I reviewed Bram Bos’ new Phasemaker iOS synth app here on the Music App Blog just a few days 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 is that the app support the AU plugin format, although it can also run as a stand-alone app… And while it 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 is launched at UK£7.99/US$9.99, requires iOS9.0 or later, is a 10MB download and is iPad only.
Anyway, Bram is already back with the first update to Phasemaker taking the app to v.1.0.1. This adds a few minor new features. For example, for Au plugin now offer support for sustain/hold pedals via MIDI CC64 if you have the option to connect one to your system. In addition, in stand-alone mode, the virtual keyboard now includes buttons for Hold, Release and Panic (always a good thing to see!). Under the hood, a minor bug or two have also been addressed.
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 top-notch 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 :-)