FX

FACChorus – Review

FACChorus by: Frederic Corvest 

Available in the iTunes App Store and the Mac App Store


FACChorus (Fred Anton Corvest) is a stand alone, versatile Chorus effects app designed to emulate classic physical modules of day’s past. Not unlike the analog Roland Juno Chorus effects (and others) from decades ago. 


FACChorus sports a simple and clean interface resembling a rack mount style with realistic, responsive knobs. The no fuss look may seem a bit dated to some, but fits right in all the same. It mirrors the actual signal path from left to right (input to output) making it quite intuitive. Not that there could really be much to confuse anyone, anyway. Plus, who cares about looks when what really matters it how it sounds.


So how does it sound? Well, it sounds really good, even through an iPads built in mic. Of course better with a plug in mic, USB or in a AU (Audio Unit) setting.  This Chorus unit has a wide range of possible effects from clean and subtle to clinically insane. Most iOS synths and iDAWs have a built in Chorus but lack any real versatility and often even with the most subtle settings, sound overly wobbly. FACChorus can be manipulated to suit any need for vocals, guitars, and of course iOS instruments. Lush, rich and wide. Spacey or water logged, FACChorus gets you there. 

The properly named presets offer a nice range of ready to go effect parameters suitable for most situations. There is now the ability to save custom presets added. 

While this great sounding effects unit supports Audio Unit V3, it does not support Inter-App Audio or Audiobus. Considering that most iDAWs (like Cubasis and GarageBand Mobile) support Au V3, it’s hardly any real concern. Au V3 basically works the same as IAA. 

It’s early still, and it’s already progressing thanks to a dedicated developer. 

That all said, for three bucks you get an incredible sounding Chorus unit that would’ve cost far more in the physical world. 

Keep an eye out for an OSX version that works very nicely with Logic Pro X, and GarageBand for Macs. 

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Convoluted Spectral Filtering

3 Incredible special effects apps combine to astound us!

Big tough words right? Well, I’m serious. I’ve had some time to really sit and dig in to 3 relatively new effects apps from 3 of my favorite developers. Time enough to discover that there’s not enough time to discover it all.
Individually, each is simply marvelous in their own right, but combine them and you have a massively exciting audio trilogy of sound effects goodness.

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apeFilter by http://www.densitygs.com

IMG_0570-0.JPG AltiSpace – Convolution Reverb by http://audio-mastering-ipad.com

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csSpectral by http://www.boulangerlabs.com/products/csspectral/

These incredible effects apps each have uniquely outstanding qualities that by themselves would be fantastically satisfying and hugely time consuming.
Plenty of joy will come from each one, offering loads of creative experiences.

It’s when they are placed together, working in harmony through Audiobus, that they stand together like a trio of god-like rock star band mates ruling the heavens of audio special effects. Special effects gone totally bananas.
Choose your Input > Effects > route and run them all into your favorite iDAW (or Output) app to capture the sonic sundae.
Typically I use AltiSpace in the middle, between aprFilter and then csSpectral, however this combo is not only excellent but also demanding on your device. I’d not recommend anything less than iPad 4 and preferably iPad Air. Depending on your device and needs, 512 latency should be fine.

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I load up my sample with apeFilter and make initial filtering adjustments. apeFilter has excellent sample and frequency control both backward and forward which can be manipulated in real time, any time.
The interactive GUI is perfect for controlling up to 36 peaks filters frequencies. Packed with high quality common filters (Lo/Hi and band pass, notch, and Hi or Lo shelf) and some post effects like delay and compression apeFilter is perfect for shaping your samples.

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Don’t forget the spectral grid where you can finger paint your way through the pitch space using the 4 compilers. Try it out and you’ll see.

