Nearly 18 months after Akai first publicly demonstrated v3 of their iOS synth app, SynthStation, in conjunction with their (equally delayed) SynthStation49 iPad based controller, it has finally hit the app store in a blaze of strange silence and “anti-marketing” from Akai. No fanfare, no announcement on Twitter of Facebook, which is most unusual as their Facebook feed is full of shameless self promotion and seemingly pointless imagery of legacy gear.
Every time I have dropped the question, asking when we might see this, it was met with an unfortunate stony silence.
But hey, it’s here now and it really is very good indeed! You get one poly synth, 2 mono synths, a drum editor with lots of kits, triggered by 9 MPC style pads, a grid edit sequencer and a rather cute recording utility that sports a “working” Akai GX-630DB Reel to Reel and the ability to save your masterpiece over Wifi to a connected computer.
The Perform mode gives you basic controls over all aspects of the app with an emphasis on live performance. Detailed tweaking takes place on the Drum, Synth & Grid edit pages. The iPhone version, due to its limited screen real estate, shows little or no change to version 2.0 but people are reporting much improved speed and of course a larger library of presets.
I really am very glad that this is finally out and that it is a very good app. Just a shame they took so long! In the time between its announcement and its release, many other great iOS apps have come out (Animoog, Figure, Alchemy, etc) and one can only feel Akai lost momentum. Here’s hoping that the SynthStation49 controller delivers a compelling experience and that Akai’s next iOS app, the MPC Fly, doesn’t take anywhere near as long to materialise!
Here are some screen shots that I took off my iPad as Akai’s site seems to currently be bereft of any information as yet! The blurb from the app store is as follows…
“SynthStation v3.0 is all about streamlined workflow. You’ll find a totally refreshed user interface that’s easy to navigate and instinctual to use. Optimized for the larger screen of your iPad, the new UI spreads out the controls, dramatically reduces the need to shuffle through menus, and lays out all the synth parameters on a single screen. The leading music production app just got more powerful.”