It costs almost nothing and is very complete, made to work for small screens and anyone interested with poly rhythms and to work with any kind of time signature, have to say it is hard to find any other app that will allow the kind of flexibility as in this application!
A small update and one thing that can be useful if you work with a lot of samples is that it now has the possibility to tag them making it easier to find the sound you are looking for.
As alway mentioning this app it costs very little and have huge potential. Specially for you that want to have a workstation that takes different time signatures and ease of creating
poly rhythms to a level that is not seen in any of the other bigger apps.
Improve scale modulation
Filter samples by tag
Fix guides that do not divide evenly into pattern
Fix step selection after step toggled
Fix display on high-resolution devices
Play Store link:
Syntheogen updates giving me a reason to mention this excellent app again!
This multi track synthesizer / sampler application is the number one choice for anyone looking to work in different time signatures and poly rhythmic mayhem.
Actually it is one of the few fully featured apps as it contains multi track / synthesizers and sampler plus a good selection of effects and can be a good alternative to Caustic / SunVox.
If you have not tried it there is a free version and the full version is very cheap.
Here is an in depth review that I recommend that you read:
The update contains:
Make off-guide steps visible and editable
Display NOTE PROPERTIES when step long-tapped
Allow steps to be moved with long-tap and drag
Fix LOOP STEPS display of short steps in expanded element
Fix ALL TRACKS view after track created
Allow positions and lengths to be specified with mixed fractions
Improve LOOP STEPS render performance
Play Store link:
Syntheogen one of the unsung heroes of the Android music applications have now gotten a new update and comes with a dedicated sample editor amongst other things.
When I opened it I was too lazy to check out the instructions on how to go about it and did not get the sample to sound and afterwards looked at the instructions which shows that it is
a step more than just to import the sample but at the same time it does give you a much better control over your samples and get them more integrated into the workflow of Syntheogen.
Here you can read how to work with the new sample editor:
In either case the update is a nice one but the real reason that I write about this is because I do think that Syntheogen should get more attention. The workflow being different than most apps but it is made to work on a smaller screen as good as possible without skimping on features and also including features that is not in any other apps. Mostly the ease of which it is possible to work in different time signatures and getting polyrhythms going easy.
So please take a closer look and if it is seems confusing read the guide properly and there soon will be a new video from the creator that will clarify the workflow even more.
There is a Demo version but think about spending some coffee money and buy the application and thus support a single developer that is doing his best to rethink
music apps on Android.
Think that many other developers would have given up because of the lack of sales but here we have one that is going even harder into development and updating the application regularly.
The excellent multi track Synthesizer / Sample player that is rewriting the workflow on smaller devices without skimping on features and adding some that is not as easy to do in other apps.
The tutorial is made for the next version coming soon but would be a good read in either case for anyone that feel it hard to understand the ways of Syntheogen...
There is also a demo version to try out and I do recommend to try it if you have not.
To read the tutorial go here:
Ahhh here is a good in depth review of Syntheogen where he is pointing out the strengths of this interesting multi track application. Please take your time and read it and then support the developer of this excellent application or at least take some time to try out the free demo.
FIRST LOOK REVIEW: Syntheogen 0.10.0 for Android Posted by r on December 16, 2013
Developers of mobile apps for musicians have enough of a challenge set before them without having to consider the evolving nature of mobile-device input. Ten years ago, it was a world of hardware buttons and resistive touchscreens with fine-point styli. Now, of course, the mobile world is all capacitive screens, with no real usable buttons to count on… and if the end user DOES have a stylus, it’ll be fat, sloppy and imprecise at the tip, just like their fingers.
With each new fad in mobile-device input, devs targeting mobile devices have had to change up their approach. Apps like SunVox, originally built around the tighter input precision possible with a resistive stylus, may have scads of power but simply aren’t anywhere near as efficient or fun to use on a small screen in our modern capacitive / fat-fingered world. And while the mobile port of Nanoloop has fared quite well with careful work from its developer, most other well-known Gameboy music apps like LSDj quickly go from “total pleasure” to “total PITA” when the easy-to-locate hard buttons of the originally-intended hardware are forcibly traded in for fussy onscreen softkeys in an emulator.
