Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Symphonix Evolution and the iPad Air

We've now had a chance to play with the new iPad Air and were very impressed with the new form factor and processing power.  Symphonix Evolution runs better than we've ever seen it before!

For those who are lucky enough to have an iPad Air, you will find that it is now possible to set the Virtual Synth in Symphonix Evolution as follows:

  • Polyphony to 256 voices
  • Reverb ON
  • Chorus ON
  • Full Instrument Mode ON
As a result of the increased polyphony the app's internal synth was able to handle any MIDI files we could throw at it including some rather intense orchestral pieces, without dropping any notes or stuttering (normally when the polyphony increases, the load on the CPU causes digital noise in the output due to the synth not keeping up with the sample rate).  This is the first time that we've been able to do this on the iPad.

Astonishingly, the average CPU load during our tests was about 30%.  This is truly an excellent result: Symphonix Evolution can now work as the keyboard or sound source for other apps without impacting performance.  The iPad is now approaching laptop performance levels.

(For those interested in a comparison, on the iPad 4 we were able to get the polyphony to 128 voices but still had to disable Reverb and Chorus effects for some songs).

The main limitation now is RAM where the iPad Air still only has 1GB of memory to work in.  This is the main thing stopping us from adding higher quality instrument samples, although we are working on some new functionality soon in this area.  It is going to be very interesting to see what happens in the next iPad generation!


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