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midiLFOs app review – A great way to add LFO modulation to your synths

Every once in awhile, an app comes along that makes you think "Why didn't anyone think of that before?" Developer Art Kerns has just released midiLFOs for iPad, and this is one of those apps. With midiLFOs, you can control your virtual iOS synths or hardware synths via midi using LFO waveforms.

As you can see from the video above, the concept is simple, but brilliant. You can choose between different waveforms, using standard sine, triangle, sawtooth, square, and sample-and-hold. Two big sliders are there for you to control the offset (where the wave "starts" in the sequence) and the rate (how quickly you move through the wave).

But you don't just have one LFO to use, but up to four different LFO's. So, you've got the possibility to control parameters on four different synths, use them all on one synth, or some kind of combination. Additionally, you can use one LFO to modulate another LFO to get weird mixed waveforms. Very cool.

I'll be the first to admit that MIDI is not my strong suit. And, as anyone familiar with iOS music will attest to, MIDI on iOS in general is sometimes a hit-or-miss proposition. But where midiLFOs shines is the ease of use in connecting it to other iOS synths. I had no trouble getting midiLFOs to recognize my other apps, and dialing in the proper channel is a breeze, as long as you know where to find the MIDI settings in your iOS synth (this can be a pain in some apps).

Some additional great features are a MIDI map functionality, so you can use an external controller to control the rates of the LFO's, or use another sequencer to  trigger a non-looped LFO once. You can even save configurations to be recalled later, if you've really created something you'll use regularly.


Other functionality here is that you can adjust the limits of the LFO to certain ranges. By default, you'll get the full sweep from 0-127. But you can set minimum and maximum limits to dial in a certain range of a cutoff frequency, for example. There's a lot more that I haven't even touched on here, but you can take a look at the excellent online manual here for a full rundown.

Technical chatter: The app is iPad only, and requires iOS 8.2 or higher. It's a tiny little app, only taking up 0.6 mb, so no worries there.

I've really only scratched the surface with what this app can do. I've tested it and used it primarily on iOS virtual synths, but it can also control any external hardware that accepts MIDI CC's. Having done a bit of homework here (*subtle pat on the back*), I read that Art mentioned on another forum that midiLFOs can be used to control the KORG Volcas as well. Sweet.

I've raved about the use of LFO's in the apeSoft apps, and how it can take a tame sound and give it life. I had a blast using "classic" synths and adding some modulation. It was like breathing new life into them. This app is designed so well, with regards to the interface. Big controls, and easy-to-read text on bright colors make this easy on the eyes.

According to the developer, this is the first in a series of MIDI apps that he's looking to create. I'm really looking forward to seeing what's next. With the quality of this app, and his previous work as 1/2 of the Synthetic Bits (Funkbox, Little MIDI Machine) development team, I'm expecting more exciting apps to come from Art Kerns.

If you're thinking about buying midiLFOs, please consider clicking through our App Store link below. Thanks!

[app 998273841]

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