Review: Apesoft Mood

A familiar synth design with fully modern features
By Francis Prève,
Mood is a clever alternative to Minimoogstyle synth emulations, offering sample playback, FM, and lots more.

The enduring elegance of the Minimoog’s 3-oscillator architecture continues to be mined by both hardware and software developers. However, with his Minimooglike app, Mood, iOS developer Eugenio Giordani builds on apeSoft’s experience with granular and FFT approaches to expand on the original’s essentials and fuse them with modern, but familiar, synthesis tools. The result is a fresh and inspiring take on the most influential synth of all time.

From a modeling standpoint, apeSoft has done an impressive job of recapturing the sonic fingerprint of the Minimoog. The ladder filter, especially, sounds appropriately juicy and thick.

The Oscillators section offers the original waveforms and pitch parameters, but adds a Slop knob to introduce the tuning idiosyncrasies of a vintage synth that hasn’t quite warmed up yet. A switch to sync oscillators 1 and 2 has also been added.

The functionality of Mood’s mixer provides a significant increase in timbral capabilities over the traditional Minimoog design. In addition to the oscillator mix and white noise (with its own amp envelope), there are two new sections: one for sample-based material and another for an FM oscillator.

The sample editing features are straightforward with a nod to apeSoft’s granular synthesis apps. You can independently control the speed and pitch of the sample playback, both forward and backward. This allows you to do things like scan a sample slowly in reverse while keeping its pitch tuned to the main oscillators. There is also a Jitter knob that lets you increase the amount of random skipping within the sample as it plays. Although the features don’t go much deeper than that, they give you more than enough options for mixing real-world audio with the synth’s analog elements.

The FM features include a standard modulator/carrier pair with Moog-inspired, 3-stage envelopes (attack, decay/release, sustain) for both elements. The modulator’s ratio is accurate to two decimal places—perfect for dialing in the offset when tuning bells and creating metallic effects. The Send knob lets you patch the FM signal to the direct output or the filter input.

Mood’s second page introduces a new type of LFO that, along with the familiar set of waveforms, includes a programmable arpeggiator “waveform” that can be routed to the main oscillators and the filter. This option is so elegant and obvious, I’m surprised more developers haven’t discovered it. In addition to the LFO, this page also includes effects such as distortion, stereo delay, ring mod, and a simple reverb.

Performance control and iOS integration is well represented, offering both MIDI CC and internal gyroscope control of nearly every synthesis and effect parameter. Furthermore, Mood is compatible with AUv3, Audiobus, Inter-app, CoreMIDI, and Ableton Link, so it will slide right into every type of iPad or iPhone rig.

Calling Mood “another Minimoog clone” misses the point entirely. Yes, it does an impressive job of evoking the original’s sound—especially the filter—but apeSoft’s additions are so innovative and thoughtfully integrated that Mood feels like a new synth in familiar drag.

If you’re looking for cool ways to expand your iOS mobile studio, Mood should be on your shopping list. Visit emusician.com for advanced programming tips for Mood.

STRENGTHS
Familiar Minimoog architecture. FM and sampling. Gyroscopic control can be used for modulation. Customizable LFO. Arpeggiator.

LIMITATIONS
Expanded feature list dramatically increases its learning curve.

$11.99
apesoft.it

Francis Prève has been designing synthesizer presets professionally since 2000. Check out his new soundware company at symplesound.com.

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