11 Music Apps Every Artist Needs
Apps are everywhere. Today, the latest and greatest must-have apps put the power of music in your pocket. Whether using Jammcard to hook up with other musicians in L.A., MIXhalo for soundboard-quality streaming, or selling classic gear on Reverb, the convenience of apps on the go can even overpower sentimental reluctance to step away from larger, traditional pieces of gear. Here are 11 tools you can take anywhere with you.
Audiobus for iOS builds, supports and saves configurations of audio and MIDI streams. And it's considered an essential utility in addition to GarageBand. The lean on-screen symbols visually represent these custom-built signal chains while enabling versatile touch-control. New features include more sophisticated MIDI support and a simple mixer for input-audio levels.
Caustic by Single Cell Software for Android/iOS, somewhat self-consciously, has it all: drum machines, a large selection of synthesizers, many effect types (with 2 aux sends available per instrument), mix/master plug-ins, and a song sequencer to tie it all together. The easy-to-use interactive display shows each of these components stacked like old-school rack gear, allowing intuitive navigation with the analog feel of a recording studio.
djay Pro, $9.99
djay Pro by Algoriddim for Android/iOS gives a taste of what their larger systems can do to support performing DJs. Their signature approach to media remixing and mashups carries into other Algoriddim products and relates to djay Pro's Spotify integration. If you love mixing tracks on the go and want to keep your sounds in sync, this will let you do it.
edjing Mix, free
edjing Mix by edjing for Android/iOS provides wide-ranging features that DJs need alongside support for local files, Deezer, Spotify and SoundCloud. If its effects, EQs, and BPM-detection aren't enough, the in-app store lets you buy more features. edjing provides plenty of nice starting points for the entry-level novice and seasoned turntablist alike.
Final Touch, $9.99
Final Touch by Positive Grid for iPad provides pro-quality control over the mastering chain. Details include multiband dynamic processors, pre and post equalizers, a stereo imager, reverb controls, and a final maximizer for overall loudness. As the company puts it, the goal is to, "deliver masters that sound not just louder but clearer, wider, fuller, and more powerful and detailed."
FL Studio Mobile, $13.99
FL Studio Mobile by Image-line for Android/iOS uses the desktop version's familiar controls and tools resized to fit your smartphone or preferred mobile device. Its wide range of features, colorful interface, and multi-platform consistency make for a well-equipped creative environment. In addition to basic piano and beats; tweakable synths, effects, mixing, recording, and exporting, add-ons are available for purchase in-app.
GarageBand & Music Memos, free
Not everyone can say they have learned how to use Garageband & Music Memos by Apple for iOS, but if you record music and have the opportunity, it's a skill well worth learning. Some artists/producers consider it creatively transparent, doing what's needed while seeming like it's not even there.
iMaschine 2, $9.99
iMaschine 2 for iOS translates the app's developer Native Instruments’ beat-making process onto mobile, offering 16 sample-pads, dual x-y pads, and tools for arranging and sequencing. Targeting the ability to "make music anywhere" and create full tracks, the interface is loaded with visually distinctive shortcuts, such as quick sample recording or the "Smart Play" keyboard that keeps improvisation in the right key. Expansion packs are available.
Launchpad by Novation for iOS is a MIDI controller that relies on an 8x6 grid of colored squares to play mixes and trigger loops and one-shot samples, and includes 16 club-style effects. This interface hails back to Launchpad's release as a piece of hardware gear in 2009, designed to integrate with Ableton Live. It expanded electronic musicians and DJs' minds into a more playful, performance-friendly sense of what could be done, and this app brings that creative freedom to mobile.
Phase84 by Retronyms for Android/iOS is a phase-distortion synthesizer capable of generating the warm synth sounds traditionally associated with analog gear. With x-y pads, groove editor, sequencer and a wide range of sound-shaping features, the company says it, "can create warm pads, glitchy sounds, dirty basses, filthy sweeps, screaming leads, and anything in-between."
Remixlive by Mixvibes for Android/iOS supports a loop grid, a drum grid, sample recording, live looping, and performing. An x-y pad controls effects, an internal mixer balances levels, and a sample editor offers multiple ways to modify waveforms. The variety is designed to make it easy to start new projects and fun to play around with ideas, while also supplying enough of what's needed to tweak spontaneous sonic sketches into finished tracks.