Svep review – a dedicated modulation effect app for iOS from Klevgränd Produktion

Download from iTunes App StoreSvep logoIf you are a fan of audio effects apps then you may already own both SquashIt andVanDelay from Klevgränd Produktion. SquashIt is an audio effect app that provides a three-band distortion effect and, what it lacks in masses of controls, it makes up for is sound and ease of use.

VanDelay uses a similar three-band configuration but this time applies it to a delay effect. It’s a brilliant little app and, while you can use a single band to do fairly conventional delay/echo effects, when you use all three bands and get the delays set to different time bases, all sorts of interesting options open up.

Both apps are priced at UK£1.99 which, given what they can do, is somewhat unbelievable. Both have Audiobus and IAA support and, whether your needs are for general recording duties or more creative sound design, both are well worth owning.

I did a roundup article on conventional audio effects apps for iOS a couple of weeks ago. In that post, I mentioned that iOS doesn’t have very many dedicated modulation effects  – phaser, flanger, chorus – and, aside from the stomp box style effects built into many of the better guitar amp sims, and the exception that is UltraPhaser, things are a bit thin on the ground.

Svep; modulation effects for iOS with a deceptively simple interface.

Svep; modulation effects for iOS with a deceptively simple interface.

However, as I mentioned at the end of last week, Klevgränd Produktion have now addressed that with their latest release; Svep. The app is priced at UK£1.49, requires iOS7 or better, has Audiobus (including State Saving) and IAA support and is a tiny 2MB download (so can be squeezed into even a well-stocked iPad). And, in short, the app provides a range of stereo modulation filter effects suitable for any sort of audio processing.

Svep on it

Perhaps the first thing worth noting is that Svep is not a complex app. If you like a simple life and are intimidated by too many knobs, switches and sliders, then the rather cool, green and minimalist user interface of Svep might well appeal. There are just a few controls and all are accessed from this single main screen and, with no actual parameter values indicated, in use, it is very much a case of just experimenting to find the sound you want.

The key controls are provided by the pair of circular rings. As might be expected, these provide control over the left and right sides of the stereo processing respectively. The ‘Link’ button between them allows you to toggle on/off the connection between the two channels; link them and whatever changes you make to one channel will also be applied to the other, whereas unlinked, you can then create different treatments for left and right.

Svep just offers three presets to get you started but these are an excellent guide to using the app for chorus, phaser or flanger treatments.

Svep just offers three presets to get you started but these are an excellent guide to using the app for chorus, phaser or flanger treatments.

When the channels are linked, an additional Mono/Stereo slider appears at the bottom-left of the display and this allows you to set how wide the effect is across the stereo image. When ‘unlinked’, the two channels are simply panned left and right. In terms of other controls, then only thing you need to worry about is the Wet/Dry slider that, as expected, allows you to blend the processed and unprocessed signal to taste.

Each of the channels themselves offer two controls – both frequency modulators apparently (although there is little by way of specifics on Klevgränd’s website). Tap on the outer circle and drag to change one parameter or tap on the central ‘+’ sign and drag to change the other. The only real indication you get of what these control shifts are doing is via the rather cool graphics (particularly the central pattern); otherwise it really is just a case of suck it and see.

With the two channels unlinked, you can apply different settings to left and right sides of your audio signal.

With the two channels unlinked, you can apply different settings to left and right sides of your audio signal.

Bottom-left is the presets button. Tap this and you can load one of the three included presets. Usefully, these give you starting points for standard chorus, phaser and flanger effects. These are actually quite helpful as you get to see exactly what settings are required to create each of these standard modulation effects types using Svep. These can, therefore, be used as a starting point for your own experiments and you can then save your own presets for later recall.

Sveping out

As you would expect with an iOS music app designed as an audio effect, you can actually use Svep in a number of different ways. Proving you have the appropriate audio input/output hardware, you can use the app to process a live audio source in a live performance context. As with any audio effect app however, just be careful that the audio output doesn’t bleed back into the audio input and you end up with a feedback loop…

Svep behaved beautifully when used within Audiobus.

Svep behaved beautifully when used within Audiobus.

Svep is, of course, also Audiobus compatible and seemed to work very smoothly within the Effects slot of the latest version of Audiobus in my testing. I tried a few different sound sources through the app without any issues and was able to capture the results within Cubasis.

Equally, operation as an IAA-based audio effects app within Cubasis was a very straightforward experience. As with Klevgränd Produktion’s other iOS effect apps, Svep seems to be very solidly coded.

That’s the technical side… what about the sound? Well, despite what is perhaps a rather abstract control set compared to a more traditional modulation effect, once you get into it, you can actually coax some very effective results from Svep.

Svep also worked very well as an IAA effect within Cubasis.

Svep also worked very well as an IAA effect within Cubasis.

The really great thing, however, is that the app can do subtle. Modulation effects are very easy to over-cook. That’s fine if it is just for a ‘spot’ effect where you really want it to be noticed – and Svep can do that also – but if you want just a touch of chorus, phaser or flanger to sit across an single sound just to give it a little extra dimension, then subtle is the way to go. Svep has that covered.

I tried it with various synths and guitar sounds in this role and you can add just a touch of movement without it becoming too obvious. However, if you do want to crank things up a notch or three – and get all warble-tastic – then Svep can also do that.

In summary

I’m really beginning to get into what Klevgränd Produktion are doing with their various iOS music apps. Both SquashIt and VanDelay have already become firm personal favourites. Svep is a somewhat different beast – stereo modulation and no three-band frequency option in sight – but it is just as good. If you want obvious modulation effects then it will get you there but, if like me, you also want something that is just a bit more restrained, Svep will do that also.

The control set is easy to use and encourages experimentation and the app seems very solid whether used stand-alone, via Audiobus or via IAA. At UK£1.49, it really is very hard to go wrong here. If you are an iOS musician with a liking for modulation effects, then this is a no-brainer… Equally, if you are building up a set of effects options for your iPad-based recording studio, then this is a great little app to have in your toolkit.

Not everyone likes modulation effects (especially if you lived through the 1980s when we were all treated to rather too much chorus, phaser and flange!) but, if you do, then Svep comes highly recommended.

Svep


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    Comments

    1. Hey John,

      Just curious, what app is the first one you’re running through Audiobus in the pictures?

      Thanks,
      Bill

    2. Hi Bill… the little red bean shaped icon belongs to Mobile POD from Line 6… Hope that helps? best wishes, John

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