It’s no secret that I’m a fan of O-G-Sus’s Elastic Drums app: It’s one of the best iOS beatboxes available, thanks to its elegant interface and intelligently designed drum parameters, which are optimized for modern techno and experimental grooves. Fans of the app often rave about its four X/Y multieffects, which are a big part of its sound, especially in a live performance context.
ElasticFX takes those effects and improves their processing in both obvious and subtle ways. From there, it adds an automation recorder, intuitive MIDI implementation, and compatibility with AudioBus 3, Inter-App Audio, and Ableton Link. The end result is a standalone effects app that integrates beautifully with iOS tools like AUM and BeatMaker for a mere $5.99.
Each of the four processing modules offers 40 effect options, grouped by category: eight modulation effects (chorus, flanger, phaser, and a few hybrids), five pitch-based tools (including ring mod and frequency shifter), six distortions, three filters, seven delays (with comb filtering and granular types), five reverbs, and five “others,” including gating and stuttering effects, as well as autopan. There’s also an integrated EQ, compressor, and hybrid stutter/filter at the end of the chain.
Because each of the effects is so specialized, editable parameters are limited to the essentials: generally 2 to 4 parameters per type. This makes a lot of sense, as the focus is on live performance using the X-Y pad. In other words, there is generally no need to fine-tune functions, such as the phaser rate and depth, when they are already accessible on the pad.
ElasticFX includes eight different routing options for the four effects, including clever combinations of parallel and serial configurations. These are graphically displayed in a manner similar to Ableton Operator’s algorithms, with all effects color-coded, so you can understand the signal flow at a glance.
Overall, the processors sound great and have a versatile character that works extremely well in conjunction with the various routing configurations. What’s more, the effects are thoughtfully gain structured, so even switching between algorithms on-the-fly doesn’t create awkward “clipping explosions” like some other effect apps.
Once you’ve got an effect configuration that suits your audio goals, it’s time to dig into ElasticFX’s automation tools, which let you create 1-, 2-, 4-, 8-, or 16-bar motion sequences for each of the X/Y points, with Ableton Link sync baked-in. During my tests, I got lost in this feature for nearly an hour and came up with some impressive loops that would have been difficult to achieve by other means. Fortunately, I was able to capture them in the AUM mixer app, which integrated perfectly via both AudioBus 3 and Inter-App audio standards.
ElasticFX also has a robust MIDI implementation, with the ability to assign continuous controllers to any of the four X/Y axes, as well as the wet/dry parameter for each effect. The assignment process is elegant, too, as it is simply a matter of hitting the MIDI Learn button, tapping a destination, and moving the desired CC knob on your controller.
Priced under six bucks, ElasticFX is an impulse buy that will immediately extend your existing iOS investment for both production and performance. It sounds great, the automation features are genuinely inspirational, and MIDI configuration is a breeze.
X/Y control over four effects. Flexible routing configurations. Audio-Bus 3 and Inter-App Audio compatible.
Reverbs may be a tad bright for some
Francis Preve has been designing synthesizer presets professionally since 2000. Check out his soundware company at symplesound.com.