DJ Mag Tech has been playing with some wonderful apps that will help you craft killer dance tracks. We’ve put together a list of our favourite five that offer professional results in a format accessible for newcomers to the production arena.
Apple’s Garageband has to be one of the most fully-featured apps for mobile or tablet music creation — it has come a long way since its launch. It now rivals the desktop version for power and performance, some would call it the Logic for iPads/iPhones.
What was originally perceived as a great way to kill time tinkering with ideas has turned into a serious music creation application with some seriously heavyweight features. The Alchemy Synth is a great example — it's a powerhouse virtual synthesiser that packs a serious punch.
The new update also means that Garageband app works harmoniously with the desktop version, and also with Logic, meaning seamless integration with all your machines.
Steinberg Cubasis 2
Steinberg was one of the first manufacturers to release a music creation app, Cubasis, to the iOS platform, based on it's hugely popular Cubase recording software.
Cubasis 2 is another serious piece of music creation software that borrows heavily from Cubase. Unlimited tracks (Audio or MIDI) mean that it is no slouch — the app is packed full of premium features found in the main desktop version of the DAW, including some of the hefty softsynths and FX.
Korg’s music creation app approaches mobile music creation in a different way to the standard DAW, built around a selection "gadgets" (synths, drum machines and samplers based on real hardware instruments) that can all be grouped together to create your tracks.
Unlike Cubasis and Garageband which came from desktop versions, Gadget has always been an iOS application with a desktop version to be launched in the near future. Can't wait!
Image-Line FL Studio Mobile
The previous three apps have all been iOS-based programmes, but Android owners feel comforted that Image-Line have made software just for them! Image-Line are leading the charge with Android music creation, with a mobile version of their very popular production software, FL Studios (Fruity Loops).
FL Studio Mobile is another feature rich app for making music based on the original desktop software. Offering a whole heap of synths, FX and sample packs to make the task as easy as possible. The simplicity of FL Studio is ported directly on to the app version which makes for some fast music creation.
And the best thing about FL Studio Mobile is that projects can be shared across all current platforms as the app is available to iOS users, as well as Mac and PC-based producers.
Novation Launchpad iOS
Novation’s Launchpad app takes full advantage of the beat grid style of production that has become popular over the last few years. Based around triggering loops and samples it is a fast way to create music, however unlike the other apps it feels more like a scratch pad for ideas which can then be finished off back in the studio.
There are a world of loops, samples, sounds, FX and tools that can be utilised in Launchpad iOS that can be the starting block for your new tracks. Whilst it isn’t as comprehensive as other apps in the market the speed that you can create tracks is a big bonus.
And on the plus side, it is a free, however it does require in-app purchases to bolster the basic program with sounds and additional features.
Mick Wilson is DJ Mag’s Tech Editor. Follow him on Twitter here.