SynthScaper launched – Igor Vasiliev adds a synth-based sound design instrument to his iOS music app line-up

Download from iTunes App StoreI’ve reviewed a number of Igor Vasiliev’s iOS music apps here on the blog including Audio MasteringAltiSpaceMaster FXMaster Record and SoundScaper  All these apps are excellent and deliver excellent performance combined with equally excellent value for money in a straightforward, no fuss, fashion.

SoundScaper was  bit of a departure from the more conventional audio effects processing apps Igor had previously released but it proved very popular with sound designers and more experimental electronic musicians. Indeed, so popular that Igor followed it up with Fieldscaper, also a sound design tool but perhaps aimed more at capturing (and then processing) audio recorded ‘in the field’. Both apps have found a dedicated (if, I suspect, niche) audience amongst the most experimental of iOS music makers.

Ambient soundscapes and pads anyone? Synthscaper will be just the thing then….

After a little while where the focus seems to have been of regular updates to this existing crop of iOS music apps, today Igor released a new app; SynthScaper is available from today for download from the App Store. The app has been trailer for a little while so we knew it was coming….  but fans of Igor’s apps will now be able to get their hands on it.

As the title suggests, this is perhaps another app aimed as much at sound designers as conventional music making. However, unlike SoundScaper and FieldScaper, the core of the underlying sound engine used here is built on synthesis. Yes, it is a synth designed with ambient soundscapes in mind but, in use, it is perfectly possible to use it as a melodic or harmonic instrument.

There are all sorts of sound creation options provided by each of the three oscillators.

The spec of the synth engine is impressive with three independent oscillators and three layers within each oscillator that can be filled with unique samples. Each layer is capable of multiple voices and the app also features six envelope generators and six LFOs. Three separate arpeggiators are included (one for each oscillator) and there are plenty of filter and effect options and ways to adjust the spatial positioning of the sounds within the stereo field.

The app includes three independent arpeggiators.

The lower portion of the screen also offers a very flexible virtual keyboard for triggering sounds. This offers some really interesting options for note triggering as well as options for custom scales. There are a range of presets to get you started and easy options for importing your own started sounds via Dropbox, etc., if you want to built sounds completely from scratch.

IAA and Audiobus support is included but, as yet, not AU.

Support for Audiobus and IAA is present and, in terms of MIDI, the app can handle two separate MIDI keyboards at the same time ir required. From a technical perspective, perhaps the only obvious question is whether AUv3 support is going to be forthcoming. Indeed, I suspect a lot of fans of Igor’s apps might be wondering whether AU support is going to be added across the board?

Having exchanged emails with Igor on this issue this morning, it is clearly something he has on the development horizon and my understanding is that AU support is more likely to appear in the effects-based apps first. Obviously, it would be great to see but the UIs for all of Igor’s apps are quite deep so I’m sure that would present something of a challenge. Maybe iOS11 – if it brings further refinements to the AUv3 spec – will help on that front? Anyway, fingers crossed and watch this space….

Anyway, I’ve only had a short time with the app but, have played through a selection of the presets, I have to say it has some great sounds and, if you are into designing your own sounds….  and have a love for ambient soundscapes….  then this is going to be a very interesting and tempting proposition.

Synthscaper’s virtual keyboard provides a range of excellent configuration options for triggering the sounds.

If you are tempted, then now is perhaps as good a time to succumb to temptation as any; there is a special launch price of just UK£9.99/US$9.99. Given just how deep this app appears to be, it looks like excellent value for money. Deep it is though….  so I don’t think it will suit absolutely everyone. Fans of Igor’s Fieldscaper and SoundScaper, and of pad and soundscapes sounds will, however, lap it up.

On a technical front, the app is universal, iPhone 6/iPad Air 2 or better are recommended, iOS9.0 or later required and the app is a 17MB download.Well worth a look if you like to take the occasional adventures into experimental sound…. so check out the demo videos below and then hit the App Store download button to find out more. A full review will hopefully follow next week :-)

SynthScaper – soundscapes synthesizer

Download from iTunes App Store


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    Comments

    1. I wasn’t planning to spend anything more on apps this month, but I think I’ll have to find a way to make an exception for Synthscaper… looks/sounds like a great app to have on an iPhone, for those long journeys!

      • Hi Tim, only had a short time with the app so far but there are some great sounds available and it offers lots of very deep editing options for those that like to roll their own sounds…. best wishes, John

    2. “iPad Air 2 recommended”… ouch!

      I wonder what happens if you run it on an Air 1? Anybody doing that?

      • Hi Simon, if I get a chance then I’ll give it a try on my iPad Air 1 (which I kept as a backup with I bought the iPad Pro about 18 months ago)…. Others might beat me to a comment here though :-) best wishes, John

    3. This is what I wanted from Moodscaper and co, but never got. No poor excuses from Igor, just another great app.

      • Hi Zen…. still exploring the app at this end but there are some really cool sounds here and it is pretty deep stuff :-) best wishes, John

      • Rob Jackson says:

        Funnily enough, I had planned to do an app called synthscaper but Igor beat me to it and as per, has done a great job. As for moodscaper – totally different app / concept / price ;-)

    4. Robert Goldberg says:

      Not sure of this. Igor’s apps are fascinating, but in this 4:10 demo, with such impressive specs, there seems to be a remarkable sameness of sound. I noticed that in Doug’s Soundtestroom preview as well; a lot of the sounds seem the same. Only when that chorale effect comes in here, at about 3:00, is there a notable change. I got Soundscaper and found the controls too left-brain, and most of the sounds too harsh for my taste; may have just been my lack of understanding of the app. On paper, this sounds amazing. In practice I’m going to wait a bit and hear what others are doing. It is my failing that I buy apps and then don’t use them. No fault of Igor’s there, just tired of myself I guess. :)

    5. Very happy with this even though I have only had a bit of a play. I can see it being very expressive and useful. Igor continues to produce quality apps!

    6. I bought it right away, the sounds impressed me, as I’m looking for some real metallic pads for the moment. I need something really mechanical for my new project :)
      But anyway, I think it’s important to also support geniuses like Igor. At least when I have the means to do it, because I’m working in broadcasting and use the apps daily. Soundscaper gives tons of possibilities. Keep the good apps coming, and don’t abandon them from developing.

    7. Jean Winchester says:

      Spent two hours with it. Don’t understand it at all. Can’t make it work. Can’t load my own samples. Completely unuser-friendly. Manual is very poorly written. No tutorials. Am deleting it now.

      • xine44000 says:

        Hello did you own audioshare? If so just select a sample and “open in” and then select synthscaper.
        In synthscaper select a new scene : in the upper center dropdown list (just to start from scratch but you can import in any scene), after, on one of the three left oscillator box, click an “osc” button, then a box open and you can see an orange upper center zone containing “” click on it then select “user” in the blue opened box bar, and then you can select your sample. When selcted, click on “set sample” in the down box bar. The select box closed, then search a little circle “M” next right to the big left circle that controls the three oscillators volumes, if red, de-select it.
        Hope that helps
        :)

        • xine44000 says:

          the blog has deleted the balise that appears in the options name to select, so i complete whithout those chars:
          to have an empty scene click on the “Empty scene” choice from the upper center dropdown list
          and “..orange upper zone containing “none””

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