Updated Review

Periodically previously reviewed apps will see significant updates. As often as I can, I will update my review of it.

Synergy Studio-Review

*Release Date 11-30-2012 expected price $19.99 USD 13.99 GB

Developed by 4PocketsAudio

4PocketsAudio, makers of Aurora Sound Studio and Meteor bring us a unique new program called Synergy Studio. If you’ve seen their Aurora program you’ll notice some similarities. Not to say Synergy is the same, not at all. Synergy is a whole new ball game. 16 tracks, robust automation options, lovely instruments, quality FX with 3 bus sends, Waveform editing, and so much more packed into this fully loaded studio offering.

Personally speaking I’ve never properly bonded with the “Tenori-ish” style interface. Somehow Synergy delivers that style of experience but with a much greater integration of intuitive design and a massive amount of tools. Seriously, this thing is packed to the brim. It has a flow to it that feels more fluid than others of this style. For this interface style, Synergy provides the most comfortable music production environment.

Synergy can do it all. From being used like an instrument, creating simple short patterns, or highly complex layers chaining into a full-blown pro quality production. It can be done. Compose, mix, edit, and master all in one place.

The variety of included preset instruments are many and really have a high-end sound quality to them. No cheap sounding presets, though not exactly stuff we haven’t heard before. All of the presets can be modified in great detail to create a new sound, and then be saved for future use. If that’s not enough, (and really is it ever?) you can of course import your own samples via Dropbox.

Synergy is a fully loaded ride, so I recommend checking 4PocketsAudio for the full detailed list of specs and features HERE

16 tracks is a nice amount of room to work in for an all-in-one mobile studio. It’s a unique environment to produce music in, with the colorful sequencer, buttons full of tools, or sub menus with even further options. It can be a tad confusing at first. Thankfully for those familiar with 4Pockets previous entries into iOS music there will be a lighter learning curve, as much of the menu structure is very familiar. If this is your first shot at their products, don’t sweat it; the app comes packed with many helpful options including a manual. If you can read, you can figure it out.

I’ve been giving Synergy a good workout for a few weeks, and I’m happy to report that so far it’s not crashed once. Hooray for stability! A very important thing to consider when shopping for a complete mobile music studio. Compared to some of the more recent studio apps, Synergy does sound the best.
I can see Synergy being an attractive option for anyone looking for a fresh and complete studio view. Even if you’re not in the market for a whole new studio, Synergy would make a fine addition to your collection as a sequencer, editor, and looper. The sequencing and arpeggiator alone is worth the price of admission. Background audio enabled, MIDI, and direct audio recording add to the many useful options.

Simply put, Synergy is complete. I think it’s 4Pockets’best effort to date.

All things considered, this is potentially a great app. 4 stars, recommended.—See UPDATE below.

Buy Synergy Studio at iTunes, November 30 2012

UPDATED 1-28-13

Synergy Studio now supports Audiobus. A very welcome feature for sure!
As well as having added Audiobus support 4Pockets has addressed stability concerns effecting some users.
There still seems to be some slightly noticeable latency on the “Dots” and the keyboard input making live play a bit challenging for rhythmic players. Generally speaking I’m not having much difficulty with Synergy’s latency with making electronic music less dependent on beats. This may be different for others.
It has some quirks and could use a little more polish overall, but nothing that impedes its functionality.
As with any new music app of this complexity its understandable that there will be things to iron out. I would consider SynergyStudio to be a fine addition to any collection of music apps. With Audiobus support now, having Synergy and Meteor together offers keen advantages and convenience.

Stay tuned.

Echo Pad – UPDATED Review V1.4.8

UPDATED REVIEW: 8-22-13

EchoPad V1.4.8 Will arrive with a whole new set of features, improvements, and tools.
I have had the pleasure of beta testing this app and watch it grow into what’s become a very capable Echo effects app. It started out great, but this new version is pretty much a whole new app.
Some of what you can expect to see (pending Apple Review, in a week or two) in includes:
The “Meazzi Echomatic 2” inspired multi-tap function of up to 6 individual delay taps!
Individual Multi-Tap delay controls for Time and Volume.
Manual control of master delay times with a max up to 3 seconds.
Tape Hiss and Tone Sliders.
Added. Tap, Sync and manual BPM controls.
For guitarists a new summed mono output for guitarists (tap the WHITE control ring to toggle summed mono output on/off).

