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MPE Synth selection?

Hi all,

I’m not a musician (yet?), just a dabbler and prefer composing to live playing. I’m years behind entering the iOS music scene, although I have been slowly picking up apps over the years, and am now trying to build up a good library of apps to have wide choice of sound styles.

I’m very interested in MPE, as I love string instruments but with only a keyboard to play, find it a bit hard to get the sounds reflecting actual instruments. So am looking at GeoShred as a controller, but the price of the GeoSWAM/Naada instruments is a slight deterrent. So what I’m wondering is, are there some good MPE synth choices to pair with GeoShred?

I have a bunch of the standard synths already - Synthmaster, King of…, various Korg, and some of the free ones. I don’t think I have a granular synth yet though.

I’m picking up things when they are on sale, and see FRMS looks like it’s MPE. I have Mariana which I think is MPE, and I believe the Animoog’s are MPE, which I don’t have. Before even considering MPE, I was thinking of WaveCloud from 4pockets as well, but it’s not on sale currently (fair enough since it’s relatively new). EDIT I should note FRMS on sale is the same price as WaveCloud for me currently.

So, any suggestions around what are good already choices that pair well with GeoShred, especially if on sale, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for any suggestions for a newbie.

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Comments

  • McDMcD
    edited December 2023

    The forum has a Wiki site too and it has a page of MPE capable synths. It’s in need of an update but there’s good info there:

    https://wiki.audiob.us/doku.php?id=mpe_instruments

  • Personally I think both Animoogs are the best MPE on iOS, mainly because they are easy to program without having to think too much, but at the same time very deep if you do want to do some thinking, Geoshred sounds awesome as well but I found it a bit cumbersome to program

  • I think one of the free versions of GeoShred is a midi controller? Animoog is also a good controller, but with fewer octaves than GS. Also look at Salome as a controller.

  • Some solid choices for MPE are:

    • Anything made by Bleass
    • Synthmaster one and 2
    • DRC and FRMS by Imaginando
    • Any synths by 4 Pockets
    • Quanta and Continua
    • Salome
    • Spacecraft
    • Drambo for modular

    WaveCloud is my personal fav for granular mpe now. FRMS is very good but very CPU heavy.

    Also, I love Geoshred, use it ALL the time for all the SWAM stuff, but I find it quite fussy and a little unpredictable as a midi controller. Velocity Keyboard I think is the best currently, YMMV.

  • @McD said:
    The forum has a Wiki site too and it has a page of MPE capable synths. It’s in need of an update but there’s good info there:

    https://wiki.audiob.us/doku.php?id=mpe_instruments

    Thanks. I did look at that first, but given it is a bit outdated, I thought I’d ask for the current state of play.

    @Tentype said:
    Some solid choices for MPE are:

    • Anything made by Bleass
    • Synthmaster one and 2
    • DRC and FRMS by Imaginando
    • Any synths by 4 Pockets
    • Quanta and Continua
    • Salome
    • Spacecraft
    • Drambo for modular

    WaveCloud is my personal fav for granular mpe now. FRMS is very good but very CPU heavy.

    Also, I love Geoshred, use it ALL the time for all the SWAM stuff, but I find it quite fussy and a little unpredictable as a midi controller. Velocity Keyboard I think is the best currently, YMMV.

    Great overview, thanks. Velocity Keyboard is also on my shopping list, but given I am interested in at least some of the GeoSwam and Naada instruments, I thought it best to stay in the ecosystem. It’s annoying that the App Store doesn’t show all the iap prices before purchasing though, so I’m not sure exactly what total cost I may be up for. Sounds like WaveCloud may be a good start for me, as I already have a lot of other 4Pockets apps, so at least the UI will be familiar.

