If the iPhone was a game changer for peoples social lives then the iPad and Apple’s reinvention of the tablet PC is a game changer for producing electronic music. The flexibility and opportunity to access premium quality synth’s and sound technology – via relatively inexpensive apps – is unbeatable. For less than a round of drinks you can have your hands on some jaw dropping sounds that will help you develop your own signature sound, and enable you to tweak music productions whilst on the move. To get you started here is a collection of great apps to integrate into your music studio …
1. Rebirth (£1.99 – £10.49)
Everyone loves the sound of a 303 and this killer app of Propellerheads original software package is the ultimate value! Exactly like the PC version this features two 303s, an 808, a 909, the Pattern Controlled Filter, the compressor, the delay, the step sequencing, the song mode – everything’s here. Superb emulation, lots of sub bass and tweakable fun to be had for the price of a drink… winner!!
The iPad version is quite abit more than the iPhone version but will allow you a little more scalable fun in the operation of the GUI.
2. AKAI Synthstation £1.99
This bargain app is essentially a production studio on the move. Packed with 3 meaty synth’s with arpeggiator, X-Y touch control of parameters, built-in effects and filters, drumkits and MPC pad style interface, a sequencer and mixer. It’s intuitive to use too, and from personal experience does the dogs business over the limited iMaschine. The synth’s sound phat over a studio setup too.
3. Touch OSC (£2.99)
TouchOSC is a multi-touch controller application using the Open Sound Control (OSC) protocol. It enables you to use your iPhone to control your DAW, synth’s and other audio software. Get for Ableton fans to get a cut price jazzmutant style interface.
It can be fiddly to setup initially but is more than worth the admin.
4. Pro Keys (£0.69)
This is an ideal app for those of you traveling around or wanting to learn piano on the move. Pro Keys is a mulch-instrumental polyphonic keyboard equipped with sounds of legendary synthesizers. Application features unique and truly playable interface with 2 independent piano/drum keyboard modules. Additional features like overdubbing, loop player and vocal recorder make it a perfect tool for songwriters too.
Mirrored keyboard (duel) mode enables you to play with a friend sitting opposite to you.
5. Soundrop £ free
Great little music app to play around with for fun and inspire some fresh melodies. This works by drawing or dragging lines across the screen which when hit by the falling balls create sounds. Initially a little tricky, but with a little play time you’ll soon notice patterns and start to create original melodies.
6. Korg iElectribe £13.99
Cut down emulation of Kord’s highly coverted R-Electribe analogue beatbox. The app offers 4 percussion synthesizer parts; 4 PCM synthesizer parts which can be programmed through the 64 part sequencer. Pattern memory, 8 built-in EFX, audio export, and soundcloud publishing ability make this a very very tasty investment for the studio.
Another great piano app, this is similar to ‘Pro Keys’ except this had the added bonus of learning feature where you can play along to midi files like in the popular Synthesia, which has yet to transport into an app. So this app is ideal tool to learn to play songs, understand how they work and improve your own composition.
8. Aurora Sound Studio (£6.99 / £27.99 HD version)
Yet to try this but it sounds amazing –a music sequencing software where you select the musical key of your composition and then every note you play is intune! That’s technology helping work right there.
Aurora allows a mixture of pattern based recording and live performance on multiple instruments and drumkits. Along with all the tools of a sequencer.
9. Meteor Multi Track Recorder on the iPad
Meteor is a digital multi-track recorder designed specifically for the iPad. The program features up to 12 tracks of high quality audio, a built in mixer, Virtual Instruments and multi-effects processor.
10. Omnisphere TR iPad App
Omni TR (Touch Remote) is designed to turn an iPad into a performance-oriented, remote control surface for Spectrasonics Omnisphere softsynth. Based around a rotational axis control interface. I’ve not tried this one but a mate showed me a demo of it and is about to setup his PC to get tweaking. It reminds me of a Kaos pad in some way but harnessing the immense power and sound design possibilities of Omnisphere. This app and Omnisphere are probably my next purchases. It looks like it could completely change your improvisational skills and ability to shape productions on the fly!! no shit! Check the demo video below and try not to drool…
Boom. 10 killer apps to get your music productions better. Go enjoy exploring and if you find some more killer app’s be sure to share them in the comments below…