What good is a sound app on a phone or iPod, really? Just ask a Filtatron user.

As with plug-ins and desktop software doodads, I find out of the sea of apps on iOS, a tiny handful are genuinely useful. But those select few can prove indispensable. I would count the Moog Filtatron in that category. Sure, in case there was any doubt, the app contains a subtle link to the Moog hardware catalog, an effort to upsell you to the company’s sound gear. And sure, owners of said gear might turn up their nose at the idea of something with the Moog logo on an iPhone.

But make no mistake: this is a darned useful tool, and a must-download if you have an iPod touch or iPhone. The surprise is, it may appeal most to lovers of other gear. Connect a mobile synth or noisemaker to your handheld, and you have a pocket-ready effects and recording unit. You can add simulated amp overdrive warmth, pop a handy delay on any audio out, and make quick samples on the go. You can plug into a mixer and have sound in a live performance set ready to go should other gear fail or crash. Any notion that mobile software will replace hardware dissolves in an instant. With the Filtatron app in your pocket, every audio jack and strange noise source begins to look like a chance for creative music making. It makes you seek out more gear, not less.

I can say this with more confidence now, as well, having been using the Filtatron for the past weeks. Something about its simplicity, its warm sound, the attention to finger-sized design, and its combination of features makes it ideal. I’ve used it to sample and transform various gear around the house and on the road, and played once with it live as external effect.

Version 1.1 is here, the first update for the Filtatron, and it adds useful improvements:

  • You can import sounds to the Sampler, and record and play back samples of any length.
  • The VCO pad now allows chromatic scales.
  • You can choose to route audio to a speaker, earpiece, or even wireless audio via Bluetooth.
  • A settings panel lets you tweak sample rate, audio latency, and control response.

I had no problem making the Filtatron work on my second-generation iPod touch – no minor feat, as that generation of device has a slower processor and often performs poorly with this sort of app. One thing I haven’t been able to test in 1.1 yet (aside from the Bluetooth stuff): I did have issues with the previous version making FTP sync work with longer recordings. I’ll let you know if that appears to be fixed. I was unable to entirely verify the issue even in the previous version.

But I think the Filtatron really is an ideal example of what a mobile music app can be. I’d love it even if it said Brogue on it.

moogmusic.com

See our original (and exclusive) first look from when this came out in October

  • http://dave.com dave

    It's 'Turn Up Their Nose'. As in be snotty nosed or posh about something. Looking down on something. Hope this is of help.

  • http://lukestark.com Luke Stark

    "turn up their _ knows_" <– ? Spellcheck clobber or trendy juxtaposition?

  • http://Gobblebox.tumbler.com Gobblebox

    I was hoping you wouldn't reinforce once again this Blissful incarnation – but who am I kidding – As if I'm the only one living out this ridiculous reactable/filatron co-op beat fantasy/life – no reason the cat shouldn't wander further out the bag

  • Paul

    Definitely amongst the better apps I have on my iPhone :)

  • Brian stevens

    It's true, i'm awash in a sea of apps, so what are the OTHER best ones ?

  • Christopher Penrose

    Filtatron is great fun.  I usually use it on the iPad;  it has to compete with the iMS-20 for my attention and it does a fair job.  But the immediacy of kaos pads wins hands down against pure knob twiddling. 

  • Christopher Penrose

    Oops I forgot that Filtatron actually has pads too..  very nice.  A bit awkward to use though as they don't rotate when in landscape mode — a little easier on the iPad when scaled 2x.

  • http://wowcool.com/engine Marc Arsenault

    The Filtatron really is the best. The one app on the touch and iPhone I would actually seriously use in performance. Have been playing with it heavily the last few days with the iRig and various toys (Gakken SX-150, U-Create Music). Working on a full write-up, will attempt to remember to post results to Noisepages.

    Here's my demo track:&nbsp ;http://soundcloud.com/wow-cool/flure-de-la-fucked-up It's got a ton of other sound piled on top of it, but the Filtatron is dominant. Using the built in samples here. The other line is the SX-150 looped and effected through the U-Create music. Also, raindrops.

  • Leslie

    And there is much much more coming in early 2011:

    'We’re committed to expanding the Filtatron’s capabilities,' said Mike Adams, President of Moog Music. 'Retina display support and an iPad native version are currently in development and scheduled for release in early 2011.'

  • Jonah

    Could you use it with the bluetooth in a mbp to record audio in a program like Logic?

  • Leslie

    Just buy it and see/test it for yourself ;)

  • Collin

    Wow, I'd overlooked this one – thnx Peter!

  • Jay vaughan

    The only problem I have is finding cables to use .. Do folks DIY or is there a reputable manufacturer with I/O cables for this app?

  • stravinski

    Wonderful unique combinations of effects as applied to sample sources and and oscillator. Without the XY pads, this would have been a novelty. With them it becomes an instrument. 

  • http://wowcool.com/engine Marc Arsenault

    Jay, IK Multimedia's iRig works just fine with Filtatron as well as AmpliTube and others. If you don't want to process "live" sound with it, you can get by fine with the mini stereo audio out jack.

  • http://www.theabletoncookbook.com Anthony Arroyo

    Am I hearing that iRig is the standard for getting real-time audio into this baby?

  • http://wowcool.com/engine Marc Arsenault

    Other audio interfaces are available. It's just what I've used. No complaints.