Making music on the go has never been easier! We’ve already covered some of the best DAWs for iOS and Android, and now it’s time to take a look at best synthesizer apps to go along with them. Mobile synthesis has come a long way, so you can easily create new synth patches and jot down sketches anytime, anywhere. Many of these synthesizer apps are scaled down versions of full virtual instruments, so the quality is high. And better yet, they’re also extremely affordable!
Sunrizer is a subtractive synthesizer by BeepStreet. It has two analogue-modeled oscillators capable of outputting standard waveforms (saw, PWM pulse, triangle, and SuperSaw). The SuperSaw recreates the Roland JP-8000 synthesizer, used by innumerable artists over the years. From BeepStreet:
“Sunrizer synth is a virtual analogue synthesizer that takes the definition of iOS synthesizer to the next level. Thanks to carefully designed architecture and heavy usage of co-processor, it blurs the boundaries between iOS and hardware synthesizers. Sunrizer was built to perform and works perfectly with any MIDI keyboard or sequencer. A lot of research has been done in order to achieve unheard warmth and clarity.”
All of this for just $9.99 on the iOS App Store.
Waldorf Music’s Nave is a wavetable synth for iOS. For reference, popular wavetable synthesizers include Native Instruments’ Massive and xFer’s Serum. Check out the blurb from the manufacturer:
“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.”
Nave is just $19.99 on the iOS App Store.
Arturia’s iMini is a faithful mobile reproduction of a MiniMoog synthesizer. Recreating the MiniMoog sound isn’t easy to do, but for just $9.99, Arturia has done a remarkable job creating one of the niftiest synthesizer apps available. Arturia explains:
“iMini is a recreation of Dr. Bob Moog’s classic 1970 synthesizer, possibly the most famous synthesizer of all time. Based on the TAE® technology found in our award-winning mini V software, iMini offers a level of sound quality never before found on the iPad as well as over 500 sounds by leading sound designers.
“To support Bob Moog’s legacy, we are donating a portion of each sale to the Bob Moog Foundation to support their work in science and music education via Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool, their work to preserve, protect and share Bob Moog’s archives.”
No list of synthesizer apps would be complete without something from Moog themselves. The analogue legends have tapped into the mobile synthesis market with their Animoog app, slated as the “first professional synthesizer for iPad.” Designed specifically to take advantage of touchscreen technology, the Animoog is intuitive to use whether you’re experienced with synthesis or just delving in for the first time. The app was also nominated for a TEC Award. From Moog:
“Animoog, powered by Moog’s new Anisotropic Synth Engine (ASE), is the first professional polyphonic synthesizer designed for the iPad. ASE allows you to dynamically move through an X/Y space of unique timbres to create a constantly evolving and expressive soundscape.
“Animoog captures the vast sonic vocabulary of Moog synthesizers and applies it to the modern touch surface paradigm, enabling you to quickly sculpt incredibly fluid and dynamic sounds that live, breathe, and evolve as you play them.”
This synthesizer app is $29.99 on the iOS App Store.
Named the “most powerful and genuinely useful percussion app on the App Store right now” by Computer Music, BeepStreet’s Impaktor is a must for on-the-go beat-making. It’s also a steal at just $4.99, giving anyone access to quality drum sounds. The synthesizer features 90 presets and variety of tones ranging from acoustic drums to industrial ones, and the onboard recorder gives users 6 tracks to lay grooves down.
The Impaktor is available for both iPhone and iPad.