Lots of cool new features. The Multi-Taps are a real blast. Great for creating some crazy effects and or beats. I learned of the beats by accident while experimenting with Multi-Taps.
There’s a lot going on and plenty that can be done with these new Multi-Tap tools. It can take a bit to figure out. No problem, there is also a new video tutorial to explain it HERE

The AudioBus control panel is loaded with options. Something we see little of with most FX apps. This really makes things much easier when using EchoPad in the FX slot. Easily select presets 1&2, mute, record etc. among others. There’s only so much room on the Audiobus remote, and some may think its too much, but I really appreciate the additional controls. Less time spent swapping back and forth between apps. All FX apps should take note.

EchoPad has really matured even further. Not to suggest it wasn’t mature to begin with but, clearly a lot of careful development has been done to add to its stunning capabilities. A lot of which came from end users input.
Not just features, bug fixes, and stability but also its appearance has seen lots of polish.

At the end of this updated, and the below original review are some new screen shots showing what’s new. Take a look at the Cassini Synth shot with EchoPads Audiobus remote on the right side.

With more and more stand alone FX apps coming lately its easy to forget about the existing ones. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting EchoPad. If you’ve enjoyed it as I have since its initial launch you’ll love what’s coming up. If for some reason you passed on this fine app, now would be a great time to take another look.

“Echo Pad was born out of love for tape echoes, sound on sound loopers and noisy, dirty analog delay pedals. Echo Pad excels at hands on warping delay tones and controlled feedback, and is not afraid to get loud.”
Echo Pad offers an array of creative options to create some unique delay effects in real-time on your iOS device. Initially I didn’t really consider just how useful an app like this could be. Nearly all iOS music apps have some form of delay, so why buy a separate unit? The answer for me is that this provides a dedicated environment to apply layers of sound specific to an echo, or delay effect. It’s not just one of a collection of effects, everything here is all about echos. Your entire device screen is a X/Y playground to apply the desired effect.
Record audio with the built-in device mic, iRig Mic, as well as several professional USB audio interfaces. Import and export via audio copy/paste, direct link to AudioShare, and iTunes File Share rounds out the many sharing options.

Getting started with Echo Pad is a snap. It’s a clean interface and very intuitive. If you find a need for more info, visit Holderness Media and you will find links to several helpful video tutorials.
“Who needs another whack, sterile digital delay to strum generic radio rock riffs with? No one.”
With 5 delay types; Tape/analog echo, 8-Bit, Rise, Fall, and Reverse you’ll have no shortage of unique delay effects. Add some LFO to the delay time to make cool modulated echoes. All the pieces can be individually controlled such as delay time, feedback, echo high and low pass filter via simple left to right sliders. Additionally there are slider controls for reverb decay and level. Layer on the delays, and modulations with the sound on sound looper quick and easy.
Along with the main looper are two “Scratch Loopers”. You control these two virtual turn tables with the same touch and drag input on the screen impacting audio playbacks speed and direction. It makes a neat scratching effect, and routes back through the FX.
You can imagine there are a lot of possibilities to make some very nice delays. The Fall echo type is a new addition ( along with the scratch loopers ) that makes a cascading echo that drops in pitch with each echo. Opposite of that is Rise echo, and just as cool.
This is not your run of the mill delay found in many of the apps effects suites. There is nothing wrong with those, but this is so deep with specialized delays you wont find anywhere else. I have been really happy with the results after many hours getting to know Echo Pad. I’ve come to appreciate its great use of multi-touch (with more gestures in the pipe line) control promoting a very hands on approach to crafting effects however you wish. You just wont find this much control over your delay effects anywhere else.
I cant help but wonder if this might start off a new type of specialized effects apps? Maybe a separate reverb app? I am sure many people have an opinion on this, what would you like to see?
Echo Pad is so innovative all around. I never knew just how much I needed this until I had it in my hands. I recommend giving it a try.
Buy Echo Pad HERE in iTunes
Universal app (will run on iPad 1, iPhone 3gs, and 3rd gen iPod touch but iPhone 4/iPad 2 and higher recommended)

