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 technical 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.1.7.9). The headline new feature this time around is a further IAP called the Aulos sound set. This adds a further 25 additional sounds (and about 400MB of sample data to create those). The sounds themselves add various wind instruments – solo oboe, solo bassoon, solo French horn, solo clarinet, bass clarinet and several combination patches featuring layered woodwinds and strings.
If you have are happy enough to stretch out for a selection of the IAPs now available, iSymphonic Orchestra 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 a growing selection of solo instruments can also do something a little more intimate, particularly if you roll off a little of the reverb.
The update also includes a number of minor technical tweaks including several fixes to the UI, refinements when connecting to the iTunes Store and improved memory management…. all welcome obviously.
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£18.99/US$24.99.
Even so, given the sound quality and multi-timbral operation, iSymphonic Orchestra is the obvious choice if you are serious about your orchestral sounds under iOS. Yes, if you like the base iSymphonic Orchestra app, the overall price will start to add once once you dip into the IAP selection, but there are some excellent options for additional content for those that really want the best that iOS can currently offer in terms of an orchestral sound palette.