Loopy HD is an amazing looper app. Beyond the loop based recording, I’ve found other, less obvious, uses for it. This mostly relates to the fantastic time-stretch functionality and Audiobus implementation. Although I use Auria for my recording, these use cases are just as applicable in workflows with Cubasis, MT DAW or any other IOS DAW.
Bit of background..
My criteria for apps I use are as follows:
1. It must sound awesome! Nothing moves my finger to the little delete x faster than a crappy sounding app.
2. It must play nicely with other apps. No single app will do everything perfectly. Therefore, any new app needs to be able to work with other apps to achieve the desired result. This means Audiobus, copy paste and/or virtual midi support is essential.
3. It must be a pleasure to use. Apps that have clunky interfaces or crash, mess with my music zen.
Enough history, let’s start already..
Auria: incredibly powerful daw. All my audio recording, mixing and mastering goes through this app. Some users find the app a bit daunting or the price tag a little high in which case Multitrack DAW is the best simpler, cheaper alternative. I say, sell some of the crap in your attic and buy this app!
Audiobus : this app changed the iOS landscape. It is the magic that allows your apps to route music to and through each other… If they support Audiobus. If they don’t, don’t buy them.
Audioshare: can’t believe I waited this long buy this. This app is great for managing bits of audio between apps. I also use it as a central categorize folder for all my samples.
For the guitarist
Ampkit: great sounding amps and effects. In app purchases can add up but so worth it. My real guitar amp is now sitting in the corner feeling very neglected.
Jamup pro: love it just as much as Ampkit and often find myself hoping between these 2 apps looking for the right sound.
Cleartune: great chromatic tuner
Amazing slow downer: import from itunes and slow down that Muse solo to hear what’s happening. Can also tune the song to your guitar.
I feel there is still a hole here on iOS music apps. For my purposes, I need to sequence some drums or keyboard against existing audio tracks. If any other iOS musos out there have any suggestions, I’m listening. But for now:
Beatmaker2 – I have a serious love hate relationship with this app. It is clunky and the built in samples aren’t very good, but seems to be the only virtual midi sequencer that meets my needs.
Nanostudio – really nice sequencer with a fairly decent built in synth. This was first music app I truly loved. Unfortunately over the year it’s fallen out of my workflow as it can’t do audio tracks, virtual midi or Audiobus and hasn’t had any significant update in over a year.
Cubasis – don’t own it yet so can’t comment on it. Id like to find out more about its sequencing ability before i pay for this fairly pricey app. Will this be the answer to my sequencing pains?
Synth and virtual instruments
Sunrizer synth – this thing sounds beautiful. Sometimes I’ll just push a note and listen in awe. This is my goto synth 50% of the time
Magellan – not quite as good as sunrizer but has a nice arpeggiator and an impressive effects section. Make this your 2nd synth
Samplr – opens up all sorts of creative options for turning samples into musical instruments
Soundprism pro and/or chordion – both are midi controllers that make clever use of the touchscreen. I use both of these to control sunrizer
Arpeggionome – another midi controller for performing intricate arpeggios
Drum loops hd – a series of great sounding grooves at different tempos all performed by the same drummer on the same kit allowing them to be seamlessly sequenced together
Audio elements – fantastic sounding loops that can be easily expanded via in app purchases
Drums and percussion
Drum jam – combine large combinations of real part loops recorded by Pete Lockett for unique grooves. Love the organic percussion
Impaktor – trigger percussive sounds by hitting the table or clapping your hands. Honestly I haven’t used this on a song yet, but now that the latest update included Audiobus, maybe…
Other inspiring apps in my collection
Glitchbreaks – will certainly use this for the groove of my next song. This app is also just insane amounts of fun and will steal hours from your life.
Werkbench – quickly create a groove using recorded sounds
Loopy HD – this loop based recorder is the quickest way to capture an idea. I spend a lot of time in this app
Figure – although it is limited, it can inspire a dance dance track in under 5 minutes
Soundcloud – for sharing and collaboration on music
Voice builder – exercises for the helping your vocal ability ..and I need all the help I can get
Djay – great dj app that supports Audiobus
Apps that I have but don’t use
I debated leaving the next section out but decided that knowing what not to spend your money on is as important as knowing what to buy. The below are apps that i don’t use or have stopped using because they don’t meet my specific criteria. Some have great potential and some don’t, but all disappoint in their special way. Again, all this is just my opinion :-).
GarageBand – yup, the elephant in the room. This app makes me cry. Many of the built-in instruments are the absolute best on iOS. The smart strings.. Wow. Yet, Apple seems insistent that this app’s shitty multitrack is used for recording. The app has copy/paste, ….but only into the app. The app has Audiobus, ….but only into the app.. Arghhhhh!!!!!
Other apps I don’t use anymore include: DM1, voice synth, shredder, mixtikl 5, yellofier, sunvox, organ +, Hokusai, I am t-pain, vocal live, ivoxel, Igrand piano, music studio, korg ielectribe and sample tank
Apps on my wish list
Apps that I haven’t tried yet but will the moment my next paycheck clears:
Cubasis, imini, wavemapper, level 24 and vio
Anything missing here?
Hope this gives you new iOS musicians a starting point. Read smitematter’s blog next as it was my source of inspiration for this blog.