GeoSynth app review

Virtually Amazing!

Original Review based on use with iPad 1 and iPod Touch 3GS, Additionally used on iPads 3 & 4

 Now available in the iTunes app store:

UPDATED: 7-19-2013
GeoSynth now supports Audiobus! It’s been a really long wait, but it’s finally become far more useful. Geo has been a fine midi controller, but was stymied by having no significant updates for ages. That’s over, and GeoSynth joins the ranks of the best and most useful music apps.

It’s been one helluva push forward for new iOS music apps and Virtual Core MIDI recently. The technology is really a happy accident of sorts. Developers are exploiting some electronic doorways to create a feature that allows us to have MIDI controllers on our iDevices that control other apps running in the background on the same device. Cool huh? No more wires needed. Of course the standard wired MIDI support is featured for those who still enjoy being tethered to their external hardware. GeoSynth is the latest to exploit the Virtual Core MIDI feature (VMC), and brings us probably the most unique of virtual MIDI instruments with a very logical and colorful interface.

Easily one of the more expressive playing surfaces that can be configured to fit your playing styles.
A lot of attention went in to GeoSynth to be a premiere live performance instrument utilizing the touch surfaces of which ever iOS device you prefer. It’s hard to not feel like you’re playing a futuristic instrument from Blade Runner or something. Tapping and or dragging your happy fingers on the cells and anywhere in between, and exploring the wicked pitch bendy responses between notes makes for a grand time. It’s truly a spectacular instrument, and way too much fun to play!

For more information on GeoSynth visit Wizdom Music:

GeoSynth features many of Jordan Rudess’ custom sounds. The team really chose some very cool sounds for the 40 presets covering a fairly wide range of moods and flair. If you aren’t satisfied with those, well, it’s a MIDI instrument so go get your own. No problem. I’ve been enjoying all the presets offered, and exploring Geo as a VCM controller for Arctic Keys running in the background on my iPad1. Very cool, but I found that my iPad1 is grossly under powered. The quality of the experience diminished in result. However with some careful tweaking of the settings, and trying to not do too much all at once, I was able to enjoy the pleasures of VCM, and Arctic was able to record my brief session which I then was able to copy and paste elsewhere.
Which brings me to my next point, and serious gripe.
Being such a technological advance that Geo is, taking great advantage of the newest wireless capabilities as well as supporting standard MIDI connectivity, there is NO recording, or audio copy paste? To me, it’s a glaring omission that defies logic. I might even call it a blunder. It’s quite baffling to have such an advanced virtual instrument that plays and sounds so damn amazing, but utterly fails to include the most fundamental of expected iOS music app features:  record, and ACP.
To be fair if you are already hooked up to an external set up or whatever, don’t care about mobility, and love your cables then rock on, this is perfect for you.
For the rest of us, this lack of basic sharing many of us have come to expect renders the instrument inert. More or less a very cool toy.

I did email Wizdom Music and asked, WTFrak? I received a very nice response from customer support that, and this isn’t a quote, but for sake of being brief boils down to this; development is ongoing, there always remains the possibility of additional features being added to satisfy users. Vague, but not a hopeless response.

Whatever the case is for the future of GeoSynth, and no matter it’s present day offerings, it IS a very nice, highly entertaining virtual instrument with huge possibilities. Geo is ground breaking, and loaded with easy to use, high quality features. You’ll find a nice long reverb, stereo delay, gain control, octave, adjustable 5th harmonics synthesis, easy connectivity to SampleWiz accessing its waveforms, attack, release controls, and low pass filter with resonance. There’s a lot that GeoSynth offers. It does exactly what it says it does, exceeding my expectations as a MIDI instrument that is insanely fun to play!

This is perfect for live performances, and is highly responsive to user input on the fly.

For more information and support visit Wizdom Music

GeoSynth is too cool to pass up.  Be patient.  If you’re like me and feel a tad maligned by its lack of basic recording and audio copy paste features, I believe it’s a safe bet they will address this soon. Fingers crossed.

I’m scoring it twice.
3 Stars for folks like me who are entirely wireless, waiting for Recording and ACP.
5 Stars for those wrapped in wires, and not concerned with mobility.

Either way, it’s pretty damn nice! Now available in the iTunes app store:

Updated: Feb- 17 – 2013

No Update!?!?!?
I thought it curious that despite the developer comments, GeoSynth updates have not been err…updated. What the flip?

* Previously I had entered a lot of my own opinion in this updated review. It turned into some rant. Really I should not have. This is a review not an OpEd. I also suggested this is of no use as anything but a MIDI controller. That was stupid. Of course its used very well as a controller. That’s what it is after all. I made the wrong point while I was displeased with the lack of progress. Sorry to my dear readers for that absurd comment. My point was to suggest that having this developed a bit more for a wider range of uses and convenience is what has been lacking. It doesn’t desperately need Audiobus as whatever it controls (Such as virtual midi) sends the audio from its AB input to record in whatever output. Its just a bit of a hassle not being able to start the recording from within Geo. I would be more forgiving if it hadn’t been so very long without any significant updates.

The issue that I failed to express concern for was about trusting further development. Geo is a great controller. One of the coolest around. The question really is, should it be bought considering its not seen any significant developments for over a year? Part of what I weigh my recommendations on is trust. I think that is important. That said, and despite how much I like Geo, I can’t honestly recommend it as is.

ACP was spurned, then offered as an expected compromise, then forgotten. Audiobus has arrived ending the AudioCopy/Paste debate, and (Thank God!) the need. Will GeoSynth ever grow?

