Month: November 2013

EGSY01-Analog Synth – MINI Review

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EGSY01- Analog Synth is made by ElliottGarage
Available in iTunes App Store

EGSY01 is a 2 oscillator, virtual analog synth for iPad. A Audiobus, MIDI compatible synth app with support for iOS 7 inter-app audio.
It has a basic arpeggiator, and a 16 step sequencer. Variable latency settings, and modulating keys.
It has a impressive looking list of specs from the iTunes App description, but it’s all really just the very basics. Speaking about its synthesizer functions, they’re all things you find standard in pretty much every synth on the market.
A market loaded to the gills with analog synths, and with many that are very strong in the same price bracket.

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Thing is, EGSY01 isn’t doing much of anything to separate itself from the pack. It is decent, and at times I found I did enjoy the sound qualities , but it just isn’t all that versatile or original.
The arpeggiator is very simple, leaving me wanting more. The 16 step sequencer is cool, but again very simple.
Considering its price tag (currently) of $8.99 I expected something a bit stronger.

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While playing with EGSY01 I found that the virtual knobs were too touchy. Making fine adjustments is agonizing when a slight movement sends the knob to huge swings.
The noise filter sounds a little weak, and the Hi/Lo pass filters would tend to crackle if raised near their slider tops.
They don’t have resonance controls for some reason. I don’t think I’ve ever had a synth with Hi/Lo Pass filters that had no resonance controls?
The keys can control some modulation, like pitch, LFO etc, and that’s about all the routing you get.
The keyboard doesn’t move, but there is an octave slider on the left side of it which essentially accomplishes the same goal. I actually kind of like that more than a sliding keyboard.
I’m not saying this is a bad synth, but it doesn’t do anything new or better than any of the numerous options we’ve seen.
It might have been more impressive a few years ago, unfortunately today it feels like it lags behind in a very competitive market.

I’d say its an excellent starter synth for folks looking to try out their first iOS analog synth, but the price tag prohibits such a recommendation.
EGSY01 is functionally fine, with a decent sound quality, simple, clean GUI, but lacking any factors that inspire excitement in this synth lover.
If it were to ( and I sincerely hope it will ) be updated with more features, improved filters, more modulation & routing options, some innovative functions, and then priced at $4.99, I’d love to have another look at it. I love ElliottGarages EGDR808 app, so this is a little disappointing to me.
As is this is a $.99 synth that rides the middle of the road somewhere between being better than the worst, but not anywhere near good as the better synths. That all said, this is a synth to keep an eye on and hope for a lot more development, but I am sorry to say at nine bucks its not really a “must have” today.

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Master FX – Review

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Master FX App is made by iMusicAlbum
Available in iTunes App Store

iMusicAlbum has recently been offering quality audio processing options for iOS music production that are highly convenient for many uses.
Their latest is this live audio multi-effects app for external sources such as vocals, instruments etc. Additionally it can be used in the Audiobus effect and output slots, making this a very versatile app.
Primarily Master FX is intended for use with guitars, vocals, or any other instruments that can be adapted to your device where the app will process desired effects. Recording can be done within the app itself as well as your favorite iDAW.
Sadly, at least at the moment I am writing this, Master FX does not support inter-app audio. This means if you use Audiobus to facilitate recordings of external instrumentation that you are only able to record 16 bit audio. Otherwise apart from that this can record at 24 bits. For electronic music 16 bits is just fine, but for live vocals or guitars it is less desirable.

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Master FX comes with 7 effects modules and limiter at the main output. 6 effects can be run simultaneously.
The built in effects are: Chorus, Reverb, Delay, Compressor, Flanger, Pitch, and a 3 band Parametric EQ.
The order of each module can be customized to fit whatever preferences you may have for the signal order. Furthermore, two assignable pad banks (6 each, A&B) can accommodate your presets for quick FX switching via the “Live” tab.
Add to that independent “left/right” channel recording to capture a guitar and vocals at the same time.

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The effects are not simply just wet/dry sliders, but actual independent modules. This means by selecting the module tab the corresponding effect unit opens up full screen to present you with all of its adjustable parameters.
They are still not exactly “specialized” effects such as what you would find in a stand alone effects app (like Audio Reverb, EchoPad etc) but they are each quite good in their own right. For live situations they are especially handy being all in one app, on one screen.

Several carefully crafted presets are included for certain and specific scenarios or instruments in mind. You can also create and save your own preset banks.

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Recording can be done directly to Master FX, and files are easily managed. If you’ve used any of iMusicAlbum’s other apps like the excellent “AudioMastering” app, you will feel right at home with the same style of file manager. Not to mention the whole design of Master FX is also designed with the same uniform interface as this developer’s other audio apps.

