Drum Machine

The Must Have iOS Music Apps In My Process

Updated July 24 2013

A few additions and deletions to consider in this updated list. I’ve added some really impressive new apps, as well as removing a couple I’m tired of waiting for updates.
A couple of the most notable additions is Waldorfs Nave, Nave is special, and very powerful with tremendous sonic crafting options. “Audio Mastering” app which I find to be an extremely useful, and quality mastering option. If you are using something like Cubasis then it is absolutely essential.
Thor Polysonic Synthesizer, AUFX:Space ( a fantastic stand alone reverb ), and now that Audiobus is supported MorphWiz and SampleWiz are added.

A while ago I made a similar list of iOS music apps that I generally considered “Must Have” iOS Music Apps. It got a bit long & messy. It was more of a wide look at the apps I thought had a fairly universal appeal for anyone interested in making music this way. I’m making this new list to reflect a more current collection of iOS music apps, but most specific to what is used in my own process rather than a list of options or just simply great apps. There are so many great apps.
This is a response of sorts to the questions I am asked most often about my music process.”Hey, David! What music apps do you use and recommend?” And “Why?”

First. I only require that these have Audiobus support now, or at least AudioCopy/Paste until they can be updated with Audiobus. Any music app failing to have, or a plan to soon have those basic functions, are simply not installed. At least not until they do. I am always open to revisiting other excellent music apps when they are completed with these basic supports. The reason this is so important to me is because I have always been committed to the wire-free creative experience that iOS offers.
I enjoy that freedom most and it adds to my inspiration. Wires don’t appeal to me and I feel are no longer necessary in this day and age. If I wanted wires I’d use a laptop.
iTunes File Share is dreadful and not part of my process. The rare times ill use File Share is just to move projects for storage on my computer. Lastly, I only occasionally use Virtual MIDI and own no other hardware.

What I used previously versus what I use today is very different. So much has changed. The amazing growth and development in iOS music apps available today has advanced very quickly. It is a very exciting time for me as I’m sure it is for countless others who are equally (if not more) enthusiastic about this unique platform for music production.

So for what ever its worth, here is my list of apps I consider “Must Haves” and use in my process to make music. The ones I just can’t live without.



Auria – The single most complete iDAW for mixing, editing & mastering from cradle to grave.

Meteor- The next best thing to Auria for professional quality. Now with up to 24 tracks via IAP. Good automation and fantastic MIDI controls. Instruments, and solid FX, but paying extra for an EQ is offensive. Still great iDAW.


PPG WaveGenerator, PPG WaveMapper, Animoog, Addictive Synth, Sunrizer Synth, Magellan Synth, NLogPro, Nave, Thor, CrystalSynth XT


iPolySix, SynergyStudio, Cubasis


Samplr, CsGrain, SampleWiz


GrainScience, iPulsaret, iDensity, GrainBender, Stria.

Drum and Percussion

DM1-The Drum Machine, DrumJam, Stochastic, MoDrum. GlitchBreaks


ThumbJam, Guitarism, OMGuitar, Gelileo Organ, MorphWiz

Virtual MIDI

Gestrument, MusixPro, ArpeggionomePro, Chordion.


EchoPad, Filtatron, Turnado, AUFX:Space


Impaktor, AirVox

Tie It All Together, Edit, Master Etc.

Audiobus, AudioShare, Twisted Wave, Audio Mastering.