  • heshes
    edited December 2023

    I think this is an incomplete list of iOS MPE synths from Linnstrument documentation pages, which also lists desktop mpe synths ( https://www.rogerlinndesign.com/support/support-linnstrument-recommended-sounds ) :

    Anckorage: SpringSound
    Apple: GarageBand
    Audio Damage: Quanta, Continua
    Audio Modeling: SWAM instruments
    Beep Street: Drambo
    BLEASS: Alpha, Omega
    Bram Bos: Mononoke
    Delta-V Audio: Spacecraft
    iFretless Bass, Sax, Guitar, Brass
    Gestrument
    Imaginado DRC, FMRS
    Jonathan Schatz: ID700
    KV331 Audio: Synthmaster 2
    Moog Music: Model 15 Modular, AniMoog, AniMoog Z, Minimoog Model D
    PPG Apps: WaveGenerator, WaveMapper, Phonem & Infinite
    ROLI: Seaboard 5D, Noise
    Shoom from Yuri Turov
    Sonosaurus: ThumbJam, DrumJam
    Synclavier Digital: Synclavier Go!
    TAL Software: TAL-U-NO-LX
    VirSyn: Cube Synth Pro, Tera Pro
    Wizdom Music: GeoShred, Geo Synthesizer, SampleWiz
    Yonac: Magellan 2
    

    There's also a thread on the official Linnstrument support forum at KVR forums that has long kept track of new MPE synths, often with dicussions of how fully or how well MPE is supported, because often MPE support is incomplete or imperfect:

    https://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=532674&sid=9b31a25132b094ed78b97d149085d3d5&start=645

  • @hes said:
    I think this is an incomplete list of iOS MPE synths from Linnstrument documentation pages, which also lists desktop mpe synths ( https://www.rogerlinndesign.com/support/support-linnstrument-recommended-sounds ) :
    ```

    >

    Thanks for the list. That pointed to a few more. Maybe I should pickup Magellan since it’s on sale.

    The kvraudio forum link is useful, but bit of a needle in a haystack looking for iOS options it seems. The few pages I looked through seemed to be talking about desktop apps mostly, and they weren’t clear on actually identifying what platform they belonged till. Good if you’re deep in-the-know already I suppose.

  • Decent Sampler works well with GeoShred and has lots of free instruments some of which support MPE I believe.

  • @SixByNine said:
    The kvraudio forum link is useful, but bit of a needle in a haystack looking for iOS options it seems. The few pages I looked through seemed to be talking about desktop apps mostly, and they weren’t clear on actually identifying what platform they belonged till. Good if you’re deep in-the-know already I suppose.

    Yes, but do be wary of incomplete implementations. They need to implement per-note pitch bend, channel pressure (aftertouch), and CC74, when these are received on the same MIDI channel as a note. Some may handle pitch bend, but not the two expression parameters. Once you've selected a candidate synth, you should check discussions, both here and on kvr, to confirm its suitability.

  • @SixByNine said:

    @hes said:
    I think this is an incomplete list of iOS MPE synths from Linnstrument documentation pages, which also lists desktop mpe synths ( https://www.rogerlinndesign.com/support/support-linnstrument-recommended-sounds ) :
    ```

    >

    Thanks for the list. That pointed to a few more. Maybe I should pickup Magellan since it’s on sale.

    The kvraudio forum link is useful, but bit of a needle in a haystack looking for iOS options it seems. The few pages I looked through seemed to be talking about desktop apps mostly, and they weren’t clear on actually identifying what platform they belonged till. Good if you’re deep in-the-know already I suppose.

    In addition to Magellan, Yonac also has their newer Trooper synth, which has an excellent (IMO) MPE keyboard which can be loaded into a MIDI Slot as an Audio Unit MIDI Processor, and pointed at other synths. Trooper itself is an amazing sounding synth on its own btw, but doubles its usefulness in being able to control other synths.

    Moog’s “Animoog” MPE keyboard, which can be found in Animoog, Animoog Z, Model 15, and now their Mariana Bass Synth, is one of the best implementations of MPE on iOS and iPadOS.

    It’s also my opinion that GeoShred is one of the best MPE controlling solutions as others have mentioned.

  • @GeoTony said:
    Decent Sampler works well with GeoShred and has lots of free instruments some of which support MPE I believe.

    Thanks, will look into it.

    @uncledave said:
    Yes, but do be wary of incomplete implementations. They need to implement per-note pitch bend, channel pressure (aftertouch), and CC74, when these are received on the same MIDI channel as a note. Some may handle pitch bend, but not the two expression parameters. Once you've selected a candidate synth, you should check discussions, both here and on kvr, to confirm its suitability.

    I did wonder about that but didn’t know what exactly was required, thanks.