For a full list of specs, video tutorials, and app details please visit iMusicAlbum

Managing files in the app is one thing but moving files around needs to be easy too. Anybody familiar with iOS Music production knows that moving files around between our various other apps or cloud services is a must. No problem. Master FX has the bases covered with Dropbox, AudioCopy/Paste, iTunes Playlist & File Share, “Open In” and WiFi tools for importing and exporting with ease.

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I’ve been testing Master FX mostly as it’s intended, by recording and processing audio captured with my iRigMic. I found no issues or problems at all. Even though iRigMic is mono, Master FX, with the right selection of modules and signal path set, did a great job of giving my recordings body and fullness that resembled a stereo recording with no discernible difference.
I am impressed.
I also tried it as an “Effect” slot in Audiobus and had just as good of an experience.

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For an all in one multi FX app, Master FX does a fine job in each of its possible situational applications.
Stable, easy to use and understand it should make for a top choice.
My only gripe is that it doesn’t currently support inter-app audio, and the Reverb and Chorus could be a little bit better. Nothing bad, they are decent, I just feel they are not this app’s strong point.
This is more of a “student of many” rather than a master of anything in particular. If you’re looking for a particular, highly specialized effect type this probably shouldn’t be the first choice. However if you want a collection of good effects to use simultaneously and packaged neatly in one app for live uses with real world instruments or vocals, then this is a list topper. Check out the tutorial on iMusicAlbum’s website (linked midway and top) for the two channel recording. Many of you should find it particularly interesting.

WOW Filterbox – Review

WOW Filterbox
Sugar Bytes

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Do you have a sweet tooth for wild filter effects and crazy modulation? Chomp down on SugarBytes’ latest iOS effects app, WOW Filterbox.

After SugarBytes brought us the clinically insane Turnado multi FX app, I wasn’t sure what to expect from them next. WOW arrived a couple of months ago, and turned my filtering effects cravings upside down. This app is drenched in all kinds of twisted awesomeness.
What is WOW? The question might be better put, what isn’t WOW? 21 filter types, 7 distortions (3 beautiful analog-emulated distortions), and vast modulation parameters all packed neatly into a slick user interface for full real time control.

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This highly adjustable, programmable filter FX app is bursting with modulation options. 3 independently programmable and controllable X/Y units allow 6 parameters to be run simultaneously, all manipulated by touch to alter the sound in real time.
Take your samples and in WOW you can make them sound schizophrenic to sublime. A new dimension of sound FX options that go beyond just simple effects and sounds such as: trance-style gated sequences, broad sweeps, beats, alien attacks, Oompa Loompas screaming in agony, talking 80s mannequins, worrisome wobbles, or whatever you can think of.
Fun? Oh yeah! Useful? Hell yes!

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Point is, whatever sample you start with can be so drastically modulated and filtered that it sounds like something entirely different. It isn’t a requirement, but it is what WOW does best. With so many parameters to mess with, the filter world is at your disposal.
No other app around today has this much filter and modulation power.
It all sounds great too. The app has clearly been well engineered to produce excellent audio quality. SugarBytes says the distortions have been carefully crafted to produce the best harmonics with “anti aliasing” for “high definition audio”. It can get demanding on early generation devices, but on iPads 3&4 it has behaved well for me.

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Ultra low latency of 64, up to a more stable 512.
WOW is Audiobus compatible, can also record in the app, and save in the internal files manager. AudioCopy/Paste, full MIDI support, Jack, iTunes FileShare, BackGround Audio, and more round out a deep features list.

For more details check out SugarBytes website.

WOW is also available as a plugin (via IAP) in Auria. If you already bought the WOW stand-alone app, you do not have to pay again to use it in Auria. Nice.

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WOW Filterbox is literally something that will make you say “Wow!”

The more I explore this app, the more I love it. There are plenty of factory presets to choose from, and the depth of complexity that comes with customizing your own sound is what makes this app a true marvel to behold.
I’ve found the interface to be very smooth and well made. There are times when, selecting an option from one of the drop downs, the text descriptions are tiny and I have accidentally selected the wrong thing. That might be a concern for exploring the app during a live performance; however with the option to create your own user presets, those problems can be avoided.
I’ve not encountered any significant issues, and recommend WOW Filterbox to anybody looking for a deep and interesting (not to mention fun) way to create great modulated, filtering effects at any level.