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SpaceWiz App Review

Wiz Around The Aural Expanse Of Space

SpaceWiz is made By Wizdom Music
Review is based on experience with iPad 2,3 & 4

UPDATED REVIEW: 8-1-2013

SpaceWiz will not be receiving Audiobus support. The reason being that SpaceWiz is built on the Unity graphics engine, which somehow prohibits it from functioning with Audiobus. That’s sad news for many. One can still hope for iOS 7 and its anticipated “inter-app audio” connectivity might resolve this? Who knows? JACK could still be on the table as well.
For now SpaceWiz users will have to get along with AudioCopy.
There are some new sounds to play with, and improved stability in the recent update.
It’s a bummer that we won’t be using this with Audiobus, but SpaceWiz is still a pretty cool generative music app.

Ever wondered what it would be like to manipulate celestial bodies to create interesting sound and melody? Yeah…me either, but thankfully Jordan Rudess did. With the combined imagination and talents of the Wizdom Music team, Jordan Rudess, Kevin Chartier, and Tobias Miller, comes SpaceWiz!
An audio visual marvel that allows you to control 8 planets, each with a variety of assignable timbres to play with or off each other. 250 instruments, 45presets, and access to control other MIDI instruments. There’s a lot of possibilities. All controlled by intuitive touch.
 Visit Wizdom Music for all the detailed specifications, click HERE
You can sit back and watch the galactic show, relax, chill out to the orchestra of a randomly generated scene admiring the musical and visual experience. The real fun is interacting with planets and particles, tossing around asteroids, manipulate the individual gravitation of each planet like a tripped out space god experimenting with an infinite universe of sonic realms. You have control. Alter the mass, volume, width, and more independently. Control pitch depending on the x/y axis delivering different results with the angle of particle impacts. Each planet can be set or randomized independently. You can also control mute or solo with each of the planets. Anyway, its all really quite a blast.
SpaceWiz also features a 2 oscillator SW 3000 SpaceWiz synth built from scratch. You can play along using the synths virtual spacey keyboard. Craft new patches. Volume, envelope filters, both with ADSR, filter cutoff and resonance are all controllable by virtual knobs. It’s a good synth, pretty basic but it does sound very nice and has dedicated FX. The synth is a big part of SpaceWiz of course and it will see further development. This is just the beginning.
The FX included are Chorus, Delay, and Reverb.
There is also a fully controllable modulation matrix allowing a planet to control most of the parameters. Additionally SpaceWiz has deep preset and customizable tonality control of modes, scales and chords.
 SpaceWiz today is only just the start. An impressive fun start! There will be updates expanding on the already impressive features. I had the pleasure of speaking with Jordan Rudess, so you can be assured nothing here is assumed. SpaceWiz is very near and dear to his heart. Hearing him speak about it really got me excited about things to come. A whole new universe (pardon the pun) of possibilities are being dreamed up, considered, and explored with this very unique instrument.

A first for music apps, SpaceWiz has great eye candy thanks to clever implementation of Unity, a well known graphics powerhouse.

!!!!!!UPDATE- Wizdom was real fast with an update adding audio copy, a recordings manager, and .WAV formatting. Making the following info in this paragraph old news already.
Don’t be discouraged that for now SpaceWiz only offers iTunes file share of recorded AIFF format audio files. This is temporary. It wont be long before we see a way to manage recordings, Audio Copy, and .WAV format support.
It does have a nice, and easy MIDI capability, which also supports virtual control of other compatible background apps. This is especially fun with SampleWiz being controlled by SpaceWiz.SpaceWiz suits various moods. From random, chaotic, galactic extremes, rocking the planets, or a tranquil ambient experience awaits. Whether you wish to veg out by rolling the virtual dice for a totally randomized experience that’s never the same thing twice, or you want to drill down to control every aspect and perform to your hearts content, go ahead, the choice is yours.
SpaceWiz certainly will send you on a trip either way in a performance friendly, uncluttered UI.
I am very impressed with the fantastic creativity of this app, and cant wait to see whats next!