    @Edward_Alexander said:
    In addition to Magellan, Yonac also has their newer Trooper synth, which has an excellent (IMO) MPE keyboard which can be loaded into a MIDI Slot as an Audio Unit MIDI Processor, and pointed at other synths. Trooper itself is an amazing sounding synth on its own btw, but doubles its usefulness in being able to control other synths.

    Moog’s “Animoog” MPE keyboard, which can be found in Animoog, Animoog Z, Model 15, and now their Mariana Bass Synth, is one of the best implementations of MPE on iOS and iPadOS.

    It’s also my opinion that GeoShred is one of the best MPE controlling solutions as others have mentioned.

    I hadn’t heard of Trooper. I don’t recall ever seeing it mentioned. I’ll have a look.

    I pulled the trigger on GeoShred, core app at least. Still deciding how much I really want the instruments. It;s a battle between my head and my heart :)

    Thanks everyone for the feedback.

  • @SixByNine said:

    @McD said:
    The forum has a Wiki site too and it has a page of MPE capable synths. It’s in need of an update but there’s good info there:

    https://wiki.audiob.us/doku.php?id=mpe_instruments

    Thanks. I did look at that first, but given it is a bit outdated, I thought I’d ask for the current state of play.

    @Tentype said:
    Some solid choices for MPE are:

    • Anything made by Bleass
    • Synthmaster one and 2
    • DRC and FRMS by Imaginando
    • Any synths by 4 Pockets
    • Quanta and Continua
    • Salome
    • Spacecraft
    • Drambo for modular

    WaveCloud is my personal fav for granular mpe now. FRMS is very good but very CPU heavy.

    Also, I love Geoshred, use it ALL the time for all the SWAM stuff, but I find it quite fussy and a little unpredictable as a midi controller. Velocity Keyboard I think is the best currently, YMMV.

    Great overview, thanks. Velocity Keyboard is also on my shopping list, but given I am interested in at least some of the GeoSwam and Naada instruments, I thought it best to stay in the ecosystem. It’s annoying that the App Store doesn’t show all the iap prices before purchasing though, so I’m not sure exactly what total cost I may be up for. Sounds like WaveCloud may be a good start for me, as I already have a lot of other 4Pockets apps, so at least the UI will be familiar.

    Download the free version. The prices will be inside the app.

  • FWIW I returned Magellan because I couldn't get it configured properly with mpe. Seemed like it should, seemed like it had everything needed, but didn't work for me. I became wary of Trooper after that...

  • In my opinion Naada offers something great if you're specifically interested in middle eastern music. Otherwise the factory presets that come with Geoshred cover a small bit of middle eastern ground that I personally find enough since I have the Geoswam stuff. Geoswam is phenomenal. Highly worth it id say.

    I think the average person would do fine with either geoswam or naada, and save some pennies.

  • There is also the amazing ID-700 but be warned it’s not an easy beast ^^

  • @Tentype said:
    In my opinion Naada offers something great if you're specifically interested in middle eastern music. Otherwise the factory presets that come with Geoshred cover a small bit of middle eastern ground that I personally find enough since I have the Geoswam stuff. Geoswam is phenomenal. Highly worth it id say.

    I think the average person would do fine with either geoswam or naada, and save some pennies.

    I like options, and noticed that the GeoSWAM instruments have limitations with conventional controllers, whereas the Naada work with everything. I am more interested in classical orchestral instruments though. I see there are a few copies in the Naada instruments, but I assume they have different tunings/characteristics to the GeoSWAM versions, to emphasise the eastern sounds.

  • @SixByNine said:
    Hi all,

    I’m not a musician (yet?), just a dabbler and prefer composing to live playing.

    You’re a musician if you make music.

  • edited December 2023

    @SixByNine said:

    @Tentype said:
    In my opinion Naada offers something great if you're specifically interested in middle eastern music. Otherwise the factory presets that come with Geoshred cover a small bit of middle eastern ground that I personally find enough since I have the Geoswam stuff. Geoswam is phenomenal. Highly worth it id say.

    I think the average person would do fine with either geoswam or naada, and save some pennies.

    I like options, and noticed that the GeoSWAM instruments have limitations with conventional controllers, whereas the Naada work with everything. I am more interested in classical orchestral instruments though. I see there are a few copies in the Naada instruments, but I assume they have different tunings/characteristics to the GeoSWAM versions, to emphasise the eastern sounds.

