Regular readers here will know that I’m a bit of a fan of Propellerhead’s Thor – the iOS port of the same synth that is a well-established part of the Reason desktop music production system. Indeed, Thor is amongst my favourite iOS synths to date.
You can read the full review of Thor here but it is a powerful, deeply programmable virtual synth that is capable of a fabulous range of sounds. Whether used in a recording context or for live performance, this is big enough and bold enough to work in almost any context.
Since it’s release, it has most certainly been one of my ‘go to’ iOS synth apps and, while other personal favourites have come and gone (Layr, SynthMaster, Poison-202, Troublemaker and iSEM are among my current ‘most used’ list), despite having been launched nearly 4 years ago, Thor still impresses me every time I use it.
However, Propellerhead have perhaps not been the most active of developers in iOS terms. We saw a couple of updates in 2014 and then nothing until June 2016, and while the app has continued to perform well, given the very rapidly moving nature of iOS music tech as it moves through it’s ‘adolescent’ phase, it’s always reassuring for users to see regular updates.
So, it was both a pleasure and a relief to see that Thor v.1.1.3 had landed on the App Store late yesterday. OK, this is still very much a maintenance update. It brings stability and performance improvements under both iOS9 and iOS10 and the Audiobus SDK has also been updated. There are also some specific bug-fixes in terms of things like retaining IDI channel settings between sessions, UI corrections and to fine-tune the audio engine on startup.
Anyway, having given the app a run through earlier today, all seems to be in order. In stand-alone mode I had no problems and the app also appeared quite happily in both Audiobus 3 and as an audio-based IAA app within my IAA host of choice Cubasis. Good stuff….
My only other comment is that, given the relatively modest amount of attention Propellerhead seem to give Thor under iOS (and this is not a criticism; their core business is focussed on desktop users), I not overly optimistic that we might ever see Thor as an iOS AU plugin. It’s a deep app so I’m sure the conversion would not be a trivial task. That said, other developers (for example, VirSyn with Addictive Pro) have shown this can be done in a perfectly elegant fashion for even a complex synth…. so let’s not rule out all hope.
Quite how you can get this much synth for such a small amount of money – the current asking price is UK£14.99/US$14.99 – is beyond me – but you can – and Thor is very much the real deal. The app currently requires iOS9.3 or later, is a 60MB download and is iPad-only. If you are a recent adopter of the iOS platform for music making and you have not yet given Thor a try…. well, don’t miss out; this is a real gem. Like the very best of the iOS guitar amp sims, when pushed through a decent PA system or a decent set of studio monitors, it is quite scary just how much sound can be created by one app on an iPad. Sonically, Thor is massive and well worth a place in any iOS music app collection.