If you’re into making music on the go, here’s a list of 5 great music making apps for the iPhone/iPod touch, guaranteed to make you a maestro, or at least provide a lot of enjoyment whilst giving you RSI!
Xewton music studio | Price 11,99€ or £8.99 | Developer: Xewton
This has been described as GarageBand for the iPhone. Well, it’s not quite that but it’s the closest you’ll find for the iPhone/iPod touch at the moment. It’s programmed well and is pretty intuitive for anyone who’s used a sequencer (including GarageBand). If the sounds were better/programmable, or you could load your own samples and the FX were more flexible it would be a killer App. It’s good and fast for getting musical ideas down.
Beatmaker | Price 15,99€ or £11.99 | Developer: Intua
This is a little trickier to use than Xewton but way more flexible in the control you can have over sounds. You have 16 programmable pads that can be loaded with samples, reversed, pitched and sliced and then record them into patterns or play live over existing patterns. Three types of effects can be applied to each pad. Patterns can be organised into songs and exported as wav or midi files. If Xewton is GarageBand for the iPhone then this is an AKAI MPC.
Noise.io | Price 11,99€ or £8.99 | Developer: Amidio
If you’re into synthesis then this is a compulsory purchase. Using a method of synthesis called “ESFM (Enhanced Subspace Frequency Modulation)” which essentially a simple FM + Subtractive Synth with some patience you can make some really nice sounds. Its features include; sequencer, keyboard, FX, EQ and filters and an XY “Kaos” style pad that as well as touch gestures can be programmed to respond to movement.It’s interface is tricky to use and takes a bit of time before you can do more than just play around with the presets but it does sound great.
HammerHead | Price FREE | Developer: Bram Bos
Relatively speaking for the App store, the previous four apps have been pricey. The last one is free and great quality/easy to use. Hammerhead brought out a free TR-909 groovebox style app for the PC years ago that was really popular. Now it’s available for the iPhone/iPod touch. A pro version is available for 49p that has a lot more samples and ability to load/save patterns.
JR Hexatone Pro | Price 7,99€ or £5.99 | Developer: Amidio
Described as a “6-directional drum machine/rhythm sequencer” this is an unusual and interesting App, well suited to making any music that you don’t want to be too predictable. It consists of 6 “oscillators” in a grid of hexagonal shapes or “cells” that can trigger and shape a sample and / or pattern.
Made in collaboration with Keyboard guru Jordan Rudess it’s definitely worth checking out. It comes with 400 samples and you can load your own, [more mobile music apps should allow this]. I still haven’t mastered how this thing works but it’s capable of generating some great loops. Also like all Amidio Apps, audio can be exported for use within Intua’s Beatmaker.