AMITIAE - Saturday 17 December 2011

Moog Sythesizer for the iPad: Animoog

apple and chopsticks


This item first appeared on my AMITIAE site on 21 October 2011. As that site is now non-operational, I am making some of the more interesting or useful articles available on eXtensions. The text has been amended and includes information on an update to Animoog.

In the late 60s and early 70s there was a rush of electronic music and the Moog synthesizer was the de facto leader at that time. It was used on so many recordings made around that period -- sometimes over-used -- that it became synonymous with the electronic music that appeared a bit later, particularly Switched on Bach by Wendy Carlos and recordings by Kraftwerk, the German band who had a hit with Autobahn.

I have been playing with a Moog synthesizer on my iPad all day: Animoog. I am no musician, but the ease with which I can form melodies and create some amazing sounds has me hooked. So far I have only scratched the surface but it is a well-equipped music app that was available initially (for 30 days) at the stunning price of $0.99. It is now shown at the normal price of $29.99. We do note also that there are a number of Korg products for the iPad.


The specifications listed on the iTunes page are somewhat impressive as the app uses Moog's new ASE synthesizer engine designed specifically for the iPad and as I found has a vast array of options that allowed me to come up with a wide variety of sounds. It could help of course if I knew what I was doing; but it does not seem to matter that much that I don't. There is also information on the Moog site.

The interface looks like an Oscilloscope to me and has a number of menus from which to select input types: X/Y Pad KB Scale, ENV/MOD and Timbres. There is also a Setup menu that allows saving or presets and the configuration. To the left are a selection of virtual dials to change output and to record the loop for overdubbing. At the bottom of the screen (used in landscape only) are a selection of tuning forks, that might be considered equivalent to keys on a piano.

With my relative inexperience -- I am just playing with this at the moment -- my main problem is output. I am able to save 23 second WAV recordings to the Clipboard and a couple of these have been transferred to the Mac via iTunes file sharing. I was also able to import a saved WAV file to GarageBand on the iPad through a less than intuitive process that had me making a blank recording then pasting clipboard contents to that. The nature of the clipboard means there is only one file at a time.

What it needs is a MIDI connection linking the iPad to the Mac. I will be looking for something suitable over the weekend.


Animoog has now been updated to version 1.0.1 with background audio support. Other new functionality according to information on the iTunes App Store includes:

  • Record module now has a 4 beat count-in with optional beep;
  • New Random Setup page (the developer warns this is "dangerously addictive");
  • Timbres page: Preview button allows Timbres-selection silently, or select and preview audibly;
  • Multi-mode knobs now easier to adjust; and
  • Network MIDI session enabled by default.

The developer also reports that the following bugs are fixed:

  • Memory leak on switched pages was causing crashes;
  • MIDI clock Sync now smoother;
  • MIDI note to KB display mapping os now correct; and
  • Handles MIDI NoteOn w /velocity 0 as a NoteOff.



Made on Mac

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