3 new ways to use Loopy HD

loopy smallLoopy 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.

1. Getting the right tempo for your track

After I have my basic scratch track, I always want to be sure that I have the correct tempo before laying down the tracks. At this point, I’ll copy a couple of bars of chorus and also a couple bars of verse to the clipboard from Auria. These get copied into Loopy after I’ve set the Loopy tempo to the same as my project. Changing the tempo becomes as easy as dragging the tempo wheel around in loopy to find that tempo where the track feel is exactly right. After that, I can go back into Auria, set the new tempo and timestretch the audio scratch tracks to the new tempo. Much quicker and easier than trying to get this right only in Auria.

2. Finding the right drum loop or rhythm feel

I keep most of drum loops in AudioShare or other drum apps (Drum loops HD etc.). In the past, while composing, I often find it tricky to get the right loop or rhythm feel for a song. Loopy has made this much easier. I’ll copy my guitar (or synth) part into Loopy after setting the tempo. I can then go through my rhythm library and copy the beats into loopy while the guitar is playing. The copied loop is automatically timestretched to the correct tempo. After I’ve found the correct groove, I can copy it straight out of loopy into Auria – no timestretch required.

3. AudioBus recording

Although I use Auria to record all th acoustic stuff, I find I still battle using it with AudioBus – especially with other CPU intensive apps. Much of AudioBus recording is now done either with LoopyHD or MT DAW as both have simple, efficient AB implementations. Loopy is more suited to shorter parts and MT daw is better for parts that run throughout the song.
Hope this helps makes your iOS workflows a little easier…
Have a listen to my latest track at: http://soundcloud.com/craig-heckrath

iPad apps every musician should own

Bit of background..

More than a decade ago, i started getting into home recording. While in the process of setting up my first studio, i was burgled and lost all my gear. To top it off, insurance didn’t pay out on a technicality. Ultimately, I never replaced lost equipment. Over the last year, I’ve been discovering music creation all over again with the ipad. I’m finally scratching a decade long itch.The last year has seen the ipad evolve into a serious music making tool. I’m loving stretching the device to it’s musical extremes. As a guitarist that also loves electronic music, I find myself sequencing synth parts using my midi keyboard , recording through microphones and plugging my guitar all into the ipad.I’ve also bought a shit load of apps. Many have disappointed me and many have blown my mind and changed how I think about music creation. For this reason, I felt I should share the apps that every musician should own.

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..

The essentials

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

Animoog – A recent synth discovery. Wow. Interesting, x-factor, sounds with sharp bits that can draw blood.
Thumbjam – don’t let the lame name fool you :-), this app will give you a rich violin, cello, piano or organ sound. The touch screen is utilized much better than a simple keyboard allowing for very expressive performances.
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

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

ImproVox – Great app for generating beautiful vocal harmonies. Back in my workflow now that it has AB support

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.