Virtual Instruments

Music Studio 2 Review – Tried and True

Music Studio is developed by Alexander Gross of Xewton

Available in iTunes for Apple devices, and Now GooglePlay for Android


Music Studio has been with us (on iOS) for years. It was one of the very first studio type music apps I ever bought way back when I had my iPod Touch 3G. It has seen steady and consistent updates keeping it on the level with our rapidly growing music needs. Now it’s even available for Android users in the GooglePlay store. I haven’t tried it on an Android, and honestly can’t comment about that version, but expect it works just as well.

This all in one music production suite is packed with everything you need to create music from start to finish. Over a hundred tracks sequencing, sampler, twin keyboards, custom drum & chord pads, 10 effects units, note editor, Automation, Audiobus In & Out, Inter-App Audio In and Out, MIDI, 100 Drum Loops…and more and more.


There is a free, lite version to dip your toes into if you’re not sure about buying straight away. The first thing I noticed was the quality and variety of instruments. Hundreds of studio recorded instruments come packed in with the purchase of the app, and dozens more can be purchased. Every relevant instrument is available, minus only a very few. Whatever might be missing shouldn’t be an issue these days with all the other music apps around filling nearly every gap. With MIDI, Audiobus and Inter-App Audio input/output fully supported, you’re only limited by you’re own collections of samples and instrument apps. This was the first production app I could find a Digerydoo that sounded good.


The twin keyboards can have their own instrument assigned and played. The bank of customizable chord buttons above reflect what’s being used as per your own preferences. Assigning individual percussion instruments or samples to the drum pads can also be used. Trigger and loop away, or record a sample with your device or external microphone and apply to one of the pads to use in your composition. It’s easy stuff.


Some might wonder where the mixer is? Simply put, it’s not here in the traditional sense. However every track can be mixed individually. Instead of a mixer page, just select the track to adjust the pan, level, effects, mute or solo etc. It can be a little bit of a challenge to get used to if you are more accustomed to a dedicated mixer board page, but the bottom line is, nothing’s really missing. It’s just being done differently. Most people aren’t going to be overly concerned with this unless they start piling on several dozens of tracks. Then the missing mixer just might prove to be a bit of a obstacle.

It’s never bothered me, and on the plus side a mixer page is indeed being developed for Music Studio 3. I have confirmed this directly with the developer.

Editing a tracks sequence, or sample is quick and easy. Just double tap the area within the track to bring up either the sampler page or the sequencer note editor page. Quantize, transpose, write, copy and all of that stuff should feel as familiar as it looks. Working with automated FX work much the same way. It’s a very straight forward work flow. This is very intuitive and has a very gentle learning curve. Nothing clunky or unnecessarily complicated. Smooth.


Moving on.

Music Studio 2 also has 10 built in effects units. They have improved over the years and you can assign as sends, inserts or use globally in multiples. As I mentioned above there’s automation. So making creative effects that move with the music are at your finger tips, just like any respectable studio type. All the audio effects mainstays are accounted for. Reverb, Delay, Phaser, Stereo Widener, Filter and so on. I find the EQ a little in the lite side being a simple 3 band, but that’s not much of an issue these days with Audiobus and Inter-App Audio providing such easy access to your other apps that are more specialized. What is available gets the job done and doesn’t sound cheap.


Music Studio is known for its excellent MIDI support. Whether you use virtual MIDI with other music apps, or hardware Music Studio keeps up and makes things easy on you. Reliable is the word.

There are so many great things to bring up, I can’t cover every detail. If you need more specifics, details or exact numbers just visit Xewtons Web Site. You’ll find more than just specs. There’s a thriving user community forum to help answer questions, get support or just share. Assuming the extensive in app help doesn’t put you back on track. No pun intended.

In conclusion, Music Studio stands confidently with other iDAWs, is priced very well, has better instruments than others, is a stable, quality production app with tons of tools and all delivered with a pleasantly clean interface. It’s great for those just starting out and won’t overwhelm newcomers and pros will like its longevity. It has been reliably developed with excellent consistency by a developer who is listening to his users wants and needs. Despite no separate mixer, all the same parameters can still be adjusted and mixed without skipping a beat. Few limitations and loads of options, Music Studio 2 remains an excellent choice for everybody.

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Shoom Synthesizer- App Review

Shoom Synthesizer is developed by: Yuri Turov

Available from iTunes


Shoom Synthsizer is a fantastic X/Y touch controlled instrument for iPad. 3 polyphonic synths in one.

An intuitively designed interface clearly emphasizing ease of performance with a great amount of playable screen space makes this super fun to play. 


3 simultaneously playable synths each with their own set of two multi-waveform, FM cross modulation oscillators are at your disposal. Each synth has its own noise, and volume control as well as the standard ADSR and LFO basics. A handy 4 pole low pass resonance filter and overdrive are also included with each. Nothing fancy, but made for easy patching and variable sound types. From crunchy, screaming leads, to booming bass lines, and on to amazing drones. 


