iPhone

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.

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iDAW

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.

Synthesizers

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

Sequencers

iPolySix, SynergyStudio, Cubasis

Samplers

Samplr, CsGrain, SampleWiz

Granular/Synth

GrainScience, iPulsaret, iDensity, GrainBender, Stria.

Drum and Percussion

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

Instruments

ThumbJam, Guitarism, OMGuitar, Gelileo Organ, MorphWiz

Virtual MIDI

Gestrument, MusixPro, ArpeggionomePro, Chordion.

FX

EchoPad, Filtatron, Turnado, AUFX:Space

Miscellaneous

Impaktor, AirVox

Tie It All Together, Edit, Master Etc.

Audiobus, AudioShare, Twisted Wave, Audio Mastering.

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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. 🙂

App Tease

I’ve been making music using only iOS devices and music “apps” going on 4 years now. In that time I’ve seen, used, beta tested, and reviewed countless music apps. I own somewhere around 400 music apps alone. Not counting all the crazy games and gadget apps. Addiction anyone?
In all that time development has gone berserk bringing new, improved and capable apps. It’s been nothing short of astonishing with how far it’s all come. Not to mention the insane low prices. Oh the prices! So low, for such brilliance.

In the early days using iOS music apps had been a bit cumbersome. I sure thought so. I had to record in one, audio copy and then paste into another. That was never enjoyable, but it made a lot of things possible that otherwise couldn’t be done without hooking up to other hardware or computers.
I hate wires, iTunes File Share is dreadful, so record & audio copy were essential features in any music app I would take seriously. Nothing against apps that didn’t have audio copy, it was just what I needed to do what I wanted to do wire free.

Audiobus finally arrived in December 2012 forever changing how I make my music, as I am sure it has done the same for many of you. It essentially brought everything together in a seamless and simple process. Not unlike how music is made on computers with DAWs and VSTs. They day I got Audiobus was the last day I used ACP in my process. It wasn’t until January when more developers supported Audiobus in significant number. That number grows day by day. Today everything I use to make music goes through Audiobus one way or another. See ya ACP!

After years of wishing, and hoping for something like Audiobus, and now having it, there’s no going back. So why do so many new music apps come out with no Audiobus support? Why? It is now the most necessary feature for any music app. It has resolved any need for any other method of transferring audio between music apps. Any other method is just painfully outdated. Obsolete even. Somehow new music apps keep coming out with no Audiobus support. It doesn’t make sense? Why release an app that makes us drool and get all excited about it, only to learn the apps developers failed to recognize that they left out support for one of the most critical features?
“App Tease”!

Hey look, a really cool new synth arrived in the App Store that sounds amazing! It’s a must have! Oh, wait a second? It doesn’t have Audiobus support. It doesn’t even record? What? You can only transfer audio via iTunes File Share or through some proxy via audio copy paste in another app. For the love of gawd why?

I’ve asked developers many times, and invariably hear the same absurd response. “We are listening to our customers feedback and will implement the most requested features in future updates.”
BullSpit! Seriously, they didn’t think end users would want to use their hot new music app with the single most important feature currently available today? If they didn’t know that, then how’d they even know to include a volume control? I can see the response to that would be something like: “Oh we didn’t know if end users wanted to actually hear anything? We will consider that for a future update. Thank you for your interest.”
OK, that was extreme. To me though, missing something like Audiobus support in the initial release of a new music app is pretty extreme itself. It reminds me of my favorite comparison of offering the coolest sports car ever made but with no steering wheel. They’ll be upgraded to support that later. Ferraris without steering, that’s what these new music apps without Audiobus are to me.
Apps made before last December get a pass. So do Midi controllers for the most part. They are jumping on board and updating often in most cases anyway. It’s the newest music apps that are making my head spin by arriving without it.

A year ago many of us would dismiss an app as a “toy” if it failed to have its own record function and audio copy. Today if a new app comes without Audiobus support, and no support even for the old ACP tech from past years, its hard to not feel teased. It’s a no brainier. New music apps must have basic functions and supports. Unless the intention is for novelty use.

Maybe I am alone on this? Maybe no one else wonders why a developer would create a super cool new music app that everyone will want, but not make it useable by today’s standards? It’s possible these are just the rantings of a mad man. Nevertheless, I am begging developers to please stop teasing me with the absence of Audiobus support, but are otherwise highly desirable and cool new music apps. No one wants to buy a Ferrari that only goes strait, and will be upgraded later if enough customers ask for a steering option.
No more App Tease, please. You know Audiobus support is crucial. Just finish it, then release it. 4 years ago it was tolerable. Today it’s just silly.

Can I get a second from any other end users in the comments? I’d like to hear from you if this strikes a chord. No pun intended.