    What are the limitations you're hearing of?

  • @Tentype said:

    @SixByNine said:
    I like options, and noticed that the GeoSWAM instruments have limitations with conventional controllers, whereas the Naada work with everything. I am more interested in classical orchestral instruments though. I see there are a few copies in the Naada instruments, but I assume they have different tunings/characteristics to the GeoSWAM versions, to emphasise the eastern sounds.

    What are the limitations you're hearing of?

    Direct from the App Store description for GeoShred

  • edited December 2023

    Well I can't speak for wind controllers, but you can use a regular non-mpe keyboard to play Geoswam instruments if you set the keyboard to send messages on anything other than channel 1.

    Nothing beats playing them with an expressive mpe controller, but it's also awesome to set them up with a regular sequencer that sends non mpe midi. Works no problem as long as you avoid channel 1.

  • Very subjective, but Animoog Z is really fun.

  • @Tentype said:
    Well I can't speak for wind controllers, but you can use a regular non-mpe keyboard to play Geoswam instruments if you set the keyboard to send messages on anything other than channel 1.

    Nothing beats playing them with an expressive mpe controller, but it's also awesome to set them up with a regular sequencer that sends non mpe midi. Works no problem as long as you avoid channel 1.

    Huh OK. So maybe they’re just implying the MPE controls won’t work with normal controllers, but I’d have thought that was obvious.

  • @trajectoire said:
    There is also the amazing ID-700 but be warned it’s not an easy beast ^^

    @trajectoire said:
    There is also the amazing ID-700 but be warned it’s not an easy beast ^^

    Easy? No. Amazing? YES. One of the best on iOS. I’d say it’s a top 5 synth for me.

  • Yes ! I would love to be able to enter values in text fields, additionally to the sliders. Pencil is of good help though

  • @SixByNine said:

    @Tentype said:
    Well I can't speak for wind controllers, but you can use a regular non-mpe keyboard to play Geoswam instruments if you set the keyboard to send messages on anything other than channel 1.

    Nothing beats playing them with an expressive mpe controller, but it's also awesome to set them up with a regular sequencer that sends non mpe midi. Works no problem as long as you avoid channel 1.

    Huh OK. So maybe they’re just implying the MPE controls won’t work with normal controllers, but I’d have thought that was obvious.

    Well, they don't advertise at all that it's possible to play the geoswam stuff with regular controllers for some reason, and they give you a big error message if you do on channel 1, but it does work on any other channel. Possibly there's a limitation I'm not running into. 🤷🏽‍♂️

  • @SixByNine said:

    Huh OK. So maybe they’re just implying the MPE controls won’t work with normal controllers, but I’d have thought that was obvious.

    I believe that’s not it. I think Audio Modeling intended this so as to not compete with itself. I think the limitation is to make GeoSwam convenient for use in GeoShred but not as a SWAM replacement.

  • Not 100% sure what the problem is with playing the GS sounds with a ‘regular’ controller @Tentype and @espiegel123 .
    As long as you use channel 2 or greater for the GeoSWAM instruments you still have a very expressive instrument.
    I’ ve just tried GeoTenorsax with the AUM keyboard and the Model D keyboard (I don’t have a non MPE hardware controller) and all the things you would expect are there e.g. tremolo, growl, flutter etc

  • @GeoTony said:
    Not 100% sure what the problem is with playing the GS sounds with a ‘regular’ controller @Tentype and @espiegel123 .
    As long as you use channel 2 or greater for the GeoSWAM instruments you still have a very expressive instrument.
    I’ ve just tried GeoTenorsax with the AUM keyboard and the Model D keyboard (I don’t have a non MPE hardware controller) and all the things you would expect are there e.g. tremolo, growl, flutter etc

    As long as one does that , it is fine. I was explaining why that limitation exists.

  • Okdoky 👍

  • @espiegel123 said:
    I believe that’s not it. I think Audio Modeling intended this so as to not compete with itself. I think the limitation is to make GeoSwam convenient for use in GeoShred but not as a SWAM replacement.

    I think you’re right, as I watched an interview yesterday where they said it was because of their agreements with Audio Modelling.

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