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Next I have AltiSpace Convolution Reverb in the effects part of the chain. This is the first stand alone convolution reverb unit for iOS. In case you’re wondering what a convolution reverb is, it is a form of reconstructing the reverb effect of other reverb effects units. Taken from actual impulse response recordings or real world acoustical reverberations emulated digitally. It’s a lot of complicated math I won’t pretend to understand, it’s just really good. AltiSpace recreates some of the best reverb units made.

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Something you might notice that’s very different from algorithmic reverbs is the convolution reverb doesn’t have all those parameter controls you might be used to. Controls like tail, width, and swirl etc. Instead of tweaking various parameters, you just select a different IR or impulse response. With 250 loaded IRs there’s no shortage. Plus you still have basic parameter controls including some EQing and a super cool reverse option. I love the reverse part.

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In the last or output spot I use csSpectral. A Csound based multi effect processor. This thing is amazing. Nearly every parameter of each effects unit can be randomized and automated. There are 7 FFT (fast Fourier transform) based algorithmic spectral types. Including a Phase Vocoder, spectral blur, spectral re-synthesizer and more. There so much you can do with any one of these and you’re still only just getting started with this app.

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The 12 total variations of the DSP effects bring a truck load of sound effects goodness to the table. Basically there’s 3 variants each of the 4 effects units.
Multi-Mode Filter, Stereo Glitch Delay, Micro Cutter, Phaser Reverb, Modal Resonator, LoFi Delay, Bouncer (Cutter), Ball In The Box Reverb and more. Each have something special to offer. csSpectral is a big scary beast.
It’s just too much fun to play with sound in this.
Recording and editing the resulting samples are a cinch.

There is no rule you need to follow here. Like I said each app stands alone with its own greatness. I just happen to think altogether they make an impressive team.
It’s all going to be in how you use them, but the capability is there. Only the users themselves are responsible if they end up having a disappointing experience.

Effectrix – Review

Effectrix is made by Sugar Bytes
Available in The iTunes App Store

“A professional multi-effect sequencer for iPad”

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Like many of you I have and enjoy Sugar Bytes other iOS apps. Turnado, WOW Filterbox, and Thysis each having some great things to offer.

Effectrix is uniquely it’s own breed. While it does contain similar effects found in their other apps (minus Thysis) it is not just another effects app.
The 14 “intelligent” effects are thrown onto a sequencer matrix for some unusual and sometimes perfectly chaotic looping sessions.

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Fun is an understatement. Sugar Bytes does have a way with creating interesting and useful apps that promote creativity. They also have a unique talent for making their programs ridiculously fun.
Effectrix is something to get blissfully lost in as you explore the infinite combinations of effects sequenced to your specific liking.

It’s a perfect interface for making sequences and easily applying any combination of the 14 FX, or all.
The familiar randomizer or “Dice” are present and accounted for.
Plus a large collection of presets that suit most any event. From weddings to witch burnings, and everything else.

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There is a bit less specific or detailed FX controls such as found in Turnado, but these aren’t stripped down effects at all. The most important parameters are there for your tweaking needs.
2 assignable modulation parts per effect allow quick and easy automation of the selected options. Full expressive control is standard.
Apply the effects on the matrix by touch, and or drag along its open bar through the width of it.
Easy!

Effectrix fits any iOS workflow with support for Virtual MIDI, Network, Clock Sync etc. Inter-App Audio, Audiobus, and AudioCopy/Paste all here.

Want to have some fun with music from your iTunes playlist? No problem, a integrated audio player and recorder come with Effectrix too.

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This app brings a new form of effects sequencing to the table and should not be missed. There isn’t a whole lot one can say about this. It’s just damn good.
Winner.

AUFX:Space – Review

AUFX: Space
A High Quality Reverb From: Kymatica
Available Now From iTunes App Store

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Reverb is one of those FX that is found almost everywhere. It’s used in so many settings. From ambient electronic to heavy metal, reverb is in most any music. It’s not just an effect for music, but also something that occurs naturally in seemingly mundane places. Basements, cathedrals, auditoriums, arenas, and caves to name a few. It is often equated to vast space. Sometimes outer space, which is ironic as sound doesn’t carry in a vacuum. Sure that’s not literal when referring to reverb in terms of space with stars and planets, but it does represent the vastness that reverb can convey.