Recommended highly to those who enjoy a nice, interactive, audio visual, musically inspiring, and creative experience. Those who are interested in a very unique, imaginative MIDI controller should also find SpaceWiz quite useful and highly entertaining all around, it is just down right fun!

Buy SpaceWiz at iTunes, click HERE !

Auria App Review – Version 1.10

 A Truly Capable iDAW

Auria Is Made By WaveMachine Labs

Review is based on experience with Auria on iPad 3 and 4. My first experiences with Auria were on iPad 2 which I no longer have and or recommend for this app. It’ll work on iPad 2, but with great difficulties if Audiobus is in the process.
My reviewed copy of Auria was purchased at full price. I now also currently beta test Auria, but cannot write about any beta related experience.
Therefore nothing in the following review has anything to do with any beta builds of this app and all to do with my own experiences with the production version available for sale.

UPDATED 11-25-2013
Auria now supports iOS7 Inter-App Audio. It’s working beautifully so far for me. This should be the preferred method over Audiobus whenever possible since IAA operates at 32 bits floating point. Twice the depth of the 16 that Audiobus and AudioCopy/Paste operates.
It doesn’t really matter much if you’re making electronic music, but for acoustic, and vocals, recording at 32 bits is preferable to most people. All around though it’s just better than 16 in some ways many people may not even notice. Such as with clipping. There’s less chance of clipping when recording at 32, and you can be a little less meticulous with levels.
I’ve been recording 16 bits for ages and got used to it, having no significant issues. However 32 is a nice option for recording. The only down side is that projects are much larger. It seems a bit more stable with IAA as well.

UPDATED Review 9-5-2013

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated my review of Auria. It’s hard to keep up with so many apps both new and updated. A lot has changed with Auria over the months. It’s improved stability, the UI is becoming more touch oriented, and now MIDI is getting under way. It’s not fully MIDI capable today, and mostly the MIDI functions center on using Auria with external tools, but this is a good start.
They’ve added MIDI Sync with MMC, & MTC including complete MTC chase and MIDI clock options. MIDI plug ins support, and MIDI remote control for controlling Auria with Mackie MCU and HUI surfaces round out this first MIDI update.
OK, I don’t really use that stuff, and I mostly care about using Auria with “virtual core MIDI” on my iPads along with other VCM capable apps. Not yet, but not too far off in the future either. That’ll be a grand day.
Among the new MIDI capabilities Auria V1.10 has some new looks and features. Mixdown to email, snap to locators, markers, and highlight. A nice little time saver. AudioShare is now fully (finally) integrated!
There is now a handy new “Icon Bar” on the top of the editing screen. Much better than sifting through drop downs for simple tasks (like Duplicate!) that should be right there, and now it is.

There is still some lag when dragging through the timeline or moving regions. That’s driving me crazy, but tolerable since it has no relation to the sound. It’s all about the sound, but I would appreciate that being improved.

When using Auria with Audiobus this version has improved its auto track input function making the menu surfing a little less annoying. Speaking of Audiobus with Auria, I’m happy to report that stability is improved. That’s a big deal, I think because before there were many occasions where I’d finish recording a track, then touch the (from the input app) Audiobus remote to switch back to Auria, and whammo, crash, recording gone! This had been my largest concern. I never lost a whole project like I have in Cubasis, but it was a big problem that’s now fixed.

I offer the following advice based on my own experiences with Auria to have the best time using it.

