EXCLUSIVE Review and Competition: NLogPoly Synth for Mac OS X

TempoRubato is the developer of NLog Synth, which was among the first high-quality performance synthesizers for the iPhone. They've also recently updated their product line with NLog MIDI Synth and...  

TempoRubato is the developer of NLog Synth, which was among the first high-quality performance synthesizers for the iPhone platform. They've also recently updated their product line with NLog MIDI Synth (among the first iOS synths to support external MIDI control) and NLogSynth PRO for iPad

I immediately fell in love with NLog Synth when it was first released, both for its great sound and its high degree of programmability. (The original NLog Synth, now called NLog Free Synth, is not only a great deal - it's free! - but also an excellent platform on which to begin learning the mysteries of analog synthesis.)

Now TempoRubato is about to release its first product for OS X, called NLogPoly Synth, in both standalone and Audio Unit versions. Let's take a look at it and see how it measures up to its iOS predecessors. 

[See the end of this review to find out HOW TO WIN NLogPoly Synth and other fantastic prizes - Ed]

First Impressions

When you first launch NLogPoly Synth, you see a keyboard with a number of patch slots above it, and above that, controls that let you modify the built-in sounds or create your own from scratch. Everything happens in this one window; you click the buttons along the top edge of the window to select different functions within the window. The program ships with 192 built-in sounds, which you can play either with the built-in keyboard, with an external MIDI controller, or with the Mac's QWERTY keyboard. To load one of those sounds, you select a patch slot above the keyboard, click the Load button at the top of the window to open the banks window, choose a bank, choose one of the three pages in each bank, and click on a patch to load it:

And those sounds are excellent - rich, powerful, virtual analog sounds that compare well to softsynths costing many times more. And while we're at it, how much is NLogPoly Synth? - $24.99 through the Mac App Store, which is an outstanding price for a Mac app that sounds so good and offers such programmability. Once you purchase, you then get a link to download the Audio Unit version of the synth, which will run in any standard AU host. You do need to have the standalone app installed to run the AU, however.

What's Inside

NLogPoly Synth is, like the other NLog Synths, based on a fixed-architecture analog synth structure - that is, unlike fully-modular synths in which you create patches by connecting modules together with patch cords, NLogPoly Synth is designed more like a classic Moog Minimoog, where you can't really change the order in which the modules are patched. 

But that shouldn't be considered a liability - there's an enormous variety of sounds you can create even within this fixed architecture. NLogPoly Synth includes a total of four oscillators per patch, along with two filters, two LFOs (low frequency oscillators), frequency and ring modulation between the first two oscillators, 3 envelope generators, delay, reverb, and EQ effects, an arpeggiator, and extensive modulation routing capabilities. And there's an assignable X-Y pad for further performance control. 

Listen Up

Take a listen to some impressive sounds created with NLogPoly Synth for Mac:





A Step Up

Now, all these features are included in NLogSynth PRO for iPad, but where NLog Poly goes beyond is that you can play up to 8 separate sounds at once, each on its own MIDI channel and own audio output if desired - that's what those patch slots above the keyboard are for - for potentially hundreds of simultaneous voices, depending on your processor speed of course. 

Features like these in a $99 application would be outstanding; in a $24.99 app, they're incredible. If you're into authentic analog sounds and programmability, NLogPoly Synth is a no-brainer - just buy it.

macProVideo.com Competition (NOW CLOSED)

To celebrate the release of NLogPoly Synth for Mac we're running a very cool contest with some excellent prizes! Find out how YOU can win below.

To enter all you need to do is tell us "why you think NLogPoly Synth rocks" in a comment at the bottom of this article. That's it! (Only one comment per person is allowed).

Winners will be selected by a random draw on 1st June 2011 and announced on this page after that date! 

Here's what YOU can Win:

** 1ST PRIZE **  

** 2ND PRIZE ** 


  • NLog for iPhone or iPad 

Excited? We are too! So go ahead and add a comment below to have a chance to win one of the fantastic prizes above! And share this competition with your followers and friends via Twitter and FaceBook.


  • 1st Prize : Kelvyn
  • 2nd Prize: Bret
  • 3rd Prize: Lokey
  • 3rd Prize: Pat Buckna
  • 3rd Prize: Lung

Congrats to you all! We'll be in touch very soon with details on awarding your prizes! If you didn't win then check out the NLog range of synths here:


Richard Lainhart

More articles by this author

Richard Lainhart is an award-winning composer, filmmaker, and author. His compositions have been performed in the US, Europe Asia, and Australia, and recordings of his music have appeared on the Periodic Music, Vacant Lot, XI Records, Airglow Music, Tobira Records, Infrequency, VICMOD, and ExOvo labels. His animations and short films h... Read More


To enter this competition all you need to do is tell us "why you think NLogPoly Synth rocks" in a comment at the bottom of this article. That's it! (Only one comment per person is allowed).

