"The visual interface will draw people in initially, but the wildly diverse sounds you can tease from Photophore will undoubtedly keep you coming back for more." FACT Magazine — The Ten Best Synths for iPad | factmag.com
Photophore is a unique instrument that uses flocks of up to 100 sound generators to create rich, organic synthesizer sounds. By controlling the behavior of the flocks you can make Photophore sound like a choir of synthesizers or a swarm of angry insects.
Unlike other digital synthesizers, Photophore creates warmth and character in a completely new way. Instead of modeling analog circuits, it models animal behavior. Photophore’s sound engine is made up of flocks of oscillators that move through a virtual three-dimensional environment. Their motion is controlled by a special behavioral algorithm and physics simulation that keeps the oscillators in tune with each other, but allows for a certain amount of natural drifting and detuning. This creates rich timbres that are perfect for crafting massive bass sounds, complex pads and searing leads.
You can interact with the oscillator flocks by controlling their behavior – how much they try to flock together, how much they avoid each other, their speed, and how much turbulence is in their environment. Oscillators will flee from your touch, so you can create extreme pitch modulation and more chaotic effects by swiping across the screen.
• Unique flock synthesis engine
• Up to 100 oscillators per patch
• Polyphonic operation (up to 6 voices)
• Monophonic mode with glide and legato
• 12 oscillator waveforms (saw, square, pulse, sine and more)
• Low pass/High pass filter with resonance
• Dedicated amplitude and filter envelopes
• Stereo echo effect
• Connect any iPad-compatible MIDI keyboard to play notes and perform pitch bends
• Use a MIDI controller's modulation wheel to control the flock
• AudioBus and Inter-App Audio support for streaming audio to other apps
• Control Photophore from other apps via CoreMIDI
• iOS7 or later required
• iPad 2 or later required
What Reviewers say:
"The sounds in Photophore are big. There is a surprising range, as well. My first impression was that it was going to be very ambient-based, but you can get gritty and dirty here as well. From the beautifully minimal look to the impressive sounds, Photophore is a winner." - iOS Mars | iosmars.com
"There is a lot to like about Photophore. The synth engine is clearly ‘different’ from anything else out there but it is presented in away that is both accessible and visually appealing. In terms of both features and sound, Photophore punches well above its price point." - Music App Blog | musicappblog.com
Happy Spring everyone! This update includes bug fixes, a big performance improvement and new features including the single most requested feature: more waveshapes! If you're happy with the update, please rate Photophore. Good ratings make a difference, and will help us to keep improving this instrument. Thank you so much for your support!
- Performance improvements -- up to 15% reduction in CPU usage!!
- 6 new waveshapes! We’ve doubled the waveshape options, giving you a wide variety of new timbres. Enjoy!
- Glide: smoothly glide between notes when in monophonic mode!
- 12 new presets showcasing the six new wave shapes.
- Added glide to two existing presets: Killer Reese and Mr Legato.
- Fixed bug where Photophore would go to sleep while Inter App Audio was connected, causing it to disappear in the IAA host.
Ratings and Reviews
innovative digital warmth
Photophore introduces a unique approach to digital synthesis that is able to produce a wide variety of very impressive sounds, and I am excited to see what an update will bring. I hear there is one on the way.
Right now the synthesis model is simply very cool, and I have no criticism at all for the basic idea here. What would make this a five-star synth for iOS, besides the obvious (I hope) addition of a multi-octave keyboard that is visible against the dark interface: more time-domain variable controls.
I realize standard LFO's might break the concept of moving away from analog modeling, but surely there are ways to utilize auxiliary flocking algorithms to control the main flocking algorithms producing the sound so that they evolve in complex ways.
Or something. :) This is a creatively implemented synth; I suspect the devs could come up with something equally creative to nudge Photophore along its very promising potential career as a powerful sound design tool.
I highly recommend buying this now to help pay for the next version. There is enough here already to make it worth its very reasonable price.
This is still one of my favorite iPad synths. It could use an update though. I'd love to see a Midi Learn function, for example. You can set the mod wheel to control one parameter at a time, but for those of us with midi keyboards that have lots of knobs and faders, it would be great to be able to control everything at once.
Also, can the arpeggiator sync to external time clocks? I haven't figured out how to do it. At any rate, it's a good sounding synth. Very unique. And I love the little animations on the screen.
Innovative and well executed… thanks for the update!
This version has new waveforms and glide! Sweet!
It’s great to see that it is still possible to do something new when it comes to iOS synths, of which there are now many. This app creates lovely lush timbres with beautiful organic motion to them, while providing a hypnotic visual experience. Controls are easy to access and thoughtfully laid out, and the whole app is easy on the eyes. It’s a unique and useful addition to your sonic arsenal, so be sure to check it out.
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.