Jordantron is, as you may have guessed, the latest app from Jordan Rudess, the keyboardist from Dream Theater, and the man behind many iOS music apps. I've recently reviewed HarmonyWiz, which is a unique song generator app. Jordantron is a straight forward keyboard app, containing a complete set of his exclusive sounds.
Developed for Wizdom Music by Omenie, the geniuses behind the M3000 Mellotron and the Sopranotron, this app boasts 57 sampled instruments. Anyone familiar with Omenie's other apps will instantly recognize their signature look on this app.
As with the other Omenie apps, the main layout of the interface utilizes three 'lead' voices, and one 'chord' voice. The leads can be selected using the A/B/C knob, which appears right next to the voice selection area. Keep in mind, you can either dial in a voice straight up by pointing the dial right on the letter, or you can "blend" between the A/B or the B/C voices. This is where you will start to get some interesting combinations. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves ("we", meaning me, as I'm the one writing this confounded review...).
The previously-mentioned voices can be categorized as either "velocity-sensitive", "leads", "orchestral/choir", "pads" or "strings". You can select from any of these to put into the A/B/C slots, so the number of possible combinations is big (math geeks, ring in with your answer!). The sounds don't stop there, however, as you also have the option to tweak the tone of the lead voice. Along with the lead voice, there are options to tone, space, and amount of the included reverb as well. So, even though we are dealing with samples, you can still make adjustments to suit your needs.
Included are 32 Voice Banks, which have pre-programmed voices already chosen for you. Think of these as different preset packages. So, you'll find an orchestral set, a loud "rock" set, etc. Nice if you are looking to just rev it up and go.
The default view will give you a dual onscreen keyboard. Standard octave split applies here, so you've got your high-low keys option here. One additional feature that is different on Jordantron is the pitch wheel has a "hidden" function. While the default function will raise or lower the pitch one whole tone, tapping on the Jordan "wizard" icon gives you the ability to dive bomb the pitch down one whole octave.
Tap on the "Pad Mode" button, and the interface will change. Looking at the screen, you'll also see twelve numbered boxes. These are the 'D' pad sounds, and these are generally where your chords will be stored. These are programmable, so you can create whatever chords you'd like. This is real easy to program. Tap 'record', tap the numbered pad on which to use, play the chord (or single note, if you want), and hit 'record' again. Done. This is a great way to set up some accompaniment to the lead lines.
One thing you'll notice right away about Jordantron are the sounds - huge sounds. "Marty McFly in front of Doc Brown's speaker" huge. This has some big "stadium" sounds, but the piano and strings sounds are also very expressive. It's not all bombast and fireworks.
As would be expected from a quality app, Jordantron is Audiobus and IAA-compatible. For those of you have prefer using your own external keyboard, it is also Core MIDI. And for those of us who are not exactly, how would you say, "good" at playing piano, Jordantron is also able to use virtual MIDI, so you can use your favorite MIDI controllers or sequencers.
I recorded a quick demo, to give you an idea of how good this sounds. This was recorded by using SoundPrism Pro into one of the preset voice banks (Voice Bank 03, if you're playing at home). SoundPrism Pro is a great choice to use with Jordantron, as you can, with a little MIDI fiddling, use the bass notes in SP Pro to control the 'D' voice, and the playing surface to control the lead voice.
I also spent some time controlling Jordantron with midiSequencer and ChordPolyPad, and they all worked great via virtual MIDI. Again, for a hack player like me, it's great to be able to use this app for something other than playing "Hot Cross Buns". (Jordan, if you're reading this, I can totally lay down "Hot Cross Buns" on your next album. Call me!)
Jordantron manages to bring some massive sounds to iOS. Thick walls of sound. You can see that Wizdom Music and Omenie spent a lot of time getting these samples to sound good. A note of caution: this does equate to a big app, almost 1 GB. This app is a unique opportunity to capture all of Jordan Rudess' sounds on your iPad. Just think about that. I'd have to recommend this app to anyone that is looking for some epic keyboard sounds.
If you're thinking about buying Jordantron, please consider clicking through our App Store link below. Thanks!Jordantron
Developer: Wizdom Music LLC