Cassini update – iceWorks tweak their original synth app

Download from iTunes App StoreThere are, of course, no shortages of iOS music apps that offer virtual synthesis and we are blessed with some fabulous synth apps that run on the iPad (and a number that also work in the more compact iPhone format)…. Thor, Nave, Animoog, iSEM, Tera Synth, Synthmaster Player, MitoSynth, iProphet, Model 15, ARP ODYSSEi, iWaveStation… well, add your own favourites to the list.

However, there are a number of very creditable alternatives to some of the more profile and well established competition and developer iceWorks have a number of these in their catalogue including LaplaceMersenne and Lorentz synth, all of which got Ableton Link support soon after the technology was launched. The company also have the rather wonderful iPhone-friendly Redshrike now in their iOS portfolio.

Cassini – an app that’s been around for a while but still a very capable synth….

One further synth app in the iceWorks catalogue has been around longer than any of these; Cassini, which exists as both iPad and iPhone versions. And, as the Music App Blog was stuttering into life at about the same time as Cassini appeared, to my bad, it’s an app I missed at the time and have never actually got around to doing a full review of.

Cassini’s engine features three independent oscillators.

Don’t let that stop you taking a look though….  Cassini is a fine instrument and, with a synth engine that strikes a good balance between flexibility/options and a fairly straightforward signal flow, it is something that might appeal to a wide range of iOS music makers. The engine features 3 oscillators, 2 filters, some very cool modulation options provided by a selection of LFOs and envelope generators, a cool delay and a neat arpeggiator. In short, plenty to get your teeth into but presented in a pretty accessible way.

The twin filters provide plenty of sound shaping options…..

The app also ships with a good selection of presets, Audiobus and IAA support, AudioCopy support and Core MIDI support. OK, so there is, as yet, no support for Ableton Link or AU, but then that’s also true of a lot of iOS synths at present.

The arpeggiator is also well specified.

Anyway, this update – which takes the app to v.1.3.5 – updates the Audiobus SDK, tweaks the behaviour of the ring modulation feature and fixes the occasional sticky note issue when used via IAA….  all good to see and regular long-term users will be happy to see the app get a refresh.

Like Laplace, Mersenne and Lorentz, Cassini for iPad is priced at UK£5.99/US$5.99 (the iPhone version is UK£3.99/US3.99). Even if you are a casual collector of iOS synths, this is hardly likely to break the bank. Excellent value for money and well worth a place in anyone’s iOS synth collection.


Download from iTunes App Store

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    1. ConfusedKitten says:

      Wow… Cassini is the 1st synthesiser I bought on iOS and is without a doubt one of my favourites as it’s insanely powerful and I’d dread to think how much it would cost if it was a hardware unit! I must say I love the sexy new app icon it looks really slick (kudos)! Yeah it’s absolutely amazing to see a classic synth being given some 2017 love which is really important as any older 32-bit apps are potentially going to disappear from the App Store after the release of iOS 11 so I’m over the moon that this developer has updated one of my favourite classic synths of all time and avoided this fate (and I still use it regularly even after all this time because it’s brilliant and one of the most diverse synths I’ve encountered)!

      The thing is with Cassini is that although the presets that it comes with provide a suitably useful and broad range of sounds, they really don’t fully illustrate the insane sonic potential of this monster! It really is a total beast because unlike synths that typically have between 1-3 assignable LFO’s, Cassini seemingly allows you to modulate practically everything (like MitoSynth), with some really sophisticated modulation options (various waveforms and even a step sequencer etc). Also with having 3 x multimode oscillators, multiple full DAHDSR envelopes which are rare too (and other really deep and sophisticated sound sculpting options like time varient oscillator waveshaping etc) it really is insanely powerful!

      To mention a few of the other really special qualities that this synth has for the uninitiated (in addition to the above which is impressive) it has this gorgeous ‘filtered’ and modulated delay which is really unusual and analogue sounding. It’s great for creating fluttery shimmering nuances; and further the left and right channels are controlled independently (time, filter type, LFO, phase etc) for some really interesting and highly creative processing options. Indeed this would make an amazing effects unit in its own right (pretty please with sugar on top)!

      Then there the multi pole filter section which is somewhat of a rarity (it has 2 in a row that can be set to serial or parallel from what I remember), so you have not just the ubiquitous LP24db per octave that we’re used to seeing across the board, but LP6db, LP12db, LP18db also (as well as High Pass, Band Pass, and Formant) which is really quite special as it provides a broad set of filter responses from subtle upwards (which I really like as it is capable of so much more than just ‘in your face’ filter shifts) it can be subtle and delicate also which can be said for the synths sonic potential also (which is very diverse).

      Finally, although Cassini is primarily a digitally controlled synthesiser (with patch cable less modular qualities) it has these amazing analogue modelled saturation and drive characteristics (red, violet, blue) which represent different forms of non linear excitement (transistor, diode etc) and they sound utterly amazing, you can create some really aggressive screaming 303 like sounds out of it you want or merely ‘warm up’ a patch for some really rich virtual analogue style saturation (when used in conjunction with the drive control) and it sounds absolutely amazing! This would make an insanely collectible hardware synth which is a testament to its brilliance (a very expensive one that Ty Unwin would want)!

      Yes, ok… it’s true I love this synth, I think the developer is a genius and the pricing is so modest – everyone should own this (you’re missing out if you don’t believe me)! He’s also produced a unique range of synthesisers since the dawn of iOS and each with their own special sonic characteristics (using experimental techniques like physical modelling and also including a resonator with classic forms of synthesis like subtractive etc). I have to say I don’t really care so much (personally) about every music app now having to have ‘AU’ support, some do some don’t – not every app is suitable for AU for technical reasons as they were never intended to be used in that way (unfortunately) but that’s fine, as the protocol matures it might make it easier to adapt as it certainly has it’s limitations currently! This is why (I feel) a lot of the new apps are arriving on the App Store with AU ‘out of the box’ whereas only some existing apps have been converted subject to suitability etc (but I’m just guessing as I’m not an iOS developer currently but it makes sense at least)!

      This developer is also one of the original iOS music founders (Cassini was released way back in 2012) so its amazing to see him keeping one of my favourite synths updated and alive and I sincerely hope that others follow his example as there are a lot of classic apps out there in the iOS universe that have long since been forgotten (seemingly anyway) and it’s a real shame! Anyway, fantastic news John – totally made my day thanks (and a huge thanks to the developer) much appreciated! :)

      • If developer is such a “genius”, why did he release Redshrike that is not iPad compatible?

        • ConfusedKitten says:

          I wondered how long it would take for you to turn up and start abusing the comments to troll the developer (again). Not long apparently!

        • Hi Leslie…. looks fine scaled up on my iPad Pro and works a treat….. Very best wishes, John

          • Hi John,
            Thanks for reply :) I know that it will work in 2x compatibility mode, but it does look overly big and ugly on my 12’9 iPad Pro, certainty not what you expect from iOS iPad app.
            I own all of Icegear apps bar Argon and love them all and therefore find it puzzling that they have released iPhone only version of Redshrike without iPad support…
            Btw; No AU support either… :(

      • Isn’t it overly extensive appreciation of iOS app..?
        Looks to me like you’re almost orgasmic about it.
        Cold shower perhaps?

    2. Artem Moroz says:

      Great news, indeed! Thank You ALL!!!

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