SynthScaper – Review

SynthScaper is developed by iMusicAlbum

SynthScaper can be purchased in iTunes App Store


iOS music has come such a long way since my first cutting edge iPod Touch 3. The technology of the devices and advancements in app development have steadily re-shaped perceptions of how music can be made, serious or not. Sure it was sometimes rough being one of maybe a few small voices trying to take it all seriously, while being scolded for using what many people considered to just be “toys” to make music, but just look at where we are now. Only the most rigid of personalities could still hold a grudge against iOS music production. There have been countless examples of incredible apps come along that discredit the medieval belief that the higher the price tag, or the more expensive a computing device is, the higher the resulting music is regarded. SynthScaper is an example (among others) of innovative app development that should put the “toy” nonsense to bed. If it wasn’t already. 

iMusicAlbums SynthScaper is a mighty sound sculpting toolbox of seemingly endless synthesizing possibilities. This synthesizer was designed for making a huge range of experimental, melodic, and ambient sounds, but not limited to just that. It has whatever you need for nearly any musical project whether it’s something like a simple lead to a morphing sound scape of diverse and complex nuances. 

The first screen seen when opening SynthScaper reveals a keyboard, buttons leading to all of its tools and options and a touch control area for each of the 3 scenes currently installed. Moving the three scenes relate to the spacial relationships of their sounds. The keyboard is highly flexible with a number of options to select that compliment any play style or need. It can be set to behave like a normal piano, or seamlessly glide through the keys, or hold the starting note on first touch position while stretching either direction on the board. A full compliment of scales are available and customization is open to your wants. The keyboard can also be set to take over the whole screen making for a very large playing surface. It can also be split. 

The three independent oscillators can be set to use any of the included waveform options and three layers for each that you can assign preset samples or your own samples and with up to 6 voices each. Of course oscillators have their own multi-routing sources for as many as 6 LFOs, & Envelopes. The variety of options and incredibly detailed controls that are available can inspire your wildest imagination of sounds being brought to life. Go ahead and be anal retentive with your assignments and detail exactly how fast, slow, delayed, loud, panned, or whatever. It is all there. 

As well as highly detailed customized oscillators and layers, the available filters and effects are just as plentiful and controllable. Each oscillator can have up to three different units chained and routed further to two more envelope or LFO mods. With the ensemble of filters, delays, flangers and chorus available, things can get pretty crazy. Mostly just damn fun though. 

What I found very pleasing (other than the great audio quality and sound designing paths) is the way everything is layed out. It’s very intuitive. It all for the most part flows in a way that felt very comfortable to me. I would think just about anybody can figure it out. However for the really deep audio sound designs, at least a basic understanding of synthesizers and how they work might be needed to get the most out of SynthScaper. It can get complicated with the many routing options and then the even deeper options under them. Keeping track of every little thing can get confusing for the uninitiated. With some time experimenting and finding pleasant mistakes along the way, the journey is worth every minute spent. 

To make matters even more complex with your scenes, there are also multiple arpeggiators. One for each oscillator. Basic arps, but don’t underestimate them. The qualities added can be incredible. 

In the interest of making a long story shorter I would suggest visiting the iMusicAlbum website to find out more about all that’s under the hood of SynthScaper. There you will find tutorials, demos, videos etc. I could go on and on about everything this fantastic synth has to offer. 

To sum it up, SynthScaper is a jaw dropping, innovative effort by a developer who clearly understands what people didn’t even know they needed. It fits in any** iOS workflow. Full Audiobus (state saving) , Inter-App Audio and midi support. Dropbox, Audio Copy Paste, and web access for transporting user samples are supported. With excellent audio quality, intricate and intuitive yet highly complex audio designing options, and a very stable engine I highly recommend this to anybody who likes synths. I  believe that this is especially useful to ambient artists, who may discover that this just the sort of thing they’ve always wanted. I did. 

*Tested and used with iPad Air 2 iOS 10.3.3

** Audiobus 3 and Abelton Link are confirmed for next SynthScaper update. 

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8 comments

  1. Nice review, this app sounds intriguing and something I would love the chance to explore. Reading this just makes me want it even more 🙂

    1. Thank you. Remember in order to enter I’ll need you to send me an email as well about it. It’s the safest way to track and make sure codes can be distributed. 🙂 My email can be found on the main blog page sidebar under “Contact Me” You still have time.

  2. A very impressive looking synth! No doubt, I could spend many many hours playing with this one. Thanks for another good review.

  3. I’ve read lots of great reviews about Synthscaper, the video looks intriguing! I have a few iOS synth apps, it would be interesting to compare this app with them.

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