The amount of great music making apps you can download for iOS and Android seems to be increasing by the day.
In the video above, we walk through some of the best of the best, breaking down 15 apps into three categories: apps that assist your workflow (in your main DAW of choice), mobile DAWs, and instruments / effects. Follow along for more details and demos of each of the music making apps, and see the links below to download the ones you found interesting.
Music production apps that assist workflow
1. Suggester ($13.99 / free lite version, iOS / Android)
Whether you’re a music theory beginner or expert, Matheiu Routhier’s Suggester can be a great app for coming up with new chord progressions on the go. The app suggests a wide variety of chords within a designated key, from simple triads to unique extended chords and voicings. You can construct full progressions using these chords right within the app, and then export the MIDI for further work in your DAW.
2. Logic Remote (free, iOS)
If you use Logic Pro or GarageBand, Logic Remote is an app that’s definitely worth checking out. With it, you can control the playback of arrangement, mix your tracks, and do much, much more, right from your phone or iPad.
3. Image-Line Remote / ILRemote (free, iOS / Android)
Image-Line Remote (or ILRemote on the App Store) is essentially the equivalent of Logic Remote, but for FL Studio users.
4. Avid Control (free, iOS / Android)
…And Avid Control is the counterpart for Pro Tools users!
5. TouchOSC ($9.99, iOS / Android)
If you don’t use Logic Pro, GarageBand, FL Studio, or Pro Tools, TouchOSC can be a valuable alternative for remote control of your DAW. It makes use of an open format, and the developers are good at updating it frequently.
6. CoSo (free, iOS / Android)
Last but not least for this section, we also wanted to quickly shout out one of our own music making apps: CoSo. A handy tool for kickstarting your next track, CoSo allows you to create custom ‘Stacks’ of samples that are time-stretched and transposed to fit together. While you can use it without any Splice Sounds subscription, you also have the option of accessing the sounds in the Splice desktop app later for further editing in the DAW.
1. FL Studio Mobile ($13.99, iOS / Android)
If you’re already used to FL Studio’s workflow (or have been interested in trying it out), FL Studio Mobile should be a natural pick for you. Its step sequencing and piano roll functionalities are nearly unmatched in the mobile domain, and it also contains some fairly advanced features like key locking.
2. BandLab (free, iOS / Android)
If your workflow revolves around sampling, look no further than BandLab. The app makes it incredibly easy to record and import samples, and adding effects to your tracks is a breeze. And best of all, it’s free, so you don’t have much to lose.
3. Caustic ($9.99, iOS / Android)
While perhaps lesser-known than FL or BandLab, Caustic also offers some standout features that make it a great app for music production. Most notably, the DAW revolves around a skeuomorphic workflow, so if you like getting lost in dials and cables, it can be a great choice to play around with.
4. Flip Sampler ($9.99, iOS)
Last but not least is Flip Sampler. While it’s only available for iOS, the app boasts an easy-to-navigate UI and clean sampling workflow that earn it a spot on this list.
Instruments and effects
1. Synth One Synthesizer (free, iOS)
AudioKit’s Synth One is an open-source instrument that’s great for learning the ins-and-outs of synthesis. That said, the app is also surprisingly robust, enabling for the design of quite complex sounds.
2. DRC (free, Android)
An Android-exclusive option, DRC is a two-oscillator synth that’s also easy to grasp while offering tons of depth. It also features some pretty high-quality presets.
3. KORG Module (free, iOS)
While there are technically free and paid versions of KORG Module, the grand piano available in the free version sounds quite stellar, meeting the high standards set by their renowned software instruments.
4. Audiobus ($9.99, iOS)
Audiobus is a unique utility app that lets you connect your various music making apps together. Enabling the processing of audio across apps, it can really open up the realm of possibilities if you’re dedicated to maximizing your mobile music production process.
5. FabFilter Pro-Q 3 ($29.99, iOS)
Last but certainly not least, FabFilter’s Pro-Q 3 needs no introduction. The manufacturer’s mixing and mastering plugins are easily some of the best available on the market, and their mobile recreations similarly don’t disappoint.
15 great music making apps: Conclusion
Not too long ago, making an entire track on your phone may have felt like a pipe dream. However, rapid advancements in technology have enabled music making apps to become exponentially more powerful—and they’re continuing to evolve every day. We hope this list exposed you to some new apps that you’re excited to try out the next time you sit down to make music.
Which app on the list is your favorite? Are there any great ones that we missed? Let us know in the comments section of the video.
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June 25, 2022