Emo Chorus review – new iOS chorus app from VirSyn

Download from iTunes App StoreEmo Chorus logo 1As I posted a couple of days ago, VirSyn have added a new app to their already well-stocked iOS music app collection; Emo Chorus. As the title suggests, this is a modulation audio effect app and, if you look at a couple of the screen shots, you can see where the ‘Emo’ bit of the app’s name comes from; all very cute but, if you prefer, then you can opt for a somewhat more soothing ‘red dot’ display instead of lots of cartoon smiling faces :-)

This universal app hit the App Store this week and, at 12MB and requiring iOS7.0 or later, it is not going to be difficult to find a home for by almost any iOS music maker. And, to celebrate the launch, the app is at a ‘60% off’ special pricing for a limited time only so you can pick up a copy for just UK£1.49.

Emo Chorus - an app with happy, smiley, faces (if you want them).

Emo Chorus – an app with happy, smiley, faces (if you want them).

The app includes Audiobus and IAA support, ships with a bunch of presets and includes an integrated iTunes player and recording function. And, with as many as 128 voices in the chorus effect, you ought to be able to get as rich as required in terms of the modulation effects.

‘allo Emo….

Given the happy, smiley, faces, and while this is obviously a modulation effect, VirSyn’s primary aim with Emo Chorus would seem to be in the processing of vocals. In particular given a number of the supplied presets, the ability to create a ‘choral-like’ effect from just a single voice is one of the applications they have in mind. There is nothing, of course, to stop you using the app to process any audio source you might want to fatten up a little :-)

Aside from a few menu settings, all of Emo’s controls are house on the single main screen. At the top, this includes the visual representation of your chorus settings that gives a clear impression of how many additional ‘voices’ you have added. Left and right of this area you get the ‘mic’ button (to select your input source; live or a pre-recorded file from your iTunes library) and, on the right, the on/off button.

... or you can just go for the 'red dot' view as shown here when using the app via IAA.

… or you can just go for the ‘red dot’ view as shown here when using the app via IAA.

The central strip of dials contains the controls themselves (along with the Dry/Wet slider and master Volume slider that are located on the left and right edges respectively). The lower portion of the display is dedicated to the EQ section and here you can tweak the low and high end of the frequency range to change the tonal character of the effect.

As with all of VirSyn’s apps, the very top-strip of the display is where you access the preset system (there are a range of presets supplied and you can, of course, save your own), the app’s internal recording feature (you can use it with a live audio input, Audiobus, IAA or a file from your iTunes library), the Settings menu and the Help options.

Join the chorus

With a standard chorus stomp-box style effect, you might get two – or perhaps three at a push – knobs to twiddle with. With Emo Chorus we get six, a few buttons, an EQ and the dry/wet balance control. There is, therefore, plenty of things to tweak about the modulation effects that you create.

Depth and Rate are fairly typical chorus parameters but here you also get Feedback (the signal is fed back into itself), Delay (the amount of delay time between the original and the various modulated versions of the original) and Spread (this seems to influence the modulation rates applied to the various modulated version of the sound so, at high settings, you get a range of different modulation rates and this is reflected within the upper graphic).

With lower Count values, you can create some very useable, and quite subtle, chorus effects.

With lower Count values, you can create some very useable, and quite subtle, chorus effects.

However, perhaps the most interesting parameter is the Count knob as this controls the number of ‘voices’ the effect generates. Essentially, the higher the value, the more modulated versions (voices) are added to the original audio signal and you get a richer, more complex, end result. Again, this is reflected in the upper graphic with more ‘emos’ (or red dots) appearing as you increase the Count value.

I’m not sure I understand exactly what the MultiFeed and Linear switches do but they obviously change the way the modulation processing is done. A bit of user experimentation is required here.

The controls available for MIDI Learn glow red when the mode is switched on and you are trying to link to your hardware controller.

The controls available for MIDI Learn glow red when the mode is switched on and you are trying to link to your hardware controller.

Tap the Settings menu icon and, as well as being able to toggle between ‘emo’ and red dot display modes, you can also set the MIDI input channel Emo Chorus uses and access the MIDI Learn system. This is pretty typical of the norm now and simply requires you to tap an onscreen control, twiddle a suitably connected MIDI hardware control, and then the two things become linked. This is a breeze to use and nicely implemented.

Emo Chorus worker very smoothly within both Audiobus and via IAA.

Emo Chorus worker very smoothly within both Audiobus and via IAA.

On a technical front, I had no problems at all using Emo Chorus as a standalone app, via Audiobus or via IAA where I used Cubasis as my IAA host. As my own use for the app is mostly likely to be in a recording context, the IAA or Audiobus routes would be the most obvious choices and the app worked very smoothly in those contexts.

Choral society

So far, so technical…   but what does it sound like? Well, that’s quite interesting…. I have to say that, usually, modulation effects are not really my thing. OK, for a bit of 80s guitar vibe, I’ll happily chuck on the phaser, flanger or chorus but, otherwise, I tend to use it very subtly and sparsely. Emo Chorus does a fine job in that context… just keep the Count, Delay and Feedback values fairly modest and you can get a good range of very nice ‘standard’ chorus effects that are modulation in moderation.

Emo Chorus can produce some very useful vocal processing options.

Emo Chorus can produce some very useful vocal processing options.

However, like some chorus effects (hardware or software), Emo Chorus also manages to do some more extreme processing but, unlike some of those other effects, it doesn’t always get distracting or simply sound too detuned for comfort. I suspect this is because VirSyn have tweaked the algorithm to suit its role as a sort of ‘vocal enhancer’… and there are presets included called Voice Doubler, Eight Voices, Room Choir and Huge Choir that step up through the Count values but, with a suitable source vocal part, do pretty much what they say on the tin without things getting out of hand. That’s not to say you can’t go all ‘special effects’ if you want to…. push the settings with an already complex audio source and you can create as much weird or detuned mess as you might like :-)

The app is supplied with a good selection of presets to get you started.

The app is supplied with a good selection of presets to get you started.

In summary

If you like a bit of modulation action, Emo Delay is as polished as VirSyn’s other iOS audio effects apps, so the results are very good indeed. And, with the launch pricing of just UK£1.49, anyone with an iOS audio effects app addiction is going to want to snap this up without too much soul (or pocket) searching.

As I posted a while ago, VirSyn are quite fond of a sale or three on their iOS music app line and a number of their apps are currently sitting at a 50% off SALE price. This includes VirSyn’s iOS mega-synth app Tera Synth alongside apps such as microTERA (a waveshapping synth and currently 50% off), Harmony Voice (pitch shifter and automatic harmony generation; also 50% off) and Addictive Synth (50% off).

Incidentally, as well as the launch pricing on the new Emo Chorus app, the current sale pricing includes both Arpeggist and Tap Delay, two of VirSyn’s other more recent additions. I’ve reviewed both of these here on the blog and both would come highly recommended for their particular tasks. It might be time to hit the download buttons and enjoy some VirSyn bargains :-)

Emo Chorus


… and on sale…. :-)

Tera Synth


microTERA


Tap Delay


Arpeggist



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    Comments

    1. Emo has a good feature set.

      I could not find any way to control the stereo spread. It looks like the “swarm” of voices pretty much populates that x/y display automatically as you turn up the number of voices. But it isn’t clear if they are “arrayed” in their stereo position, and after that you can’t move them.

      When I had a two voice chorus, they were situated graphically near the center.

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