Sketch Synth 3D
Steelberry Clones got our hands on the newly released Sketch Synth 3D for a review (version 1.0.4). To best describe Sketch Synth 3D you can say that it is both a synth and a control interface that lets you shape and scalp your soundscapes in 3D. You can use it straight out of the box; but sketch synth also offers you the ability to extend and control your other synths in 3D using Midi output and OSC input & output. We made a short test run of the app on an iPad 2 featured in the video below:
Sketch Synth 3D has a quite different and “rough” UI that may take some time to get used to, but once you have gotten used to it, it is fairly easy to jump from different performance and editing modes. The sounds coming from the Sketch Synth 3D are quite intriguing and easy to manipulate. In one sense from a music creation perspective this app is somewhat what you could expect from an updated KORG Kaossilator. To draw sounds in 3D you can use a touchpad, accelerometers and automated envelopes. This gives you control over the shapes that your sounds take on. However, although beautiful and innovative we still feel that the app has some more steps to take before it is a viable alternative – especially seeing that the sketch pad tends to have glitches in the animation, we lack a sense of real flow in the animations. What is nice though is the ability to load samples and effectively manipulate otherwise fairly dry sounding sounds and take you music making to the next level – adding ambient feels to it. You can either use Sketch Synth’s sound engine to apply effects to samples (including wav files of your own), or you can use it to output OSC or MIDI to your existing synths.
Sketch Synth can take input from a variety of devices using it’s OSC input, one Sketch Synth running on an iPad can control another Sketch Synth running on your main computer. You can even take input from a Kinect device using OSCeleton or OSCKinnection.
The color visualizations makes it easy to combine different patterns and sounds without loosing the overview, if their is one pattern (color) you don´t like you simply remove it to alter the sound texture that you have created. Sometimes it might be a bit hard to find the right levels to get the sound balance correct, but if you learn how to manipulate using the editors mode you will soon be able to create stunning soundscapes on the go. Sketch synth has a unique workflow which involves drawing up to 16 patterns on 4 channels in 3D and then using the performance view you can swipe through different channels and patterns to perform your 3D soundscape. A visualisation panel also lets you view how your patterns are shaping up in 3D, and if you really want to fully immerse yourself in the experience then try using the OSC output to control animations and create a video that is controlled by the music you are drawing.
Summary and recommendation: Sketch Synth 3D is a innovative and inspiring app that’s ideal for experimental music creation. Apart from some small glitches that we saw on the animation side of things we can definitely recommend this to be a logical part in your iPad music creation arsenal.
What’s New in Version 1.0.4
This is an Important update, version 1.0.4 includes:
* Z axis no longer limited to volume only for the internal synth
* Gesture pad enhancements
* Chorus and High Pass Filters
* Big Pad view to compliment performance view
* Significant performance boosts
* Graphics improvement
* Major Bugfix: Large user samples no longer cause ipad to freeze on load
* Minor Bugfixes for Load/Save, OSC & Midi