Waldorf Nave: One Synth To Rule Them All?

Waldorf, Nave, wavetable synth, iPad

The number of iPad synths available nowadays is truly mind-blowing. What’s more astonishing is that, while some see these merely as toys, the sound quality is often quite good. Or so I thought. You see, among all the little iSynths who would be king, there is one who stands a bit bigger, bolder, and downright more beautiful than the others: the Waldorf Nave.

This is a serious heavy hitter, packing a punch that knocks you out right from first boot with a slick animated intro. Then, you hear it. “I am Nave,” it says “and I do synth.” Indeed you do, and how!

Nave isn’t just easy on the eyes, though. It’s deep. Complex. It takes time to get to know. First of all, it’s a wavetable synth. So already, you know there is a lot going on under that pretty exterior. What’s a wavetable synth, you say? It’s different than all those other single, double, or even triple oscillator synths out there – it reads. Wavetables, mostly. With an oscillator, you get one wave. With a wavetable, you get a bunch of waves, stacked on top of each other, changing over time, producing a unique waveform with peaks and valleys jutting out all every which way. Confused? Perhaps this will help:

“The wavetable is in essence an array of N values, with values 1 through to N representing one whole cycle of the oscillator. Each value represents an amplitude at a certain point in the cycle. Wavetables are often displayed graphically with the option for the user to draw in the waveshape he or she requires, and as such it represents a very powerful tool. There is also the possibility of loading a pre-recorded waveshape as well; but note that a wavetable oscillator is only a reference table for one cycle of a waveform; it is not the same as a sampler. The wavetable has associated with it a read pointer which cycles through the table at the required speed and outputs each amplitude value in sequence so as to recreate the waveform as a stream of digital values. When the pointer reaches the last value in the table array, it will reset to point one and begin a new cycle.” http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Sound_Synthesis_Theory/Oscillators_and_Wavetables

Nave knows this makes for some interesting sounds. Give this girl a wavetable or two, and it will tell you all about them, forwards or backwards if you like. You can choose from an extensive bank of included wavetables (86 in all), create your own, share with others, load other people’s wavetables…the possibilities are really endless. There is even an onboard speech synthesizer, so you can make Nave say whatever you want, then use that as a custom wavetable. Editing these 3D wavetables on the iPad is a joy, as you can render them fullscreen, twist and turn them around in space. Sculpting with your fingers is more fun than with a mouse, though it’s not as easy as smudging the shape directly, which would be cool but not as precise I suppose. You still have to select areas and control parameters with faders, but it’s pretty intuitive, and the colorful interface is really what gives Nave its pizzazz.

Obviously, I’m impressed by the graphics, but the sound is what really blows me away. It’s thick. It’s tasty. It can be totally weird, in a great way. And it’s extremely versatile. You get leads, pads, percussive sounds, natch – but then there are atmospheric, alien, bowed metal, horror sfx possibilities as well. The presets alone number over 500, and include contributions from sound design rockstars like Smite Matter, Sunshine Audio, and Richard Devine (who created 95 patches).

Nave’s brain is a dual wavetable engine, with controls for both the wave (tuning, startpoint, speed, play direction) and the spectrum (transpose, add noise, brilliance). In addition, there is an oscillator section, with a special Uber-Wave function, which adds up to 8 tune-spreadable oscillators. The mixer allows you to balance the levels between these and offers ring modulation.

Waldorf, Nave, wavetable synth, iPad

Next there is a rich filter, envelope, and drive section. Following that is an assignable modulation matrix, pitchbend, mod wheel, and XY pads. You can choose between a regular keyboard, (which has a strange scrolling ability that might take some getting used to; while you hold a key you can slide left or right through the octaves), a ‘blade’ keyboard, which adds scale, key, and chord functionality, as well as assignable modulation to sliding up/down or left/right on a key, and, finally, an additional set of programmable XY pads. Then there is an FX section, with phaser, flanger, chorus, delay, reverb, EQ, compression, and an arpeggiator.