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So “Space” is a good descriptive word when we are talking about reverb. AUFX: Space, is the latest and the first in a series of effects units being developed by Kymatica. You may know of Kymatica from their other highly useful and quality apps like “AudioShare” “BitWiz” and “Gestrument” among others.
What the rest of the AUFX series turns out to include remains to be seen, but “Space” is a great start. Reverb and iOS have not had a long running record of high quality offerings. “Space” aims to change that going forward. Finally a stand alone high quality reverb app is here.

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AUFX: Space is a high quality 32 bit DSP reverb unit with enough adjustable parameters to shape or mimic countless reverb types superbly.
All the standard reverb parameters plus a few more are built in to Space. Spread, Damping, Pre-Delay, Wet/Dry, Scale, Gain, Room Size, Color, and both LoPass and HiPass resonant filters with Cutoff. Very nearly complete. I say nearly because it’s missing a parameter I’ve been seeking for ages in iOS reverbs; “Swirl” or “Chorus” of sorts. Not like a full-on Chorus effect, which I suspect will be offered later in the AUFX series, but a kind that adds a dimension of movement with the reverberations. Maybe it’ll come, but it’s a lot to ask for since it would add more power demands to an already efficient app. No need to over do it, but it would be nice to see for once.

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The numerous highly adjustable parameters I listed from Space have allowed me to make some fantastic-sounding effects that nothing (Aurias Reverb Plug Ins are the exception) in iOS has allowed before. Space scratches the reverb itch.
Deep, rich, warm, and expansive to short, cold, subtle and every effect in-between sound really nice. Unlike most iOS reverb options, which by comparison to “Space” sound very thin, cheap, and like they’re coming from within tin cans. They have been improving slowly, but this is a significant and targeted advancement. AUFX: Space fills a void (no pun intended) I thought might never be filled. I wish I had this 2 years ago.

FEATURES

Process hardware input/output or other apps through Audiobus (input/filter/output slots supported).
Ready for the future inter-app audio standard.
Fully MIDI controllable, including Virtual MIDI.
Background Audio.
Save and load user presets.
Comes with several bundled presets.
Record the result directly in app.
Email recordings or export to AudioShare audio document manager app.
Access user presets and recordings through iTunes File Sharing.

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Using this app with Audiobus has proven to be problem free so far as I’ve experienced on my iPads 3 and 4. In case “clipping” were to happen there is a thoughtful “limiter” function which can be enabled from the menu. It says it adds 10MS to latency, but I haven’t noticed it. You can also save your concoctions to call up later easily from the menu.

The U.I. is simple and uncluttered making usage effortless. Its just you and Space with nothing distracting. The way it should be. With the ability to record directly, run through all Audiobus slots, and MIDI including virtual MIDI, its ready for any project. Not to mention its already built with iOS 7s “inter-app audio” standard in mind and prepared for when iOS7 releases.
When this releases (could be sometime in July) I would encourage anyone who wants a simple yet sophisticated and excellent reverb option to pick this up.

EDIT: 7-23-2013
I wanted to add that I have been using “Space” with my iRig Mic to capture audio recording directly to the app. It was not only convenient, but really sounded great even through the iRig. Just holding on the recording from the menu brings up a option to quickly move files to AudioShare.
The launch price of $3.99 is a steal! Low price compared to others, but by no means is this cheap. Sure you could go spend $10 $20 or more for other stand alone FX, but you won’t get anything better than this.

It will be very interesting to see what Kymatica offers next in the AUFX apps series. I for one am very eager to find out. At any rate, this is a really great start!

Turnado – Review

Turnado
Developed by: Sugar Bytes

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UPDATED REVIEW 5-26-2013
Just a little one, but Turnado now supports landscape as well as portrait.

