So to read the review of the knobs that stick directly to your device for some controller action go here:
To read this in-depth and positive review regarding iReal Pro go here:
It is meant mostly for having rhythms to practice to, but it also contains a sequencer that you can program.
The Sequencer contain a fine degree of steps (one quarter note contains 24 micro steps) to get very intricate rhythms going making it less good for direct programming but very good for the discerning musician that needs the rhythms just right.
The sequencer is not the main course though as the app is more for having rhythms already made with variations to switch things up with during practice sessions.
Yes there is a bunch of these apps out there but this one comes with three things to make it stick out from the crowd.
First being is that the samples comes round robin (playing slightly different versions of the samples at each hit) This as far as I know does not exist for any sampler at all for Android.
The second thing is something that I wish was a function built into more apps and that is a humanize function so you can decide how erratic the hits will be as no human can play in perfect beat this in combination with round robin adds to humanize the rhythm if you want.
The third is that you can use a footswitch with a USB-OTG cable to switch in between fills, intro etc while playing a instrument.
It comes in three flavors all of them containing all the functions but having a varying degree of drum sets / sounds and rhythms already programmed.
The most basic one is for free which is a good thing especially if you are thinking to use it for programming rhythms as the programming of rhythms can be slightly tedious (it is not that bad but there is a lot of people that have no patience). One thing that could be good to implement would be to have the "micro" (ticks) steps in between collapsible that you have in SunVox and in other trackers making it easy to program the main rhythm and then add smaller additions. Otherwise if there is only a need to have rhythms to practice to there is not anything negative to say about the application.
Maybe it would be good if you could import midi files.
Actually it could be hard to work into the same app as it is set up but maybe... I am not a programmer and have learnt what seems to be obvious and simple to a non programmer...
is often not the case.
But definitely worth checking out if you need a drummer / rhythms for your practice sessions in either case.
So to check out what the different versions have to offer:
Drum Machine Drummer Friend Free
Drummer Friend - Drum Machine
Drummer Friend HD Drum Machine
In the first video he is switching the rhythm by hand this is not necessary if you have a foot switch. Which is one of the selling points of the app. But I think the video is before this was implemented.
In the second video he has hooked up a audio receiver to his computer that records the audio through Bluetooth. I did not know that this was possible until the developer told me and that this is possible for almost any (or all) Android devices...
Learning some basic facts about Android every day....
To read this review go here:
This is a great new addition to the Android music making applications if you are interested in the more acid / synthesizer aspect of music making, but can of course be used for more than acid type of sounds. It comes with three Synthesizers and one Drum track with the possibility to sequence and comes with some effects plus the possibility to record changes on the fly.
It is the same amount tracks, sound modules and being 303'ish in the sounds it creates it could be compared to Mikrosonics RD4. The biggest difference is that RD4 is much easier to use as a Groovebox ( if not the easiest to use Groovebox ) and RD4 comes with more effects, more possibilites and full midi integration but...
Have not used PhoenixStudio much but my impression is it seems to have much clearer and better sound, making it interesting for people that would like something similar to RD4 but are more interested in the sound and less in the Groovebox aspect.
One thing that will hit you is the busy interface which has an explanation in that this application is maybe the oldest app you can get for Android!
Yes it was developed for PocketPC in 2001 so it was made for that format and for use with a Stylus so it was not made with a smartphone in mind. He is recommending to use a bigger screen like at least a Galaxy note or over but for me it works good on a 4.0 inch screen but as said above not a good idea or not the easiest app for live Groovebox action. In either case there is a full demo to use with only saving being disabled so you can test it and see if it is too fiddly for the device that you use.
There is also a selection of songs that comes with the Demo that you can listen to and see what it is capable of as they illustrate sonically the goodness you can get out of it...
Came out a month ago and have used it for some recordings and it is a fine thing.
You may have tried the developers other synthesizers that are for free and some of the better synthesizers you can get for Android. They are - Common FM Synthesizer, Common Analog Synthesizer and Common Analog Synthesizer with midi capabilities...
This is the same engine as in the Common Analog Synthesizer but with full midi capabilities becoming the third one for Android where you can assign almost anything to your midi keyboard / controller /DAW. The two other differences is one effects page with six different effects and one sequencer. If you use a midi controller / keyboard you should probably get this just for the reason of being one of the few that sports such a deep midi integration and even if you just are interested in another synthesizer for Android it is an interesting addition and even though there is a free version it is worth to pay for this version just to have access to the sequencer and the effects. The Sequencer also have the addition of being able to save up to 12 sequences.
So the sound is good and there is sounds that you can get out of it that would be hard to get out of other Android Synthesizer.
The only two critiques that I would have for it is that you can not record and have to record into something else. The second one is that on a small screen it is very hard to work with it and they do recommend at least a 4.3 inch screen. I was using this and it is still on the limit of fiddliness but workable but it is hard if you're not using a midi keyboard as the keyboard on the screen is too small and to play with more that two finger chords could be frustrating... also was working in semi darkness and with the black background it got really hard to see what I was doing but luckily enough you have the option to change to a white background as they have in their other synthesizers.
So recommend to use it with a tablet 7 or 10 inches. But like said before it is possible on a smaller screen and with a midi keyboard and the sounds set up already it is no problems at all.