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15 comments

  1. Cool, but no acp. Vcm should do most of the tricks. But man, riders really needs to pay more attention to visual appeal. Design is important too, even if secondary to sound.Do you need an e-mail from me to enter the contest? You know my address by now… 🙂

  2. By the way, as angry as I get every time I hear the words "Audio Copy Paste", I really am happy to see this review. 🙂 It's an honest assessment, and you aren't alone in thinking this.

  3. Rob Fielding has left a new comment on your post "GeoSynth app review": Hey SmiteMatter. I can explain. 🙂 You could say that not having ACP is my decision basically. I don't speak for Jordan or Kevin, but for myself here. Days before we shipped, the issue of it not being included came up; and I (forcefully) suggested that it's better to ship and get people playing first. I would prefer to never add this feature actually, because it's the wrong solution and we need to spend time on right solutions so that the wrong solutions die. It's a live instrument for doing full, long tracks. There's plenty of stuff out there for doing little loops of weird sounds, so I decided to ignore the problem while trying to get iOS apps to consider actual background-recording. Background recording is a real-requirement. In-app record and ACP is an insufficient hack that takes effort to code and test.Compared to Mugician, the extra complexity to put in Geo's features pushes us up to the limits of memory and complexity that I can vouch for as being safe on stage, as the iOS model is to give you warnings and crash you if you go above the magic number of bytes that you can allocate. Even without this issue, it's really ridiculous that every app is supposed to be a controller, a synth, and a little mini track-recorder at the same time. While everybody is busy making a controller-synth-daw full of visual doodads, they are doing stuff that's so wrong that it doesn't actually matter that it works at all because it ends up being *unplayable* anyway: We got apps that think that a 1024 buffer size is reasonable (holy moly! 23ms buffer and jitter!). Almost every keyboard has keys smaller than fingertips, and either lock you into a scale so that you can't play accidentals, or give you no real octave range, or weak touch handling with respect to note overlaps, and the continued attempt to make keyboards fit onto iPads and iPhones. So given my limited development time, I focused on what I think matters, and just ignore what everybody else is doing better than I can do anyway.So my take on this is to get the controller right. In the future, I want to make a pure controller because it's a waste of resources for every app to be a controller-synth-daw when they can communicate. The sharing of audio resources is a problem too because of all things running in the background you end up with the latency of the worst app. Ideally, ONE app is rendering sound, ONE app is recording, and ONE app is controlling in the foreground, with possibly multiple apps doing some automatic beat-synced stuff in the background (drums, arps).The messaging for correct fretless-capable MIDI is far and away complicated enough to keep me occupied. This controller has replaced my guitars and basses and I have been eating my own dogfood since Mugician. So I picked my battles, and shipped because I have been working on this app for a very very long time – Pythagoras started in January (it became Geo), and will fall apart from inconsistency if it continues to evolve without the restraint of real-world feedback. Geo Synthesizer was created to be the antithesis of a classic techno-synth. It was designed for a genre akin to microtonal Black Metal, for playing Arabic scale tunings; for playing fast, etc. I got a day job, and I have no interest in trying to compete with something that's classical or ordinary anyways. I can deal with complaints that it doesn't have every feature or that it's strange. It's a reflection of my personal values in what matters, which may differ from a lot of other people.:-) So, there's why. I promised Jordan that 1.1 would have ACP, or we would have something better than ACP. I do dislike it though, and think that supporting ACP only prolongs the length of time until a proper solution becomes common.

  4. I would love it if there were a better alternative to ACP. If you have one, then hooray, let's see it! I'd be first in line if it worked. However, sounds like a little bit of cart on front of he horse scenario here? If the alternative doesn't exist, then well, let's have something, which is better than nothing. Anyway, I certainly applaud you sticking to your guns. You're ahead of the curve, and clearly want to see the best solution. I think we can all agree to that. Still, give me something that lets me record and share the file among other apps. I don't care what it is so long as it accomplishes the same thing and works. Sorry this got entered as a comment from me, I fat fingered the selection to hit publish and missed, hitting delete. Not what I wanted. I sure hope you lead us all in a new direction that brings an even more innovative method of moving files wirelessly within the devices. Nothing would make me happier. I'm sure many more would agree with me. Thank you Rob

  5. Smite Matter: The problem is that the alternative was to put in ACP and have more crashes than we have now. Usability is almost the only thing that matters, and stability is part of it. Even if it only took a day to put in ACP, surely we would have weeks of discovering new scenarios where we run out of memory because we included it. On iOS, you don't swap out when that happens, but just crash. If we put in ACP, you would have seen Geo until a few weeks from now anyways. We get memory warnings on startup, and are very tight about allocating memory. But ACP is one of the easiest ways to start hogging up unbounded amounts of memory or getting glitching as you write stuff out to disk to get it out of memory right away. I had thought that a lot of people would consider Background Virtual MIDI to be the solution to this problem. Have you had any luck with a DAW that records MIDI? It's totally possible.

  6. Im holding out hope for Background Virtual MIDI to take over for ACP, and all MIDI on iOS. Its still young, and i see the emails in OMAC as im in the group, so i know theres a lot going on. There aren't a lot that have the capability yet unforunately? Or are there? When you sawy DAW I'm assuming you mean iDAW on the iOS devices? I call them iDAWs to separate them from being confused with PC and Mac DAWs. I know, I'm a nut. Lol. Thanks for the info, and education! I love to learn. I sure as hell don't know everything, and am wide open to new ideas, or whatever.

  7. (Message to admin, as there seems to be no other way to contact you)Your return email address "smitematter@comcast.net" is bouncing back so I can't give you the promo codes you wanted and will otherwise go to waste. 🙂 —MooCowMusic

  8. Which iDAWs / apps support recording midi from Geosynth? Anybody had luck with some app?Will ipad 3gen solve the memory problem and we will see a new version of Geo?

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