Retronyms Intros New Phase Distortion Synth, Digits

Here’s a sneak preview, via Retronyms, of their latest software synthesizer, Digits.

Digits is based on phase distortion synthesis, pioneered in the classic Casio CZ hardware synthesizer. 

Note that Digits is still in development, so the video demo features a pre-release version of the synth, before it’s been ‘skinned’ by a graphic designer.

Desktop Version


If you like the sneak preview, you may want to check out the desktop version of Digits, which is a free download for Mac & Windows. The plug-in version of Digits is a couple of years old, and features a minimal interface.

Here’s an audio demo of the plugin version of Digits:

Pricing and availability info for the iPad version of Digits is to be announced.

If you give the plugin version a try, let us know what you think of it!

20 thoughts on “Retronyms Intros New Phase Distortion Synth, Digits

  1. And that entirely free desktop version slipped under my plugin-radar how? I think I know what I’m doing tonight!

      1. I may be in the minority, but I think Tabletop has a much better workflow than Audiobus.

        And also you can load more than one instance of a Tabletop instrument like iMini, which you cannot do in Audiobus.

        1. the point is not that tabletop is bad. the point is that it is restrictive and its apps not fully functional outside tabletop.

          1. Yeah, I have complicated relationship with tabletop. On one hand I love using beatmaker, cubase and gadget for beatmaking. (Beatmaker mostly becuase it works on the phone) But I love (mostly) impc pro and without wist or midi sync, it is only usable in tabletop. the IAA effects make this limitation somewhat better but still frustrating becuase the problems go both ways in that apps for tabletop have limited midi implementation and the apps not for tabletop just don’t work in it obviously. This really grinds my gears, but mostly on principle becuase compatibility is the #1 issue with ios music right now.

            All that being said If i just stick to impc, iprophet and imini, I have a blast and making music is seamless and flawless, almost as good as gadget. That is until I want to put iSEM or animoog or nave, or Wavegenerator, or… Etc, and then I get mad all over again.

            1. It has turned into that I have 3 “ecosystems” on my ipad, one for tabletop with iprophet, impc and imini, one is just gadget and then finally cubase with audipbus and all my other apps. This really seems to fragmented to me personally. In any case im hoping (fingers crossed) for the DAWification of gadget, I have IAA effects and synths with a freeze on save feature or something. Gadget nailed the touch interface perfectly and now I only want to use gadget when i get on my ipad.

  2. More synth without proper midi… yawn!

    I don’t actually know this, but given their perfect track record in fucking this up it would be a real shock if they hadn’t!

  3. Retronyms is the software alter-ego of their partner Akai. They introduce one incomplete product after another and then quickly move on to the next “big thing” while leaving a trail of bugs and missing features. When questioned about it their inital response is “..oh we’re working on it but can’t say when or if it will be completed.” I just received an email from them promoting their “Wej” box as the ideal companion to their iMPC app. I asked them what about the missing export features they promised to add to iMPC Pro 3 months ago. They replied that that is something they have no immediate plans of working on because they are too busy with other projects. They obviously favor quantity over quality. sigh

    1. The people to complain to would be Akai, since they hired Retronyms to develop iMPC Pro.

      I’d guess that Retronyms can’t make any changes to iMPC Pro unless Akai says to do it.

      1. I have contacted Akai numerous times in their forum. Their reply has always been that they will pass along the suggestions to Retronyms. Retronyms is clearly calling the shots.Someone in Akai’s Contractor Management Dept. is asleep at the wheel. They have allowed Retronyms to profit from the MPC name but hold back on features such as Audiobus that they feel would compete with their Tabletop product. Arturia was shrewd enough to not let them get away with those shenanigans.

        1. Actually, there are bugs in iProphet that Retronyms can’t fix themselves because they also exist in Arturia’s VST and it’s up to Arturia to fix them. (Source- a Retronyms dude on Audiobus forums). So the licensing and collaboration makes things complicated sometimes.

  4. someone take their camera away, I’m tired of seeing their crap, and they film a lot of it.

    “i heard a few new CZ style synths came out, we would whip one up. hey throw the wedge in the video”

  5. I once played a CZ-101 and rather liked the odd slot it occupied between FM and analog. My personal ears are not jazzed by its basic tone as a sound-generation design, but its perfectly useful. I took to additive and sampling over PD, but with a little effort, you see its pluses over time. It does great bells and pads in particular. I mated my CZ with an analog DCO synth and a wavetable synth, which was a powerful palette o’ fun. This is one of the last areas of synthesis to get a software makeover. If you’d prefer some alternatives, click the link. VirtualCZ got it extra-right, but there is also a free Ableton pack and a few other freebie models.

  6. that audio export bug you are talking about was in the original impc, I asked them to fix it the day the original app came out and they said they put a service ticket in and would fix it. they said this twice, they never did fix it and now it’s in the impc pro, I’ve asked them to fix it, now they don’t want to fix it and talk like it’s a feature.
    I love this app but I am extremely unhappy about how they are responding.

    1. Yeah they left a lot of bugs ine original iMPC, but the one I was asking them about was actually a feature that worked pretty well in the original iMPC. It was the MPC desktop export which allowed you to export your entire projects ,including kits and sequences, from the Ipad and load them directly in the MPC desktop software and continue working on them. It was a great feature but was left out of the ‘Pro’ version because they didn’t have time to finish it according to Retronym’s reps. They said that they would have it ready shortly after the release, but after 3 months they now say it is no longer on their list and they have moved on to other projects.

      1. Its amazing how Retronyms can’t fix an export feature to a desktop product that they have direct access to yet Korg was able to implement a seamless desktop export to a 3rd party app. (Ableton Live) in their latest Gadget update.

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