Jasuto envelope example from Jasuto on Vimeo.

Imagine friendly creation of custom synths and sounds by dragging visual nodes. Now imagine you can do that on a mobile device and your computer – and eventually combine the two. That’s the vision of Jasuto, and while it’s not quite there yet, it’s incredibly promising.

The laws of combinatorics predict that, on a regular basis, you’ll see countless soft synths that are slight variations of one another. With the iPhone/iPod touch gold rush in full swing, we’re starting to see the pattern repeat itself, just as it did in Windows and Mac plug-ins. Some are brilliant; others are just the usual variations on a theme.

Of course, even better is the ability to build exactly what you want out of the same buildings blocks. Powerful toolkits like Max/MSP, Pd, Reaktor, SuperCollider, SynthMaker and the like let you do this, but they qualify as the more-sophisticated Erector Set of synthesis. Sometimes you just want some simple, LEGO-style building blocks that cover the basics.

That’s why Jasuto looks so promising. It’s actually two pieces of software – a plug-in for Mac and Windows VST. Combine basic modules, and you get some powerful features, even on the iPhone:

  • Multiple synthesis methods: additive, subtractive, FM/PM/AM, hard-sync synthesis
  • Basic math functions: add/subtract/delta/constant values
  • Filters: LP, HP, BP, and a Moog emulation
  • Signal tools: envelopes, dynamics processors, and an envelope follower
  • Effects: Delay, reverb, saturation, digital distortion
  • iPhone hardware features: Accelerator and mic access (and of course mic access on your computer, too)
  • 16-step sequencer with looping, pattern manipulation
  • Performance options: a tappable keyboard, glide functions, and so on

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That’s just the specs, though. To me, the most interesting thing is the zoomable, nodal design, reminiscent of the reactable. There’s also the ability to record “motion” anywhere in the app, and to modulate everything with everything else. And I especially like the idea that “patches” and “synths” are one and the same: just as on an early modular, creating a new “patch” really is about connecting modules into something unique.

I can’t imagine it being the last computer instrument you need, but if successful, it could well be the last iPhone synth you need. I like the idea of

It’s under “heavy development,” so expect some bugs. The software can be yours for all of US$1.00 on iPhone. The PC/Mac VST looks a little rougher, but it’s available for free download.

Jasuto Site

VST Plug-in

iTunes Link

Thanks to sublamp for turning us on to this via comments.

  • eisnein

    grabbed that!!!

  • http://moljen.com Martin

    This looks great, playable yet powerful. Needs 2.2.1 os though

  • http://www.myspace.com/liliththekitten lilith

    looks sweet!

  • ArmandoC

    holy crap I can't put it down

  • http://celibacyclub.com celibacyclub

    its fun.. seems just a little buggy (maybe its just my 1st gen ipod touch being slow) but what potential! it kinda reminds me of synth pond, but with much much much more going on.

    and its a dollar.. what a fing good deal. wow.

    that other synth peter bloged, isyn.. what a piece of crap. sure its an ok synth, and has a piano roll, but the ui is so uninspired and doesnt add anything to the experience with touch… bebot, a seemingly toylike app, kicks its ass as it uses touch in a useful way, and is fun to use, and half the price.

  • http://the-palm-sound.blogspot.com/ Palm Sounds

    I've only had a brief play with it, but it is a really interesting application.

  • http://www.darylfritz.com Daryl

    This is super fun to play with. Can it intetrate with my desktop studio? Something combining it with OSC would be amazing.

  • vinayk

    I remember the original version of this "mode" – very excited that it's back in VST mode

    (i didn't get an ipod touch unfortuneately… not sure why now… i shouldve paid the extra 100 over the NANO) – oh well!

  • Waffle

    Yeah.. only a dollar! Pick this up for sure!

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  • Machines

    Been playing with this since the comment on the iSyn piece from a day or two ago. Absolutely loving it. Getting a handle on this makes me think that at some point I'll know what the hell I'm doing with Reaktor.

    What these apps (iSyn, Jasuto, Beatmaker, etc) do however is make me question my lust for touch screen interfaces. There are times with all of these programs that I've cursed the touch screen control (or lack thereof) because it still just isn't as precise as it needs to be. I don't have fat fingers, either. I've gone from not being able to wait for the touchscreen Mac back to craving a Wacom Cintiq to enhance my experience rather than replace everything.

  • http://myspace.com/luchumusic magicfromspace

    this thing is wonderful! using the vst. seems like many have troubles but mine works like a charm thus far. almost enjoy not having midi support/being entirely self-sufficient. fun fun fun. snag it.

  • http://youshootiscore.com Ned Bouhalassa

    Great fun. I wonder if there will a community of Jasuto users so we can share our discoveries, ideas? There doesn't seem to be a Forum on the official website, AFAIK.

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  • http://synthsale.com Rob

    As a synth lover, this is a really fun application. Wow. You can do so much with an iPhone. Just great software.

  • http://synthsale.com/alesis-synth/andromeda Rob

    Now that I am an iPhone owner and an appreciator of Synths, I can't wait to use this application. Thanks for the tip!