There you have it. A list of the iOS music apps I must have in my process. This is by no means a declaration of any kind. Everyone has a unique process with apps they prefer. I hope that answers the question some of you have asked. I’m sure this will all change tomorrow. 🙂

DrumJam Review

A new flavor of jam

*Review is based on experience with DrumJam on iPad 2&3

By Sonosaurus LLC makers of ThumbJam
Featuring Pete Lockett

Sonosaurus, maker of the incredible ThumbJam, teamed up with award winning percussionist Pete Lockett to create DrumJam. A truly accessible drum and percussion application smothered in brilliance. We all know about ThumbJam and how great it is. You can safely expect the same excellence of DrumJam in a familiar, and clever user interface.
Everything in DrumJam is right on one screen with handy drop downs and buttons or sliders that expand, or change to another setting option, on touch. It’s a nice, strait forward design leading to a very snazzy level of fluid control and no confusion. Both of the main control x/y pads are on the same screen, the pattern based instruments on one pad above, and the solo instrument on the other underneath
It’s easy to feel comfortable with live performance, there is no jumping from one screen to the next interrupting the flow of your jam.
DrumJam has dozens of looped percussion instruments & drum kits to easily select by drag and drop to create multiple layers of varied rhythmic sound types. With an x/y pad type controller it allows full manipulation of individual instruments. Pan, volume, mute, solo, filter and are all easily controlled here.

Each instrument has up to 20 different patterns recorded by Pete Lockett himself, and are also controlled by this pad. With multi tempo loop recordings over a wide range of tempos, all can be changed easily without messing up the rhythm thanks to the time stretch function.

Reverb and Delay can be enabled by the touch of a virtual button.

Each looped instrument can be locked to prevent accidental pattern changes.
If you just can’t decide what to do, hit the randomizer for something totally unexpected. The randomizer can also be timed to change on its own periodically.
It simply flows like a comfortable stream of uninterrupted jamming jubilation.

For more on all the features of DrumJam click HERE to visit Sonosaurus LLCs website.
 The lower x/y pad allows control of the many solo instruments for you to play over the looped patterns or completely alone. Instruments here are placed in the same drag and drop way. It’s all designed very consistently.
With sensitivity control, and a full range of quantize, sounding great has never been so easy or fun.
The solo pad can have FX applied including Reverb, Delay, Pitch bend, LoFi, and Distortion. Go ahead crush it!
The instruments having been real recordings all
sound fantastic. Whether its a short beat or entire performance, all can be recorded at studio quality 44.1 kHz, 16 bit .wav and shared via multiple options. Sharing options include, audio copy, “Open In”, iTunes file share, and export to SoundCloud.
DrumJam is packed with a comprehensive menu of MIDI control options that support clock sync in or out. Virtual MIDI, and Background audio with a power save feature is included.

I’ve spent several hours lost in DrumJam exploring and enjoying everything it offers. I can attest to the fact that even a novice rhythm maker can have a joyous experience sounding like a pro. With all the tools necessary and quality of DrumJam all around I’m sure a pro would be hard pressed to argue the greatness of this highly inspiring application.

I just don’t have any complaints.

Thanks to the excellent reputation of its developer there’s no reason to think further development isn’t in the future pipeline. Some of the things I was able to confirm with Sonosaurus which are in that pipeline follow.
Here is the future road map of DrumJam

– support for playback of recorded loops in the app

– support for import of user samples for building custom solo kits
– additional sets of loops with alternate time signatures
– additional solo instruments
– additional loop instruments
The additional content may be a mix of factory-included and in-app purchases.
That’s strait from the source.

These days music apps are more than tools. Yes they are increasingly capable, but they also offer a way for everyone to enjoy them to their fullest. Randomize a fun experience, create original parts for a composition, practice, teach or learn with it. Its all there.
DrumJam is at the top of the iOS music heap among some very good company and should be on all music lovers iDevices.

It’s a no brainer click HERE to buy DrumJam from iTunes.

Glitch Breaks App Review

A Cut Above

iOS Universal Application * (Review based on use with iPad 2 and 3rd Generation iPad)

Normally when I think of the word “glitch” something gone wrong comes to mind.
Glitch Breaks by Alex Matheu is an insanely fun and very useful app. Right off the bat I found myself right at home with the strait forward and intuitive user interface. I was immediately pulled in fiddling with the 4, x/y, continuous audio (channels) pads loaded with selected preset beats. Selecting one pad with a simple touch plays a beat that you can either load with one of the very cool 90 beat loops or something you created and imported. Switching between pads is seamless, each has its own level control, and all with no break in the audio at all. Tap one pad mutes the last and manipulating the “glitch”, Cut” or “Loop Modulation” pads allows for some pretty crafty glitched out break beats.

