Z3TA+ For iPad Now Available, Bringing That Next-Gen Modulatable Waveshaping Synth Action


Cakewalk has announced that their Z3TA+ software synthesizer – formerly available for Mac & Windows – is now also available for the iPad.

Z3TA+ iOS puts the full power of Z3TA+2 onto the iPad – with hundreds of presets, modulatable waveshaping, dual mode filters, and flexible effects,

We were able to check this out with Cakewalk at the 2014 NAMM Show. It was clear that they not only were trying to include key iPad synth features (MIDI, Inter-App Audio, AudioBus, etc), but that they had also put a lot of thought into translating Z3TA+ to the iPad’s multi-touch UI.

Here’s the official video preview:

Feature Highlights:

  • Includes over 500 presets
  • User-friendly on-screen Keyboard and external MIDI control
  • Waveshaping synthesis with 6 Oscillators, 6 LFOs, and more
  • Modulation Matrix including 16 Sources, Curves, Controls, and Destinations
  • Advanced modular effects including Distortion, Mod, Compression and more
  • Performance section with Tap Tempo, assignable XY Pad, Mod Wheels, and Adaptive Pitch Bend
  • Inter-App Audio, Background Audio, and Audiobus support

Z3TA+ for iPad is available now in the App Store for US $19.99.

If you’ve used Z3TA+ for iPad, leave a comment and let us know what you think of it!

34 thoughts on “Z3TA+ For iPad Now Available, Bringing That Next-Gen Modulatable Waveshaping Synth Action

  1. Got it and it sounds great. Also managed to successfully load some presets from Z3TA VSTi, really cool.
    Not the cheapest app, but you get what you pay for – MIDI, IAAP and Audiobus is all in there 🙂

  2. Supporting MIDI/IAA/AB from day 1 is definitely the right way to do it!! Will probably get this once I have a device I can run it on.

  3. I have an iPad 3 and I keep holding off from iOS7. Pretty soon upgrading to 7 will be unavoidable. This looks just like one more reason to upgrade, along with Xynthesiser and Gadgets.

    1. I’ve upgraded my iPad 3 to iOS7 a while back. It’s fine. But,… things are so much snappier on my iPhone 5S, I’m thinking I need an Air.

      1. I’ve just upgraded my iPad 3 to a mini with retina A7 chip as Iknew I would have to for a long while now, the new mini has exactly the same specs as the air and uses less space, the big plus is the lower cost than the air.

  4. I just upgraded my last iOS 6 hold out just for this synth 🙂 in my Studio C iPad recording rig.

    (Hey – at least it freed up the iOS 7 download that’s been sitting there unsused since Apple pushed it…)

    There are some issues as folks over in the iPad Musicians FB group have noted. Some of the preset patches are CPU heavy and there is crackle on some even on a 3, but many are just fine. But – presets are not the be-all and end-all of synths like this by far.

    The wave shaping possibilities are very very nice! 6 Oscillators – lots of PWM possibilities. I haven’t owned the PC or Mac versions of this – so at $19.99 the iPad version is at a very nice price point to check this synth out and to use it in real production scenarios.

    Looking forward to using it.


  5. Been watching for this for the last couple of weeks. Of course, Synthtopia was right there with the scoop.

    Just downloaded. Everything seems as promised (!) I’m impressed with the synth muscle of this beast. Modulation curves!! Dozens of scales, some quite exotic.

    There are a few places in the interface where the controls are a bit small on an iPad4, I feel bad for the iPad mini users. The arpeggiator is binary-centric, rhythm-wise. Reverb is just ok. But these are very minor criticisms. Otherwise, this is a very impressive synth with features that were really thought through by synth people.


    1. CORRECTION: I just saw that the sync factors (all binary) have sub-menus with both dotted and triplet versions of the value.

      After further tinkerings, it is clear to see that they were struggling to balance keeping important things on few pages, but still making them workable. If they would have tabbed the mod-matrix and arp sections, both would have more room.

      Might need a panic button, did get a stuck note. It is a little unclear which aspects of the mod-matrix are global and which are saved with the patch. I need to learn more. The Mac Z3ta+ 2 manual is 200 pages. On the iPad, you tap the “i” and it gives you a few screen-tips.

      The flexibility in the structure is amazing. I expect that I’ll find some new strengths and a few weaknesses, but I already find both the sound and architecture to be much more accessible than the other biggies.

  6. 8 poly is ok, but how many timbres?

    If only 1, how about running other synths simultaneously? Can Air handle 3 synths with couple notes without problems?

  7. The bar has been raised again! Runs beautifully on iPad Air, not noticed and problems at all.

    Absolutely blown away by the sound, UI, the midi arp and the copy-paste sections of the synth idea – brilliant!

