Developer: Jorge Castellanos
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store
A couple of months ago, I was given the opportunity to review a number of synth apps for the iPhone. In that round-up, I took a look at noise.io pro, one of the deepest and richest apps I've come across.
On the other end of the spectrum is FMScreen, from developer Piticule. FMScreen offers Frequency Modulation, just like noise.io pro, but that's where the similarities end. When you run FMScreen, you're presented with nothing more than a black screen. The basic synthesizer controls follow a scheme set by the earlier iPhone synths, similar to a Kaoss Pad.
Where FMScreen really begins to differentiate itself from the pack is, surprisingly, in the settings menu, or more precisely, the absence of one.
The developers have streamlined all the options into the main screen. Using a series of multi-touch gestures with two or three fingers, you can control the octave range, turn on guidelines and modify parameters. In keeping with the simplicity of the app, the volume is controlled by tilt. All of this is great, but if you skip on reading the entire App Store description, you're left alone to figure out exactly how everything works.
One of the real let-downs for me was the lack of quality. The synthesizer delivers a rather flat and boring sound, and even with the guidelines on, precision is a huge problem. In the end, it all comes down to how you want to use the app. If you're looking to mess around with a simple FM synth, then go ahead and download FMScreen now. However, if you're looking for a synth for studio recording, I would recommend noise.io pro instead; it's well worth the sizable premium.