KV331 Audio SynthMaster Player
Good free synthesizers are hard to find, especially for iOS. However, SynthMaster Player is one of the most awesome free synth apps, bar none. Even though it is a “preset” instrument, meaning that you don’t have a full complement of editing functions at your disposal unless you upgrade to the Pro version for $9.99, the free SynthMaster Player still has 8 tweakable parameters per patch and 2 X/Y touch pads per patch. The parameters for those knobs and X/Y pads are determined by the sound designer of each patch.
You get 100 presets that target many genres of electronic music to start, and if you register the app with your name and email address, you’ll get another 100 presets to download for free. Registering also gives you a 10% off coupon code for the desktop VST/AU/AAX plug-in version of SynthMaster 2.8 (which starts at $29 for the preset Player, $99 for the fully editable synth, and goes up from there depending on how many expansion packs you want). Upgrading to the Pro version of the iOS app unlocks several hundred more presets, as well as editing and other features.
SynthMaster Player supports InterApp Audio, AudioBus, and full MIDI implementation, including Bluetooth MIDI and MIDI Learn. The quality of its sounds and ease of use make it a must-download app for free-stuff hunters using iOS 8.4 or higher. Many top names in EDM also endorse SynthMaster, including Martin Garrix, Axwell, Zedd, Martin Solveig, and Armin Van Buuren.
iZotope Spire 8-track Music Recorder for iOS 10
You would not doubt iZotope, now would you? Rather than by hype and endorsements (which iZotopes also has), the Massachusetts audio software has built a nearly unimpeachable reputation based on innovative products and proven results. So of course you want there free iOS recording app, Spire, which has just doubled it track count from 4 to 8 tracks of mobile, anytime/anyplace recording. It’s formatted for the iPhone, but of course works on an iPad, as well.
Along with a metronome with count-in functionality and tap tempo, Spire has three stages: recording, mixing and sharing. But there’s also some iZotope magic baked in behind the scenes that is supposed to reduce unwanted characteristics from the recorded audio, which is quite common especially when using a device’s built-in microphone. To my ears, Spire’s recordings sound quite crisp and punchy. You can also trim tracks, import audio, and undo recordings.
Spire’s novel mixing stage assigns each track a numbered circle, which you drag in space to determine its panning and volume. For exporting your work, you can send a project either as a mixed whole or in separate tracks to other iOS music apps, cloud storage, email it, etc.
Novation Blocs Wave
Since we first reviewed it last year, Blocs Wave has undergone non-stop renovations, and not only is it up to version 12.1, but Novation has also now made it free to download for the first time. The audio editing and looping machine now charging for the Slicer and Audio Import features as In-App Purchases, rather than costing money up-front.
Some of the nice additions to Blocs Wave over the last several updates include Ableton Link support for jamming live with other apps and desktop software in sync, and the ability to export your Blocs Wave audio to Novation’s Blocs Launchpad app or to Ableton Live session files. See the Blocs Wave site for additional videos outlining its Sections, Slicing, arranging, waveform features.