It sure would be nice if there were a really good multi/real-time live effects unit with tons of modulation parameters and full customization. If only I could find something like this that does a good job on my iPads…
Wait! What’s this? Well, here it is! “Turnado.” That’ll do very nicely.

A massive live effects rack focused more on tripping out beats, but just as awesome for any sample to mangle.
This thing is ridiculous. Insane. Massive. Insert your favorite exclamation of joy . Easy & packed deep with very interesting effects of all kinds.

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This cavern full of effects fits nicely on the iPad in portrait view. Understandable at first look. Not overly complex. Its deceptively simple, with a wild multitude of adjustable parameters to lose oneself in a bottomless pit of effects possibilities. I mean this thing is deep!

Getting started is a snap. Just tap the presets menu and select one, or tap the dice ( die ) to randomly generate 8 different FX that you can control simultaneously with either the 8 associated effects knobs, or the 4 X/Y pads controlling 2 FX at a time correlating with those knobs. Select a factory sample, loop it, and just boogie with the 4 pads live. You can also drag FX units from the list of 24 professional grade algorithms, and drop in whichever slot you like. Great also for quickly replacing something.
Turnado is immediately satisfying and crazy fun. This is only the beginning though. Beyond the easy start, you can dig way further into each of the effects to make some very cool sounds. This is modulation tweaking paradise.

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Some of Turnados features:
Turnado supports Audiobus input and effects slots. Import your own samples via ACP (audio copy paste), iTunes File Share, and music library. It is also compatible with “Jack”. Full MIDI support and clock sync. Adjustable buffer down to a speedy 64! Background Audio capable. Its all ready and waiting for you. There’s way too many specs and features to list. Visit Turnados Web sight for all the details: HERE
As good as the factory samples are, nothing beats your own.

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Loading from the many FX carefully designed presets that fit pretty much any occasion is sweet for a quick run. Where Turnado really shows itself off is in the individual FX “Edit” screens. You’ll notice that each of the FX units have a little “Edit” button on them. Go ahead, tap it!
Whammo! Adjustable parameters galore. Welcome to the modulation candy store.

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Now you have all the pieces that make the effect live and breathe. You can easily end up in a vortex where time stands still with the amazing amount of sound options here. Imagine it, tweak it, and experiment with it all. I’ve spent many hours in this screen creating numerous presets of my own. There is so much to discover. Once you find and hear what you like save it to call up from the user list.

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The portion of the screen where all the editing is done can feel a bit tight, and small. No problem, double tap it and it zooms in. The zoom can also be disabled if you wish.
The FX are pretty amazing. As I mentioned already they are high quality, and focused on beat manipulation more than anything else. You’ll find numerous filters, slicers, loopers, wobblers, and so on. No worries if, like me, you would like to use Turnado for more than just beats. It is complete with excellent delays, and reverbs to boot. Sugar Bytes thought this through offering so many FX types, styles and options.

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They created a fantastic controller called “Dictator” that can control each of the 8 FX knobs and countless parameters with a single slider. This is a real treat and leads to some monstrous sound designs. Again, the Dictator is customizable and offers lots of preset configurations. Its unique, powerful and just plain crazy.

I can’t find anything terribly serious to complain about. The only issues I experienced using Turnado on iPads 3&4 were with the edit screen. It has during playback caused unwanted skipping or stuttering with each touch of that screen. A few times when I was really pushing Turnado hard by working all the FX at once, I temporarily lost audio. Only one crash on my iPad 3. These could be a problem in a live performance, not so much in your studio. Its early yet for the iOS version of Turnado.
I don’t expect these to linger. Sugar Bytes is quick to make fixes as demonstrated with a recent update already fixing some minor bugs. I’m not worried, and it doesn’t effect my feelings on this incredible app.

Highly recommended! Buy Turnado from iTunes HERE

You will definitely have lots of fun.