Menace Synth is aptly named. This experimental iOS synth starts off sounding cranky, and rapidly goes downhill from there. Let’s check it out.
Menace Synth review
Once you get past the eye-burning yellow background, Menace is possibly the most minimal synth app ever created. Just look at it:
To play it, you just touch and scrub your fingers around the dark-yellow pad at the bottom. Pitch rises from left to right, and moving your finger up and down changes the timbre and shape of the sound. You can also adjust the Cutoff and Resonance sliders as you play.
Tap the little menu icon, and you get more options:
Tweaking sounds with Menace Synth
Here you can switch to a more conventional keyboard, with segmented pitches, as well as changing the wave type used to create sounds (sawtooth or square wave). You can also tweak the attack and release envelopes, and the kind of filter applied — Classic or Gnarly.
These last two are sometimes very similar and sometimes very different, depending on the other settings you choose. Mostly, though, Gnarly seems to me to be a bit less trebly, and a bit more muffled. At other times, it’s a lot harsher than Classic. If you buy the app, try playing with these filters and the Cutoff control together. They’re highly interactive.
Finally, Max Chaos sets the limit for Menace’s nastiness.
This is a real touch instrument. You can theoretically hook it up to an external MIDI device (I couldn’t get it to work, but neither did I try very hard). However, it is designed to be touched.
You’re not going to be writing a cheesy power balled on this thing, but it’s a fantastic way to generate some noise. I tried running it through Audio Damage’s Replicant 2 filter, and got the beginnings of a techno classic to be enjoyed by bumblebees.
Download: Menace Synth from the App Store (iOS)
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