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Arturia iMini for iPad
Review by: Jason D Buchwald





3.5 Stars



Arturia is known for its virtual instrument recreations of many classic synths. We have reviewed quite a few of them, starting with their venerable JP-8V (Jupiter-8 recreation) a number of years back. Pushing into new territory, Arturia has released their first iOS product, the iMini.

Based on the classic 1970 Minimoog, iMini runs on your iPad 2 or later and requires iOS 6. Based closely on Arturia's own Mini V soft-synth for desktop computers, if you like one, you will surely like the other. Easy to use and loaded with great sounds (and interchangeable sounds from desktop to iPad), this is a great app for the mobile musician.

There's a lot to like about the iMini. It comes with over 500 presets, including great basses and fun arpeggios. These sounds are straight out of the Mini V software, and you can save and load between the two versions. The iMini is also compatible with Retronyms' Tabletop environment, allowing you to integrate the iMini into an iPad "studio." Core MIDI is supported, so you may use any MIDI controller of your choice—including Arturia's own keyboards, via the Apple camera connection kit. For those without MIDI keyboards, there is a small graphical keyboard on the bottom of the screen.

On the top of the screen, you can select from Main, Performance, or FX modes. The Main mode displays a recreation of the front panel of the Model D Minimoog. It includes controls for the three Oscillators, mixer, noise generator, and a simulated headphone jack feedback on the external input. Also included are level controls for chorus and delay, as well as a Poly switch to allow for polyphonic sounds (something not found on the original Minimoog). This mode is also where you load and save patches.

The Performance page gives you access to the arpeggiator controls and X-Y pads, useful for morphing your sounds, and the Effects page gives you access to the chorus and analog delay controls. As per Arturia, these are the same effects found in the desktop version.

Download, install, play. No different than any other app… easy! The larger iPad screen (versus an iPhone) is put to good use. While we could control things with the iPad's touch screen, a more satisfying experience would be to use a real controller with knobs and switches, connected via a MIDI interface. The sounds were organized by author and type. Why Arturia_uses_underscores in all of their sound titles (even the desktop versions) remains a mystery, but it's certainly easy enough to navigate around. All in all, it's a well-designed layout.

We were a little skeptical at first, but the iMini rocks! It has some really great sounds, many of which are nearly dead on and indistinguishable from the real thing when used in a live context or layered in a mix. A number of JM Blanchet's presets sounded extremely accurate for playing '70s and '80s The Who and Pete Townsend hits, but there are plenty of modern patches, too. Many of the included presets provided easy starting points for writing new songs. And since everything is tweakable—including polyphony, there's a lot you can do that wasn't possible with the original Moog hardware.

Although there is plenty of info on Arturia's website, there's an Info button on the top right of the screen. Tap it, and you'll get access to a user manual! It was very easy to follow and useful. We found it very refreshing for an iOS app to feature an Info button linked to a product manual, and wish more companies would do this with their mobile apps. Bravo!

The price is only $19.99, which makes this an easy purchase if you want to create keyboard sounds on your iPad.


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