The best iPad music making apps in the world today

14th Apr 2011 | 15:09

The best iPad music making apps in the world today
Create the ultimate iPad studio

While some people are still struggling to find a reason to invest in Apple’s iPad, musicians already have plenty. Its range of synths, DAWs, grooveboxes, controllers and DJing apps is hugely impressive; in fact, our list of the best iPad music making apps contains some of the best iPad apps full stop.

This top ten chart is updated regularly and features what are, in MusicRadar’s view, the best iPad music making apps in the world today. Browse the thumbnails to find out what’s made the cut, then click through to the App Store to buy.

NEXT: The best iPad music making apps in the world today

The best iPad music making apps in the world today
AppBC touchAble
£14.99

touchAble is a dedicated iPad controller app for Ableton Live, and very impressive it is too. It enables you not only to launch clips but also to edit them, while there’s a mixer, a virtual keyboard and drum pads, too.

You probably wouldn’t buy this and an iPad in preference to a dedicated hardware controller, but if you already own an iPad and Ableton Live, it’s a serious contender.

READ: AppBC touchAble review

BEST iPAD MUSIC MAKING APP:Buy now from the App Store

The best iPad music making apps in the world today
Wizdom Music MorphWiz
£5.99

Kevin Chartier and keyboardist extraordinaire Jordan Rudess have teamed up to bring us what may be the first serious performance instrument designed specifically for the iPad.

Notes in a scale are laid out across the screen as vertical lines, and you can morph from one timbre to another by dragging vertically along a note. The built-in synth is refreshingly direct, and you can record your performances.

Expressive and playable, MorphWiz feels like the kind of music making app the iPad was made for.

READ:Wizdom Music MorphWiz review

BEST iPAD MUSIC MAKING APP:Buy now from the App Store

The best iPad music making apps in the world today
Yonac miniSynth Pro
£5.99

There are many analogue-style synthesizers available for the iPad, but the best of these so far is miniSynth Pro, a much larger and more feature-laden version of miniSynth, the most popular true synthesiser for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Leaving aside the cost of the iPad itself, this really is a lot of synth for your money. It’s a capable two-oscillator FM/subtractive polysynth, and is perfectly usable, even in a professional situation, although the control layout could be improved.

READ: Yonac miniSynth Pro

BEST iPAD MUSIC MAKING APP:Buy now from the App Store

The best iPad music making apps in the world today
Sound Trends Looptastic HD
£8.99

This loop mixing tool is highly intuitive. It enables you to work with a browser, X-Y effects pad (12 effects are included), scratch strip (you can retrigger a loop from anywhere in the waveform), crossfader and tempo control (loops are auto-timestretched). You can import your own loops from your Mac or PC over Wi-Fi, and finished mixes can be exported as 16-bit AIFF files.

More than 900 loops are included, and it’s even possible to sync the BPMs of two iPads running Looptastic HD to enable dual-tablet remixing.

READ:Sound Trends Looptastic HD

BEST iPAD MUSIC MAKING APP:Buy now from the App Store

The best iPad music making apps in the world today
IK Multimedia AmpliTube 2 for iPad
£11.99 (free version also available)

This dedicated iPad version of AmpliTube 2 adds (among other things) five new stompboxes, improved sound, a built-in single track recorder (plus the option to upgrade to an 8-track recorder), two send effects per channel, a SpeedTrainer, and new import/export options.

One of the big advantages of the iPad version is that, unlike on the iPhone or iPod touch, there’s no flicking through pages to view the whole interface. Stick your iPad on a stand, plug in the iRig interface (sold separately) and you could use this on-stage for live performance. What’s more - and most importantly - AmpliTube sounds great.

WATCH:AmpliTube for iPad video

BEST iPAD MUSIC MAKING APP:Buy now from the App Store

The best iPad music making apps in the world today
White Noise Audio bleep!BOX
£5.99

An old favourite from the iPhone, bleep!BOX for iPad really shows off the larger touchscreen’s potential.

Based around the classic step sequencer format, bleep!BOX synthesises all parts on the fly, meaning you can edit everything in real time and hear the results immediately. Program patterns, string them together to create songs and automate up to 50 synthesis parameters as you go, then export your tracks as WAV files.

The emulations of classic TR-808 and 909 drum sounds plus squelchy synth basslines make bleep!BOX especially fun for creating classic techno and acid house.

READ: White Noise Audio bleep!BOX

BEST iPAD MUSIC MAKING APP:Buy now from the App Store

The best iPad music making apps in the world today
4Pockets Aurora Sound Studio HD
£23.99

Aurora Sound Studio HD isn’t a DAW, but an electronic studio with everything you need to compose and perform electronic music.

You get drums, subtractive and waveshaping synthesizers, a sampler, mixer and effects, all tied to a multitouch grid interface resembling the iconic Yamaha Tenori-on.

It’s not perfect, but this is a truly inspiring production environment nonetheless.

READ:4Pockets Aurora Sound Studio HD review

BEST iPAD MUSIC MAKING APP:Buy now from the App Store

The best iPad music making apps in the world today
Apple GarageBand for iPad
£2.99

Although it has similarities to the Mac version (and projects started on your tablet can be imported into it) GarageBand for iPad is very much its own app. There are Touch and Smart Instruments, an eight-track sequencer and a decent selection of guitar amps and stompboxes.

What you don't get is anything in the way of MIDI editing, and file import/export options are also limited. But GarageBand for iPad is still a winner: plug in a controller keyboard via the Camera Connection Kit and you've got a powerful, fun and portable song sketching solution.

READ: Apple GarageBand for iPad review

BEST iPAD MUSIC MAKING APP:Buy now from the App Store

The best iPad music making apps in the world today
Korg iElectribe
£5.99

Boy were we excited when we first heard about this: it’s a spot-on emulation of the classic Korg Electribe-R groovebox.

You have four percussion synth parts and four PCM synth parts to work with, and patterns can be programmed using the 16-step sequencer. As well as being a fine app in its own right, this was the software that first made people believe that the iPad has a future as a ‘serious’ music-making platform.

READ: Korg iElectribe review

BEST iPAD MUSIC MAKING APP:Buy now from the App Store

The best iPad music making apps in the world today
Korg iMS-20
£9.49

For its second App Store entry, Korg has not only virtualised its legendary MS-20 analogue synth, it's coupled it with a recreation of the accompanying SQ-10 16-step sequencer, and then taken things another step further with a six-part drum machine, seven-channel mixer and built-in effects processing.

All of which leaves us with a terrific self-contained music-making app that will keep you engrossed for hours.

READ: Korg iMS-20 review

BEST iPAD MUSIC MAKING APP:Buy now from the App Store


Liked this? Now read: The best iPhone music making apps

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