As for the many music apps built from scratch for iOS and Android, developers are still figuring out the best approach to the interface. Most such apps, especially those built around the usual sequencer-DAW paradigm, are still trying to clone venerable desktop music apps too closely in their design. Speed of creativity and input often suffer noticeably as a result, even in the best-designed mobile music apps.
Maybe we musicians can’t have it all, and are bound to get totally screwed in one way or another as the world continues moving toward simpler / dumber / more portable devices. But I’ve still got to applaud any developer who’s still trying to reinvent this particular wheel in an effort to create a faster shirt-pocket-sized vehicle for musical creation on the go.
I see a great deal of this sort of attempted reinvention in Android semi-newcomer Syntheogen, which is stupidly cheap to purchase as of this writing. While the developer is still working, and big changes / important new features are surely to come down the road, I thought I’d make a case that smart musicians with Android devices shouldget in on the Syntheogen ground floor right now… or at least sit down for a couple serious days with the demo.
Syntheogen is, as its name would suggest, a synth- and sample-based app at the core. The current sound generation engine is deceptively simple, with plenty of power to get some real music-making done as it stands (even though hardcore synth nerds spoiled by today’s over-engineered, super-whizbang VSTis may needlessly whine a little at first). Basic subtractive 2-osc, FM, single-sample, and wavetable / “hybrid” sampling are currently available. A reasonable selection of LFO- / envelope-patching possibilities and a rather healthy assortment of DSP effects add greatly to the capabilities of Syntheogen’s sonic engine.
Just about any useful Android music app is going to be built around some kind of sequencer, since realtime-playable latency is still essentially an impossibility on Android (I send Google a personally-generated, lovingly-selected fecal emission via FedEx on the first of each month to remind them of the importance of legitimately addressing this issue in Android, but I don’t know what else I can do). Syntheogen is no exception, but its sequencer is designed a bit differently from most other such apps.
More so than most other mobile apps, and particularly most other viable music apps on Android at this time, Syntheogen has been smartly, cleanly designed to make the absolute most of a phone-sized, mostly-thumb-managed screen at any given time. This is obvious from the first few minutes of tinkering in its very clean-looking interface. The buttons are few and perfectly thumb-sized. The app’s mechanics are all about keeping as few buttons on screen at any time as possible. The screen is given over as much as possible to information that matters about the music you’re making.
One very important aspect of Syntheogen’s efficiency– and one that is surprisingly rare among mobile music apps– is the implementation of infinitely-variable pinch-zooming in multiple axes on the note-entry piano roll, the method of note entry in Syntheogen. Trying to enter notes in a piano-roll matrix on a small touchscreen is normally frustrating at best; with this seemingly obvious addition (and a few clever tweaks to its implementation), Syntheogen eases this kind of pain significantly.
Whether you need to get a handful of two-octave-wide chords in fast or enter a delicate and tightly-bounded chromatic melody, whether you are hoping to slap down a no-brainer four-on-the-floor-ish kick drum across eight measures or add a disorienting quarter-note-long blast of 64th notes in the middle of a measure, you’re usually never more than a moment’s pinch or two away from the exact view you need to get the job done on that dumb little screen you’ve stuck yourself with.
Another factor contributing to mobile usability is the nested, hierarchy-based structure of Syntheogen songs, which should be at least a little familiar to tracker users and/or lovers of loop-based apps like Acid or Ableton.
In Syntheogen parlance, “songs” are made from “loops,” which in turn are built up from simultaneously-playing “tracks” (which might better be described as “clips” or “patterns”). Quick access to / movement between these three different levels of musical “structure,” along with their sub-parameters like associated synth and effects patches, is made possible by a thin toolbar on the right-hand side of the screen (starting in v. 0.10.0).
Tracks / clips used in a loop can be easily, selectively muted when that loop is brought into a song, and the loop can be “reconfigured” thusly each time it is re-added to the song’s loop playlist. I could easily make, say, a minimal house track with a single all-encompassing loop, controlling the addition and removal of tracks entirely from the Syntheogen song editor with each iteration of the loop. Naturally, there are many more musical applications for this very useful feature.
