Play '80s synths, surf with a solid VPN, test hard drive for video and find great Italian food [Awesome Apps] | Cult of Mac

Play ’80s synths, surf with a solid VPN, test hard drive for video and find great Italian food [Awesome Apps]


iPhone ad in the style of vintage Works Progress Administration artwork
This week's awesome apps include a retro synthesizer, a solid VPN, a quick test for hard drives and a guide to Italian eateries.
Image: Midjourney/Cult of Mac
Awesome Apps

In this week’s Awesome Apps roundup, we have a synthesizer app that brings back the sound of the ’80s, a solid VPN for safely surfing the Web, an app for testing external drives for recording high-res video, and a guide to the best eateries in Italy.

Best apps for music, security and finding Italian restaurants

Here’s what’s on the docket in Awesome Apps of the Week:

King of Digital Hybrid Synth app for iPad and iPhone

AudioKit King of Digital synth app
Retro-obsessed audio mavens: Don’t miss this one.
Photo: AudioKit

AudioKit Pro has released a new hybrid synthesizer app for iPhone and iPad, catering to enthusiasts of ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s music. Normally priced at $19.99, the app is currently available for $3.99 and holds the top spot in the Music category on the App Store.

The King of Digital app is a 64-voice virtual analog/PCM synthesizer inspired by digital synths from the late 20th century.

It features over 900 presets crafted by renowned sound designers, including Analog Matthew, Moby Pixel, and others. With more than 3GB of exclusive audio, the app includes five PCM banks of sounds, such as Digital D1 PCMs and a D1 expansion bank.

Notably, the app comes with a lifetime license and does not include ads or subscription requests. It also has a vintage-style step sequencer, dual layers per voice, keyboard splits, and three LFOs with creative routings. The iPad version offers stacked views for enhanced onscreen control. Overall, the King of Digital app offers a comprehensive synthesis experience for fans of retro digital sounds at a discounted price of $3.99 on the App Store. — David Snow.

Read more about King of Digital Hybrid Synth app here.

Price: $19.99 $3.99

Download from: App Store

VPN Unlimited by KeepSolid

KeepSolid's VPN Unlimited is, well, a solid VPN.
KeepSolid’s VPN Unlimited is, well, a solid VPN.
Photo: KeepSolid

When it comes to a VPN, you want three things: speed, security and ease of use. VPN Unlimited by KeepSolid delivers all of the above, and works on iPhone, Mac, Apple TV and a ton of other devices.

Need speed? KeepSolid operates more than 3,000 fast servers in 80 locations so you can avoid bottlenecks. Crave security? VPN Unlimited utilizes AES 256-bit encryption, maintains a zero-log policy to ensure privacy, and offers a wide variety of VPN protocols, including the proprietary KeepSolid Wise (which helps you bypass VPN blocks).

Sick of complicated setup and operation? VPN Unlimited makes it simple to dance around location-based restrictions so you can access your favorite streaming services from anywhere. And its Trusted Networks feature means the VPN won’t run when you don’t need it to.

It’s no fly-by-night operation, either: VPN Unlimited just celebrated its 10th anniversary. VPN Unlimited costs $9.99 a month, and you can try it free for seven days.

Download from: App Store (iOS or macOS)

P.S. VPN Unlimited is also available as a part of KeepSolid’s MonoDefense package, which includes KeepSolid DNS Firewall, Passwarden, KeepSolid SmartDNS and Authenticator, all for one low price. #sponsored

OWC Drive Speed: Test an external hard drive for recording video with an iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max

OWC Drive Speed app for iPhone
This simple tool could be a life-saver. Or, at least, a video-saver.
Image: Other World Computing/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

OWC Drive Speed is a free iPhone app designed to verify the transfer speeds between iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max and external drives, which is crucial when recording ProRes video at 4K and 60 fps.

Apple encourages creatives to use iPhones for recording, allowing the latest models to record directly on external storage via USB-C. However, the efficiency of this process depends on the speed of the external drive. OWC Drive Speed provides a solution, displaying the maximum frames per second a drive can handle and allowing users to test various parameters, from H.264 at 720p to ProRes at 4K.

Despite occasional quirks, such as occasional improbable frame rate jumps, the app is considered valuable for assessing the performance of external drives during data transfer. OWC Drive Speed is free, without in-app purchases or ads, making it an accessible and practical tool for iPhone users seeking to optimize their recording setup. — Ed Hardy.

Read more about OWC Drive Speed app here.

Download from: App Store

Osterie d’Italia app helps you discover Italy’s best restaurants

Osterie d'Italia app on an iPhone with a fork.
The just-updated Osterie d’Italia app showcases Italy’s most soulful slow-food restaurants.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Slow Food Editore’s killer guide to Italy’s most authentic restaurants — Osterie d’Italia 2024 — now serves up its restaurant recommendations in English for the first time.

The new Osterie d’Italia app helps you find excellent dining options in Italy.

Slow Food Editore’s Osterie d’Italia series, now in its 34th edition, highlights restaurants that prioritize “good, clean, and fair” food, making it a great resource for travelers seeking genuine culinary experiences. The app, an alternative to the paperback guide, was previously only available in Italian, presenting a challenge for non-Italian speakers. However, the 2024 edition caters to an English-speaking audience.

Emphasizing the Slow Food movement’s commitment to preserving traditional dishes, the app guides users to establishments deeply rooted in Italy’s regional cuisine. Each restaurant listing includes a historical overview, culinary philosophy, menu highlights, and icons denoting exceptional features like cheeses, baked goods, and a red snail icon for the most highly recommended venues.

The app, priced at $6.99, offers comprehensive details such as addresses, contact information, hours, websites, seating capacity, average meal prices, and pet-friendliness, making it an essential tool for foodies planning a trip to Italy. — Lewis Wallace.

Download from: App Store (iOS)

Read more about Osterie d’Italia app here.


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