Ratings and Reviews
Powerful sequencer in need of some interface tweaks
I thought long and hard about whether to try out Thesys. Eventually, my curiosity got the best of me. On the plus side, it has a TON of features, but excels at monophonic basslines and leads. There is a chord feature that is pretty neat, but primarily, it is monophonic. The best feature is probably that it has a built-in synth engine within the app. And the sounds aren't half bad. You can audition them, or even export them through AB, etc., as a final product.
But the interface is just largely awful. This is obviously a VST port from PC with little re-imagination done as to how it would control on an iPad. (This is true of all the SugarBytes apps). So, the actual part of the screen the contains which notes play in your sequence probably uses 20% of the screen space. You can double that with a magnifier, but it is clumsy and akward. Also, I'm not sure the app either does "Open In" with MIDI files, nor could I find that it exports raw MIDI data. I could be wrong on the latter point, but those are features that would have been nice for a premium app such as this one. Overall, it's intriguing, but still a bit flawed.
The best step sequencer, maddeningly tiny interface
This is the best featured step sequencer in iOS, to this day. Has a bunch of modulation lanes, 32 steps, independent lengths for different parameters, scale quantize, scalar transpose, song mode, dj-style midi effects. All amazing, next level stuff, crammed into the most uselessly tiny interface, and ill conceived zoom workarounds. Be ready for bumping adjacent controls all the time and screwing up your sequence. I use it sometimes, and it ends up sounding great, but I loathe the experience. It doesn’t need to be this tiny, there is all kinds of wasted space, and needlessly compacted, dangerous to mix up groups of buttons, in fields of unused white space. It was ported from the desktop, and was never designed for a touch screen. If you could expand the sequencers to fill the screen you would be set, I think. Replace the dreadful PC key modifiers, Cmd, Ctrl, Alt, with traditional touch interface modifiers, like tap and hold, double tap, etc.
In an effort to use the app, I’ve gone to great lengths to midi map the controls to a midi controller, but, there is no way to reuse the midi mappings from one project to another, and there is no default mapping.
I would avoid this app on anything except the 12.9” iPads.
AUv3 update is transformative
The latest update to AUv3 has made it possible to run multiple instances of Thesys inside a NanoStudio 2 session, so you can compose multiple melodic parts together. The desktop interface is quite tiny on an iPad, though—if you have an Apple Pencil, you’ll want to use it.
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.