Saffron Saturator review – the fifth ‘flora’ project iOS music app hits the App Store

Download from iTunes App StoreSaffron Saturator logoAs I mentioned at the end of my review of Dahlia Delay by developers Timothy Barraclough and Paul Mathews just a week or so ago, the pair had a further iOS audio effects app in the pipeline; Saffron Saturator.

No, I’ve no idea what the whole floral theme is about either but Saffron Saturator hit the App Store yesterday. It follows a similar format to all the other apps in the series – Cactus Chorus, Phlox PhaserButtercup Bitcrush and Dahlia Delay. As the names might suggest, the first four are chorus, phaser, bit reduction and delay effects respectively.

Of course, Saffron Saturator is an overdrive/fuzz/saturation style effect and it also follows the same basic format as the previous four. All the apps are universal, require iOS7.0 or later and are supplied with Audiobus and IAA support (indeed, you need to be using either or both of Audiobus or IAA to make use of these effects apps)… and, for the budget conscious, all are currently priced at UK£0.79….  that’s probably less than the small change you can find tucked down the back of your sofa :-)

Saffron Saturator - overdrive/fuzz style effects in a no-fuss format.

Saffron Saturator – overdrive/fuzz style effects in a no-fuss format.

All of Saffron Saturator’s controls sit on a single screen and large chunky sliders so the app is easy to operate. As with the other apps in the series, this is a pretty minimalist approach though but there are enough control options to keep things interesting while also keeping things fuss (and learning curve) free. As with the other apps in the series, it would be great to see an IAA ‘quick switch’ button, perhaps a preset system and maybe support for landscape operation but these are very minor quibbles given that the price is so low and that the processing does such a good job at its intended function.

Saffron Saturator works well within Audiobus - and sounds great when applied to electric guitars :-)

Saffron Saturator works well within Audiobus – and sounds great when applied to electric guitars :-)

Having put Saffron Saturator though its paces via Audiobus and IAA (using Cubasis as my IAA host), the performance seems very solid indeed. I had no problems via either route and the app is very easy to work with. You get Input Gain, Knee, Filter Cutoff, Filter Type, Output Gain and Mix controls. You don’t get much by way of ‘help’ though, so a little experimentation is required to work out how these various controls interact. That is, however, both a lot of fun and doesn’t really take much time….  as mentioned previously, all these apps have an almost non-existent learning curve.

Both the Input Gain and Knee controls seem to add additional saturation/distortion as you go to higher values. I’m not quite sure what ‘Knee’ is actually controlling but the nice thing all round here is that you can actually go from something very subtle right through to something super-fuzzy with all stops in between.

I had no problems using the app via IAA within Cubasis and it can do useful things with all sorts of audio sources.

I had no problems using the app via IAA within Cubasis and it can do useful things with all sorts of audio sources.

The filter allows you to choose between high pass, band pass or low pass modes and you can adjust the filter cutoff and resonance. This all means that you can adjust the tonal balance of the output quite easily. If you want subtle and warm and fuzzy then that’s possible but, it you want a fizzy bee or a distorted telephone effect, then you can get those also. For something more extreme, then you perhaps needs a dose of Buttercup Bitcrush but for more obviously ‘musical’ applications, Saffron Saturation does a rather good job.

I tried the app on a number of different audio sources…. It’s great on guitars (an obvious application) but is also good from crunching up drums or adding some gentle overdriven warmth to bass or vocals. I even tried adding a small (very small) dollop to a full mix and, if you are the kind of person who doesn’t like what digital does to your audio, then maybe Saffron Saturator will help you push things in the right direction; it doesn’t take much but it does add a hint of ‘analog’ is just sparingly.

Anyway, at UK£0.79, like Cactus Chorus, Phlox Phaser, Buttercup Bitcrush or Dahlia Delay, Saffron Saturator is not going to stretch your budget too far so don’t overthink it :-). If you fancy the occasional bit of fuzzy overdrive or crunchy distortion, Saffron Saturator is a little gem. It is also low cost and low fuss. As with all the ‘flora’ iOS audio effects apps, Saffron Saturator comes highly recommended.

Saffron Saturator



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    Comments

    1. Dave Carter says:

      I wonder if you could combine the input and knee controls to make a noisegate?
      Consistently great review and analysis John.
      You’re one of the best on IOS stuff.

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