A Syntheogen loop structure must be the same length or longer than its shortest track (i.e. clip). If you bring in a track that is shorter in length than the loop it’s destined for, Syntheogen will simply autoloop the track-clip until the end of the loop. This can add up to quasi-aleatoric fun quickly– try a 16-beat loop comprised of 4-, 7- and 9-beat tracks, for instance.
Each song, track and loop is stored as a separate file in Syntheogen, and the user provides the name for each element on creation. Track materials can be reused in multiple patterns and/or songs; by design, tracks and loops can also be easily “cloned” into new copies so as to create new materials based on already-entered stuff.
One of the most intriguing and potentially time-saving features of Syntheogen is perhaps not so obvious on the first few uses. This involves its ability to do not just transposition, but “modally-aware” transposition of tracks / clips. This may require a little explanation; here I go.
When you start a new track, Syntheogen will ask for the tonic note and modality of the clip– say, C major. If you go with that default option, the only notes visible in the piano roll for that track will be the ones for C major; this also greatly speeds entry and aids usability on mobile devices, as it maximizes the useful pitch-range of the screen and prevents many types of “fat-finger wrong notes.” (Don’t worry, would-be 12-tone serialists; the chromatic mode is also available at the very top of the mode-list, along with some other non-diatonic possibilities like whole-tone scales.)
Now let’s say you want to move your C-major idea over the diatonic pitch class B, but remain in C major. If you apply a simple chromatic-transposition operation, as would be the only option available in many such apps, a C-D-E-F-G figure would become B-C#-D#-E-F#. (This option is available in Syntheogen too, by cloning a C major pattern / track into another new track, with a stated move to B major upfront.)
But if you want that entered figure to stay diatonic in C major with a minimum of trouble or required editing, just tell Syntheogen to change your already-entered C major,C-D-E-F-G pattern to B Locrian. Doing so will produce the “C-major-correct” B-C-D-E-F. Want to move the same five-note pattern to start on F and still stay diatonic in C? You guessed it: transpose it (or “clone” directly into a new, separate clip) over F Lydian, and out comes F-G-A-B-C.
In other words, Syntheogen’s “smarter-than-usual” transposition options give music-theory-literate users the power to creatively recycle materials very quickly without ever having to dig into the piano roll editor to fix resulting “wrong” notes. And on the other hand, there are also many potential creatively-empowering / idea-generating “wrong-note” uses for this interesting aspect of Syntheogen’s design. (See what happens when you move a chromatically-entered passage in Syntheogen into a diatonic mode, or vice versa.)
There are lots of other neat features of Syntheogen’s design that maximize the efficient usage of both limited materials and limited screen real estate. Some of them, like the remarkably user-configurable quantization grids / “guides” and the numerically-controlled ability to use only the first x beats of a longer loop when bringing it into a song, hold significant added bonuses for adventurous or academically-oriented composers who want to play with truly crazy rhythms and metric structures once they have the lay of the land in this app. Very few desktop sequencers I’ve used make it so easy to enter, say, a string of 32nd-note septuplets starting exactly a sixteenth-note-quintuplet off the downbeat. (It thusly goes w/o saying that dubstep triplet-to-eighth wobble-toggle is not a problem.)
The current versions of Syntheogen run quite efficiently and reliably / predictably. Rendering to .wav is possible at the song or loop level for easy export of Syntheogen materials to your DAW, etc.
There are still some important missing features, such as the ability to export Syntheogen songs or other elements in data form directly in-app (although Syntheogen stores everything from individual patches to songs as faux-XML files in a single location, so a filesystem-savvy user can still get this kind of thing done pretty easily). The developer, Jeremy of Anthemion, is actively working on quite a few such features / refinements, and seems unusually responsive to end-user feedback besides.
With its carefully-thought-out design for your dumb thumbs, Syntheogen is probably the first half-serious Android music app I’ve tried that is actually fun to use for music-making on a phone-sized screen (maybe more so than on a tablet, actually, although it’s plenty of fun there too). The mobile-optimized workflow means a bit of a learning curve, if not a huge or intimidating one; thankfully, documentation / help is good in-app, with much more detail available online. For anyone interested in making music portably on Android devices, it’s definitely worth trying out Syntheogen and spending a good couple of earnest hours to learn how it works.
