As I mentioned some time ago when reporting on the v.2.0.3 update of TC-11, I have a bit of a guilt trip about never having got around to reviewing Bit Shape’s rather interesting iPad synth app. The app is priced at UK£23.99/US$24.99 – in the upper end of the iOS synth price bracket. However, if you like your synths, and in particular, your performance interfaces, to fully exploit what the touchscreen has to offer musicians, then TC-11 is most certainly worth a look.
The unique feature of the app is the performance interface that uses the touchscreen to trigger notes through various on-screen gestures. There are, of course, a good number of other iOS music apps that now allow you to do do but, as TC-11 has been around on the App Store since late 2011, I think it is fair to say that it was one of the pioneers in this regard. The synth engine and the rather abstract way in which you play it makes for a great combination for those interested in ambient music styles or sound design.
Anyway, when Bit Shape released v.3.0 of the app back in June, they bought some significant changes and additions. This included universal support and, on suitable systems, supporting split-screen use. However, perhaps the most significant change was the introduction of ‘multi-mode’. On 64-bit iPads, this allows you to use up to four different patches on screen at the same time.
Anyway, a further update – v.3.0.4 – appeared on the App Store yesterday. This adds a ‘Quick Load’ sidebar option that’s particularly useful if you are using the multi-patch layout on a larger iPad (as shown in the screenshots here with four instruments loaded on my iPad Pro). It allows you easy access to the presets system and the option to load a sound into any of the four available slots, all without leaving the performance screen; very neat.
If you want a taste of the ‘TC’ approach (but without the sophisticated programming options) then you could also give TC-Performer a try… The base app is free and their is an IAP to unlock some further preset sounds; well worth a look. Neither synth is perhaps the obvious choices for those that want to create conventional ‘tunes’, but both are great for the more experimental electronic musician.
Underneath the very slick performance interface, TC-11 has a powerful synth/sound creation engine and, while it is maybe less about conventional ‘music’ than something like Thor or Model 15, the sounds are beautiful. Like Moodscaper, as a tool for more abstract musical compositions, TC-11 is very cool….