If you are something of an iOS synth-head, you might already own One Red Dog’s Arctic ProSynth. If you don’t, then now is a very good time to add it to your app collection as it is currently on sale at UK£2.99… yep, less than a small cup of coffee and a pastry at your favourite high-street beverage bar. I suspect the sale is for the 4th of July holiday week-end in the USA so it may not last long…. get in there quick.
I reviewed Arctic ProSynth when it was first released and also looked at the update to v.1.1.0 that added support for iAA under iOS7. I was impressed when I first played it and I’m still impressed now. One Red Dog describe Arctic ProSynth as a modern subtractive synthesizer that, instead of intending to be a virtual recreation of any specific vintage synth, attempts to offer a more modern take, producing an aggressive and bold palette of sounds suitable for current musical styles. In addition, the app includes a Vocoder mode that, used with a suitable microphone/sound source, can add something extra over-and-above straight synth sounds.
The update released today provides various bug fixes and now provides full support for 64-bit iOS devices. However, the headline improvement are some changes to the MIDI Learn feature. This mode can be enabled from the Settings menu (the icon with the two cogs on it located top-right of the interface). Any control that can then be tied to a MIDI hardware controller becomes highlighted. If you then double tap on one of these controls you can now edit both the MIDI CC number and the depth of the modulation via the pop-up dials that appear. However, if you just move a knob or slider on your connected hardware MIDI control surface, that will automatically link the hardware control with the virtual one.
Having given this a try with my Alesis QX25 MIDI keyboard/controller hooked up to my iPad Air it all seems to work very smoothly. The option to be able to limit the depth of the modulation is very useful as it means you can get more subtle control over the sounds but still using the full travel of the controls.
At full price, Arctic ProSynth is very good value for money. It sits somewhere beneath the likes of Thor, Z3TA+ or Nave both in terms of price and the depth of programming options. If these more upmarket synths leave you quaking in the corner because of their complexity, then Arctic ProSynth is an excellent choice. It is still very programmable but it doesn’t have the learning curve associated with some of the other leading iOS synths.
However, it doesn’t compromise on sound. This is a great tool for full-on, in your face, dance music (in all it’s genres). And, with both Audiobus and IAA support, it is easy to use in a wider iOS music workflow. If this all sounds tempting, then grab a copy and have some fun… at the current limited time sale price of UK£2.99 it is a heck of a lot of synth for an insanely modest price.