iSymphonic Orchestra update – new sounds and initial AU support for sample-based orchestral virtual instrument app

Download from iTunes App StoreiSymphonic Orchestra logoI 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 especially as Crudebyte bit the bullet and added Audiobus support in v.1.5.5 to sit alongside the existing IAA support.

iSymphonic Orchestra - the best orchestral sounds that iOS currently has to offer.

iSymphonic Orchestra – the best orchestral sounds that iOS currently has to offer.

Anyway, a further update appeared on the App Store over the week-end taking the app to v.1.9.11. There are some of the usual minor bug fixes applied (for example, UI issues resolved for some iPhone models) and there is now configuration options for Bluetooth LE MIDI in the settings screen but two headline new features are perhaps the highlights of the update.

First, there is a new sound set IAP available; Keys. This adds 23 additional sounds and around 2GB of sample data. The sounds include two high-quality grand pianos, two Celtic harps, a marimba, celesta, bells, glockenspiel and various combinations of these layered with strings, pad and choir sounds. Ay UK£18.99/US$24.99 it is considerably more expensive than most of the other IAPs available but, it you are already a committed fan of the iSymphonic platform, then the convenience of having these sounds ‘in-house’ will be a further incentive.

The new 'Keys' IAP adds a range of keyboard-based instruments to the iSymphonic sound options.

The new ‘Keys’ IAP adds a range of keyboard-based instruments to the iSymphonic sound options.

The second new feature is perhaps of more general interest; Crudebyte have added AU v3 support. Do not, however, that the App Store description lists this as ‘initial support as AU plugin’….  which does suggest that the implementation might not, as yet, be complete. Indeed, my own experience on my iPad test system – a larger format iPad Pro running iOS10.0.2 – was a little frustrating. While iSymphonic continues to work well as a stand-alone app or via IAA, I didn’t make much progress with AU in either Cubasis, AUM or MultitrackStudio.

Crudebyte have now added initial support for the AU format.... and while it loaded fine in all the hosts I tried, on my test system at least, MIDI in was a bit unpredictable.

Crudebyte have now added initial support for the AU format…. and while it loaded fine in all the hosts I tried, on my test system at least, MIDI in was a bit unpredictable.

I could load the app and access the presets sounds in all three hosts, but the app did not respond smoothly to MIDI in (either via a virtual keyboard or an external MIDI keyboard) in any of these hosts. I’d be interested to hear of the experiences of other existing users on this front, so do leave a comment below if you get a chance to give the update a spin via AU….. Fingers crossed Crudebyte can iron out any wrinkles sooner rather than later as its great to see another developer giving the AU format a shot.

The AU format will be welcome once Crudebyte can resolve any initial issues as it will be great to work with multiple instances of the apps.

The AU format will be welcome once Crudebyte can resolve any initial issues as working with multiple instances of the app will bring additional flexibility.

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 more recently and, at present, the base app is UK£18.99/US$24.99. Yes, the price will soon add up if you add a number of the IAP options but, 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.

iSymphonic Orchestra



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    Comments

    1. YEEESSSS! Kudos to Crudebytes. Not only they were one of the few that had correctlys implemented IAA (i.e., their intruments were on the IAA list of the DAW), but are one of the first major players (together with PPG) to seriously embrace the plugin concept. And this is an app where AU really makes a difference. From now on real quality orchestral arrangements can be made in a DAW (if the supports AU). …and these are really quality samples. I expect that their other apps will soon follow, which is great because their piano (CMP grand) is by far the best one in iOS (with way more dynamics thatn ivory and iGrand).
      One small downside though is the Keys sound set. With AU, and if you have CMP grand, you don’t realy need most of the sounds there. I’d like to have the glockenspiel and celesta but 25$ seeems quite expensive for so little useful content.

      • Hi Joaven…. just curious… but have you tried the AU support as yet? I’m interested so see if others have had more luck than me so far…. Very best wishes, John

        • My joy did not last long. Indeed, on cubasis, notes entered with an irig keyboard would only occasionally reach their destination. Furthermore, when assigning tracks to isymphonic presets , I would refuse to take the preset I’d tapped. It dis however play the midi tracks.
          Advice for Crudebyte: never do a release on a friday afternoon.

        • given the date of the article this post will probably not be read but here goes anyway: I retried isymphonic as an AU, this time on Auria Pro and it worked seamlessly. None of the keyboard problems I had had earlier with Cubasis. …which also confirms me in my switch from cubasis to auria pro

          • Hi Joaven…. glad you managed to get things working in Auria Pro…. It’s difficult at this stage to know where the problems might lie in any specific case – within the AU app or the AU host – and, as with Audiobus and IAA when they both first appeared, I suspect there will be a number of developers who don’t get AU implementation spot on at the first attempt…. Like those other , earlier, technologies, AU under iOS will gradually mature though…. fingers crossed…. Best wishes, John

    2. As someone who owns Kontakt Ultimate I will say iSymphonic Orchestra is in another league and can even compete with expensive desktop counterparts

    3. I have Cubasis and iSymphonic too, AU isn’t working well. I have the same problem.

      • Hi Andre…. thanks for this. In a way I’m glad it isn’t just something specific to my system…. but here’s hoping Crudebyte are on to the issue promptly…. Very best wishes, John

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