    Only one minor criticism is the patch management options – it’s iFunbox or iTunes only as far as I can tell.

    1. Forget the iFunbox and use iExplorer instead 🙂
      Works the charm 🙂
      Btw;WARNING iFunbox is regarded as malware distribution centre, be carefully what you use.

  8. In the computer version, Z3ta+ 2 will load scala tuning files. The iOS version only provides scales that are subsets of 12 tone equal temperament. And when those are selected it only affects the on-screen keyboard (by omitting non-scale notes).

    It does include the pitch-bend functions that constrain bends destinations to a selected scale. Weirdly (and perhaps cool-ly), you can set the pitch bend to a different scale & key than the on-screen keyboard.

    Kidz, you gotta try the smart pitch bend thing with chords. That is super-fun. Hopefully a future version will use the same scale list for both the bender and the onscreen keys (but still allow them to be set independently).

  9. Great synth, just as I expected. Lots of great sequences, pads and leads… I will run this in cubasis as VST, I guess there will be lots of audio freezing… I think I will trade my ipad3 in for a newer ipad, when the power is enough to handle several VST,s in cubasis… This moment will be very near I feel, I guess soon there will be a super power ipad, similar to a Mac laptop….

  10. One little annoying feature is the tune function. First of all it is the tiniest little tap area. Second, you can only tap to increase by +1 cent. So if you want to tune to -1 cent, you have to tap 99 times (up to +50, which then wraps to -50, then up from there) !!!

    Overall, I’d say the main problem with the app is that they tried to cram everything onto only three pages, and thus had to make the edit fields WAY too tiny. If they spread things out over five pages, it would actually make everything MUCH easier to deal with.

  11. Z3TA+ iOS has set a new standard for synthesis capability and flexibility on the iPad, but where it excels in synthesis, it fails miserably in user-friendliness. So here are some concrete suggestions for improvement:

    1) *****The interface is CRAMPED! Try spreading the functions over more global tabs to give functions (and fingers) more room.***** Personally, I’d recommend an OSC/FILT tab, an ENV/LFO tab, a MOD tab, an FX tab, and an ARP tab (this could allow the arp function room to grow in future updates, as currently the arp’s in-app midi editing functionality feels a bit restricted IMO). At present, everything is stuffed into just three tabs, unnecessarily cramping the workflow and making accurate tapping a chore. You’ve done a great job recreating the Z3TA+2 feel and layout in the iOS version, but sacrificing ease-of-use to do so seems like a poor tradeoff.

    2) *****Use more pop-up dropdown menus (as in the WAVE tab) or scroll wheel menus (as in the SCALE tab) instead of the endless tapping required for some parameters.***** For example, transposing an oscillator to -1 currently requires literally 24 (cramped!) taps…that’s ridiculous. With a scroll wheel, it could be reduced to just 2.

    3) *****Double-tap a parameter to automatically return it to its default value.***** This is a quick fix that would speed up the editing process.

    4) *****Allow for easy soloing of individual oscillators.***** Currently we can mute individual oscillators, but to hear just one, we have to mute all the rest individually. With the current cramped interface (see #1), this means soloing requires numerous labored taps. One solution without additional buttons would be to double-tap an oscillator’s On/Off button, or to tap-and-hold it to solo.

    5) *****Add “Overwrite” and “Save as” to the PGM menu.***** Z3TA+ iOS crashes sometimes, so to avoid losing work, I save patches regularly; but with the current “Save” button (which effectively works like a “Save as”), I have to retype the patch’s name every time I save. Not a big deal, but pretty annoying and presumably a quick fix by just adding an “Overwrite” function.

    6) *****Show small previews/pictures of the oscillator waveforms in the dropdown waveshape menu in the oscillators section.***** The desktop version has such previews, and it’s helpful. With no pictures, the waveforms’ names can be pretty opaque. Especially if the functions are spread out (see #1), I bet the extra room would make implementing these waveform previews even easier.

    7) *****Create an “Undo” function to undo the last step in editing.*****

    8) *****Provide a way to copy-and-paste states.***** This would allow users to quickly duplicate all of an oscillator’s specific parameters quickly, or a filter’s, or an envelope’s, and so on. Just to speed up the editing process.

    Suggestions 3-8 would be awesome, but aren’t strictly necessary as there are currently workarounds, however irritating and crude. But Suggestions 1 and 2 are ESSENTIAL, as there’s no way to avoid those totally dumb problems. It seems like these criticisms have been around since the app first came out, so I would prioritize fixing #1 and #2 above the rest.

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