Aurias stability overall can largely be controlled by you the user. First, forget about using all this on anything less than iPads 3 or preferably 4 if you want the best possible experience. When using Audiobus with Auria, be sure to disable all FX and plug ins during those sessions. If you already have some then turn them off until after the Audiobus session. Use the track freeze!
Keep the number of Audiobus inputs to a minimum. I recommend using only one input at a time through Audiobus with no more than one FX unit as often as is possible.
Always shut down background apps not currently in use. The more apps running and or assigned simultaneously in Audiobus to Auria, the more there is potential for issues. It is also a good idea to set the disk buffer to “large”. That has nothing to do with latency, and will make Audiobus recording sessions much more reliable especially with longer recordings. Do these things and you will have very few issues if any. It works for me and I’ve tested this extensively with excellent and consistent results. The largest project I have had after finishing Audiobus recording sessions, was 21 (on average my typical project is around 12-14 tracks) tracks. Then I added, Pro Q, and Timeless in the aux slots. Each track had individual standard EQing, and half of those with 1 or more plug ins, but the tracks were all frozen while working on another. Some automation was also used. No CPU or memory warnings, but it was very close to the limits on my iPad 4. If I ran more than 2 unfrozen tracks with all that, then I got low CPU. Its not magic. Though I can’t imagine how anyone could do the same with a full 48 tracks?

Auria isn’t perfect but it does work just fine, if you understand how to operate it. Plenty of people say they can’t do “anything” but somehow I have almost no troubles at all? The reason I must conclude for them, is that they do not completely understand how to use this amazing application to its fullest. Comments from users that are focussed on the problems they are having are just unfair, and results of operator error. It has to be. If I am using it without any of the major problems others claim to experience constantly with everything they try, then either I have some super natural power or they are not understanding the app. I certainly have no special powers or abilities, so my conclusion must be correct. This isn’t rocket science. Anyone can learn to use Auria. Impatience or operator error does not a bad app make.

Auria still sports the greatest selection of high quality plug ins by a wide margin. The audio capabilities are far and away the best you can get on iOS. There are still minor bugs, mostly in the UI, but since they do not effect the sound, they are (albeit annoying) tolerable. If you want the best options for the best sound, then those bugs shouldn’t matter. Like many of you I am looking forward to MIDI being fully integrated successfully. Thankfully that ball is rolling.

ORIGINAL REVIEW BELOW:

 
When I first heard of Auria I thought, “There’s no way they can do this, is there?” 
WaveMachine Labs answers with a resounding YES, offering Auria, a professional quality digital audio workstation with a great many high quality bells and whistles.
With the capability to support up to 96kHz sample rate at 24 bits, 32 or 64 bit dual precision audio processing engine, 48 stereo or mono tracks, (44.1 & 48kHz up to 24 tracks on iPad 1) your digital productions are in good hands. Designed with the future in mind Auria has support for 3rd party VST plug ins at additional charge via IAP from big names like PSP Audioware, Overloud and more.


Auria has so many features and functions, I find I’m still having those “ah ha” moments as I work with this incredible iDAW. A quick run down of the more impressive features follows. AAF import/export, audio copy paste (ACP will always result in a max bit rate of 16) drop box, (they say MIDI is under development) 8 assignable subgroups, each with two aux sends, full automation, WIST support, Auria Link to run two devices with Auria for a sync of up to 96 tracks, automatic sample rate conversion, track freeze, a comprehensive waveform editor, and so many more.

The on board included effects are very well done. A classic Reverb, Stereo Delay, Stereo Chorus, Re Tune, EQ with expander, compressor, and limiter are a must for anyone wanting to master their final mix. Last but not least my very favorite effect of all is an outstanding Convolution Reverb with a full IR library of high quality reverberation types. This is the best reverb I have experienced with iOS apps. I’ve said it many times, reverb quality is one of the more glaring disabilities of this platform. For good reason, quality reverb is a big CPU hog. You can hear the tin, thin, dull lack of quality in all the iOS reverbs, some more than others, and some are really made quite well all things considered. None however currently compare to the depth, warmth, and expansive nature of Auria’s included Convolution Reverb Plug In.
Still not quite up to desktop standards, but it’s a huge improvement. It’ll do nicely.
Thanks to track freeze, using multiple FX on multiple tracks is an option. If you don’t freeze, Auria will overburden your device CPU. No problem, it’s not permanent, unfreeze, and freeze again all you want.
 
For more about the detailed specs visit WaveMachine Labs HERE
 
The user interface is designed well for multi touch. The usual pinch, spread zoom in/out, and swipe functions are present. I have experienced some response problems here and there, but they are going to fix things in time. For now a minor annoyance.

