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Addictive Synth - Perfect Name, Amazing Sounds

Addictive Synth

"Addiction: a physiological and psychological compulsion for a habit-forming substance. In extreme cases, an addiction may become an overwhelming obsession."

That perfectly describes how we feel about Addictive Synth from VirSyn.

For substance read the literally amazing array of sounds that Addictive Synth can generate and the obsession comes from knowing that despite hours spent with the app, we have only just scratched the surface of what it can do.

We love playing with this app so much that it has taken us a lot longer than it should have to post about it. Why? Because every time we sit down to write the review we start playing with Addictive Synth and that's it, the review is forgotten about and the evening has gone.

Before we go on, take a look at the video below from VirSyn for a taste of what Addictive Synth can do:


Watching that video you were probably as surprised as us at how much this little app can do. It sounds fantastic to our 80s-tuned ears and features some very strong customisation options.

We were absolutely blown away by the sheer range of sounds that Addictive Synth is capable of producing. Many sounds defy definition and they can be so minutely tuned away from the standard sounds that any synth/electronic type sound is probably achievable.


Digging into the Presets, one minute we were tantalisingly close to getting that Knight Rider sound (Dip Down Preset 1/16 Arp) the next we were sending the cats running out of the room with the strangest sounds they may ever have heard from the iPad (Resozz with Chase Arp) then calming things down with much nicer sounds (like the haunting Ethereal Preset).

When you find that perfect sound you can save it as a Preset for use again. Addictive Synth comes with 128 Presets giving you a good range of starting points but there are 192 slots altogether for you to use.

Editing Sounds

All of this is, of course, just the beginning. You can further shape the sound using a wide range of tools that include the following:

  • Six dynamic wavetable oscillators per voice, up to 48 total.
  • Continous morphing between two oscillator sets.
  • Realtime editing of up to 128 partials (overtones).
  • Realtime editing of filter structure to create arbitrary body resonances.
  • Extensive modulation possibilities using up to 4 LFOs and 4 Envelopes.
  • Control matrix allows real time control of five parameters using the X/Y touch pad, the modulation wheel and the tilt sensors of the iPad.
  • Monophonic or polyphonic with 8 voices.
  • 128 factory presets, unlimited user presets can be shared.
  • Up to three effects concurrently usable selected from: equalizer, phaser, flanger, chorus and stereo/cross delay

Really, you need to get this app and play with it to see and hear for yourself what the app can do, especially when editing the Waves or Filters simply by drawing the waveform with your finger across the screen it is very Addictive, we have to say.

If you want to get the best from the app you would benefit from downloading the PDF manual or viewing it online (via Google Docs - Google account needed).


Addictive Synth's Arp mode really impressed us with its versatility and depth. As you can see from the screenshot below you can customise the Arp with up to 32 steps, you can program the Tie, Accent, Note transposition and also randomise any of these parameters using the 'randomizer' or dice icon.

This is a brilliant feature we liked a lot. The 'randomizer' is described as intelligent and gives useable results at almost every throw of the dice.


Of course, Addictive Synth is CoreMIDI compliant and we were able to play the app with our MIDI connected keyboard via the iRig MIDI (more on that very soon) without any problems. A little bit of fiddling in the parameters on the Control screen can reap some great benefits when combining effects on the Modulation wheel too.



We had a few crashes with Addictive Synth, which is always a bit of a concern with a performance app, but we think making sure there are no other background apps running and perhaps even a restart before a recording session would minimise or preclude these crashes completely.

We did find the Record function a bit flaky, we usually had to give it a couple of goes to get it working and this was usually when the app crashed in our experience. If you follow the tips above though it will help.

You can record any loop or sequence you play and using ACP export it to GarageBand or one of the other compatible apps, but Addictive Synth also records it as a MIDI and Audio file for sharing via iTunes, so you have a good range of options for capturing your sonic creations.


We have to say that Addictive Synth has now become our go-to synth app for it's versatility of sound and relatively easy accessibility. If you want to, you can geek out in the Control Screen and get specific with the detailed shaping of your sound based on an existing preset.

If you have even a vague interest in creating digital music we think you will really like Addictive Synth, it truly lives up to its name - we can't put it down!

If you've already tried Addictive Synth we would love to hear what you think, or even hear what you have created with the app, comments and links are welcome below.

Addictive Synth is available on the App Store for $9.99 (£6.99)

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Reader Comments (2)

How does the battery perform when using apps like this or GarageBand?
Could one expect what 3, 4 hours?

October 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNewbie

Newbie - as we mentioned in your other comment, battery life is always a bit hit and miss depending on everything else that is happening (WiFi, Bluetooth, other apps, screen brightness, location services, etc.) but with these heavy-CPU load apps you should still be able to get 3-4 hours optimally. Having said that, we tend to record with GarageBand whilst charging just to be sure.

October 12, 2011 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

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