Korg iApps are amongst the most used music making apps on my iPad. Certainly, iPolysix is no exception. Since it’s release in late November of this year there’s been quite a buzz about its arrival. Rightfully so, with its faithful recreation of the classic Polysix analog synth perfectly compacted to fit into your ipad.
[pullquote]The iPolysix app provides not one but two 6-voice Polysix synths…[/pullquote]The iPolysix app provides not one but two 6-voice Polysix synths, a six-part drum machine, a mixer and a gang of effects. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, Korg has managed to neatly fold the “Polyseq”, a polyphonic step sequencer, into iPolysix. The 64-step sequencer borrows a few fancy tricks from another classic analog piece, the SQ-10 analog sequencer. Korg also included Dual Kaoss Pads with chordal support.
Not one to be left out of the trending iOS app design features race, Korg made sure to integrate their social network inspired community that they’ve cleverly entitled “PolyStage”. PolyStage allows iPolysix users to publish, share, and remix songs using their own Soundcloud accounts. If for nothing else this is a great feature for studying how other producers have set up their sessions. Want to sharpen your iPolysix chops? Why not click the remix button on those other guys shared song and study up a bit?
Korg’s iPolysix is instantly nostalgic with it’s familiar sound. I absolutely love having such classic sounds readily available to use in my studio rig without having to sell off my gear to join the jungle of vintage synth rip offs via craigslist and ebay (But that’s a different article all together). Throwing the ipad with iPolysix into the mix is a cinch and the inspiration that it brings to my beat making process is refreshing and evocative of the 80’s simultaneously. Without even diving into any of the Polyseq step sequencing, I had a blast sequencing the iPolysix synth with my MPC. The classic sound of the synth is brilliant, especially when combined with a bit of good ole boom-bap. Re-sampling and sometimes tracking directly into my DAW allowed me to work the iPolysix seamlessly into my usual workflow.
In use, the iOS app itself is a blast. The Polyseq step sequencer’s robust 32-pattern trickery allows you to play sequences backward and forward. It will even allow you to play back random steps or only the odd-numbered or even-numbered steps.
Opening the pattern window with a quick tap allows you to string together sequences rather easily. Click copy, select the source pattern, and then click the destination pattern slot to duplicate the chosen pattern. From there, feel free to go back to the step sequencer to change up the sequence or throw a switch to play random steps for a dope turn around and jump back into the main sequence with a tap of the pattern slot. From there you can go into song mode by tapping the song/pattern toggle. Then you can string together patterns and play as a song.
Changing the synth parts is pretty easy as well. A few taps will land you into either synth 1 or 2 where you can easily load a new patch or edit the currently loaded patch until your heart is content. Or create a totally new patch and save it to the users directory. The filter is smooth, the effects are plentiful, and the arpeggiator can be engaged with a mere tap of a switch. I have to say the effects included here are far from the basic give away effects that one might expect from an iOS app. The Polysix Chorus and the Polysix Ensemble are particularly nice.
The Korg Drums-6, the included six-voice drum synth, makes it just as easy to edit drum sounds. Audition the six sounds with the six pads at the bottom of the screen or tap one of the corresponding drum part buttons, which will open the knobby front panel for editing. Each of the six drum sounds can be edited using the same front panel of the Polysix synth. This means that each can be tweaked to hell. Conversely, you have the full arsenal of effects to use on each of the individual drums sounds.
The mixer, or Korg Mixer-8, allows decent control over each of the 8 parts (2 synths parts and 6 drums parts) along with the master effect and master volume. Each of the 8 parts are assigned to channels with solo and mute buttons accompanied by knobs for gain, effect mix (master effects mix) and pan. The VU meters are a nice touch too. I would prefer EQ on each channel but I don’t see myself sworn off of the iPolysix for that reason any time soon.
Overall, Korg’s iPolysix is a gem. The slick interface with its vintage analog look and feel is as inspiring as its sound. Korg markets the iPolysix as the “polyphonic synth studio for the iPad mini & iPad”. I have to agree that iPolysix is much more than a mere iOS synth. Now with the latest update (you have to love updates within a month of it’s debut) iPolysix includes Background Audio support, Audiobus and iCloud backup. Although, $30 is a bit steep for an iOS synth app, I feel pretty confident in saying that iPolysix is one of the best sounding apps out there. Not to mention, iOS synths in this price range are usually among the champions in the App store and Korg’s iPolysix is no exception. The sound alone is worth the $30 but the ability to tweak sounds with the knobby front panel of the original Polysix is priceless. Don’t sleep on this one.
Take a look at the demo vid from Korg…
Here is another video that demonstrates iPolysix’s capabilities really well
- Classic sound reminiscent of the 80’s
- Lush effects
- Slick-trick sequencer features (odd, even, reverse, random)
- Create and Save your own patches
- Feature rich synth with loads of options
- Mixer lacks EQ per track
For more about iPolysix’s specs and features check out Korg’s website.