It just looks cluttered and very confusing. And it is totally unessesary. Just look at Aalto. That has an engeniuos patchbay. Its a virtual synth, and Madrona used that fact to make a beautiful patchbay. Why not make ot V-modular synths like that aswell? Only reason I can see, sentimentality.
    And on a screen as small as the Ipad, the cluttering issue is _really_ present.

    1. It’s usefulness will depend upon the number and kind of modules that are available for it. I had a Nord Modular for years. It was incredibly versatile and came close to what I imagine a “real” modular synth could do.

  2. This looks amazing, especially for free, and only $5 for the module bundle?! I’m totally pumped for this. But oh my Jesus, what a boring demo. (Nick Batt has spoiled me, I think.)

    1. In my defense, the original title and description of the video clearly indicated that this was intended as a tutorial for modular synthesis, and not as some kind of promotional demo or preview or “first look” at this app.

      1. I apologize, I think the video was very instructive. Clearly, that’s what you meant to do, and you accomplished that task very well. In hindsight, I wasn’t so much bored by the video as much as I was the six-oscillator tutorial. Rather than view it as a quick start guide for Modular, I myopically viewed it as a how-to for something that I would never do, and so I found myself disinterested. Now that I’ve had a chance to play with the app myself, I can say that I might have had a quicker start for having watched your video. Also, you have other videos that I absolutely loved, so again, I wasn’t trying to attack you or your endeavors. Keep up the good work man, and sorry again.

  3. First of all, I liked the video. It was a nice introduction and it wasn’t hyping the synth. That first demo seemed well-prepared. (Let’s not compare it to the recent ill-prepared studio tour vid).

    As someone who doesn’t have a background with modulars, this video gave a glimpse of the pros & cons. On the pro’s side, great flexibility to patch modules in clever ways, follows a consistent flow so once you know the “laws” you can think within that system. On the con’s side, it looks like in order to maintain the realism of the modular components, there were some tedious features like having run through multiple splitters, etc.

    Where this all seems to be strongest is as a teaching tool. The fact that a teacher could have all the students load the free version and do a full-on lesson on modulars is very cool. Ultimately, some kids will really connect (pardon pun) with this type of work flow.

    1. Subjectively speaking, I find it appeals to the ADHD/OCD in me in a way quite similar to coding software, and that the experience is analagous (har har) to some of the attempts to make visual programming tools for education. Wiring together functional components that provide a relatively simple interface that abstracts the more complex implementation within them … I have made a decent living hacking that way for a long time.

      I was also thinking of a very, very abstract way of describing the way nervous systems seem to me to work … Neurons have a lot of stuff going on inside them, and are more than just switches, but instead are really weird signal processors.

      I may be taking that too far, I guess, but the important point is that Tim kicks ass for trying to enlighten the interested and tolerating the funny tone coming out of these comments. I don’t like all his videos, but I like that he makes them and look forward to every post.

  4. I didn’t dig the video either. Hate all these “tutorials”, they assume we cannot figure out apps for ourselves ( which is not difficult at all).
    Would be happier to see modular in action- making music, not noises actually.

    While the UI and concept are brilliant, I want to see WHAT IT DOES, not HOW IT DOES

    Because the video doesn’t really show the potential for making music out of this app with massive potential!

    We wanna see that we can make tracks with this thing, not mere noises, otherwise what’s the point?

    We have Thor, Nave, Sunrizer, Magellan et all, so for sure we can ride this beast too!

    Looking forward to it despite the awful video

  5. i wish these demos were a bit more creative and really show some nice patches and explore some of the endless (right?) possibilities. and i know it’s an introduction to modular synthesis or whatever, but i don’t see that. i just see a 12 minutes video of someone making a basic ADSR synth. why not showing something different every once in a while, not just the same old-“this is static, but look, if i connect an LFO”-business

  6. Come on guys. Tim is an ok dude. He gives us a lot of videos. Yea he might sound funny sometimes when he tryes to sound cool and goes down in pich and rasps his voice (sorry Tim, just seems a tad put-on to me ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Yea, I like Sonic State better. But hey, thanks to Tim for making videos of another kind ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I like Sonic State better too! Nick is my Hair and Spiritual Adviser.

