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EHX Mini Synthesizer app on the iPad  ·  Source: ehx.com

EHX tell us that this is a faithful recreation of their 1980’s classic Mini Synthesizer, plus some extras. The original Mini Synthesizer was not a whole lot to look at. You got a couple of sliders and those terrible membrane buttons for keys. I think perhaps “classic” is becoming an overused term and maybe should be replaced with the more honest “dodgy old sound making box”.

EHX Mini Synthesizer original circa 1980

EHX Mini Synthesizer original circa 1980

Mini Synthesizer App

However, with the miracle of iOS technology EHX have the opportunity to re-imagine the past and work it up into something more useful. And so they have. The Mini Synthesizer is now polyphonic. They’ve filled out the slider panel to include a delay and reverb.

The sounds are gritty and meaty for a single oscillator with a pulse waveform. And they do appear to be staying true to the terrible sound of the speaker that was in the original. The reverb and delay greatly help in generating some more interesting tones. There’s now 22 presets hopefully covering their most iconic sounds if they can find some. The iOS app can handle as many user presets as you can possible generate.

The keyboard can be transformed into “modern” mode where you can specify a bunch of notes and just have those displayed. Running your finger over them creates a sort of sequenced or arpeggiated effect. There’s also a ribbon controller above the keyboard enabling you to slide from note to note.

I love how in the demonstration video (below) they manage to hype up and over-describe the most simple of preset sounds like they are some kind of revelation.

The EHX Mini Synthesizer was a crappy old synth that can make a bunch of feisty sounds. Adding polyphony and effects certainly breathes new life into it but it’s more of a curiosity than a classic. At $4.99 it’s not expensive when compared to other synth apps but maybe your dollars are better spent on some of the truly classic synths available for iOS. But then why be predictable?

More information on the EHX Mini Synthesizer app can be found on the Electro-Harmonix website.

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