Best iOS Apps of 2013: Synths

It’s inevitable. Reaching the end of the year and looking back on what it brought us. For iOS musicians it was another good year. A year that our devices became more capable for serious music production and our apps following suit, powered by technologies such as Audiobus. We already have a lot of exciting things to look forward to in 2014, but let’s take a look at our favourite music apps on the iPhone and iPad.

It was a great iOS synth year, a year of good hard- to software translations and ambitious new innovations. The early iPads suffered a lot, because the new crop of iOS synths are a lot more demanding than their predecessors. Here are Momupro’s favourite synths for 2013 (in no particular order):


thorThe flagship Reason synth caught everyone by surprise when it was released for iPad in June. While Figure is a cute sketchpad that lends sounds from its bigger brother and works wonderfully on iPhone, Thor for iPad is the real deal. It showed Propellerhead feels right at home on iOS, combining the power of a desktop synth with expressive touch controls. As the new iPads grew more powerful this year we are ready for more ports of Reason devices (let’s go Kong!).

Thor on the App Store

Arturia iMini

iminiRetronyms had a good run in 2013, where, besides optimising AudioCopy in iOS7 they expanded their Tabletop ecosystem once again with newly developed devices. One of those was iMini, Arturia’s debut on iOS. iMini is a port of the Mini V VST, which in itself is a translation of the successful Minimoog synth, check out our full review for more details. A very close second for this spot is iSEM, Arturia’s recreation of the Oberheim SEM synth.

Arturia iMini on the App Store

Waldorf Nave

naveNext to posting insightful iOS development tweets Tempo Rubato, from Nlog synth fame also put in the miles for Waldorf Nave, an ambitious iOS-only, Wavetable synth that was long in development and finally released in June. This synth looks good, has nearly infinite options, sounds big and impressive and has a long list of musician-crafted presets. Highly recommended as your desert-island iPad synth.

Waldorf Nave on the App Store

PPG WaveMapper

wavemapperWolfgang Palm, the ‘iOS professor’ impressed the community last year with his PPG WaveGenerator, an incredible deep and powerful Wavetable synth. The new PPG WaveMapper complements WaveGenerator, but with a lot less complex interface. The Sound map window allows you to combine familiar sounds into complex sounding wave patterns with a swipe of your fingers. WaveMapper also has a little brother on the iPhone / iPod Touch called MiniMapper. WaveGenerator was recently also released on PC & Mac, here’s hoping that WaveMapper makes that same step.

PPG WaveMapper on the App Store

That rounds up our best iOS synths for 2013. Stay tuned for the next best apps.

What’s your favourite iOS synth from this year?

  1. So many chioces! I really loved Nave, iMini and iSEM, but Thor is the do it all since it has all the attributes to recreate any synth (analog, wavetable, FM, etc), so it is Thor who takes the prize.

  2. Besides iSEM, I’d have to add Modular Synth and Virtual Ans to the list at a bare minimum. Arctic ProSynth and Cube Synth were another couple of great surprises in the synth area.

  3. I was late to get iSEM, but wow, it has such a beautiful overall tone. Virtual ANS just completely spooked me in the best possible way. Like throwing your sounds into a broken ship, all rigged up with mics, dropping it all to the depths of Mariana’s Trench, and gathering up the haunted treasures remotely. Incredible. I love how it completely transforms sound…my favourite iOS sonic hoax, just because of the result…

  4. BUT, Nave still wins the prize in my books. Beautiful, a gorgeous High Tech invention. Like Animoog, it has its own sound stamped all over everything that comes out of it. Like a Strat…

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