Thanks to Rob Bennett for sharing this review with us. To read more writings of his you can go to his Blog here:
To take a deeper look at all the functions here is the homepage of Syntheogen:
There is also an article written by the developer for Musical Android here:
Syntheogen is growing towards more greatness.
If you did not check it out yet you should as it is one of the more complete applications for music making out there, and it has not reached full release yet (still in a very functional BETA).
It is costing no more than a cup of coffee...so try it out as a demo or just buy the app directly.
Add Flanger effect
Add Chorus effect
Add Comb filter effect
Add Tremolo effect
Import effects when creating loop with loop source
Copy BYPASS state when copying effects and conserve state when changing effect type
Limit range when randomizing step pitches
Display LOOP STEPS dialog when song element long-tapped
. . .
For details, visit www.syntheogen.com/support_changes.html
I am proud to present this article written by the developer regarding his application Syntheogen which is the latest of the greatest.
As this is a Application that is still in BETA it is interesting to read where it comes from and where it is going and what was going on in his mind developing the application Syntheogen.
This article will be interesting for a lot of people for different reasons and am very grateful that Jeremy took the time to write this for all of us to read...
(He still calls it BETA but have not encountered any bugs and think that it is more a question of how and what extra functions will be added...)
Syntheogen Article for Musical Android
Jeremy Neal Kelly
Syntheogen ultimately was inspired by a second-hand drum machine I bought some twenty years ago. The machine was a Yamaha RY-10; it had a row of sixteen tiny buttons in the middle, each with a red LED above, and it was the first step sequencer I had used.
Though I love hearing music, I've rarely enjoyed making it; practice is a bore, synthesizer interfaces are maddening, and I always seem to lack the one cable I need to record my amazing riff. Step sequencers are the exception to that rule. They are fun, easy, and immediate; the step sequencer is the only interface I've seen where pressing buttons at random is actually a great idea.
They do have limitations, however. The hardware sequencers I've used offer only one row of buttons, so you cannot view or edit multiple tracks at once. Work on the 'vertical' axis — whether pitch, volume, or whatever — is neither convenient nor enjoyable, especially when bending notes. Worst of all, traditional step sequencers perform poorly outside of quadruple time, since you cannot use odd-numbered meters without losing some of your buttons. I started to make a dub track on my EMX-1, but I had to give up because triplets were such a pain.
Syntheogen is an attempt to escape those limitations. Despite the popularity of skeuomorphism, I say that software can and should transcend the limitations of hardware. In software, we can have as many buttons as we want, and those buttons can even move or change shape. At the beginning of this project, I knew I wanted a two-dimensional array of steps that would allow all tracks to be viewed and edited together. Pitched tracks would occupy multiple rows, allowing melodies and chords to be entered straightforwardly. I wanted an easy way to bend notes or entire chords. I wanted a way to divide the grid into different lengths, so that triplets and unusual time signatures could be used. I also wanted to have patterns with different lengths in the same grid, so that polyrhythms could be programmed easily. These are all things I had tried to do with hardware sequencers, but found to be difficult or impossible.
The result of all this was the Syntheogen LOOP STEPS dialog:
Where sequencing is concerned, Syntheogen offers some advanced features that (as far as I know) other Android apps lack; on the other hand, certain 'standard' features like controller automation aren't implemented at all. In some cases, I haven't had time to develop what I want, but so far I've excluded automation intentionally for reasons that relate to my design philosophy for this project.
Generally, I don't like the way automation is implemented in the applications and hardware I've used. The typical approach — where the user places the device in an automation record mode, then manipulates the control in real time — does not satisfy me. Usually there is no way to view the data without playing back and watching the controller, and no way to edit it without recording again. This design hides automation data the same way one-line step sequencers hide pitch and volume data, and that's not what Syntheogen is about.
Unfortunately, I haven't found a better way to implement this. In my work developing 'line of business' software, elegance is not required or typically even noticed. If a feature is requested, I must implement it, one way or another, even if the result is a bit awkward.