Waldorf, Nave, wavetable synth, iPad

If that wasn’t enough, they threw in a 4-track recorder (similar to Animoog) with an adorable reel-to-reel tape interface, timeline, and mixer (with pan!). You can also run Nave through Audiobus to an external recording app, sync with other devices using WIST, or put it into background audio mode and switch to another app to play on top.

Waldorf, Nave, wavetable synth, iPad

Phew. While I could possibly accuse Waldorf of packing TOO MUCH into Nave (I mean, it’s just a silly iPad toy, right?), I can’t think of anything they left out, at the moment. Maybe you should try it out yourself and let me know.

Download Waldorf Nave $19.99 

Arturia iMini: Migrating the MiniMoog to iPad

arturia, imini, minimoog

With iMini, Arturia joins the mobile revolution. It was the only thing to do, having all its other bases covered.

iMini is a faithful reproduction of the iconic Minimoog synthesizer, for iPad. It is based on Arturia’s TAE® technology which first brought the Minimoog to desktops with its Mini V software. iMini can share presets with its predecessor Mini V, and includes over 500 sounds created by “the top sound designers in the world.” Not sure if he was involved, but iMini already has the support of well respected sound artist Richard Devine.

On top of being compatible with Mini V, iMini supports CORE MIDI, allowing MIDI controller mapping, and WIST sync with compatible apps running on other iDevices. It is also part of Retronym’s Tabletop app environment. Through Tabletop, you can share sounds via Soundcloud, render to .wav, or Audiocopy/paste into another iApp. At this time, iMini doesn’t support Audiobus yet.

Not only does iMini pay homage to the great Bob Moog, but Arturia literally pays back to the Foundation:

To support Bob Moog’s legacy, we are donating a portion of each sale to the Bob Moog Foundation to support their work in science and music education via Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool, their work to preserve, protect and share Bob Moog’s archives, and their vision to build a Moogseum in the coming years (Moogfoundation.org)

Check out the awesome promo vid and tutorial:

Arturia iMini requires at least iPad 2 and iOS 6.0 or later, and costs just $9.99


 

If that’s not enough info to get you moist and/or downloading the app already, head over to Arturia.com  for the full nitty gritty (they always have tons of in depth product info).

Korg iOS Apps Add Audiobus Support

Korg, iOS, apps, iElectribe, iMS20, iPolysix, iElectribe Gorillaz Edition, iKaossilator, Audiobus

Korg updated it’s iOS apps – iMS20, iElectribe, iElectribe Gorillaz Edition, iKaossilator, and the recently released iPolysix – and is now part of the fast-growing Audiobus family!

This is great news for iPad musicians, as Korg apps have been heralded as THE reason to get into iOS music. That is, until Audiobus came along. Now, together at last, these apps can all be combined in an orgy of touchscreen musical bliss.

Although Korg pioneered WIST (Wireless Sync-Start Technology), which allows two iOS devices within close proximity to sync compatible apps via bluetooth, (already mindbending), the addition of Audiobus capability will truly enable musicians to take their iKorg music to the next level.

Other exciting stuff included in the update:

• Retina (& iPhone 5 for iKaossilator) Display support
• Background Audio support allows to play other music apps
• iCloud data backup
• “Audiobus” enables audio streaming between iOS Musical Instrument Apps
• Virtual MIDI enables MIDI communication between iOS Musical Instrument Apps
• A few bugs have also been addressed, improving operational operational stability

There is one slight hitch Audiobus would like everyone to be aware of. First go update (or buy) Korg apps, then delete and re-install the Audiobus app. Says Audiobus:

“This is a temporary workaround until they add their apps to the Audiobus web database (which they probably omitted to keep things a bit more secret)… This workaround will (most likely) become unnecessary in the next few days as we work together with KORG to add them to our database.”

AAAANNNDDD finally, you should probably know that Korg apps are 50% off until Dec.31st to celebrate the release of iPolysix!!! Go Korg!

Buy Korg iMS-20 for iPad

Buy Korg iPolysix for iPad

Buy Korg iElectribe for iPad

Buy Korg iElectribe Gorillaz Edition for iPad 

Buy Korg iKaosillator for iPad

Buy Korg iKaosillator for iPhone

Buy Audiobus for iPad

Buy Audiobus for iPhone