Ive been so caught up with just writing reviews, that I have neglected the main purpose of my blog, the experiences of making electronic music.
Yes reviews are a part of this, but I didn’t intend for that to dominate.
That said, I wanted to take a moment to write a bit about my music, and my favorite lesser known apps I think also deserve better recognition.
Since I started composing music on iOS, way before the iPad was around, I used only my iPod touch. I was picked up unexpectedly by an indie music label run by a friend, and very respected electronic music artist, Dean DeBenedictis (AKA Surface 10) of Fateless Music.
At that time very few people were taking music made on those early devices seriously. He recognized my unique bond and commitment to what was at the time new technology. I didn’t even realize it, but learned that I was pretty much alone pioneering what Dean called “serious music on an iPod and nothing else.” Was I THE first? Probably not, but I definitely was one the the very first few to take it seriously, and not even use any computer aid, no midi.
Now having experienced the iPad, it’s hard to go back. I still use my iPod Touch for some things. Just not as much as back then.
I’ve seen and used so many music apps I feel very comfortable with talking about them. I believe I have a solid handle on what’s great, average, or poor regarding iOS music.
I own a lot of high profile music apps that are staples in my work flow. They have already had loads of attention, and for good reason. I also have many that are not as well known, but relatively speaking, are just as good. Here are a few of my favorite lesser known music apps!
For an ambient electronic music artist like me, this synth is very nice. It’s a formant synthesizer with virtual analog, and vocoder sounds. There are many preset sounds to use, and many do sound similar with only subtle variations, but Synthtronicas real strength is it’s ability to bring in sounds made in other apps to create new formants.
I also can record anything through my iPad mic, or iRig to create some really unique sounds. It has this dynamic multi touch filter with 11 independent filters to control by touch. Depending on how I slide one, two, three or even more fingers around the filters play surface the effects can be subtle to very dramatic. Of course while doing this, recording the performance is an option. I used this synth a lot in my song “A Matter Of Rain”. It’s a fantastically expressible synth. Sounds made can have a big personal touch.
Crystal Synth XT
This really deserves a lot more respect. It’s a full featured semi modular synthesizer using both subtractive, and frequency modulation synthesis. It has 90 controllable parameters of modulation, multiple envelope stages. It has wave sequencing, and granular synthesis, a crazy amount of options to tweak, stages of FX, LFOs, A band splitter for FX Processing by frequency band. I could go on and on and on, Cyrstal is a synth tweakers dream! This is the synth I go to for making lush, evolving sounds unlike anything else. Don’t let the strange playing surface sway you, it really works nicely.
This is another somewhat lesser known music app that I use often. It’s a 12 track, generative music lab, with live FX. The 12 tracks are uniquely laid out like cells where you mix your music. It’s quite capable of standing alone as a full audio workshop. However I use it for other purposes, FX. The FX suites in Mixtikl are amazing. This is where I take files in need of that certain something, that I don’t always have available in some apps. It has Chorus, Reverb, Distortion, Filter, Overdrive, Delay, EQ, and compressor. 4 tone generators, and 3 FX control units. You can chain up to 4 FX. The order of the FX in the chain have a huge impact on the sound. I might not like Reverb, Delay, EQ and reverse the order of the chain, and a whole other dimension opens up. Not only do the FX have several presets to use for quicker application, but you are free to adjust each by the various knobs.
Best of all, record the new sound with these FX added, copy, and paste with them all intact to where ever you wish. In my case MT DAW.
I should mention as well, that Mixtikl has a huge library (380+) of included Generative Parts of many different styles, and lots of ambient electronic parts to use. They don’t sound like clips you’ve heard to death already, and you can always cut them up, or edit them elsewhere making them your own. It’s up to you.
So in the interest of not going overboard I’ll stop with these top 3 of my favorite lesser known music apps.
These are not mini reviews, these are my opinions based on my needs and how I use them in my music. I feel strongly about the quality, usefulness, and creative design of these superb music apps. I can’t do without them, and I hope more people will take another look at each.