Shooms built in stereo delay and reverb effects stand in nicely for simple sound effects. I’d say they are pretty good for what they are. Many users have said that Shooms strength is with making drones. I agree, but wouldn’t say that is all it can do. There’s plenty of room to get creative with this and have some pretty unique sound scenes to play. 

Of course it has Inter-App Audio and Audiobus 2 supports. So far I have found both to be very stable on my iPad Air 2. Though like any iOS synth the more active voices being used, the more the chance of distortion.

I love that each synths note can be played independently and / or held. Get all ten fingers involved. If your digit dexterity is above average, you could do some impressive things. Even with average finger dexterity like me, you’re going to smile. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of Shoom, and I found it to be very easy, very quickly. More importantly the sound quality is fantastic. This is one grand instrument that has more to it than meets the eye. Sure you aren’t getting a massively powerful synthesizer, but you do get quality.

Only thing I felt I was longing for was user sample import. Is that a big deal? Maybe not, but I’d like the option. 

It’s a bargain, it sounds fantastic, and it’s fun. A no brainer purchase. 

Galileo Organ – Review

Galileo Organ
Developed By: Yonac Inc

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Organs in general don’t usually pique my curiosity, much less much interest. Don’t get me wrong, they can bring something special to music, and many classics like Pink Floyd have immortalized the sound. I’ve tried some emulations on iOS, but haven’t ever felt like they offered much, and besides with a little effort most Organ sounds can be made in some of my synths.
Galileo Organ is a whole new ball game. For the first time in my life, an Organ made for iOS has knocked my socks off. This Organ is made by Yonac who also created the monstrous Magellan Synth, so you know its going to be good.

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Galileo is a professional virtual analog Organ design able to flawlessly emulate realistic Tonewheel, Transister, with “leakage”and other styles. It is complete with 3 rotary cabinet types, at 32bit DSP.
Officially it has 11 Organ types, but with some tweaking of the many parameters it is capable of emulating pretty much any Organ in existence. I think?
Somehow they managed to squeeze 3 configurable manuals with their drawbars (Hi, Lo keyboards and Pedals) all on to one screen.
Galileo has 48 polyphony, (I’m going to need more fingers?) brake/speed & slow/fast toggles.
Configurable rotary acceleration, brightness, drum to horn balance, and stereo mic separation.
They threw in just about every Organ related bells and whistles around.
I’m not an expert on Organs so a bunch of the Organ speak, is new lingo to me. I trust my ears, and what I am hearing with Galileo sounds beautiful.

Theres tons of technical specs here, and as usual to save space I suggest you check out YonacSoftwares Blog for the whole rundown.

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Packed with 240 carefully designed presets including a bank by Sunsine, have most bases covered for whatever Organ sound you’re looking for. Does Galileo do Hammond? Yep, and like I said above, pretty much every other as well.
Patch making is where I get the most giddy, and there is plenty of room here to create and save custom patches. Banks can also be shared. Which is very nice of you want to take your creations from one iDevice and put it on another.

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Galileos arpeggiator will feel right at home to Magellan users. Even if you haven’t used Magellan (are you insane?) you’ll find this arpeggiator intuitive. You can run simple patterns, or customize your own. You have control (dedicated note buffer for each of the 3 manuals) over the Hi,Lo, keyboards and Pedals in your Arps. Gate, Octave, Swing and note repeats are also under your command.

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The FX are of a breed that you might not find in most synths, which of course should make sense as this is an Organ. Some are familiar, but others are unique to Organs. They are split into 2 FX screens.

• 4 types of Wah-Wah with adjustable sweep range & emphasis
• Autowah module w/ 5 sweep curves, 3 follow modes, velocity tracking, settable rate, phase and bpm syncing
• Ring Modulator / Tremolo with fast & slow modes and adjustable depth
• Delay, Reverb & configurable FX signal path
The signal path mentioned is a slick touch, drag, and drop window.
The FX all sound great, and I have had an especially grand time messing around with the Wah-Wah.

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Recording and managing files are well done, and again designed in a familiar manner. The “Tape” screen is swiftly navigated making it a painless experience to record, and manage. Adjustable count in, record on touch, fixed record lengths, and all your importing and exporting is done smoothly here.

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No iOS music app would be complete without Audiobus, standard sharing, and MIDI supports.
Galileo is complete with Audiobus Input, and FX slot support. General and Sonoma AudioCopy/Paste.
The MIDI implementation is robust with 3 IO channels, over 130 control destinations, keyboard splitting, sustain and expression supports etc.
All the MIDI stuff is accessed from the “Pref” screen, where you’ll also find 50 or so scales to assign whatever key you wish.
Yonac has done another bang up job with offering yet anther full and complete new music app to enjoy.

