SynthTronica – synth for iPad – Dynamic Multitouch Filter
Space here we come:
This video demonstrates SynthTronica, the spectral synth by Leisuresonic for the iPad. This episode showcases SynthTronica’s Dynamic Multitouch Filter, an expressive and innovative musical controller, for use in live performance, and for touch sound synthesis.
SynthTronica is a hybrid instrument; its synth engine combines characteristics of virtual analog synthesis and digital sampling. For most “traditional” synthesizers, sound evolution is controlled by parametric filters — combinations of VCFs and LFOs. Instead, SynthTronica uses time-varying filter data to provide spectral evolution; an instance of such data is called a “formant”. Formants can be created in several ways, through the iPad’s microphone, importing audio files, and capturing performances of SynthTronica’s multitouch filter. While formants are currently played in strict loops, the maximum formant duration is fairly large — just over 60 seconds — providing potential for significant, albeit prerecorded, variation. The benefit of formants lies with their generality. A formant can be made from sources as disparate and varied as Nord percussion, cellos, choirs, braying donkeys, or the chorus of Katy Perry’s latest single. The latter example is an interesting consideration: a formant can reflect much of the rhythmic and sometimes vocal characteristics of its source sound, while effectively obliterating its pitch. Pitch is instead provided by SynthTronica’s synthesizer front-end. When readily-discernible formant sources are used, SynthTronica provides a unique musical space that lies between the boundaries of pure sound synthesis and referential sampling. Formant synthesis is not explicit like sampling; you play through the Katy Perry groove as if it was your avatar. With SynthTronica, a performer needs to make pitch choices for any sound to be heard.