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REVIEW: Embertone's Sensual Saxophone for iOS

James Marinos
REVIEW: Embertone's Sensual Saxophone for iOS

When I heard that Embertone was launching its Sensual Saxophone app, I knew right away I had to try this iconic reed instrument in all its full virtual glory! After all, this was my best shot at being able to recreate some of my favourite 80s lead lines without mastering my saxophone, which is currently on ornamental status.

Created in collaboration with Vietnam-based Blue Mangoo, makers of the innovative iFretless apps, Embertone’s Sensual Saxophone is the firm’s first foray into the world of iOS.

The moment you open up Sensual Saxophone in an iPad or iPhone the interface is unforgivingly 80s. Bright neon and plumes of purple mist welcome you, along with something labeled as a ‘Sex’ knob – one overriding feature that is prevalent within this app is its tongue in cheek approach to terminology, which never deviates far from this theme. This was for me of no issue, though to the prudish or sensitive beware, sensual sax just skipped first base.

The Sex knob is essentially a master fader for the reverb and delay levels, all of which are amendable (and of a great standard), including options of changing room size and delay time. Increasing this dial is optimised when activating the ‘Sensuality’ button, which adds a very intuitive growl to the performance.
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The three key performance settings consist of: Legato, Sustain and Staccato. In my opinion the most overwhelmingly realistic was Legato, which draws very naturally between notes adding a realistic trill as you play. Best results are achieved by keeping your scales within the natural range of the instrument, particularly Soprano or Alto, exceed these ranges and the samples begin to relieve their honesty.

There isn’t as much room here for a ‘trad Jazz’ sound and although you could use the app to that effect, tonality and intention are focused towards emulating that of Careless Whisper rather than something heard from a Blue Note release.

Additionally, should you wish to use a MIDI controller rather than touch screen functionality, this has been considered so you can run a compatible interface to control your performance too.

There is little not to like about this app, it’s fun, realistic and incredibly easy to use offering instant results. In context, if you are a recording artist/engineer looking to produce your next ‘Vaporwave’ hit, or just want to reenact a scene from Lost Boys this is a must have... and at its very reasonable price point its worth every penny and then some!

Embertone’s Sensual Saxophone is available now for iPad (2, mini, and above) and iPhone/iPod Touch (5 and above) and has a price tag of $4.99.

The app can be purchased and directly download from the App Store at

Tags: saxophone , iOS , Reviews , Embertone , virtual instrument , Sensual Saxophone

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