The best iPhone music making apps in the world today

19th Jul 2011 | 09:55

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

The iPhone and iPod touch have changed the rules as far as hi-tech music making’s concerned. The best iPhone music making apps enable you to create tunes, play instruments, remix tracks or have a full guitar amp/FX rig just about anywhere, but with so many of them now available, which should you look at first?

This top ten chart is updated regularly and features what are, in MusicRadar’s view, the best iPhone 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 iPhone music making apps in the world today

The best iPhone music making apps in the world today
Hexlar TouchOSC
£2.99

TouchOSC is a multitouch controller application that uses the Open Sound Control (OSC) protocol. It enables you to use your iPhone to control your DAW, synths and other audio software.

To use the app, you need to bind its controllers to an OSC-compatible application running on your computer. This requires a little juggling of IP address and incoming and outgoing port numbers.

TouchOSC requires a bit of setting up, then, but once you’ve got it running, it’s great.

READ:Hexlar TouchOSC review

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

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

The second version of AmpliTube for iPhone adds several new features. A one-track recorder comes as standard (this can be upgraded 4 tracks via an in-app purchase); there are five new stompbox effects; and sound quality has been improved.

When combined with the iRig audio interface, AmpliTube for iPhone becomes an amazingly portable guitar amp/FX solution. If you’re a guitarist who doesn’t yet own an iPhone or iPod touch, this could be the app that makes you buy one.

READ: Can you record a full song with AmpliTube 2 for iPhone?

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

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

Sticking to the tried and tested step sequencing formula, bleep!Box is a simple app that can put out some serious grooves.

Each bleep!Box pattern is composed using a maximum of ten parts, split into six drum instruments and four synths. The drum sounds are reasonably authentic 808- and 909-style hits (three kick parts, one snare and two hi-hats) all synthesized in real time.

The synthesis engine of bleep!Box is where the software shines, with eight waveforms, frequency/phase/ring modulation and dozens more variables to play with.

bleep!Box is a simple but surprisingly versatile step sequencer that could also make a great performance tool. At this price, it's a bargain.

READ: White Noise Audio bleep!Box review

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

The best iPhone music making apps in the world today
iceGear Argon
£1.19

This monophonic synth’s big selling point is its sound, which is awesome. This comes courtesy of a trio of oscillators and a Minimoog-like signal path.

The interface consists of two scrollable layers: editing takes place at the top, and there’s a keyboard at the bottom.

Argon is the closet thing we've found to carrying a vintage monosynth with us on the bus, only it's far less obtrusive and costs less than the ticket home.

READ:iceGear Argon review

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

The best iPhone music making apps in the world today
Intua BeatMaker 2
£11.99

This second version of the iOS mini studio is a big step up from its predecessor, offering a sequencer, two types of instrument (a drum machine and a sample-based synth with a large and varied preset bank) and a mixer.

Sounds can be recorded in from the mic or pulled from your iTunes library; swing can be added; the mixer looks great; tracks/MIDI can be uploaded direct to SoundCloud or exported; and you can swap audio pasteboard clips to and from iOS. And that's just for starters.

BeatMaker 2 isn't perfect, but you can certainly have plenty of fun with it and create some very pro-sounding results.

READ:Intua BeatMaker 2 review

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

The best iPhone music making apps in the world today
Chris Wolfe Jasuto
£1,79

Jasuto, its developer claims, is the first modular synth for the iPhone. Think 'Reaktor Mobile' and you're getting there, though of course, this is far simpler.

You can create your own synth within a Scene (of which eight examples are provided) using various components, called Nodes. The Nodes connect (and the signal flows) from top to bottom and they link to one another via user definable inputs and outputs. So you can have, say, three oscillators connected to one speaker for really fat, layered sounds.

Once you get your head around the concept, you'll grow to love Jasuto. Yes, it is a mite fiddly, but it’s very capable and great value.

READ: Chris Wolfe Jasuto review

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

The best iPhone music making apps in the world today
Reactable Systems Reactable Mobile
£5.99

You may have seen the tabletop Reactable, which enables you to build instruments and make sounds with blocks, at trade shows or being used on-stage by Björk. This iOS version (it’s also available on the iPad) carries much of the same functionality, though you only have a limited number of blocks (filters, oscillators etc) to work with.

Reactable is great fun. We wish we could access more blocks - we'd particularly like more sequencers and filters - but the price is right, and there's no shortage of inspiration on tap.

READ:Reactable Systems Reactable Mobile review

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

The best iPhone music making apps in the world today
Moog Filtatron
£2.99

Filtatron can be used to process audio from three sources: the mic input, a sample player or an analogue-style oscillator with blendable saw/square shapes. These signals are then pumped through a stereo Moog ladder filter (all at once, if you like), and there’s also an FX page.

This is a great sound manipulation app, and is particular suited to messing with real-world sounds via the mic input. WAV bouncing and Audio Copy/Paste functionality, meanwhile, means Filtatron can easily be used in conjunction with other software.

READ: Moog Filtatron review

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

The best iPhone music making apps in the world today
Propellerhead Software ReBirth
£3.99

If you’ve ever used ReBirth on the Mac or PC you’ll feel immediately at home with this: it’s exactly the same.

The downside is that this means that the interface can feel fiddly, but then you realise that you have access to all the things that made ReBirth great: two 303s, an 808, a 909, the Pattern Controlled Filter, the compressor, the delay, the step sequencing, the song mode - everything’s here.

So if you want to go on an awesome nostalgia trip, look no further.

READ: Propellerhead Software ReBirth review

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

The best iPhone music making apps in the world today
Blip Interactive NanoStudio 1.2
£8.99

NanoStudio has long been championed as one of the best iOS music-making apps, but recent updates could leave the competition in the dust. Everything we found lacking in the original version has been addressed.

You now get (among other things) compression and EQ, support for CoreMIDI, Retina Displays and AudioCopy/Paste, and a more sophisticated sequencer.

If you’re an electronic musician and you own an iOS device, there’s no excuse for not buying NanoStudio.

READ:Blip Interactive NanoStudio 1.2 review

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


Liked this? Now read: The best iPad music making apps and iPhone/iPad iOS music making app round-up

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