Geo Synthesizer Turns the iPad Into MIDI Controller

For digital musicians, Geo Synthesizer may very well be the best kept secret on the iPad. The virtual instrument includes a number of great-sounding samples, so you'll be able to make music right away without hooking it into your favorite VST, but what really makes the Geo Synthesizer remarkable is the playing service. Laid out in a grid with a string motif, the musicians can slide up and down from note to note and apply vibrato by quickly moving back and forth as if playing on an actual guitar string.

Geo Synthesizer Features:

  • Unique playing service
  • 40 preset samples
  • Ability to load waveforms from SampleWiz
  • Legato modes with single note and single string as well as polyphonic mode
  • On screen "whammy" bar
  • MIDI output

Geo Synthesizer Review:

The layout of the Geo Synthesizer is quite similar to the Linnstrument, a new MIDI controller designed by the legendary Roger Linn. They are both use the same string motif along a grid of buttons that arranged in fifths, similar to the layout of a guitar, and they both allow you to slide your finger up and down the 'string' to control the pitch bend. This makes it an instrument that is easy to pick up and play for both keyboardists and guitarists.

The samples included with Geo Synthesizer are enough to get you started, and a recent update allows Geo Synthesizer to use presets from SampleWiz. And this is great for making music while on the go, but one of the best features of Geo Synthesizer is the ability to transmit MIDI out and control your music workstation or favorite VST.

Geo Synthesizer has the ability to transmit across multiple MIDI channels. And if you sync the pitch bend range of the Geo Synthesizer with your software, you can elicit the same control out of your own sounds as you can get from the app's samples. This will make it a great addition to a music studio.

Another great feature is the ability to manipulate the playing surface. You can both increase the number of rows and the width of the buttons, which makes it easy going from two to three to four octaves. The app also includes built-in reverb and extras such as an on-screen whammy bar.

The one big failing of the Geo Synthesizer is the inability to detect velocity. Obviously, this is a constraint of using the iPad as the playing surface, but for those trying to coax a delicate sound out of the instrument, this might be difficult to overcome. However, for velocity-neutral uses, the Geo Synthesizer can make a superb playing surface.

You can download Geo Synthesizer from the App Store. It is currently selling for $9.99, which may be expensive in terms of apps, but is quite inexpensive in terms of MIDI controllers.