Photophore Synth 4+

Unique flock instrument

Taika Systems LLC

    • 4.5 • 27 Ratings
    • $0.99

iPad Screenshots


"The visual interface will draw people in initially, but the wildly diverse sounds you can tease from Photophore will undoubtedly keep you coming back for more." FACT Magazine -- The Ten Best Synths for iPad |

Photophore is a unique instrument that uses flocks of up to 100 sound generators to create rich, organic synthesizer sounds. By controlling the behavior of the flocks you can make Photophore sound like a choir of synthesizers or, at more extreme settings, a swarm of angry insects.

Unlike other digital synthesizers, Photophore creates warmth and character in a completely new way. Instead of modeling analog circuits, it models animal behavior. Photophore’s sound engine is made up of flocks of oscillators that move through a virtual three-dimensional environment. Their motion is controlled by a special behavioral algorithm and physics simulation that keeps the oscillators in tune with each other, but allows for a certain amount of natural drifting and detuning. This creates rich timbres that are perfect for crafting massive bass sounds, complex pads and searing leads.

You can interact with the oscillator flocks by controlling their behavior – how much they try to flock together, how much they avoid each other, their speed, and how much turbulence is in their environment. Oscillators will flee from your touch, so you can create extreme pitch modulation and more chaotic effects by simply swiping across the screen.

Key Features:

• Unique flock synthesis engine
• Up to 100 oscillators per patch
• Polyphonic operation (up to 6 voices)
• Monophonic mode with glide and legato
• 12 oscillator waveforms (saw, square, pulse, sine and more)
• Low pass/High pass filter with resonance
• Dedicated amplitude and filter envelopes
• Stereo echo effect
• Arpeggiator


• Connect any iPad-compatible MIDI keyboard to play notes and perform pitch bends
• Use a MIDI controller's modulation wheel to control the flock
• AudioBus and Inter-App Audio support for streaming audio to other apps
• Control Photophore from other apps via CoreMIDI

Tech Requirements:

• iOS7 or later required
• iPad 2 or later required

What Reviewers say:

"The sounds in Photophore are big. There is a surprising range, as well. My first impression was that it was going to be very ambient-based, but you can get gritty and dirty here as well. From the beautifully minimal look to the impressive sounds, Photophore is a winner." - iOS Mars |

"There is a lot to like about Photophore. The synth engine is clearly ‘different’ from anything else out there but it is presented in away that is both accessible and visually appealing. In terms of both features and sound, Photophore punches well above its price point." - Music App Blog |

What’s New

Version 1.0.4

This version fixes an issue where connecting a MIDI keyboard through the USB camera kit would cause a crash.

Ratings and Reviews

4.5 out of 5
27 Ratings

27 Ratings

boldstandard ,

Digital Warmth

This is still one of my favorite iPad synths. It could use an update though. I'd love to see a Midi Learn function, for example. You can set the mod wheel to control one parameter at a time, but for those of us with midi keyboards that have lots of knobs and faders, it would be great to be able to control everything at once.

Also, can the arpeggiator sync to external time clocks? I haven't figured out how to do it. At any rate, it's a good sounding synth. Very unique. And I love the little animations on the screen.

ErikSF999 ,

innovative digital warmth

Photophore introduces a unique approach to digital synthesis that is able to produce a wide variety of very impressive sounds, and I am excited to see what an update will bring. I hear there is one on the way.

Right now the synthesis model is simply very cool, and I have no criticism at all for the basic idea here. What would make this a five-star synth for iOS, besides the obvious (I hope) addition of a multi-octave keyboard that is visible against the dark interface: more time-domain variable controls.

I realize standard LFO's might break the concept of moving away from analog modeling, but surely there are ways to utilize auxiliary flocking algorithms to control the main flocking algorithms producing the sound so that they evolve in complex ways.

Or something. :) This is a creatively implemented synth; I suspect the devs could come up with something equally creative to nudge Photophore along its very promising potential career as a powerful sound design tool.

I highly recommend buying this now to help pay for the next version. There is enough here already to make it worth its very reasonable price.

VeryDarkPurple ,

Innovative and well executed… thanks for the update!

This version has new waveforms and glide! Sweet!

It’s great to see that it is still possible to do something new when it comes to iOS synths, of which there are now many. This app creates lovely lush timbres with beautiful organic motion to them, while providing a hypnotic visual experience. Controls are easy to access and thoughtfully laid out, and the whole app is easy on the eyes. It’s a unique and useful addition to your sonic arsenal, so be sure to check it out.

App Privacy

The developer, Taika Systems LLC, has not provided details about its privacy practices and handling of data to Apple. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

No Details Provided

The developer will be required to provide privacy details when they submit their next app update.


  • Family Sharing

    Up to six family members can use this app with Family Sharing enabled.

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