But this is a different type of project. I'm not a professional musician, and I don't expect Syntheogen to be used by many who are. My users and I make music for fun, so I think Syntheogen itself should be fun. Therefore, in this app, I would rather omit a feature if I cannot implement it in a fun and direct way. Not everything in Syntheogen meets this standard right now, but that is my goal. This approach will limit the app, in a sense, but I would rather do a few things well than do many things poorly. So, if I find a good way to implement automation, or any other feature, I will add it; otherwise, I plan to stick to the things I can do well.
Syntheogen was written in C++, which I know and like better than any other language. C++ supports object-oriented development, which is important for larger projects, yet it lets the developer work very close to the machine when performance is important. It also supports a resource-management strategy called RAII (Resource Acquisition Is Initialization) that is better and more flexible than the garbage collection offered by Java.
Unfortunately, Android is very much a Java platform, and does not give first-class status to C++ apps. Parts of the platform are represented in the Android NDK (Native Development Kit) with 'native' libraries that provide direct access to Android features from C or C++ code. Most platform features cannot be accessed this way, however; they can only be reached by passing through a layer called JNI (Java Native Interface) that 'translates' function calls to and from the format used by Java. JNI is difficult to use, and somewhat dangerous, as even small mistakes can crash your application. For this reason, many native developers use JNI — and by extension, much of Android — as little as possible.
This issue required that I implement my own window-management and UI control library, since using Android's controls would have required hundreds of JNI calls between the UI and the synthesis engine. Developing a full-featured UI framework is a big task, but it's something I've done before, and by relying on Android as little as possible, I was able to make Syntheogen largely platform-independent. In fact, Syntheogen was mostly developed in Windows, with Visual Studio. Even aside from the UI framework, this created a lot of extra work, but I've developed mobile and embedded applications this way for many years, and it's always turned out to be worth it. In this case, it allowed me to do most of my debugging in Visual Studio, which is fortunate, as the Android NDK debugger is almost unusable.
One regrettable early decision was to use version 1.1 of OpenGL ES rather than version 2.0. Version 1.1 is simpler, and I had used it before, but to do any serious work with OpenGL you really have to use shaders, an advanced technique provided with version 2.0 for filling shapes with images or patterns. Having chosen version 1.1, I was forced to use stencils when clipping patterns to round corners, and that is a poorly-documented, convoluted, and slow solution to an otherwise simple problem.
Another questionable decision was to make the UI layout completely independent of the display aspect ratio, to the extent that black bars are not displayed, yet the images used to render controls are never distorted horizontally or vertically by stretching. I wanted to use as much of the display area as possible, and to render all straight lines with pixel-perfect sharpness, but this complicated the way controls are laid-out and rendered while simultaneously limiting the sort of patterns and gradients I could use to decorate them. A few years ago, when it was possible to see the pixels on an average display, this might have made a noticeable difference, but today it is worthless unless you're using a jeweler’s loupe. I will have to replace a lot of the rendering code before I can improve the application's appearance much further.
The sequencing and synthesis engine presented numerous challenges.
Sequencing is much harder than it looks; in Syntheogen, patterns repeat within loops, loops repeat within songs, and a particular step may be tied on one or both sides to other steps, even steps in other pattern iterations. Simply determining what steps will play in a given span is very difficult, and I'm surprised sometimes that it works at all.
Syntheogen is my first audio application, and I developed the synthesis engine from scratch, so there was a lot of theory to be learned. I studied Dodge and Jerse's 'Computer Music', and I read much of Curtis Roads' 'The Computer Music Tutorial'. The Dodge and Jerse book was useful, but it contains serious gaps that a working synthesis developer must fill elsewhere. It also contains frustrating math errors that were especially aggravating given the book's ridiculous price. The Roads book is very popular, but I found it only occasionally worthwhile. Though it's very large, the book's coverage is surprisingly superficial, and I can't forgive an author who wastes my shelf space with a full-page photograph showing me what a compact disc looks like. I had to go to the KVR Audio forums to find a good general-purpose filter, and to learn more about reverberation algorithms.
