Jasuto envelope example from Jasuto on Vimeo.

Imagine friendly creation of custom synths and sounds by dragging visual nodes. Now imagine you can do that on a mobile device and your computer – and eventually combine the two. That’s the vision of Jasuto, and while it’s not quite there yet, it’s incredibly promising.

The laws of combinatorics predict that, on a regular basis, you’ll see countless soft synths that are slight variations of one another. With the iPhone/iPod touch gold rush in full swing, we’re starting to see the pattern repeat itself, just as it did in Windows and Mac plug-ins. Some are brilliant; others are just the usual variations on a theme.

Of course, even better is the ability to build exactly what you want out of the same buildings blocks. Powerful toolkits like Max/MSP, Pd, Reaktor, SuperCollider, SynthMaker and the like let you do this, but they qualify as the more-sophisticated Erector Set of synthesis. Sometimes you just want some simple, LEGO-style building blocks that cover the basics.

That’s why Jasuto looks so promising. It’s actually two pieces of software – a plug-in for Mac and Windows VST. Combine basic modules, and you get some powerful features, even on the iPhone:

  • Multiple synthesis methods: additive, subtractive, FM/PM/AM, hard-sync synthesis
  • Basic math functions: add/subtract/delta/constant values
  • Filters: LP, HP, BP, and a Moog emulation
  • Signal tools: envelopes, dynamics processors, and an envelope follower
  • Effects: Delay, reverb, saturation, digital distortion
  • iPhone hardware features: Accelerator and mic access (and of course mic access on your computer, too)
  • 16-step sequencer with looping, pattern manipulation
  • Performance options: a tappable keyboard, glide functions, and so on


That’s just the specs, though. To me, the most interesting thing is the zoomable, nodal design, reminiscent of the reactable. There’s also the ability to record “motion” anywhere in the app, and to modulate everything with everything else. And I especially like the idea that “patches” and “synths” are one and the same: just as on an early modular, creating a new “patch” really is about connecting modules into something unique.

I can’t imagine it being the last computer instrument you need, but if successful, it could well be the last iPhone synth you need. I like the idea of

It’s under “heavy development,” so expect some bugs. The software can be yours for all of US$1.00 on iPhone. The PC/Mac VST looks a little rougher, but it’s available for free download.

Jasuto Site

VST Plug-in

iTunes Link

Thanks to sublamp for turning us on to this via comments.