I reviewed Bram Bos’ new Phasemaker iOS synth app here on the Music App Blog just a few weeks ago. It’s a brilliant little synth inspired by the FM synth engines of the 1980s (such as the classic DX7) but with a few modern twists thrown in for good measure.
And, in iOS terms, the other modern twist in the original release was that the app supports the AU plugin format, although it can also run as a stand-alone app… but it did not include Audiobus or IAA technologies. This is an approach I can see is going to become more common as AU continues to gain a stronger foothold but it is also one that some long-standing iOS music makers might feel is still just a little ahead of the game.
While the app is designed with the AU format in mind, like iSEM or Poison-202 (for example), this is a ‘proper’ synth engine. So, if you are keen to take your iOS music app collection down the AU route, Phasemaker is certainly worth a look. The app launched at UK£7.99/US$9.99, requires iOS9.0 or later, is a 10MB download and, since launch, Bram has also made the app universal.
Anyway, v.1.2 arrived on the App Store earlier in the week. This brings some performance tweaks and improvements in the cCoreMIDI support as well as support for wireless Bluetooth MIDI (providing you have suitable hardware). However, the most interesting addition is that Bram has now added Audiobus support and the v.2.3 SDK has been embedding into Phasemaker including State Saving. Those who use Audiobus in their workflow can now embrace what Phasemaker might have to offer :-)
Having given the app a quick spin this morning the new Audiobus features seem to be working pretty well and I had no problems using the State Saving feature aside from the fact that the patch name didn’t restore although the patch itself did. It’s also worth noting that, as Audiobus support now also means the app also includes basic IAA support and, while I had to launch Phasemaker separately, I was able to load the app as an IAA source within Cubasis and use it as per any other IAA app.
Yes, you are perhaps going to need to be an FM synthesis fan (and not everyone is) to want to take a punt on Phasemaker but Bram deserves both a pat on the back and some user support for taking the plunge with AU for Phasemaker. The execution is very well done and it demonstrates that, when starting a new synth design is iOS AU at the front of your planning, offering a fully-programmable synth engine is a viable proposition.
Phasemaker is another excellent release from Bram Bos and I, for one, can’t wait to see what he might have in store for us next. FM might not be for everyone, but Phasemaker is well worth auditioning if you want the essence of the DX7 sound in a cheap-as-chips app. Oh, and check out the video from regular iOS music maker Pants of Death which gives a nice introduction to FM synthesis via Phasemaker; top notch stuff :-)