      I’ve read Synthtopia for about 5 years, so I’ve been on the other end of this where I was ripping people apart too. Maybe it’s karma. I’m just happy every time one of my videos is featured. I’m mean… holy shit I’m on Synthtopia! How cool is that?

      1. Reading a lot of reactions it seems people think this is some official demo from the company, or some PR promo work. When it’s “only” a dude with a blog/site that is putting together these videos. It’s not easy putting together vids with this quality. Try it. Do it.

        You should continue doing videos, but just film yourself with the iPhone camera, and use the iPhone mic to pick up the sounds! Screw all the editing and all that too.

  7. VERY NICE APP—– a very good sound source
    but this is nothing like modular analog and you’re fooling yourself if you think so

    there is a reason why people spend
    $800 for a VM-1 CWEJMAN or $300 for a make noise Maths 2013

    1. i’d say it’s quite a lot like modular analogue. i don’t see how an emulation can not be “like” the thing it’s emulating. semantics aside, what i think you’re implying is that we’re all idiots for using virtual, and there’s something golden and awesome and probably “warm” about real analogue that we’re missing out on. you may be right, though i’m skeptical.

      there’s a lot of non-sonic reasons for virtual versions of analogue gear, too : cheaper, more stable, portable, more polyphony, memory, convenience, flexibility, integration with other systems. i’ve used big analogue modulars and they are a massive pain in the arse. this is free and i can use it on the bus.

      plus, and this is not relevant to my reply, but why all the hating on tim’s video? discchord is awesome. tim is awesome, and this is actually a pretty useful little primer on modulars, and better produced than 90% of internet “reviews” of apps

      1. ” what i think youโ€™re implying is that weโ€™re all idiots for using virtual, ”

        these are your words ………and your wrong

        i use virtual modular synths
        arturia – alto – tassman – circle -.
        more than half my set is in the computer or on tablets

        but i also use over $6000 worth of eurorack
        spread out over several feet and every function having a knob or a led

        may be it is better – for you – on a 10 inch or 7 inch screen
        — if you’re of the mind that this is better – you’re missing out on a lot of functionality

        – i am not going to try to change your mind –
        you’re never going to see my point

        meanwhile i don’t think Make Noise or WMD are shutting down production because of this app

        1. Now you’re making a quite different argument. The overwhelming tone of your initial post was hostile to virtual and the implication was clearly that virtual is inferior. I’m just saying the jury’s out.

          Also, its not entirely my words. You said people were “fooling” themselves. Doesn’t take much to parse the implication.

          It’s awesome that you have so much cool analogue stuff, if slightly odd that you feel the need to give a dollar value to it.

          And of course the boutique analogue manufacturers aren’t shutting down. They’re not meant to compete with this

          Which, again, is the initial point I was trying (perhaps poorly) to make.

          1. i think you read a lot into the tone of my post — ?
            i have never changed my argument.

            to make things clear – your a fool if you’re not using virtual analog an this point in time

            but hardware is quite different – so different- that the cost justifies this experience

            as for the cost – spending a few $1000 on something does not make you better than
            someone who does not

            1. FSK1138 your youtube vids are awesome, sir you are of a rare breed, that I would call a badass, for your dedication, keep up the ” Tight Work”, all your Maths R Mine!!! I want to get into analogue modular, I is going to take a lot of dedication, stuff is not cheap!!!

  8. I don’t know why people are ragging on you about the video.

    This app seems labor intensive with all the splitters, though. I’m inclined to agree that iPad isn’t the ideal place for patching, although I loved the iMS-20. Fun times there. But iMS-20 allowed you to patch to multiple ins from a single out.

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