Mononoke is an unconventional synthesizer, designed to compose evolving soundscapes and musical textures.
What sets Mononoke apart from other synths is that its voices (4 in each section) can be routed back into each other in multiple ways, creating all sorts of overtones and pulsating resonant frequencies. Sometimes harmonic, sometimes weirdly atonal. Sometimes clear and delicate as icicles, sometimes harsh as metallic blades, sometimes soft as fresh snow. This interaction between voices helps fuse all layers together into a coherent musical landscape.
A tale of two engines
The synthesizer engines (each of the two sections has its own independent engine) have relatively simple controls, which influence a complex system of many invisible, interconnected LFOs. But this is not your bread-and-butter general purpose synthesizer: think of Mononoke as one huge FM synthesizer where each voice is an independently playable operator. Together all operators contribute to a single soundscape.
Complex soundscapes can be created live, using the 8 performance pads which let you modulate each voice independently in several dimensions. Your interactions with the pads will also be sent out as MPE/MIDI (when loaded as an AU plugin in a compatible host) so you can record and tweak your session. The onscreen pads can be latched individually so some voices can be used as drones, while others as can be added and removed as extra sonic layers. The pads are fully integrated in the Audio Unit plugin.
Mononoke is designed as an AUv3 plugin, with advanced Audio Unit features such as MPE input and output (!), a fully exposed array of AU parameters for automation and all the connectivity and scalability you can expect from modern plugins.
The standalone mode is basic (just meant for jamming and creating presets) and does not offer any connectivity, so if you want to use Mononoke in conjunction with other apps and effects you'll need to load it into a host, such as Garageband, Audiobus, AUM or Cubasis.
- Audio Unit (AUv3) plugin
- 8 voice polyphony, 2 independent engines with 4 voices each
- Compatible with MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) and MIDI
- MIDI Input and Output (only available when used as an Audio Unit plugin)
- Limited standalone mode for jamming (full screen, no connectivity)
- 8 independently tunable performance pads for expressive interaction
- Universal, fully scalable to any screen size, supports fullscreen mode in AU hosts
- Freely tunable voices, or quantized to semitones (with overall finetuning)
- iOS10 (MIDI/MPE output from the plugin requires iOS11) or higher
Also contains Mononoke Pads: an extra AUv3 MIDI controller plugin for playing MPE compatible synths using Mononoke's pads. Note: this is a separate plugin which will be installed in your MIDI Plugin collection. Mononoke Pads requires iOS 11.
Slightly tweaked the Wavefolder effect to avoid excessive loudness peaks across the range.
Ratings and Reviews
One of a kind
Another great app from one of the most consistent devs out there!
It might not give you a “phat bass” sound, but there are hundreds of other apps that give you that. This is an app meant for generation of a specific kind of sound - one that isn’t easy to achieve with typical all-purpose synths.
Mononoke exemplifies what I love about the iOS audio app ecosystem, which is the existence of niche apps, especially ones that make the most of the touch surface. It’s very expressive and something that you get better at playing as you spend more time with it. Something like this would probably be very expensive to develop as, say, a Eurorack module. I look at iOS devices as modular recording environments - each app its own module, everything tied together with Audiobus and/or AUM. I expect this app to get a lot of use.
Excellent! But requires an open mind!
Bram Bos has done it again. He always manages to come up with something different that richly expands horizons for those that are open to new ideas. Mononoke is no exception except in that it requires a much more open mind.
This isn’t a traditional note-by-note synth where you get one patch going and play it up and down the keyboard. If that’s all your looking for you may be disappointed. It’s a feedback machine meant for producing excessive sounds by the way each “note” interacts with the others.
Until I “got” the concept and was able to put my traditional mindset aside I really wondered what this was good for. But then it clicked and a whole new avenue of sound possibilities opened up. Now it’s one of my favorite instruments on iOS. Love it! Excellent work!!
Wonderful drone synth
As I learn my way around Mononoke, it’s become one of my favorite instruments. Its drones are so expressive, going from pure tones to howling nightmares as the wavefolder and feedback kick in. The multiple LFOs keep the sound in motion. And the pads let you change chords or add some melody during a performance.
I’ve found Mononoke to be a perfect accompaniment to ambient guitar. It sets the key and mode for me to solo over, and it can match the sweetness or harshness of the guitar’s tone. It’s really been putting my creativity in high gear!
I should note that I own a Lyra-8, the Russian synth that clearly inspired Mononoke. The Lyra-8 is a crazed beast I’m almost afraid to turn on. Bram Bos has caught its spirit but tamed it a bit, made it into something mere mortals can explore and live to tell the tale.
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- Bram Bos
- 6.4 MB
- Requires iOS 10.0 or later.
- Requires iPadOS 10.0 or later.
- iPod touch
- Requires iOS 10.0 or later.
- Age Rating
- © Bram Bos / Ruismaker, 2016-2020
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.