DRC Polyphonic Synthesizer – Review

DRC Synth is developed by Imaginando

Available for free download in iTunes

I’ve seen, used, tested and yawned at every iOS analog emulated synthesizer. This is one particular type of synth that are dime a dozen and not short on competitive options. I’m not saying that DRC isn’t good. In fact I think it’s great. While most developers are creating a graphical resemblance to old hardware to tug at our nostalgia heart strings, these guys are putting the focus on not what you see, but how you use what you hear. 

DRC most resembles the robust and brutal sounds of iSEM (the Oberheim remake for iOS) or iMini (Or Mini Moog) with its signature sound. This definitly is a well made emulation that packs a wallop with the best. This 8 voice polyphonic analog* synth is clearly not just another sell out 2 oscillator emulator of historic hardware trying to cash in on something famous that is either hard or impossible to find. No synth lovers, they really put their hearts into this. One could argue that we have plenty of these already. True, but this not only has the sound talking the talk, it also has a interface of minimalistic design that walks the walk where functionality is concerned. 

The beauty of the simplistic and minimalist user interface design is no accident. It surely isn’t lazy or result of lacking creativity. Everything you need to use, can be used all on this one screen. No interruptions with page swiping. Just set or select the parameter tabs from the 4 quadrant window panes. It promotes a very comfortable usability that’s been largely overlooked by most. Adjusting parameters while playing live in real time allows you to bring new life and evolution into a sound while being performed. This is one of a few instances where I felt really at ease playing the keyboard and slowly maipulating a filter or noise generator at the same time. It feels right. 

Among all of the usual 2 oscillator analog emulators, DRC has something else I found interesting. The above image shows the Mod Wheel and After Touch controls. It also shows the key and scales options. At the bottom with the key labels, flanked to the right and left are ribbon controllers. I couldn’t find anything in the manual that explained them? They can be used to play through the notes of the scale. Whatever the intention is, I found them to add a little extra dimension to certain aspects. They are especially handy while using the arpeggiator. Not sure this was worth getting fixated on, it’s not the first time I’ve seen ribbon controls, but the location is what got my attention. Anyway, I just happen to like it. 

DRC has the MIDI, Audiobus, Inter-App audio supports like we expect. Abelton Link is also supported. You can use the cloud to easily share patches among your devices quite nicely. The usual filters are available, and for a synth of this breed they are the fine quality most would demand. I don’t like listing every parameter, so just check the app page in iTunes to get the full list, or visit the developer website. Both are linked at the very top of this review. 

In the modifiers DRC has something here that you don’t see every day. In the LFO waveforms options is a FS&H, Filtered Sample and Hold. It works similarly to the Sample and Hold waveform that is more common, but ramps up from one random position to another more smoothly. It has a very interesting effect to the LFO behavior. 

It has a Chorus, Delay and Reverb effect unit. You can use the Notch filter cutoff and resonance to make your own phaser effects. All pretty standard stuff. The Reverb is intentionally unrealistic and generates an interesting artificial, spacey component to the sound. It’s not designed after any real world units, or even a simple plate. It’s just a long crazy reverberation effect intended to add more depth to a sound. Interesting, but ultimately still just a cheap sounding reverb. I should add that I’m a reverb snob, so don’t put too much into my comments on this part. I just feel it could be better and remain an equally interesting sound effect. 

Free to download, DRCs synth engine is fully operational for 7 days before purchase is required to permanently unlock and use. It’s worth giving a shot if you like iSEM or iMini type sounds. If you don’t have those apps but want that type of sound, this could be a great first choice. 

Animoog For iPad Review

Animoog by Moog Music Inc. Review based on use with iPad 1,2,and (3) The New iPad. Also available for iPhone and iPod Touch.

Moog Me!

Moog Music has a long history of providing the world with amazing synthesizers with legendary sounds.
It should be no surprise that they would join the iOS music world by crafting a synth app that comes packed with their signature style on a new platform.

Moog Music developed Animoog with the modern touch interface well in mind. They cut no corners and delivered this stunning professional quality synth with their new ASE (Anisotropic Synth Engine) technology. ASE in short allows the user to move through a sonic X/Y landscape full of unique timbres that respond, grow and morph with each touch on the X/Y panel.

Animoog was a hit right off the bat. Loaded with timbres from analog waveforms “captured from classic Moog oscillators, both vintage and modern…”it was easy to feel the Moogness with the first touch of the virtual keyboard. This synth delivers fat, gooey sounds that are both audibly and visually marvelous.

Complete with all the modules necessary to craft subtly evolving pads, to heavily modulated, bit crushed killer keys. Phat leads, pitch shifting blasts, ghostly FX, quiet and deep morphing bliss from all angles are well within or even outside the imagination depending on how one tweaks and manipulates each of the available tools.
It also has the classic four pole Moog ladder filter with High, Low and Band Pass modes.

Its tough to describe in words just how nice this synth is. It really must be heard (through decent speakers or headphones) to be fully enjoyed and appreciated.

Click HERE to visit Moog Music web page for all the facts, links to buy, details and nitty gritty specs. Its all there, you’ll see.

If you want to perform with it, go ahead its got MIDI capabilities and works great with any MIDI controller, or even a Moog Little Phatty.

Using Animoog in my process is a snap since it has background audio, general paste board support to easily move recordings around various compatible apps all on my tablet. Layering with overdubbing is endlessly fun and useful. If for some reason you run out of ideas or just want more presets, expansion packs can add more Moogy madness sounds via IAP download.

This is the real deal. Something of similar physical or home computer soft synth design with these same capabilities would be far more expensive than this iOS version that brings the very same quality.

I’m sure there is still some purist somewhere in his moms basement, hiding in his peanut butter fort, surrounded by racks of gear, miles of wires, and boards who will swear this is not possible. That would be a mistake. We have here another groundbreaking, indisputable example of how iOS music is for real.

Animoog is a stellar synth and easily a big time must have for any iOS synth enthusiast, performer, and producer. My 2011 Music App Of The Year.