The layout is very simple looking, but packed with tools and functions to intuitively enjoy Instead of a single fade or cross fade setting, Auria has four that each affect the fade differently. These are great for all sorts of fade type effects, and cross fading two waveforms that merge into one seamlessly, with careful placement of course. Very cool, if you ask me.

 
Initially after inquiring about beta testing I was informed by A WaveMachine Labs representative that they did not currently have an active, dedicated end user beta test team. I took concerned note of that and had reported this in my earlier version of this review. Turns out that another representative has confirmed otherwise, and that they do in fact have a strong team of beta testers currently for Auria after all. I was misinformed, or missunderstood, at any rate I am very glad to hear they do indeed currently have this in place.

At the moment its got a few minor issues regarding compatibility with other apps. The problem is that certain apps no longer work with Auria on the same device simultaneously. This began after the most recent update (from August 8th negatively affecting some popular music apps, its temporary). It happens. No one is perfect, and Auria is extremely complex. I was told the next update will probably revert Auria to the previous audio compatibility settings that will in short, be less restrictive and allow those apps to be used again on the same device. Nothing to get discouraged over. WaveMachine Labs is very attentive and eager to improve. They are very responsive and have helped me out of a few pickles already. They ( and the very active forum ) have been very helpful with the Low Memory messages I was getting early on, and since then I’ve not had that message again. The support from WaveMachine Labs is encouraging. Remember Apple is often slow to approve submitted updates.

 
 Auria to me is as close to what I call the holy grail of iDAWs, as seen to date. It’s not all powerful, and won’t replace desktop DAWs, but with further development, refinement, and increased VST plug in support it could be someday.

It is the best iDAW available with no peer. It actually saddens me a bit to say that as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my studio type apps for a good while. I’m not saying don’t ever buy any others, but it’s very hard to deny Auria’s presence as a game changer for mobile music production.
Its $49.99 price tag is high by the standards of most spoiled iOS customers, but relatively speaking it’s a very good value, and so are the additional plug ins. You get what you pay for.
I haven’t bought any of the current plug ins myself, as I’m finding the included tools are more than sufficient for my needs and desires for high quality results. I am excited about whats to come.

 

Transitioning from other studio apps to Auria might seem overwhelming at first glance.  I really haven’t experienced any instances where Auria presented me with anything confusing. Just some things that are new to me on this platform. Still, I read the user guide front to back and I’d recommend you do too. If you don’t want to, (really who wants to read a manual ?) but do have experience with apps like this, it will probably feel pleasantly familiar. Reading the guide will at least accelerate any potential learning curve while also uncovering useful things that might have otherwise been overlooked. For example I was very excited about 64 bit processing, but wasn’t clear on its impact compared to 32. I discovered you can either select 64 bit processing, or unselect it to default at 32 bits. 32 bits lessens the burden on your device resources, and is still pretty darn good. Point is, I discovered something useful by just reading a little. A lot of the things I see some users complain about are easily solved, or operator error. Anything else is being reviewed, and I have no reservations about trusting fixes will come soon.

 
If you’re ready to take the step forward into the bright future of iOS music production, click
 
 
to be directed to Auria in iTunes

I highly recommend Auria for iPad 2&3 users. I’ve not experienced Auria on iPad 1.

 

UPDATED 1-28-13

Since I wrote the above review after Aurias initial release a lot has changed.
They’ve added numerous professional plug ins to the mix further improving on the already excellent capabilities. More are likely to come as things progress. Check out my separate series of “Auria FX & Plug Ins Reviews” for more on those.
This iDAW is really the only one of its kind on iOS. Yes there are other breeds of good iDAW types, but none have the audio quality, processing capabilities, FX, and tools to do a complete production at Aurias level.
That said, Auria is by no means perfect, or a full desktop DAW replacement. It is closing the gap more than anything else on iOS.
The biggest problems are with CPU and memory.
I’m using iPad 3, and find I can get by just fine without any serious troubles. iPad 4 is probably more desirable. iPad 2 can eek by, but with a lot more restrictions requiring more patience. iPad 1 will probably burst into flames on start up?

