Review: Effectrix Brings Sequenced Effects to the iPad

The iPad’s maturation as a music creation platform continues due to the AUv3 plugin format. Being able to run AUv3 synths, effects, etc. seamlessly within a container app like AUM is frankly a gamechanger. The iOS platform is finally coming closer to emulating a desktop

A sequenced effects app like Effectrix thrives in this creative environment. Powered by a flexible step sequencer, it mangles your beats or gives your trippy synth pads a sense of groove or motion. Developed by Sugar Bytes, purveyors of excellent music plugins for the iOS, Mac, and Windows platforms, it’s the perfect utility app for the modern iOS musician.

Effectrix For The iPad Features

  • 14 High-Quality Effects in Series Across a Sequencer Matrix
  • Each Effect Features Deep Editing of Parameters and Modulation
  • A Full Range of Sonic Mangling Limited Only by Your Imagination
  • External Sync With iOS Host Apps
  • 32-Step Sequencer Supports Strange Timings and Other Chicanery
  • 230 Presets Including Global and Individual Effects
  • Support For AUv3, MIDI Learn, and Ableton Link
  • Available at The App Store For $17.99

Simply put, Effectrix belongs in the arsenal of any iOS musician. Its high-quality effects sound great. The ability to sequence and modulate up to 14 effects at one time simply opens a Pandora’s Box of sonic possibilities. Let’s dive into the details.

The Effectrix UI Takes Full Advantage of the iPad

In addition to iOS, Effectrix is also available on both the Mac and Windows platforms. In fact, those platforms actually received the first release of the plugin. However, the touchscreen interface of the iPad takes the Effectrix UI to another level.

I primarily use Effectrix within AUM. The interface is slightly smaller when residing inside that host app, but controlling the app’s functionality remains intuitive. Of course, the UI takes full advantage of finger taps, swipes, and other gestures to edit sequences.

The sequencer matrix features a separate row for each effect. The fourteen effects run in series, from the three looping effects all the way to the reverb. The sequencer supports up to 32 steps; simply drag the arrows on either side to loop a specific range of steps.  The tempo control lets you set the resolution of the sequencer which runs at the same BPM as the host app.

A parameter section for the selected effect resides below the matrix. Two modulators for each effect also allow for additional control of parameters. Use the Assign menu to connect the modulators and parameters. It’s also possible to record parameter knob movements as part of the sequence. Once again, the sonic possibilities are limitless.

Preset management and other utilities (level, swing, mix, etc.) lie at the top of the Effectrix interface. Thankfully, the app includes over 230 presets providing some insight as to what’s sonically possible with the app. Still, it’s more fun to simply dive right in and conjure up fresh sounds. The intuitive user interface makes this process of exploration simple.

Effectrix Provides a Cornucopia of Sonic Possibilities

So how does Effectrix sound? Considering Sugar Bytes earned its bones as a top provider of effects plugins for the PC and Mac, it’s not a surprise the 14 effects within the app all sound great. Useful parameters and modulation options only add to the sonic mayhem.

To put the app through its paces, I built a drone using Bram Bos’s new Mononoke synth (we’ve got a review of that app in our pipeline). Using AUM, I ran that drone through Effectrix and conjured up a 30-step sequence that turned the drone into an otherworldly funky-ass beat. Experimentation and exploration remain the order of the day, but Effectrix is especially suited to adding a sense of motion and rhythm to synths and other keyboard sounds.

As noted earlier, the 14 effects run in sequence, with three different looping effects at the top and traditional delay and reverb at the bottom.  A simple tap on a button next to the effect name switches it on or off. Of course, the individual steps and bars on the sequencer matrix or the modulation sequencers ultimately exert more control on the effect’s performance.

A Host of Useful Effect Presets Helps You Get Started

Note that each effect also includes its own collection of presets. So Effectrix provides both global and individual effect presets. Once again, be sure to peruse these presets for a better informed idea on the sonic range of the app. Additionally, use iCloud integration to share presets between iOS and desktop versions of Effectrix.

Another neat feature is the ability to store sequencer patterns to keys able to be recalled live using a MIDI keyboard. MIDI Learn is also supported, so you can use controller knobs to control effect parameters. In effect (pun intended?), this makes Effectrix great as a live performance app.

As far as the actual effects, they run the gamut from loopers to delays to filters to bitcrushers and most everything in between. The Tonal Delay, the powerful Filter, and rich and creamy Phaser deserve special mention. Use the Tonal Delay on your beats for some freaky melodic action. In short, Effectrix is a must for any serious iOS music producer. Superior sound quality and an intuitive user interface highlight this top notch effects app. Highly recommended.