Revisiting the world of AppRegret…
Part 1 is here : AppRegret
So, since I last posted a rant about apps I regret buying, I have spent more money on more apps, and I regret some of those too – so here is AppRegret Volume Two
Now I have learned my lesson somewhat, many apps have sales and rather than pay full price for apps I loiter around the Twitter, Appshopper and the iOS Music blogs looking for pricedrops on any of the apps in my wishlist – and then I pounce and buy them. This is a lot like fishing, and makes Friday afternoons way more interesting because that is when the pricedrops usually happen.
Oh dear, oh dear oh dear oh dear… I love Addictive Synth, I love it in a way that might be slightly unnatural for a man to love his app, but I love it nonetheless. I bought this because it came from VirSyn and, you know, if Addictive was as awesome as all that this must also be awesome….. it isn’t. While it looks like it has real potential, even the developers weren’t able to get a decent sound out of it, as evidenced by the presets and demo song. Almost every new synth I buy manages to make a guest appearance on at least one track I do, but not this one… the sequencer really is horrible too. This makes me sad, I blew the full price on it too.
Fun. Really really fun. I am not using it as a music making tool though, just a really fun toy. There are plenty of people out there whacking 4 samples into Glitchbreaks, jamming around and posting the results up to Soundcloud, but I tend to use it like Figure to spend a happy half hour jamming with myself. I spent $5, it was worth $5. Also Alex puts out updates to fix/improve things all the time, so I know my $5 has bought me a LOAD of hard work by the developer.
Does exactly what it was designed to do, which is amuse the muso for a few minutes. Great for jamming and playing with on a shortish bus/train journey, creating a nice groove, and then leaving. My kids enjoy it too, a 5 year old can create a banging club track in a few minutes, and that is really cool. It can be used as a music making tool too, in the most recent release Propellerhead built in the ability to save projects, export projects and also have loop sizes up to 8 bars long. I have used the resulting loops as the basis for one track (to prove it could be done) and the result worked well. It’s a LOT of app for $0.99
I once dated a woman, briefly, who gave great head but who was, in every other way, incredibly dull. Synthtronica is a bit like this – it has one really sexy trick, that you can sweep a bunch of fingers about in the filter section, make lovely sweepy noises, and use the resulting sounds as formants that you can, in turn, sweep your fingers around over to make more sweepy noises. However everything comes out of synthronica sounding exactly the same, it’s a synthronica sound with sweepy filter noises. The rest of the UI is awkward to use and once you have used one syntronica sound, you’ve used them all. It is a very sexy trick though… I paid $5, knowing what I know now I would have paid $2.50…
Where Arctic Keys has great online videos, Sunrizer (originally Horizon) synth suffers from really shitty online videos. I had watched them and had no interest in this machine at all. Then Sunrizer XS (the iphone version) was on sale for free, I put it on my ipad and loved it, great sounds, great presets, fantastic functionality. I promptly stumped up $5 for the ipad version (well, not that promptly, I used the XS version for some weeks and on a couple of tracks first). I use sunrizer frequently and it is excellent. I do not like the arp editor (especially having used the excellent arp editor in Addictive Synth) but that aside I am very happy with it.
I have used SampleWiz on a few tracks now, but I am not a fan of the interface, if you like Jordan Rudess’s UIs then this will work for you but I find it very irritating. This is a stylistic thing, I have a lot of time for what Jordan does, but it is a distinctive style and, like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. Also annoying is the frequency of crashes, the locking up of the audiocopy/paste functionality which means restarting the app and, most importantly, the horrible “SAMPLEWIZZZZZ” that comes blaring out every time you start the app. It is possible to do good things with Samplewiz, but the overall feel of the app is a gaudy toy rather than an app you can do serious work with.
I bought this because it was on sale. Must have been in an app buying mood. Has a bunch of electric piano, harpsichord, bell type sounds, which are all very nice, and some knobs you can tweak to do some FM Synthesis things to those sounds, which mostly means making electric piano sounds all clangy, dischordant and metallic. It is a solid app smoothly executed, and if you like FM sounds it is a quick and easy way to get those sounds, just pick a preset and twiddle the (not too large) array of knobs, but I shouldn’t have bothered because I don’t use electric piano sounds and I had already bought….
Back in the day I owned a Yamaha DX11 and got fairly good at programming sounds with it, I figured I had forgotten that FM Synthesis stuff but half an hour with DXi and I was making all the sounds I used to make with the DX11… nice little app, only cost $2. To my ear FM synths sound too harsh now for me to use them much. Good for Bass sounds though.
I bought this on sale about a day before Magellan came out. I had’nt read good things about it but I will buy any synth labelled “pro” for $3!! It is actually very good, great sounds. Interface is a little crappy but a nice warm sounding synth that was worth what I paid for it.
Yonac seems to have been unpopular in the world of IOS apps in the past. I was put off buying Minisynth Pro and Minidrum because of the reviews. Magellan is amazing. Really. So much functionality, wonderful (and plentiful) presets. 2 synth engines with 3 oscillators apiece. Nice arp editor and good iMS-20 style sequencer, and a whole bunch of other stuff. As soon as I bought it it made my top 3 synths on iOS, and I only paid $5 intro price. Fantastic – a really REALLY good buy. No idea what the full price is/will be but knowing what I know now I would pay $15 for this (which is what I paid for NLogSynthPro) happily.
Cassini – Came out at the same time as Magellan and also on intro price, no way I was going to pass up a pro synth for $3. Not really very impressed I have to say, it crashed on me first time I used it, and there seems to be a bug with the arpeggiator that causes the sound to cut out and/or the keys to get locked on. The presets have helpful names like “A01” and “A02”, there are not many of them and they tend to feature big spacey pads, which is apparently the strong suite for this app. I haven’t used it yet. I sometimes bung big stringy pads into tracks and if I do I may use Cassini, but the crash/bug issue has soured it in my mind somewhat. Definitely worth the $3 I paid, but doubt I would pay more.
Again I picked this up because it was on sale. I used it in one track and probably will again. Easy to use and sounds good. Fun to play with. iVoxel is on sale as I type this and I am tempted to buy that too… because it is on sale… but I am not a big vocoder fan so this may just be an attack of discount-fever.
Update – I was a bit drunk on Saturday and bought iVoxel – it is fun, and well executed, but it’s still a vocoder dammit, what did I buy it for (because it was on sale, that’s why), I also bought Bassline… remember what I said abut more 303 synths in the last rant. Cramming it up my arse as I type. (Actually I am not because it isn’t quite a 303 emulator – it has a pulse wave, so my arse is safe for now….)
Coming soon – appregret, drum machines!