I did a full review of iSymphonic Orchestra about a week after it was released and, while I was impressed by the sound quality, I wasn’t quite so convinced about the overall package. However, the app has had a number of updates since then and these have added new features, new sounds (included in the base price of the app) and a number of further sound options via IAP. It is now a much better proposition and, for orchestral sounds, is probably the best choice currently available under iOS.
However, perhaps the biggest recent development with the app sort of snuck in under the radar with v.1.5.5; Audiobus support was added. While IAA had been included within the app previously, JACK support is also present which is Crudebyte’s own audio connectivity app. However, with Audiobus dominating that role within the iOS music making world, I think adding Audiobus support to iSymphonic Orchestra was a very sensible move and I’m sure will have broadened the appeal of the app considerably.
Anyway, a further update appeared on the App Store yesterday (v.1.6.6). The headline new feature this time around is a further IAP (UK£8.99 as for the other additional sound sets) called the Vento sound set. This adds a further 18 sounds and requires 480MB of additional storage (so there is a serious amount of samples involved). The sounds themselves add various wind instruments – clarinet, bassoon, flute, English horn – and some further ensembles combining wind and broader orchestral instruments (mainly strings).
Having been able to give these a run through this morning, as with the previous IAPs, the quality of the sounds themselves is very good indeed; if you have all the IAPs installed, this is , by some distance, the best orchestral palette of sounds available under iOS. The large ensemble sounds are generally very impressive while the smaller ensembles and solo instruments (I particularly liked the flute) can also do something a little more intimate, particularly if you roll off a little of the reverb.
Priced originally at UK£37.99 and with a fairly hefty 800+MB download for the base app, iSymphonic Orchestra perhaps wasn’t going to ever be a casual purchase for your iOS music app collection. However, with considerably more content and features in the current version compared to the original release, there has also been a bit of a shift in the pricing structure recently and, at present, the base app is UK£22.99.
Given the sound quality and multi-timbral operation, this now strikes me that iSymphonic Orchestra is a pretty good good deal and, if you are serious about your orchestral sounds, very well worth exploring. The Audiobus support is going to encourage a fresh batch of potential users to take a look… and if you like the base iSymphonic Orchestra app, there are now some excellent options for additional content via the various IAPs… and you might also check out Crudebyte’s companion app Oriental Strings if you want to add some further string-based options to your sound palette.