Mobile apps are fantastic for music production. Being able to compose a melody or mix a song on the go is really easy now!
Whenever you feel inspired and you are out of the studio, it’s very simple to take your phone or tablet and start creating a new song. If you have a synth line in your head or you need to simple record some sounds or a live performance and then mix it into your main track back in the studio – a music-making app can be very helpful.
Many of these music-making applications include many features like a full DAW but run on Android and iOS offering you full mobility.
Bandlab mixes up a combination of music-making and social interaction. So you can make your own music and share it and discover other artists all within the same app. But the key bit for us is that the music production part is rather good.
You have a 12-track Mix Editor in which you can record live audio, import tracks, mix and automate your music while building your song. It has a Looper functionality for building up layers of beats, rhythms and melodies. You can quantize, gate, retrigger and add all sorts of effects. In fact, there are over 100 guitar, bass and vocal effect presets for adding the perfect tone your tracks.
Another great feature is the unlimited online project storage so you’re never having to worry about filling up your phone or losing your music. You can also open up your projects on other devices; you can share it with an iPhone or run it in a browser on any computer. Or if you want a new perspective, share it in the community and get some else to mix it.
2.FL Studio Mobile 3
FL Studio Mobile comes from the makers of FL Studio, a hugely popular desktop DAW with all the usual trimmings. The Mobile version loses a huge amount of the clever stuff but keeps enough to make this one of the best music-making programs on any mobile platform. There’s no free version, instead for a handful of dollars you get everything you need for making music.
Multi-track Audio and MIDI recording are all ready to go. There are several virtual instruments, including synths and sampled sounds.
The mixer inserts offer 16 effects, covering all the usual suspects like modulation, delay, reverb, compression, filter, and distortion. You can sequence in a piano roll or sequence in steps, you can drop in samples, you can drop in patterns.
The Drum Sampler is fully integrated with the step sequencer, making it so easy to generate beats.
There are on-screen piano and drum pad controllers, although you can also route in MIDI control from any compatible MIDI keyboard or controller. The interface works well with fingers, opting for a straight-forward approach to the interface which lacks the flare of Stagelight but certainly does the job.
There are some in-app purchases for loops and additional sounds but otherwise, it’s a fully functioning choice for $15.99.
3.Audio Evolution Mobile Studio (Android & iOS)
At an affordable price, you get an easy-to-use audio and MIDI sequencer – the Audio Evolution Mobile Studio. This app also provides unlimited audio tracks, only the memory of your Android device may push a barrier here. The processing possibilities range from simple sound refinement through the fast mixing up to the sketching of songs.
The Audio Evolution Mobile Studio app gives you a variety of tools to help you make your musical work as you wish. For each track, adjust the volume, effects, equalizer, and balance settings. The included metronome will always keep you intact.
Official Website: Audio Evolution Mobile Studio
4. ZENBEATS (ROLAND)
9 BASIC MODULES INCLUDING ITS DRIVING FORCE, THE SAMPLEVERSE, ROLAND’S FAMOUS TR707, TR808, TR909 AND MORE
Formerly known as Stagelight, they have since been acquired from Open Labs by Roland and its team. Roland’s CEO, Jun-Ichi Miki, states “[we strive] to inspire the enjoyment of creativity for everyone. With Zenbeats, anyone can enjoy casual music making.”
Zenbeats runs cross-platform and is free to access on iOS, Android, ChromeOS, Windows, and Mac OS devices. This DAW is designed for making beats and pieces of tracks quickly on-the-fly.
The free version features 9 basic modules including its driving force, the Sampleverse, Roland’s famous TR707, TR808, TR909 kit, and some excellent sounding instruments that are great starting points to complete stripped down productions.
- Slimline, modern DAW
- Ableton Link
- Cloud Support
- Auv3 compability
- Bluetooth Midi
- Customizable color schemes
- MPE Compability
- Unlocking Zenbeats Ultimate costs a premium fee
- Garnered for relatively only certain types of production styles (but it’s the user, not the tool, right?)
- Not enough mixing/mastering tools
5.n-Track Studio Pro (Android & iOS)
N-Track Studio has seen some welcome evolution over the last couple of versions that brings it in line with other serious DAWs. It has the studio-in-your-pocket vibe offering multi-channel audio, mixing, effects and virtual instruments.
It has virtually unlimited tracks, a step sequencer and inbuilt instrument with 128 sounds. You can play via an external keyboard or use the on-screen piano and edit in the piano-roll editor. For audio recording, you have a lot of cool effects like reverb, delay, modulation, compression, and EQ.
There are guitar and bass amp simulation plugins and VocalTube for getting your vocals a bit more musical or for applying those robotic auto-tune effects. There’s even a built-in tuner.
The sound quality of n-Track is high, it supports multichannel external USB audio interfaces, it can handle sample rates up to 192kHz and exports in 16, 24 or 32 bits. This is a serious piece of software.
There’s a free version that gets you 5 audio tracks, 3 instrument tracks, and 2 step-sequencer tracks. You have 2 effects per track. You can save and export your work so it is fully functional. For a standard subscription of $0.99 a month, you unlock all the musical features whereas for $1.99 you can unlock the higher quality audio support and multichannel ability.
N-Track Studio 9 is a serious contender that’s determined to offer a proper studio recording experience on the Android platform.
From Single Cell Software comes a slightly different approach. Caustic is a jumble of synthesizers and samplers that you can sequence and mix together in any way you choose.
You create a rack of virtual instruments taken from any of the 14 devices on offer. There are subtractive synths, bassline synths, sample-based synths, pad synths, modular synths, 8-bit, FM and physical modeling synths. There are drum machines and organs, vocoders and more. You are spoilt for choice really. There’s a piano-roll style sequencer for creating patterns and then a song mode where you can lay patterns out along a timeline across all your instrument tracks.
Each instrument gets a channel on the mixer which includes 2 inserts per channel for effects on top of some EQ, delay, and reverb. You can import your own samples for use with the PCMSynth, BeatBox, and Vocoder. The PCMSynth also supports Soundfonts and FL Studio Mobile instruments. MIDI control is available with class-compliant USB MIDI controllers.
The range of synths inside Caustic is what gives it an edge, plus the effects to add some movement to your tracks. It may not have the comprehensive sequencing of some other apps and it doesn’t support audio recording, but as a little synthesizer workstation, it’s hard to beat. The demo is free to use but you can’t save, export or import. The unlock key will cost you $9.99.
7.Groovepad – Music & Beat Maker
SunVox is a modular-based synthesizer and sequencing app. It allows you to patch together all sorts of synthesizer building blocks to generate and effect sound.
It’s something a little less serious to round us off. It’s less about playing instruments and recording music and more about enjoying the flow of mixing and matching loops and building beats into your own tracks. Groovepad will bring your ideas to life in the smoothest and grooviest way possible.
It’s all in the library. Groovepad has an extensive library of unique and engaging loops, hits and noises. It includes styles such as Hip-hop, EDM, House, Dubstep, Drum & Bass, Trap, Electronic, and more. All of it is pre-synced and ready to drop into what you’ve got going on. You can add effects such as a filter, flanger, reverb, and delay and mix it all together on the fly.
Groovepad can be a bit advert-heavy when you’re trying it out but once you invest in a few chunks of library you can while away the hours making beats and finding your own riffs. You don’t have to have any musical skills, just the ability to feel the groove. They are constantly updating the library and bringing in new features, so you’ll never run out of things to play with.