Now with Audiobus support Auria has taken another fine leap forward making the workflow more of a great pleasure. I don’t know about you but I’ve had quite enough of AudioCopy/Paste.
With that added convenience, so comes even more strain on device resources. WaveMachine Labs suggests using iPads 3&4. iPad 2 can do it, but in small doses.

There’s some bugs still.
Every new update brings dozens of fixes, improvements, and additions. Crashes can happen if care is not exercised in how much is being done at one time. Most bugs are minor but frustrating nonetheless. This is a very complex program, & its still early for Auria. You can be confident in its development.
Its not difficult to squeeze a lot from Auria. Track freeze! This helps a lot on all devices.
When using plug ins or FX, just freeze those tracks at every opportunity. Unfreezing is very quick, so going back and forth is really a minor issue. This becomes especially important on iPad 2 and even more so when using Audiobus. For that matter when using Audiobus with Auria, it is advisable to bypass all FX, in addition to freezing any tracks not in use for the recording session.
That’s what I do, and its not a problem.

If you have any problems visit the forum for help. Its given lots of attention by knowledgable end users and the development team is very active.

UPDATED 4-5-13

The main complaints I’ve seen that aren’t operator error relate to the interface. “Clunky, choppy, sluggish” are some of the words I’ve heard uttered in regard to Aurias GUI. Much of it hasn’t bothered me personally, but I can see what people mean. Some things that are most odd to me would be the loads of drop downs, and menus to make selections of functions that would be better served by multi touch support. Now, Auria is starting to improve in this area with the addition of automatic region duplication by touching the end handle. This makes the chore no longer a chore where duplicating is concerned.
Another new feature is Time Stretch. Also enabled by multi touch. WaveMachine labs clearly considered Time Stretching seriously and chose the DIRAC algorithm which is known to be very good. After using it myself I must agree. Though I’m not fond of the first and second touch on the handle to activate it. Sometimes it doesn’t work because I time the first then second touch wrong. It does work though. Imported samples are time stretch automatically. Nice! I happen to think a single touch and drag would be better. At any rate these two new features are greatly appreciated and needed.
Additional improvements have been made to the Audibus functionality. Thank you!
Real time scrubbing has also been added. Again using multi touch to activate.
There’s other thngs, improvements and bug squashings, but these are the most note worthy of you ask me.
MIDI is surely in the nearer future. I’m just glad they are listening to user feedback and showing with solid actions that they hear you.
Auria is taking the right steps in the right direction. Very encouraging.

Alchemy Synth Mobile App Updated Review

Alchemy Synth Mobile By Camel Audio: Playing with big sounds.

Updated Alchemy Synth Mobile Studio Updated Review: April 30 2013

Alchemy Synth Mobile Studio – Pro how I love you, let me count the ways. Oh I never was a very good poet. Anyway, the latest update to Alchemy Mobile Pro is one for the books! It is feeling more like a mini studio with the new 4 track sequencer. Which explains the name tweak to Alchemy Synth Mobile Studio as well. However, the new 4 track sounds scruffy on my iPad 4. I don’t know what’s going on there? They thoughtfully added a good quantize tool, Position indicator. Save and load songs or even just tracks. iCloud support. Audiobus support! No SoundCloud?
New drum pads and sounds for crafting beats. Its mostly all looking good, and sounding great!
All kinds of cool new goodies. It won’t replace your iDAW, but it is a lot more powerful and versatile than ever. This is all based on the “Pro” upgrade, which I recommend buying to fully appreciate this vamped up app.

Prior review update 7-28-2012
Originally I only reviewed the free version. I finally decided to get the Pro Upgrade, and I’m very glad I did. The differences are significant. Below you will see my experiences with the free version and I must say that I am loving the Pro Version even more! With the Pro Upgrade I can now enjoy Alchemy Synth Mobile to its fullest. Saving my experiments and or projects to recall later is now an option. Recording remix pad movements is now also possible, and virtual MIDI graces the unlocked capabilities as well. Bouncing or layering multiple synth sounds opens a lot more possibilities for deeper probing into the sonic wonder that is Alchemy.
I got along alright before upgrading today, but I really didn’t realize what I was missing until now. The Pro Upgrade is very much worth the price ($14.99 via IAP)with all the additional capabilities, features, tools, and yes more great presets. So consider these things before you read the following original review below that only speaks to the free version. I highly recommend the upgrade.