To see what is midi controllable:
Lastly post this video that do not make the application justice but it is the only one available
and you can always download the free version,Common Analog Synthesizer to hear how it sounds like...
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:
It is a beautiful thing this beast.
It is one of those applications that I can not write a review for as it seems unnecessary as anyone that start to play with it liking synthesizers will be happy and start to wring their hands together muttering hmm let me try this and what about this- woow that is interesting, never got my Android device sounding like this before.
Yes it is a joy to play with and in my eyes is one of the few standalone synthesizers that offers this much flexibility maybe the only comparable is Heat Synthesizer. ( Talking about standalone synthesizers and of course there is in Caustic the modular but that being monophonic and in SunVox you can build up some crazy synthesizer monsters but neither is not as flexible/direct and the sound is different so it becomes complementary).
But it is not a question of Heat over the Beast as they have very different characters and depending on who you are or what you are looking for you would prefer one over the other but it is very probable that you want both in the end. One thing where it has an advantage over Heat Synthesizer to me is that it is more fun to tweak.
Having to do with the layout but also it is easier to try things out and get useful sounds out of it or totally off the wall craziness faster than Heat making it more inspirational leading to more creative tweaking.
Having said that everybody prefer different ways of working so this is just my personal opinion and not making Heat synthesizer less of a Synth as it is one great synthesizer to.
It is a lot of thought that went into the design of the functions over 80 parameters that can be manipulated but also to have no more than two screens to deal with and being smart the developer made them slidable so you do not have to switch screens but just sliding them up and down.
Another thing that makes the workflow easier is that all the main functions when building your sounds is laid out in the first screen and the "secondary" functions in the second following a natural path to sculpting the sound to what you want. Then you can add up to four different effects in different combinations and there is a lot of them! The effects are icing on the cake and a lot of times they are not really necessary as the synth engine is so good in itself.
This synthesizer has all the controls you would be accustomed to from a analog synthesizer but it has also in a clever way implemented FM synthesis into the mix amongst other things... added to this is a modulation heaven where there is sooo much modulation possibilities.
Actually one reason why I am not writing a proper review is that it would be too much for me
as there is too much to ponder and test and go into that it would not be reasonable.
But it does not matter that there is so much that you can do with it if you are a beginner at synthesis as with just the slightest knowledge you will be excited, inspired and think that you will learn it automatically for this reason.
And for the seasoned pro think that you will be amazed to have this power in your Android Device.
There is also a forum with the developer being friendly and active if there is questions:
Right now there is just a small manual built into the application
but there will be a better manual and video/s to come.
It is midi compatible, right now it is note on/off, velocity, modwheel, pitch wheel/pitch bend with more coming.
So you can use your midi keyboard or your DAW (with the right cables) or other hardware that sends midi if you use one to control the Beast.
You are going to need a strong device to use it as it is maximized both in capabilities and in it's sound engine.
On the device I tested it on the latency was tolerable a Samsung Galaxy S3 still on Android 4.1 so if you have a version later than that or even better a Google Nexus Device you will probably not suffer much at all.
There is even one guy already using it for live concerts.
So this Beast will be incorporated into G-Stomper in February but think that if you want a standalone synthesizer to play with your midi keyboard/DAW and having the possibilities to save patches with the effects it is worth to have just this one or both as it will work differently when it is incorporated into G-Stomper.
Personally I will end up having both as it is convenient for me depending on what is on the agenda.
Ending with some presets that got recorded by me... first some to show the synthesizer in a more conventional manner then some presets made by me being a little bit more... personal.
Sorry to say they are in mono as my soundcard only have mono input for microphone and/or RCA cable
So you won't hear the examples in full stereofied glory.
It looks innocent on the surface but peak under the buttons
and amongst other things a great modulation monster rears it's beautiful head!!!
It is strange that nobody has tried to do a drum machine yet with real time synthesis.
Here is one in either case that has been out for about a month.
Not only is it the only one it sounds good to.
This is the second application that have been discovered by me the last month that almost got dismissed as soon as it got opened. As there is so many crappy pad / sequencer chuppililupps out there it looked like all it was going for it came down to four sample based drums in a very short sequencer.
Maybe it was that the look was different or that it was no publicity but lingered a little bit longer on it than would have happened otherwise. Discovering that pushing the left side a new page opened up where you got access to different parameters for each drum making it a truly flexible gem of an application.
In the simple interface is hidden a world of synthesized drums and even though it is only one bar to the sequencer it is so easy to switch the pattern around in real time.
Switching page you then have a very good way of interacting with the touch screen making changes again in real time. This has to be downloaded by anyone of you that want to use a good drum machine for live tweaking. Here it is would I dare say even better for live work than many hardware drum machines as you can sweep sounds with your fingers.
In this application it feels like a save mode is unnecessary as it is so good and easy to set up
and so fun to play with that it helps that you do not get bogged down in presets or saved sequences.
Plus as said before it sounds excellent!
I am just happy that it did not get thrown out, dismissed and cast out of my life because of short attention span!
Bonus points is that it is for free (would gladly have paid for it) open source so you can download the code and even better made in Pure Data, the open source visual programming language for making music.
To get the code for Pure Data go here: