iOS / iPad Music Production App Roundup: Waldorf Nave, Propellerhead Thor, Alchemy Mobile v2

In this month’s iOS/iPad music production app roundup we look at Waldorf’s Nave wavetable synthesizer, Propellerhead’s Thor polysonic synthesizer, and an update to Camel Audio’s Alchemy Mobile app.


Waldorf Nave Wavetable Synthesizer

Renowned synth design company Waldorf has announced their first ever iOS synthesizer: the Nave “next generation Wavetable Synthesis for iOS. It’s been a bit of a wait to see this instrument appear in the app store (beta versions have been in development for some time), but it seems that Nave was worth the wait, sporting a graphic interface like nothing we’ve seen before and over 500 preset sounds from artists such as Mike Huckaby, Richard Devine, and Sacha Dikiciyan.

What is immediately most appealing about this synth is the beautifully designed user interface. From the graphic intro that takes you from the studio into the iPad to the three-dimensional waveforms that you can touch and turn, the attention to detail and usability of this app create an immersive sound design experience. The instrument is built around two wavetable oscillators and one classic oscillator (for more conventional sounds) as well as factory wavetables from Waldorf’s Microwave, Wave, and Blofeld hardware instruments. Taking this synth over the top is a 3-D wavetable editor, a classic Waldorf sounding filter, effects, four track recorder, and control for just about every parameter you can think of.  At $19.99 we think it’s one of the best deals around to get familiar with wavetable synthesis and a powerful addition to your sound design and music production arsenal. It also might be the most powerful synthesizer we’ve seen for the iPad so far.

Nave’s clear-cut GUI invites both beginners and advanced users alike to experiment both sonically and musically while the hosting iPad’s generous display helps make wavetable creation and editing a blast! Besides integrated speech synthesis, wavetables can also be formed from analysing audio files. Furthermore, stretching, rotating, and shifting in the spectral domain allows wavetables to be refined or distorted in the fullscreen Wavetable Edit Mode. Here users can edit and fine-tune the wavetables using several 3D views that are as easy on the eye as they are to use. And in a reverential nod to Waldorf’s illustrious past and present, factory wavetables from the breakthrough Microwave, mighty Wave, and price barrier-breaking Blofeld synthesizers are all present and accounted for, complemented by an abundance of tasty new ones that make extensive use of those enhanced possibilities!” – Waldorf 

Propellerhead Thor Polysonic Synthesizer

As if one incredible new iOS synth wasn’t enough, Propellerhead Software have also released a game changing synthesizer for the iPad this month with their re-creation of Reason’s popular Thor “polysonic synthesizer.”  The synth is a faithful re-creation of the computer based virtual instrument and features the ability to share patches with Thor for Reason and a unique iOS interface that pulls user-friendly features such as scale and key selection from Propellerhead’s Figure application. Thor also comes packed with over 1000 patches, some of which were designed by Dubspot curriculum director Chris Petti, who we spoke with to get his feelings on this new synth application.

“What makes this different from other iPad synths is that there is an identical counterpart in Reason. This allows you to use the iPad version as a highly portable extension to make patches and sounds anywhere you go,” explains Petti. “Any patch made on it can be synced into your iTunes shared library for the app.”

“I have often considered Thor a swiss army knife of synthesis capabilities, Petti continues. “It’s able to make hybrid synth sounds by combining different synthesis methods together. What really makes it unique is the patching capabilities like that of a true modular synthesizer. The signal path and routing allow you to make connections that are not possible on most VST’s and even on most hardware synths.”

Thor is now available in the iTunes app store for $14.99, a price we consider to be quite fair given the capabilities of this versatile synthesizer.

Alchemy Mobile v2 Synthesizer

Camel Audio‘s Alchemy Mobile synth for iOS has long been one of our favorite synthesizer applications on the market. This re-creation of the company’s award winning computer-based “sample manipulation synthesizer” brings many of the original program’s features to a user-friendly interface for the iPad. Version 2 of Alchemy Mobile was launched in April of this year with new features such as a four-track sequencer, drum pads, Audiobus support, copy and paste support, new presets, and improved graphics. Alchemy Mobile v2 is currently available as a free download that can be upgraded to a pro version (includes the ability to save and other handy features).

Click here to check out the previous app roundup                

Dubspot blog editor Michael Walsh is a  journalist, DJ, music producer, and Dubspot instructor. He believes in open-source ideas and advancing the evolution of music by sharing ideas that push technology in new directions. As a catalyst for of electronic music’s growth, Michael was co-founder of the Ritual Recordings house imprint, helped develop numerous club nights and events, and has curated music for corporate events with clients such as Nokia, Puma, and Betsy Johnson. Michael has been a professional DJ for over two decades and produces house and techno music under a number of aliases.