Available in iTunes

Apptronica – Press Release

This whole year of 2013 has been a roller coaster for me. It started off with what I thought would be a great start. Nothing went quite as planned, and everything was chaotic for me. Finally I can breathe a little bit at least on the topic of where my music is concerned. I had been operating on casual, or well intended plans that I truly believed in. Unfortunately much of what I was hoping for just never really happened as I had hoped. It’s nobody’s fault. Sometimes things that begin feeling right, just don’t progress as expected.
One thing that I’ve needed to take care of was securing a binding contract with a label. Intentions are all well and good, but without really knowing precisely where one stands, it’s very easy to worry. I worried a little bit. I had contacted and been approached by a few small music labels early on, and I had intended to sign with one, but communication and clarity was an obstacle, and I never received any documents. That made me sad, but I can take a hint. No hard feelings, and I wish them all the very best. I at least met lots of talented people and made new friends. That’s always a good thing.

Apptronica was the most recent to contact me, and being that it was a friend of mine who I knew without a doubt understood me, I was eager to learn more. Clifton Johnston set himself apart with a professional business plan, rapid communication, clear goals and expectations. Not to mention a vision that I passionately share about how iOS music can be. At the risk of unintentionally sounding conceited, he showed great care for me and my work with attentive and sincere gestures I found extremely helpful, and highly motivating. It made me feel very comfortable in that he will take good care of his artists to the best of his ability. That’s important to me, and I think something any artist would appreciate when considering a label. No matter how big or small.

Apptronica “gets it”! Or I get Apptronica, either way I have always been loud about how I feel regarding iOS music production being done in its purest form. By that I mean, all music being made using only iOS. Not just as a tool, or a part of the process, but as “the process” from cradle to grave. No minimizing it, and always maximizing it. Getting the word out further and beyond just our amazing community, showing more people it can and is being done, and done very well. At least as good as anything else. These are things very important to me.
So I thought long and hard, and reached out by email to people who I thought might be affected by any decision I might make. No replies, or grumblings came back, so with a clear conscience and having my best interest in mind, I have literally signed with Apptronica.
I hope you will welcome Apptronica warmly.

Immediately after signing, plans went in motion to re-release my first album “Technopolis Lost”. This special 2nd anniversary edition comes with a new and improved cover, and a bonus, previously unreleased track. It is available via Apptronicas web site as a digital download with a “name your price” tag. Here is the link to the 2nd anniversary reissue of “Technopolis Lost”

My 2nd album “Chapters”, now with a confirmed home is sadly, again, delayed. This is the last delay. With all the missing pieces falling into place, it will be released early this coming winter after the holidays, around January 2014. Just a couple months.

Apptronica Press Release follows:

Media Contact Clif Johnston Apptronica 270-970-4766 clif@apptronica.us

Apptronica Launches New Netlabel And Digital Magazine Dedicated To Making Music On iOS Devices

iOS Music Community founder Clif Johnston announces the rebranding of the popular social network as Apptronica and expands services to include a new record label featuring the world’s top mobile music producers. Apptronica also plans to release a digital magazine for iPad and iPhone musicians later this month.

NASHVILLE, TN – Apptronica president Clif Johnston worked with ambient music producer SmiteMatter to reissue the artist’s album Technopolis Lost as the netlabel’s first album launch. Originally released in 2011, Technopolis Lost is widely recognized as the breakthrough album for the genre, being composed and produced from start to finish using only an iPod touch and a first generation iPad. The reissued version of Technopolis Lost features new artwork along with a previously unreleased bonus track, Time On A Leash. The album is available now from the Apptronica website as a free / “name your price” download.

Other artists signed to the Apptronica label include Swedish bass music producer Jesper Jones and Australia-based iPad-only producer PantsofDeath. The netlabel will also release music by Mood481, the artist name used by Apptronica president Clif Johnston, who is arguably the most prolific iOS music producer on the planet with over 17 pure iOS releases.

Scheduled for launch later this month, Apptronica magazine will feature articles, app reviews and tutorials by some of the top experts in iOS music production today. Advisors and contributors include Chip Boaz, creator of the iOS Music and You blog and podcast; video tutorial producer Ryan Hemeon of iOS Mars; synth expert Fletcher Kaufman of Sunsine Audio; German iOS musician Martin Neuhold; writer and video producer John Walden from Music App Blog; and prominent iOS music blogger Tim Webb of Discchord.com.

For more information, please visit the Apptronica website at http://apptronica.us.

Apptronica strives to strengthen and increase awareness of the emerging “iOS music” scene by providing increased exposure and opportunities for independent musicians and freelance content providers, with a focus on electronic music created using mobile devices and applications.

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 5, 2013

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