Developer apeSoft will be familiar to many iOS musicians through their various iOS music apps. These include iDensity, Stria and iPulsaret (all UK£5.99/US$7.99) plus the rather wonderful (and, to me, quite intimidating to program!) iVCS3 synth-meets-audio effect. If you have encountered any of these apps then you will know that apeSoft don’t really do ‘conventional’. Indeed, the iVCS3 – as a virtual recreation of a classic hardware synth from days gone by – is perhaps as conventional as it gets and, even then, they picked a very distinctive synth to model in software.
One of their other very interesting apps is apeFilter and I reviewed the app when it first appeared on the App Store and also posted when the app got a fairly substantial update in v.1.2 including an overhaul of the UI, while v.1.4 added support for Ableton LINK. At one level, apeFilter can be described as an EQ effect and, as every DAW app that you care to think of includes some EQ options, and there are a number of very decent iOS audio effects apps that cover EQ, you can be forgiven for perhaps thinking ‘so what?’ when reading about another EQ app.
However, do bear in mind apeSoft’s track record here; this is a developer that doesn’t really do ‘standard’ and, once you dig in, you soon realise that apeFilter is anything but another ‘me too!’ EQ option. Indeed, while I’m not sure I’m fully qualified to comment on some of the app’s more technical details (I have no idea what a Spectral Grid compiler is, for example), given that you can create an EQ curve with up to 72 peak filters, and that you get very precise control over the settings for each of those filters in terms of gain, frequency and bandwidth, I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to label apeFilter as ‘most surgical EQ currently available for iOS’.
Anyway, apeSoft have released a further update yesterday and the latest version – v.2.0 – brings a number of further feature additions and enhancements. Top of the list is support for the Audio Units (AU) format so you can now use apeFilter within your favourite AU hosts such as AUM or Cubasis, both of which I’ve now tried with apeFilter and both worked very well in my brief testing yesterday. The screen layout is obviously somewhat different when used via AU to accommodate the smaller AU sub-window with a typical host but, even so, the controls are easy to use and accessible. It’s great to see the number of AU apps gradually increasing…. and also the rate at which they are appearing beginning to increase. Let’s hope iOS10 gives that growth some further momentum.
apeFilter still requires iOS 8.0 or later (although you will, of course, need iOS9 to use the AU version as opposed to the stand-alone, Audiobus or IAA routes) and is just a 20MB download. At just UK£4.49/US$5.99, apeFilter packs a heck of a lot of features in for a very modest price. Anyway, check out the original apeFilter review for the full details as much of that still applies despite the new look. Perhaps not an essential tool for everyone but certainly a tool everyone could make good use of, both correctively and creatively.