I remember seeing my first guitar synthesizer vividly – it was the late 70’s in Junior High and the instrument was a fragile and finicky Arp Avatar that allowed a special pickup on a standard guitar to play through the synth. Later I had the chance to actually play with an early Roland GR-300 that Pat Metheny famously used on his Offramp album.
Of course, now that the iPad houses full-on studios more powerful than those recording most pop music in the 80’s, it makes sense we now have a guitar synth app! Let’s take a quick look!
*****Special Introductory Price! 60% off (until January 14, 2012)!*****
Say hello to SHREDDER: the first professional iOS synthesizer designed for guitar! Raspy synth swells? Gotcha covered. Bass-doubled riffs? Yup. Strings ‘n Things for beefing up the mix? Ditto. No special synth pickup needed.
SHREDDER is a synthesizer controlled by your guitar. Pop it on, plug in your guitar, hit the “Guitar Synth” button and start jamming. SHREDDER comes with a true analog synth engine including dual oscillators, 3 types of filter, a dedicated FM envelope as well as other goodies like dual LFOs, a virtual pedalboard and more. Chose among 100+ built-in presets, or create and save endless ones of your own.
SHREDDER comes with a dedicated guitar mix fader to mix in your guitar, and has attack and decay sensitivity faders to allow you to customize guitar tracking to your playing and input interface, whether its a USB in, a guitar adapter or the plain built-in mic. Headphones are required with use of the built in-mic, and we always recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions for your audio interface to prevent feedback or a noisy signal.
But SHREDDER doesn’t just toot its own horn: It’s also a MIDI interface. Browse and select virtual MIDI compatible apps or MIDI Compatible devices inside the app, and select which one’s you’d like to control. Hit “MIDI OUT” when ready, and start driving any of your favorite apps/synths/drum machines/etc via SHREDDER. And, yes…you can drive all of the 16 MIDI channels at the same time.
— Guitar Controlled Analog Modeling Synth / MIDI Interface
— 44.1k, 16-bit CD quality audio
— No synth pickup needed: works via guitar adapter or mic (best in quiet settings w/ amplified electric or regular acoustic guitar, if using mic)
— FM/Subtractive fully programmable hybrid synth engine w/ dedicated FM envelope
— Dual individually configurable LFOs with 7 waveforms each
— 3-Pass custom resonant filter
— Dedicated filter, amp and FM ADSR envelopes
— Built in oscilloscope
— 16 channel virtual MIDI out
— MIDI in for playing w/ external controller
— Configurable MIDI CC map
— Glide & Noise
— Ring Modulation
— Virtual Pedalboard
— Audio Recording & Sharing (Audio Paste, WiFi, or Email)
— 100+ awesome presets
— Save any number of your own synth presets
— On-screen keyboard
— Built-in tuner
Shredder works using a standard pitch-to-voltage conversion engine, so it has a slight (millisecond) delay while it determines the note. I found it quite good at detecting what note I was playing, with occasional octave errors (in other words I might be going up and pitch and Shredder would drop down in pitch).
The sound engine is varied and flexible – it features two oscillators, with the normal complement of controls you would have found on an analog synthesizer 30 years ago, along with filters and effects.
You can mix the guitar and synth inputs, alter overall volume, add effects, tune the guitar, change just about everything – and then save it. Shredder has a number of effects, and the implementation of MIDI and controllers is excellent.
My biggest complaint is with the way it would occasionally not stop playing when I had finished, give ‘ghost triggers’, and sometimes miss entire phrases. This has been the biggest issue with guitar synth technology since … forever, so I just hope that they stick with it and make improvements!
Otherwise Shredder is a solid app that is a blast to play around with if you are looking to add a guitar synth sound to your arsenal. I haven’t come up with a good GR-300 sound yet … but I know it is in there!
Here is my video review:
Review: Shredder Guitar Synthesizer for iPad
Where to Buy: iTunes App Store
Price: $5.99 (until January 14th, 2012 when it returns to $9.99)
What I Like: Great sound; loads of tools; intuitive interface; great MINI and controller implementation.
What Needs Improvement: Tracking errors – sometimes misses notes, sometimes adds extras, sometimes mis-reads the octave
Source: Personal purchase