10 Great iPad and iPhone Apps for Musicians

By Ryan C. Williams, Mike Levine

If you plan on using your iPad or iPhone to record your music, it’s helpful to have the right apps. If you need to add to your personal arsenal, take a look at these ten great apps for inspiration.

Korg Gadget

The cost of this app goes beyond the common one-to-five-dollar range — but look at all you get for that price: Korg Gadget combines over 15 different music-making devices (including drums, synthesizers, and other. . . well, gadgets) in a remarkably full-featured music creation program. Excellent MIDI control and export options (including interfacing with popular computer-based DAW Ableton) round out this excellent app.

Notion

The iPad offers many options for reading charts and sheet music. Notion, however, gives you the ability to actually write and edit sheet music directly from your iPad. And after you write out your music, you can play it back using samples recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra in the Abbey Road studio facility. Not a bad way to hear your works come to life.

Thor

Originally a component of the popular Propellerhead computer-based DAW Reason, Thor lives the solo life on the iPad. This modular synthesizer combines several different oscillators and filters with spectacular audio routing capabilities and even a built-in sequencer. Thor packs an entire synthesizer workstation into your iPad.

iMaschine

This groove-based music production app combines well with the Maschine hardware controller, but you can use it on your own to create amazing sample-based groove music. Tap out your creation on real or virtual pads, and you’re ready to go.

DM1

This drum machine makes creating beats or drum tracks amazingly simple. This apps gives you a fully functional drum machine at a can’t miss price.

iMPC Pro

Fans of hip-hop know what the MPC sampler means to producers. This app puts that history-making controller right on your iPad. Create up to 64 tracks, and use a host of included samples or create your own.

iStroboSoft

Every so often, you have to tune your guitar or bass. This app uses your iPhone mic (or another audio connection) to put the respected Peterson strobe tuner at your fingers.

Musyc Pro

This app gives you an entirely new touch-based music-making app with built-in effects. And although it contains 88 instruments, the unique interface makes it fun to play and record on.

SampleWiz

This standalone sampler lets you record, manipulate, and arrange your sounds in such precise details that you probably won’t believe you can do such things with a handheld device. Tweak to your heart’s content!

FL Studio Mobile HD

Fruity Loops took their notable computer-based DAW and put a portable ­version on the iPad. You get much of the same functionality, and whatever you make on the go can upload to your Fruity Loops DAW, if you’re inclined. But it works just as well as a standalone app.