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Having enjoyed YonacSoftwares MagellanSynth for a while, it is no surprise to me that Galileo would be of the same high caliber. Its stable, clean, and sounds so damn good. I really can’t find anything to complain about. I am suddenly now a fan of Organs thanks to the sublime design and execution of this app. If you’re a die hard Organ lover, I dare say you won’t be disappointed by Galileo one bit. Even folks like me who would normally be apathetic to such instruments would find this worth a very close look. You’ll likely start looking for ways to incorporate Galileo into your music.
Its just that good.

Highly recommended. Must Have!

Guitarism: Pocket Accoustic Guitar – Review

20130201-160729.jpgVisit Rhisms WebSite

UPDATED: 6-24-2013

Guitarism now supports multi channel -MIDI! This new feature is called “Triple Play” and is available as an IAP from within the app for $4.99. That might seem like a high price just for MIDI, but consider that the app itself is only a mere $2.99 as is, and has a quality sound with fantastic playability. Triple Play adds a lot more depth and functionality than it might seem at a glance. Being able to control up to 3 MIDI compatible apps simultaneously is really cool. Once you start using it, and experience just how inspiring it can be, the value becomes much more evident. I have to be honest though, I think the five bucks IAP is a little high. I’d feel more comfortable with it being a couple bucks less, or better yet a full Guitarism package with all the goodies for single price. Say $6.99? Nevertheless, its not my business to argue pricing, I’m just voicing my own opinion. By the way I want to direct you to the comments of this review to consider a strong argument for the value of this apps IAPs, that Rhism himself pointed out. He makes good sense and points out a reasonable comparison vs other apps with similar and higher priced options.
However you look at it the functionality you get is compelling. This is a solid and quality guitar simulation app that isn’t developed on a whim overnight. Its a serious instrument that delivers a wonderful experience, and with Triple Play a whole world of new possibilities open up. Guitarism with Triple Play are a powerful combination.

Original Review:

Why are so many virtual guitar apps in iOS being sold without Audiobus or at least AudioCopy?
Rhism LLC gets it. Developed by a guitar player, Guitarism comes not only with probably the best sounding virtual guitar, but also a comfortable playing interface built perfectly for iPhone and iPod touch. Plus, he made Guitarism relevant by adding Audiobus support quickly. The first virtual guitar app to do so.

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Guitarsm is a six string virtual acoustic guitar with an amazingly playable design. It sounds fantastic and as close to a real guitar sound as any other app. The quality of this is amazing maybe even better than other iOS virtual guitars.
You play Guitarism with two hands, and depending on if you’re a lefty or righty (both supported) the chords are on one side while the string strumming is on the other.
Guitarism is centered on strumming most of all, but you can finger pick individual strings without discomfort. For some reason Finger Picking (Smart Strings) is available through IAP. I feel that’s a standard function and should be part of the entry price.

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A very clean and simple interface intelligently designed awaits. No clutter or any unnecessary menus. This is strait up 6 string strumming pleasure. There is of course a menu of options to offer further tools to make the most of your experience.
Change and customize keys and scales how ever you prefer. Turn on Tilted Chords and your 6 available chords expand to 18 variations by simply tilting the device left and right. Very nice option, I can’t turn it off.
Check Out This YouTube Video

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Further expanding on expression options are Hammer On and Fret Muting which can also be enabled. These are the kinds of features any guitarist would expect. Having these makes playing Guitarism about the most instinctive and natural feeling of any iOS Guitar I’ve tried.

I cant say it enough. The sound is very good. The strings respond magnificently to how you hit them. Gently strum or tap for softer sounds, or rapid taps and fast strumming for much louder responses. The string attack is incredibly lifelike. There is a nice amount of sustain that lends to the natural quality of what’s played. It could probably benefit from a selectable option for users to expand or reduce the sustained audio. Just something I’d like.

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Guitarism has its own record option, and a recordings management folder. No FX come with Guitarism, but neither do real guitars. Thanks to Audiobus support, playing Guitarism through FX apps like EchoPad (really gotta try it!) is a fun and easy way to add some very cool FX, and have it all recorded in your favorite iDAW. AudioCopy is supported as well, in case you’re without Audiobus.
You can share your recordings, chord sets etc via Facebook, and the “Rhism Nation.”

More additions are being developed to improve and expand upon Guitarism. A couple notable planned items are: More guitar types, & MIDI. Both planned to be made available through IAP. iPad native support is being considered but has not been confirmed. Its possible a separate app might be needed for iPad. I hope he finds a way to make this universal, no one likes having to buy the same thing twice.
Personally speaking I am excited by the possibility of having a 12 string added to this. I can hardly wait to see what Rhism does next.

For the record I’ve been playing this on my iPads 2&3 at 2X size without any problems at all.
This is one well made and great sounding virtual guitar. No complaints. A new must have. 5 stars!
Buy Guitarism in iTunes