Fingerlab and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) embark on a sequenced wavetable journey in their new PolyWave Synthesizer for iOS and macOS.
The French developers at Fingerlab have made one of the milestones apps in mobile music-making with iOS devices with the DM1 drum machine. That in 2011, so 10 years ago. It was one of the first professional music apps besides Animoog, for example, who convinced with great sound quality and user interface. Later on, other solid apps came from the developer team.
For a year now, Fingerlab has been big again in the iOS world company. Mainly because of their recent unique Synthesizer releases. Flynth and Mynth are two refreshing synth apps with very appealing user interfaces, unique feature sets, and deep sound capabilities. Definitely app highlights of this and last year.
Jordan Rudess, keyboardist of Dream Theater and iOS music app supporter from the first minute, has teamed up with FingerLab for PolyWave, another fabulous Synthesizer app.
PolyWave by Fingerlab & Jordan Rudess
Polywave consistently continues the lovely, almost cute interface language of the last FingerLab synthesizers. At its core, however, is a new 8-voice engine that will ensure long sound design fun. It employs a novel wavetable sequencer oscillator section that is inspired by the sonic character of the legendary Korg Wavestation synth.
This section consists of variable waveforms slots. A sound can have two, three, more slots depending on your patch. Each of these has a waveform that can be selected from a factory library (100) or with your own creation. With the latter, it gets deep and fun. You can draw with your finger or mouse distinct waveforms in the slots and give the synth your own personality. Endless shaping fun with instant sonic feedback of your waveform.
The highlight is here not the waveform editor. Mynth also has one as a reminder. In Polywave, these waveforms slots can be sequenced, similar to what we know from the Korg Wavestation. In different directions, faster or slower. With the difference of the wavetables instead of PCM samples.
The oscillator also has controls for the octave (6), pitch, as well a full FM part with vol, modulation, and detune. From smooth sequencing with very harmonic-rich timbres as a result to completely wild, unpredictable sounds, Polywave will keep you busy for a long time.
On the filter side, FingerLab stays very classic. A ladder filter is used, which is probably modeled after Bob Moog’s circuit design with cutoff and resonance controls.
Modulation & Effects
Then, two ADSR envelopes (amp, filter), as well as two LFOs with three destinations each, rate and depth control, are available as modulators. Your drawing skills are also in demand for the LFO waveforms. As in the oscillators, you can draw the waveforms in any direction you want. Simple sine wave, or super complex, your choice. An LFO shape paradise where you can make very different modulations possible.
Plus, it has sync as well as loop options. Not enough modulation? Okay, there is also step automation onboard giving your patches yet another layer of movement.
In the next step, you can refine your sounds with multiple effects. This, however, requires the purchase of the fairly priced in-app purchase for $7.99. It unlocks the complete engine including five effects processors (tube amp, vibrato, chorus, delay, and reverb), preset saving with import/export, and a live recorder. And you get 100 factory presets to explore where the free version only has 12.
The usual suspects are there too: full MIDI support with CC compatibility, iCloud family sharing, AUv3 version…
Polywave looks like a very fun and wild Synthesizer. Custom waveforms for Osc and LFO, sequencing and automation, that sound like a hell of a lot of possibilities. Mynth is already a very freakish synth, I think PW surpasses it by a lot. Congrats FingerLab and Jordan Rudess for this iOS release.
FingerLab Polywave is available now as a free download from the Apple AppStore. You can unlock the entire engine for $7.99 USD as an in-app purchase. It runs as a standalone app and AUv3 on iPhone, iPad, and macOS 10.15. At the time of the article release, the app is still on pre-order but will be released during the day.
More information here: FingerLab