You can also control pitch and reverse the audio for more effect.
It has many features like, background audio, quantize, Audio Copy paste, iTunes File Share and many more.
For more about the specifications and information about Glitch Breaks check the web site of its creator Alex Matheu HERE

Just tap, touch, swipe your way through some cool sounds gone glitch with ease.
It’s that easy, but the sounds are complex. Loading a new beat to a pad from the library of presets or user imports won’t interrupt the flow one bit making Glitch Breaks perfect for live performances. This is one serious and very satisfying glitch machine.

Whatever type of musician you fancy yourself to be, this will not only be a blast to play with, but also indispensable for creating some pretty wild stuff live or in the studio, or where ever you feel the craving.

It’s not all just beats, you can manipulate any audio from vocals, synth solos, or Chopin if you like.
Thanks to the 1 to 4 bar or no bars, selection function you’re not limited to strictly tempo based audio.

I’ve spent many hours playing with Glitch Breaks, cutting, and modulating my way to pure glitch bliss. It’s unmistakable high quality, effortless interface makes it easy to forget the world outside and go full tilt boogie to your hearts content.

Yeah, I recommend this amazing app. Go to iTunes  and buy it. You’ll be glad you did.

Stochastic Drum Machine By Xitiv Inc. App Review

The Probability Of Cool Beats

Available HERE in iTunes
There are a lot of drum machines, and I’ve played with nearly all of them on iOS. There aren’t very many that have impressed me, but Stochastic has and does!

My first impression prior to hearing anything was the unusual appearance of the user interface. In my gut I was worried it would be just another bland app. This concern was quickly dismissed the second I hit play.
Wow! These sounds are very realistic. I felt like I was listening to a real live drummer. With the thousands of samples, there’s no shortage of variety from classic kits, acoustic, digital, analog, to percussion, FX….and many more.

 Mixing and matching will not be an obstacle, and if it ever does go stale for you, importing your own sounds will fix that via the many different sharing options, including copy/paste, drop box, email and iTunes file share. Also included are WIST, Background Audio, and “Open In” functionality. Moving samples to and from the app was well thought out. Stochastic plays very well with others. Its really nice for once to not have to wait for some far off update that might one day allow for wireless use. Thank You Xitiv Inc!
Stochastic further separates itself from the pack by adding a unique Probability feature that can turn any static sequence into a dynamic, and thoroughly interesting event. This a feature I’ve not seen anywhere before? It has to be experienced first hand to really appreciate it. Fun with chaos.

With up to (16-32) 64 programmable steps, 15 samples (3 banks of 5) and 32 voices this is no light weight. Possibilities for complex beat sequences abound.

 I might gripe only in that you can only pan the sample, not each individual step. Though it appears to be a consideration for future updates among Mute, Solo, MIDI and Volume control.
Visit Xitiv Inc at: HERE for all the specs and details.
Other than gain control Stochastic is light on extra sound FX, you won’t find anything like, phaser, delay, or the likes. I’m not really missing that stuff myself as I actually prefer dry to wet when creating a beat. They are nice FX to have, but nothing I feel I can’t live without. Tweaking with FX can easily be done in other apps if I must. Thanks to the many easy file sharing options, this is no sweat.
 This is one big, fun, amazing sounding drum machine that may not look flashy but delivers pro sound quality in a simple no fuss interface. It gets the job done, and thanks to the Probability feature crafting something original is a purely delightful adventure in beat making. Perfect for drum and bass, electronic, dance, or really anyone who wants a high quality beat machine. Priced at $4.99 it’s a bargain.
Buy Stochastic HERE from the iTunes App Store
4.5 stars. Highly recommended