Rather than modeling analog circuits, Taika Systems claims to model animal swarming behavior in the Photophore Synth for iPad (iOS 7.0 or later, taikasystems.com). “Flocks” of sound generators move within a 3D space, staying in tune yet drifting in and out to create warm, ever-changing detunings. You also have a well-appointed synthesis engine with 12 oscillator waveshapes, high- and lowpass filters, amp and filter envelopes, and more.
1. Call up one of the 60+ presets and play notes from either the onboard keyboard or a connected MIDI controller. Tap or swipe on the green oscillator clusters to create disturbances in the tuning and harmonics of the sounds.
2. Tap the Flock tab to vary the behavior of the oscillator swarms’ Speed, Turbulence, Attract, Align, and Repel.
3. Under the Voice tab, you spread the 100 available oscillators over your desired polyphony—i.e., 100 oscillators per note with one-note polyphony, 50 oscillators per note with two-note polyphony, and so on. Stacking more oscillators can lead to some extremely thick and evolving sounds, depending on the Flock settings.
4. To really exploit the Flock behaviors and oscillator stacks, create some threeoctave arpeggiator settings with some fast note values under the Arp tab and some high feedback and mix settings for the stereo Echo effect.
5. Tap the preset menu button and the + button to name and save your presets.
6. Use the AudioBus app or Inter-App Audio to record Photophore’s audio into a workstation app.
Swarm the iTunes App Store to get the Photophore Synth for $7.99.