In this week’s iPad / iOS music production app roundup, we look at melody tool Chordion’s new MIDI features, Arturia’s new iMini Minimoog app, a four-way effects processor called LiveFX, and an update to the already popular Sunrizer synth.
Olympia Noise Co. Chordion 1.2 (now with MIDI)
If you follow our blog you probably know that we have an affinity for apps and instruments that help non-musicians create complex melodies and chords in simple ways. With the release of Chordion version 1.2 last week, Olympia Noise Co. has gained our affection with an easy-to-use as well as MIDI-compatible application that allows you to “effortlessly glide through chords and melodies without the need for music theory.” While Chordion has been around for almost a year now, the addition of MIDI support makes this app much more useful in the studio. The app also features a number of synth presets, effects, four drum machines, an arpeggiator (with customizable patterns), and loads of scales and chords to choose from, including custom scales that you can create and save.
When we experimented with the software, it was a breeze to get Chordion playing VST instruments across a local network in Ableton Live with very low latency. A number of layout options allow you to easily switch between key, scale, and notes, with a piano roll that stays on the right side in all layouts to allow constant play. While Polychord has been my go-to app for scales and chords, I found Chordion lots of fun to play with and plan to give it some serious studio time in the near future. At $3.99 it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for some composition tools in the App Store.
Arturia are really on a roll lately. The French company (who first drew attention for their beautiful re-creations of early Moog synths) built their own analog synth last year, and now the company has released their first iOS synthesizer: iMini. The app is a re-creation of Moog’s classic Minimoog instrument, and shares the programming of the company’s award-winning Mini V software. And while Moog has been toying with new sound and interface concepts, this is the app that many synth enthusiasts have been waiting for: a proper Minimoog emulation on the iPad. The iMini has three oscillators with a classic 24dB-per-octave Moog filter, a plethora of touchscreen knobs for parameters, effects (such as chorus and delay), and polyphonic play. iMini supports MIDI as well as the onscreen keyboard, and it offers two x-y pads (like those seen on Korg’s iMS-20). The most exciting news about this app is that at $9.99, it’s the most affordable Minimoog we’ve seen yet.
Elephantcandy LiveFX DJ Effects Kit
Now here’s something that is just downright cool. LiveFX is an iOS effects processor that takes input from the built-in microphone, external hardware, or Audiobus and applies up to four real-time effects with touchscreen control. (It’s very much like a Korg Kaoss Quad.) You can access your music library through the program’s iTunes browser, or you can route any other iPad application that supports Audiobus to the effects. Four banks allow you to chain up to four effects together. Those combinations can be saved for later use, and the app comes loaded with presets to get you started. The app is free to download and try, but the full version costs $8.99 through an in-app purchase.
Beepstreet Studios have recently released an update to their immensely popular Sunrizer synth, and we’d like to take the opportunity to let you know that it’s still one of the best synth apps available for the iPad. The super saw emulation gives the synth a Roland JP-8000 feel, but with a multitude of oscillator and filter options that make the synth very versatile. The Sunrizer 2.5 update brings new effects, dual-band effects processing, stereo filters, a phrase sequencer, adjustable polyphony and support for Audiobus v.1.0.1. At $9.99 it’s one of the best deals around for this level of sound quality and performance.