Vatanator update – Georgi Georiev’s streamlined iOS drum machine gets AU support

Download from iTunes App Storevatanator logo 1I’ve reviewed a whole range of different drum and groove apps for the blog over the last few years. These comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes and, within any iOS musician’s app collection, there is most certainly room for a number of these tools as, across the whole range, they offer different features, functions and approaches to working.

However, as I commented in a recent post in the ‘less is more’ series, when it comes to AU plugin options, we are perhaps still a little ‘lite’ in terms of drum apps. So, as you can imagine, I was quite happy to see Georgi Georgiev deliver an update to the iPad version of Vananator, an app I did a full review on the blog when it was first released. And the highlight of this v.1.2.0 update? Yep, AU support, although this is added as an IAP.

Vatanator’s UI design leans very much on the familiar ‘hardware design recreated in software’ and one of the key appeals of this approach is that it does make the software feel very approachable…  even if, under the hood, there is actually some very deep features to be had that could not perhaps be implemented in a traditional hardware product.

Vatanator – a classic-style hardware drum machine recreated in an app format.

At a technical level, Vatanator is priced at UK£5.99/US$5.99, is currently iPad only (there is a separate ‘SX” version for the iPhone), requires iOS9.01 or later and is a 375MB download. Audiobus, IAA and Ableton Link are included as is MIDI support and a comprehensive MIDI Learn system. The design ethos between Vatanator seems to be set to strike a balance between a streamlined feature set (so the app is easy to learn/use) but with enough MIDI functionality to make it flexible.

Anyway, this update includes a number of minor bug-fixes but there are also some useful new features. AU plugin support is obviously the highlight but this version also brings Audiobus 3 support, an update to the Dropbox SDX, tempo sync tweaks for the delay and ring modulation effects and support for sharing custom kits with the AU version.

Via an optional IAP, you can now add AU support to Vatanator.

AU support does require the purchase of an IAP priced at UK£6.99/US$6.99. Having given the new plugin version of the app a spin in both Cubasis and AUM, it appears to be working well. This included the ability to run multiple instances.

All the features of the app seem to be available within the plugin version and, as shown in the various screenshots, there are a series of tab buttons located at the bottom of the AU display that allow you to move between the different pages of controls. The look is very familiar to anyone who may have used the standalone version so, despite the slightly different layout required, it will be an easy transition.

The AU plugin spreads the core controls across a small number of tabbed pages in a very neat fashion.

While some might find the retro UI styling (the app looks like an old-school hardware drum box), the features on offer in Vatanator are really rather impressive. Yes, it is a sample-based instrument but, in that context, it ca sound great and sample import means you can use it with any set of samples you might wish. This is perhaps the first of the more substantial iOS drum machine apps to take the plunge with AU…..

As far as I can see, all the key features of the stand-alone app are provided within the AU plugin.

…. although it would not surprise me at all if Georgi receives a little flack for the fact that users have to pay for the IAP to unlock the new AU support. If so, then that’s a shame. I can only imagine that this significant new feature has taken quite a lot of time to implement and trying to get some return on that investment of time is perfectly understandable. The base price + IAP puts the app at UK£12.98/US$12.98. That’s still a pretty reasonable price for what’s on offer and, of course, you don’t have to buy the IAP if you don’t need AU support; your existing version remains fully functional.

The plugin version support the sample editing and import features of the app.

However, I suspect regular users of the app will be happy to cough up for the IAP while occasional users might hold back. Having tried it, however, I think this now makes Vatanator a contender for my ‘AU core set’ of apps in the drum machine slot…..  it works well and sounds very good.

If you are looking for a solid, easy-to-use, beat making machine that won’t get in your way or distract you from the core task, then Vatanator has a lot going for it ….  and this update simply makes it even better if you are prepared to go for the IAP. Once you have your head around the basics, then there is a very decent virtual drum machine on offer here. There is, of course, also an iPhone version – Vatanator SX – if you need a more compact format…  and I would guess that will receive the same IAP update at some stage. To find out more about Vatanator, check out the original review and then hit the App Store download button….


Download from iTunes App Store

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    1. For some reason I noticed when I updated, it shows that I already purchased the IAP for the AU support…. a pleasant surprise!

      • Hi Wrath…. that’s interesting…. Does it actually work? If so, I’ll quiz Georgi about what the situation is…. best wishes, John

        • Seems to be working fine – it’s the first and only AU I have installed so I’m hoping it’s not a glitch that gets fixed, lol. Maybe don’t ask him about it right away? ;-)

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