Guitarism: Pocket Accoustic Guitar – Review

20130201-160729.jpgVisit Rhisms WebSite

UPDATED: 6-24-2013

Guitarism now supports multi channel -MIDI! This new feature is called “Triple Play” and is available as an IAP from within the app for $4.99. That might seem like a high price just for MIDI, but consider that the app itself is only a mere $2.99 as is, and has a quality sound with fantastic playability. Triple Play adds a lot more depth and functionality than it might seem at a glance. Being able to control up to 3 MIDI compatible apps simultaneously is really cool. Once you start using it, and experience just how inspiring it can be, the value becomes much more evident. I have to be honest though, I think the five bucks IAP is a little high. I’d feel more comfortable with it being a couple bucks less, or better yet a full Guitarism package with all the goodies for single price. Say $6.99? Nevertheless, its not my business to argue pricing, I’m just voicing my own opinion. By the way I want to direct you to the comments of this review to consider a strong argument for the value of this apps IAPs, that Rhism himself pointed out. He makes good sense and points out a reasonable comparison vs other apps with similar and higher priced options.
However you look at it the functionality you get is compelling. This is a solid and quality guitar simulation app that isn’t developed on a whim overnight. Its a serious instrument that delivers a wonderful experience, and with Triple Play a whole world of new possibilities open up. Guitarism with Triple Play are a powerful combination.

Original Review:

Why are so many virtual guitar apps in iOS being sold without Audiobus or at least AudioCopy?
Rhism LLC gets it. Developed by a guitar player, Guitarism comes not only with probably the best sounding virtual guitar, but also a comfortable playing interface built perfectly for iPhone and iPod touch. Plus, he made Guitarism relevant by adding Audiobus support quickly. The first virtual guitar app to do so.

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Guitarsm is a six string virtual acoustic guitar with an amazingly playable design. It sounds fantastic and as close to a real guitar sound as any other app. The quality of this is amazing maybe even better than other iOS virtual guitars.
You play Guitarism with two hands, and depending on if you’re a lefty or righty (both supported) the chords are on one side while the string strumming is on the other.
Guitarism is centered on strumming most of all, but you can finger pick individual strings without discomfort. For some reason Finger Picking (Smart Strings) is available through IAP. I feel that’s a standard function and should be part of the entry price.

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A very clean and simple interface intelligently designed awaits. No clutter or any unnecessary menus. This is strait up 6 string strumming pleasure. There is of course a menu of options to offer further tools to make the most of your experience.
Change and customize keys and scales how ever you prefer. Turn on Tilted Chords and your 6 available chords expand to 18 variations by simply tilting the device left and right. Very nice option, I can’t turn it off.
Check Out This YouTube Video

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Further expanding on expression options are Hammer On and Fret Muting which can also be enabled. These are the kinds of features any guitarist would expect. Having these makes playing Guitarism about the most instinctive and natural feeling of any iOS Guitar I’ve tried.

I cant say it enough. The sound is very good. The strings respond magnificently to how you hit them. Gently strum or tap for softer sounds, or rapid taps and fast strumming for much louder responses. The string attack is incredibly lifelike. There is a nice amount of sustain that lends to the natural quality of what’s played. It could probably benefit from a selectable option for users to expand or reduce the sustained audio. Just something I’d like.

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Guitarism has its own record option, and a recordings management folder. No FX come with Guitarism, but neither do real guitars. Thanks to Audiobus support, playing Guitarism through FX apps like EchoPad (really gotta try it!) is a fun and easy way to add some very cool FX, and have it all recorded in your favorite iDAW. AudioCopy is supported as well, in case you’re without Audiobus.
You can share your recordings, chord sets etc via Facebook, and the “Rhism Nation.”

More additions are being developed to improve and expand upon Guitarism. A couple notable planned items are: More guitar types, & MIDI. Both planned to be made available through IAP. iPad native support is being considered but has not been confirmed. Its possible a separate app might be needed for iPad. I hope he finds a way to make this universal, no one likes having to buy the same thing twice.
Personally speaking I am excited by the possibility of having a 12 string added to this. I can hardly wait to see what Rhism does next.

For the record I’ve been playing this on my iPads 2&3 at 2X size without any problems at all.
This is one well made and great sounding virtual guitar. No complaints. A new must have. 5 stars!
Buy Guitarism in iTunes

Musix Pro- A MINI Review

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Created By: Shiverware
Visit The Website Here

You can never have too many good apps for making music. Having one like Musix Pro for use as a MIDI controller, Isomorphic instrument, learning, expanding harmonics, and a fun music theory education tool all in one is pretty darn cool!

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Shiverware thought this out splendidly. Delivering Musix Pro with appeal to beginners, and pros alike. A customizable isomorphic keyboard that is both visually pleasant, and highly adaptable to individual playing styles or preferences. Even guitarists will find an option comfortable to their style.
Used as a hardware MIDI controller or Virtual MIDI controller for other compatible iOS music apps, Musix Pro offers a great environment to unlock and expand your creative wants and needs. No fuss.

It has no record or looping functions. No problem. That’s not the point of this cool app anyway. It is Audiobus ready. This controller is ready!

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Whether you are a expert in music theory, or are new looking for something you can learn and grow with, Musix Pro will provide you a very comfortable place to get along in any capacity.
Discovering new harmonic relationships in nearly every key or scale without ever hitting a wrong note inspires confidence and precise melodic control.

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This app is an all around gem. Excellent interface, detailed in app instructions, 8 included instruments, color themes, numerous lay out options and loads more (Check out the Shiverware website link up above for more details) all neatly packaged without any clutter. A fantastic highly useful instrument ready for you to unleash your melodic whims. Discover, learn, play, create.

Highly recommended!

Purchase Musix Pro from iTunes Here.

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.