The Following original review was based on the Free Version with use with iPad 1 & 2, 3, iPod Touch 3G & 4G

Ever want a synth that has really majestic, spacious, and evolving sounds? Something that can almost be a song just by pressing and holding a single key, but also allows freedom to explore and perform? Camel Audio offers at least those things, but certainly much more with Alchemy Synth Mobile.
While it has such enormous sounds of fantastic quality, it does limit you in that there’s no way to craft a patch or something truly your own. Is this a bad thing? I suppose that depends on personal opinion?
No, you cannot create your own patches with this mobile version, but you can tweak (but not save) any of the presets in numerous ways. There are really tons of options and possibilities.
Alchemy Synth Mobile comes loaded with dozens of spectacular presets, and loops, with the option to purchase more sound packs via In App Purchase. You can get some more free patches by simply creating a Camel Audio account online from within the app. Did I mention Alchemy Mobile is free? Yes, free. It’s the entry level, slightly limited version, but it’s free.
Of course you can upgrade to the Pro version that unlocks its MIDI capabilities, (Including Virtual Core MIDI) and connectivity to the desk top version for a reasonable price.
However, I must admit I have not sprung for the full “Pro” version.
Honestly, I haven’t felt any need for it myself yet. I’ve been running the free version (with most of the available purchased sound packs, my favorites are “Big Tone & Arp Dimensions”) since its release and have not felt limited at all.

Alchemy Synth Mobile can record a short performance, and easily copy and transfer out to other ACP compatible apps. I wish it had email, and drop box support though.

Playing Alchemy is much like any other virtual synth on iOS with a scrollable keyboard that is reliable and responsive. There’s a grid of 8 boxes that responds to your touch and depending on where you swipe, tap, or hold, the sounds can be altered from one extreme to another. Kind of like a sub set of presets within a preset, that morphs with user input in real time. The additional selections of looped beats such as a nice chill ambient or a cool trance set provides more room for fun, or an engaging performance.

There are also two X/Y control boxes with preset parameters (they vary from one patch to another) allowing additional control over textures, FX, resonance, speed and so on. These are quite nice to use while performing ( even if it’s just you and your cat ) offering more creative control.

The standard ADSR controls are present, as well as several slider styled controllers for many different things (again varies from one preset to another) that include, FX, Octave, Filters, Arpeggios, Pulse, Speed, and so many more. Altering the BPM is also a snap with an easy touch and slide to increase or decrease.

So there’s loads of controls, tweakable parameters, FX, and sound variations at your finger tips. You just can’t save your settings. So that one perfect sound you had made yesterday, is gone today.

With all these controls, but no ability to save anything, why bother? Well, these may be preset patches, loops, arpeggios, and what not, but they are also some of the most complex, evolving, cinematic ( …insert you favorite word to describe something really big) preset sounds you might not hear anywhere else on iOS.
Yes with the right synths and some effort you could create and save your own similarly complex patches with other synths, but these are really special. Some are cliche, some are strange, some are mind boggling , but all are very well made. You may not be able to save your variations of them, but they sure are some of the best sounds any virtual synth offers so far. In some instances certain presets are practically their own song. Find one, hold the key, slowly move around the grid of boxes, and or the X/Y pads, and you’ll hear what I mean.

 In the end, Alchemy Synth Mobile might lock you out of crafting your own sounds to save and use within the app, however there is nothing stopping you from copying it and pasting into your favorite sampler to then modify, expand and save for your very own. So there is that, and that’s going to have to do.

Alchemy Synth Mobile is one sonic powerhouse unlike any other. It takes up a lot of disk space especially if you add sound packs. It seems to perform best on my iPad 2, but it’s also doing very well on my iPad 1 and even my iPod Touch 3&4.
This is certainly worth the download considering its free, and in my opinion the additional sound packs are worth the cost. Alchemy is where you go for really amazing, big sounds.

4.5 Big Bright Stars. Get it.