Good Luck!
Easily one of the best sounding synths for the price that I've ever heard. Rivals other soft synths I have that cost hundreds more.
I love the driving sextuplet pulse of the Implex patch. Very nice!
WOW what an amazingly expansive soundscape, I love it. Thanks for the comp MPV!

Just one thing, it took a while to get my comment up, of course I just needed a forum alias(option on right after clicking "change/name")as well as my username.
Powerful sounds, and a great price! I've been using NLog PRO for iPad with my students. We just did a show that employed several of the built in sounds. Deep, fat, driving sounds. I can't wait to utilize the 8 channel feature in the NLogPoly Synth for Mac!
Hamish H
I'm a firm believer in making the most of what you've got - the Logic synths have always been more than enough for me, and there's still a lot of room for me to learn how to get the best out of them.

But the NLogPoly sounds awesome. it also looks awesome, and it looks fun to use. i bet its a very creative instrument.

$25 is also ridiculously cheap. Might just go check it out...
NLogPoly Synth rocks because it sounds great at a great price.
Mr. Jinx
The NLogPoly sounds like the bastard child of an Oberheim OBXa and a Roland Jupiter 8. What a steal at $24.99 USD!

Not sure how Rolf engineered those oscillators and filters to pump such fat squelchy basses, gorgeous bandpass sweeps, and sharp resonance frequencies...but thank the synth gods he did!

I own a dozen soft synths, some of which cost hundreds of dollars (are you listening, Native Instruments?). The depth and warmth of NLogPoly patches are remarkable at any price.

Did Christmas just arrive in May? Me want!

The Demo sounds were quite delicious, might have to give it a try! 25 bucks? Yeah thats a no brainer!
Wow! The NLogPoly sounds awesome! But not in the "Wow! That pizza was awesome" way. But in the "Wow! The Big Bang was awesome" way.
I don't have a brain... Where do I send my money?
It's dead simple - NLog is the only way to go for an analog experience on your iPhone!
RM Music
NLog Synth is out standing. I can't wait to start using the great analog sounds !
I love nLog b/c it's an amazing way to brainstorm soundscapes on my iphone and move them into logic!
Chris L
Instant purchase!
I think this will be a hit in the same way that the microKorg is. It's pleasing both to listen to as well as to use and look at. It's more accessible than other soft synths as the controls are basic and recognizable. The XY controls are especially fun.
NLog was the first synth for iPhone that actually felt like a proper soft synth and not some gimmicky app. There is solid programming behind this. Honestly, it's the only app with proper soft synth functionality.

Intua should really hire this guy...
Shimmering highs and pulsing lows. A must-have at a fantastic price.
Fantastic App!
NLog synth rocks old school synth style, but on new style technology! Can't wait to give it a try.
Pat Buckna
Nice retro display and cool sounds. Good price for a ton of functionality.
The NLogPoly rocks to counter the scissor. :)

The fact that it sounds pretty sumptuous doesn't hurt either though.
I think it's great because It looks and sounds amazing!
Hello to ALL! Thanks for entering the NLog competition!

Winners were picked by a random draw earlier today and are listed at the end of the article above!

Here were the results:

1st Prize : Kelvyn
2nd Prize: Bret
3rd Prize: Lokey
3rd Prize: Pat Buckna
3rd Prize: Lung

Congratulations!! I'll be in touch shortly with details on your prizes!

Hi again!

Thanks to Lokey, Pat and Lung for getting back in contact re: claiming their prizes.

I'm still waiting on Bret (2nd Prize) and Kelvyn (1st prize) to reply to my email to them.

If you are reading this, please check your Bulk folder for any emails from a @macprovideo.com address

Many thanks!
I never received the information on how to redeem the prize. I've checked to make sure it didn't go into Spam but it doesn't appear that it did.
Hi Lung,

I did receive your reply to my initial email, so don't worry you are on the radar! And I'll get back to you with details on how to redeem prizes during the coming week.

BTW, I'm waiting to receive a reply from our 1st prize winner, kelvyn.

Thanks for your patience!
Thanks, Rounik.

here is Rolf from TempoRubato. It was a great pleasure and big motivation to read all these great comments. Big thank you, makes me a nice day!

I wish all winner much fun with the NLog and the other prices.

In general: Ideas and feedback are always welcome, just email info at temporubato dot com


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