1. Apple GarageBand
If you haven’t heard of Apple Garageband, it’s one of the most popular digital audio workstations for Mac in the world at the moment. When it came to choosing #1 for the article, we were having a difficult time going with a DAW, synth or FX type, so we went with what we think is the best all-around music production app. With this thing, you can make full on songs, virtual piano and drums, record your voice with the mic and apply sound effects, use amps\stompbox effects, sampler, and a nice feature we like called “smart keyboard” which helps you create grooves. There are way too many features to name in one paragraph, so check it out for yourself. If you wanted a quick answer for best music making app that gives you basically all of it, here’s the one. It’s also super cheap. The only downfall is it’s an iOS only (works with both iPhone and iPad).
2. Steinberg Cubasis
For iPhone : Click Here to Download
For iPad : Click Here to Download
Steinberg’s Cubase is a very popular digital audio workstation among music producers. Here’s their version(s) of Cubase in the form of an app. For Cubasis, it’s another super app that gives you countless features. You have unlimited audio\MIDI tracks, 24 assignable ins and outs, high-quality resolution up to 24-bit/96kHz, mixer with FX, MIDI and audio loops built-in, a sample and key editor, and more. The list goes on honestly, and although it’s a bit more powerful than GarageBand, we had to put it second because of the price — it’s one of the most expensive apps out there when it comes to music making, but you have to realize why. It’s well worth the money in our opinion so we wouldn’t second guess grabbing it if don’t mind spending $30 on an app.
3. FL Studio Mobile
Image Line is one of the few developers truly working across many platforms and its overhaul of FL Studio Mobile HD saw the app come to Android in addition to iOS and Windows Phone. With a much more futuristic and pared-down look than the previous version, it nonetheless packs in a ton of features including onboard synths and samplers, sequencing, touch controllers, audio tracking, multiple effects, step sequencing and sharing projects to versions of FL Studio running on other devices. It’s one of the slickest and most fun ways to make tracks on your device, with more depth than the colourful interface might suggest.
4. Native Instruments iMaschine 2
I’m sure you’ve all heard of Native Instruments as they’re one of the biggest names in the music equipment world, and their iMaschine is their mobile version of their beloved piece of gear we’ve all come to love. This gives you a handheld drum machine. You have 16 buttons for real-time beat production. There’s a library built-in that gives you around 400 sample sounds (25 kits, 10 projects) so when it comes to assortment, you’re pretty good. You can record some vocals and put it into your track, use keyboard mode if you’re in the mood, and the live-mode sequencer helps you detect a loop length\complete it quickly.
5. Moog Filtatron
Basically, Moog are synth pioneers. This app gives you the ability to run a sound through a virtual version of their beloved Moog filter we all love. You can use modulation, delay, and overdrive to really warp your sound. You input sound using a line/mic input, sampler or even their built-in oscillator. Even if you aren’t too serious and just want to mess around, this app is super fun to play with. You can basically change your voice to sound like something completely unrelated if you get the FX right. The audio quality is OK at 16-bit, 44.1 kHz and you can record samples up to 10MB.
6. Propellerhead Figure
Propellerhead is responsible for a very popular DAW out there called Reason that many people swear by. This app here is free so that’s a huge plus as we can grab it to merely try it out. You can tweak some sounds (comes with a bunch of them in-app) and play around with putting them into a rhythm. Mess around with their levels, play in different keys\modes, add some drums (comes with some) and there’s synth in there to boot.
7. Arturia iMini
The iMini is unfortunately for iPad only, however the quality is outstanding. You’re getting one of the best synth apps out there at the moment, and that’s literally what it is: a synthesizer in your smart device. The picture shows you the interface; you get 3 oscillators, octave filters, XY pads (assignable), chorus and delay FX, polyphonic mode and more.
8. Akai iMPC
The popular iOS app iMPC, is also available for Samsung Galaxy devices too. Previously an iOS exclusive, iMPC fuses the workflow of an Akai Professional MPC (Music Production Center) with cutting-edge tools for composing, editing and mixing music on a Samsung device. 64-track capability, built-in sampling, huge sound library (1,400+), 3-D performance mode, precision knobs\faders, chop up samples, note repeat, live sequencing, and 3-band EQ have here.
9. Korg iElectribe
This thing is more than just a synth. It comes with a 16-step sequencer so you can do more than just play some keys — creates grooves, mess with the tempo and pattern, 8 FX (delay – short and BPM sync, grain shifter, reverb, chorus\flanger, filter and more). It’s pretty close to a DAW but is more a synth plus sequencer lacking a few features of the bigger apps mentioned before. Apparently Damon Albarn of the Gorillaz used this for an album he released a few years ago.
10. Casio Chordana Composer
This app was the piano interface you saw in one of Apple’s iPhone commercials. It’s relatively simple and straightforward: a virtual keyboard. Simply mess around with some keys to get some melodies going or you can even learn piano if you haven’t yet. It has this automatic composition feature that allows you to choose a “genre” or “concept” as well as the range\level of the tension and it makes a tune — pretty fun to play around with if you’re bored.