There's a rule that warns software developers not to optimize any length of code unless they know with certainty that a bottleneck exists there. Normally I'm careful to honor this rule, but I rarely felt I had that luxury when developing Syntheogen. In most applications, the processor spends much of its time idling while waiting for user input. In a synthesis app, during playback, the processor receives a constant stream of lengthy tasks, and it can idle only if it finishes a given block before receiving the next. My constant worry was that, if I did not optimize everything in the synthesis path, I would end up with an app that perhaps contained no bottlenecks, but was instead everywhere too slow. In a sense, the entire synthesis engine constitutes a bottleneck, simply because of the way it is used. Optimizing so liberally created a lot of code that was difficult to write and remains difficult to read. I've been pleased with Syntheogen's performance, though, so I think that was the right approach.
I'm generally happy with how Syntheogen has turned out. It's interesting to compose a song with a synthesizer you wrote yourself, and to know in detail that everything you hear is the output of some relatively simple math operations.
There is still a great deal of work to be done, though. Some obvious omissions, like chorus and phase effects, must be remedied. Advanced users will want sample editing and MIDI export capabilities. None of these things are especially difficult, just time-consuming.
Now that I've used Syntheogen awhile, I find some tasks to be a bit awkward. When setting up a new loop, the user must create many loop elements and tracks, and I would like a way to automate that. Also, when setting synthesis parameters, there is no way to hear your changes without playing a pattern, which you may not have yet. I would like some way to audition the patch from the TRACK SYNTH and TRACK EFFECTS dialogs, but I'm not sure I want to sacrifice the display area needed for even a small keyboard. These and other issues will be addressed, and naturally, I'll be raising the price as I do so.
I could attempt to produce a full-featured DAW, but I don't think that's a realistic goal for mobile devices, and it's also not what I want to use. What I really want is something like a harmonica. The harmonica can't do everything, but what it does do, it does better than anything else, and it does it in a way that it is compact, durable, inexpensive, easy, and fun. Hopefully, by narrowing my focus, I can approach that standard with Syntheogen.
So what more is there to say than support the developer!!!
The application is good already and will be better-
Have functions that does not exist in other multi track applications and sound wise it comes with quality and implementations you won't find in other Android applications-
All for the price of a coffee.
PDF file of the article:
Syntheogen is exciting and also a little bit confusing to use so these new tutorials comes in handy... and they replace the first one that the developer made.
It is still in BETA but it is as stable as any official release it is just that there is still functions being added and the last details being figured out-
It is a multitrack- synthesizer, sampler and a special hybrid sampler/synthesizer.
Have been mentioned here some times before but if you have not heard about it yet make yourself a small gift today. As for the price of a candy bar you can get something that is different but not less complete than the other multi track applications existing for Android and being complementary having it's own flavour in workflow, sound and look.
This will get it's own Sub header on Musical Android when it is out of BETA.
Yapps I have high hopes for this one.
Just worried that it has this strange workflow to it than can hinder you from wanting to use it and my recommendation is to sit with paper and pen go through the tutorials and go through the motions of reaching the different menus/windows and it will come naturally to you in no time.
p.s- There is also a demo version
Here is a new Audio Demo by the developer of Syntheogen-
Does not show much and for some more information and it is recommended that you go to the sidebar and click on Syntheogen...
It is an exciting application and think that for the low price it is something that needs to be bought. Think that since I started the website four months ago there have been two new releases of apps that have excited me this one and the Heat Synthesizer
( also begrudgingly for its live recording of ideas- FL Studio Mobile ).
It will be so interesting to see where this app is going as it still in in BETA.
Actually it just got a new update yesterday.
If you want to import samples or your own sample packs into this application it is not so straightforward as including them into the sample folder but it is not too hard either following these instructions:
If you do and feel like sharing don't hesitate to share with us.
Send the sample pack or links to it here-
So this video just got made-
Have not had time to delve deeper into this new application,
just learned how to use it and it sounds good and seems really stable
even though it still is labeled BETA.
It is so far interesting if slightly confusing.
So this video is a good, good, good thing.
Feel that it is going to become one if not already one of the deeper apps for Android
and at the price of 1.50 €/ 2 $ it is a bargain.
Plus that it also have a demo version to try before buying.
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