VirSyn will be well known to the majority of computer-based musicians whether you work on the desktop or a mobile platform such as iOS. The company have an extensive portfolio of iOS music apps covering a number of different synths, audio effects and a dedicated arpeggiator app.
Many of these apps are iOS-sized ports of VirSyn’s desktop virtual instruments and effects and I’ve reviewed a good number of them here on the blog over the last three years or so. VirSyn newest addition to this impressive catalogue is VoxSyn, which I reviewed a couple of months ago. In their website’s blurb, this is described as a ‘voice controlled synthesizer for iPad and iPhone’. At first glance, that might well say ‘vocoder’ to most readers and, in essence, that’s a pretty reasonable first stab at VoxSyn. However, VirSyn see VoxSyn as something just a bit more than a traditional vocoder effect and, given the rather interesting touchscreen interface (described in the full review) and pitch control options, it certainly doesn’t look like a ‘me too!’ vocoder :-)
VoxSyn is a universal app and is currently available for UK£7.99/US$9.99. It requires iOS8.0 or later and is a 26MB download. Audiobus and IAA support are included from the off, as is support for Core and Virtual MIDI. And while most users will probably use the app via the Audiobus/IAA route, it does also include its own recording facility with options for sharing or exporting any audio recordings made.
The app ships with a huge (several hundred) collection of processing presets and, given the fairly streamlined control set that’s actually offered for the synth engine itself (although the effects options are more plentiful), that’s clearly how VirSyn see the workflow; load up a preset, tweak it a little… and then just get playing.
Anyway, VoxSyn’s first significant update added the option to export sounds from Tera Synth and import them into VoxSyn to use as VoxSyn presets. However, a further update arrived on the App Store over the weekend taking the app to v.1.2.0. This brings a number of small, but useful, new features plus (of course, the usual round of bug-fixes. For example, an additional control has been added to the Edit screen that adds wet/dry mix capability. Equally, a new parametric EQ option has now been added within the FX page. Also, the presets have been revamped while the underlying sound engine has been given a few tweaks for improved sound quality…. all good stuff.
I think VoxSyn is a pretty cool app. Whether you are into weird soundscapes, odd noises, cutting-edge EDM or sugary pop/dance tunes, VoxSyn could do a turn. The most obvious role is as a ‘vocal-meets-synth’ device for creating electronic/artificial sounding vocal parts and, even if you can’t sing particularly well, providing you are happy to use synthesised vocals, VoxSyn offers a huge range of vocal options. Others will, of course, use the app for much more that artificial vocal parts….
And, of course, given the price, it is unlikely to leave you with too big a hole in your pocket even if you acquire it for just occasional use. iOS has a number of vocoder-ish apps already available but, as an example of ‘best in class’, I think VoxSyn has just claimed the crown…. Well worth the price of entry and an app I’d also be happy to use from my iPad as a sound source into my desktop system. VoxSyn is a lot of fun for a very modest price….