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New iPad synth: Arctic Keys

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All of Arctic Keys' synth parameters are displayed on one page.

All of Arctic Keys' synth parameters are displayed on one page.

Arctic Keys

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Arctic Keys' 16x4 gated step sequencer.

Arctic Keys' 16x4 gated step sequencer.

Arctic Keys

Arctic Keys is a new virtual analogue iPad synth from One Red Dog Media, and one that the developer claims "delivers audio quality equivalent to that of high cost hardware options."

It has a dual-oscillator design and puts all tweakable parameters on one page, while other features include an arpeggiator and 16x4 gated sequencer. There's also a phrase recorder and a multitude of input/output/connectivity options - full details are in the press release below.

Arctic Keys is available to buy now from the App Store. It costs £2.99

Arctic Keys press release

Arctic Keys is a virtual analog synthesizer for iPad that delivers audio quality equivalent to that of high cost hardware options. Featuring a classic dual-oscillator subtractive synthesis design that gives you sound creation flexibility, with an easy to use user interface that just wants to be tweaked.

Whether you're a music professional or a passionate novice, Arctic Keys enables you to create cool, smooth sounds, The formula is simple - Tweak, Perform, Share.


With all the synthesizer parameters immediately available on one page, you get instant feedback as you tweak. The two low frequency oscillators (LFOs) each have three modulation destinations. Each LFO may be free running or synched to tempo and the timing rate adjusted. The modulation matrix allows for deep routing between the Mod Wheel, aftertouch and 16 x 4 analog-style gated step-sequencer. Quickly change pages to edit effects and sequences.


The classic arpeggiator is complimented by the 16 x 4 gated step-sequencer. Play a note to trigger the sequencer. Step through a sequence to play short melodic lines or let it modulate the synthesizer. The different key gating options may be used to change how the sequence is triggered. Each of the four tracks has an assignable modulation destination and loop point. Along with traditional Pitch and Mod Wheels, adjust the velocity by tapping along the length of the key from top to bottom. Change the key mode to mono for retro lead lines. Adjust the size of the keyboard to suite your style or use a gesture to scroll through the octaves. Place the keyboard into Pitch mode and use multi-touch gestures to bend individual notes, while sliding up and down the keys to add aftertouch.


The live phrase recorder lets you save your performances as 44.1KHz 16-bit WAV files and as a Standard MIDI File. The MIDI File includes all the knob control change information along with the notes you play. Use Sonoma AudioCopy or Intua Audio Sharing to paste recorded audio directly into other apps. From within Arctic Keys, email the patches you make, then open them directly and save into your patch library or share them with Wi-Fi and iTunes File Sharing.

Key features at a glance

  • • Alias-free analog modelling oscillators
  • • 16x4 gate step-sequencer with deep modulation routing
  • • Effects processors including EQ, distortion, chorus, and stereo delay
  • • Multi-touch performance oriented keyboard with pitch bend, velocity and aftertouch
  • • Real-time phrase recorder with audio, MIDI, and patch file sharing
  • • CoreMIDI support with Virtual MIDI Ports
Ben Rogerson

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology.