Fancy yourself as a budding music producer? Forget booking studio time; with the right apps, you can make music right on your smartphone or tablet.
Music can speak right to the soul, and often comes from it too, but what do you do if you’ve got a chart-topping hit stuck in your head, with no way to share it with the world? Luckily, there are plenty of awesome music-making apps out there waiting to help.
In 2018, no matter your skill level, making great-sounding music is easily achievable right from your mobile. To prove it, we’ve hand-picked our favourite apps that’ll help you create musical masterpieces in no time. Whether you’re just dipping your toes in the aural ocean or you’re a seasoned professional, these are the iOS and Android apps you need to turn your phone into a mobile studio…
GarageBand | iOS, FREE
Easy to get into but seriously powerful once you learnt the ropes, this top Apple tool has been around for nearly a decade – and is a firm favourite for many thanks to its accessibility, ease of use, and the fact that it’ll cost you absolutely nothing. Available on desktop and mobile, GarageBand lets you record up to 32 tracks – using multi-touch gestures to play everything from synths to oboes.. Need more? Make use of the extensive sound library to download additional free instruments, loops and sound packs, or plug in a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) keyboard or electric guitar and record for real.
Stagelight: Audio and MIDI DAW | Android, £FREE + IAP
Full to the brim with music-making features, Stagelight has all the hallmarks of a very capable Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), albeit one built from the ground up for mobile. With it, you can make beats, mix loops, and create full multitrack songs with drum, instrument, audio and vocal tracks.
If you’re keen on percussion the app has over 50 different drums in its arsenal, letting you bash out spectacular beats in a huge mix of styles. And, as with Garageband, Stagelight boasts MIDI device support, meaning you can also plug in your own keyboard for a more hands-on recording sesh. Finished your tune? You’ll be able to share directly to SoundCloud’s music-loving community directly from the app.
This DAW offers high-quality samples and synthesizers, and more flangers, compressors, and low and high-band pass filters than you can shake a (drum)stick at. FL Studio Mobile also offers a step sequencer for quick and easy drum programming, and live audio recording capability to capture real world performances. Not content with the onboard sounds? You can even install your own files to use as samples. Need more synths? They can be purchased right within the app. It’s a proper one-stop shop.
Forget twisty knobs and slider switches, this digital synthesizer app – from one of the music-making world’s biggest names – is all about offering a touchy-feely experience to help unleash your creativity. KORG’s Kaossilator invites you to tap, stroke, or rub the screen with your finger to build up a near-infinite number of sounds and loops. Think of it like stroking a cat, but for sweet tunes instead of contented purrs. There are 150 diverse sounds to tinker with, covering the likes of hip-hop, techno, and dubstep, while the app’s very handy scale setting stops you from playing any bum notes.
This is another DAW with an all-inclusive set of features for those who want everything under one roof. There’s multitrack audio recording and MIDI sequencing with nondestructive editing – meaning the app will preserve the original audio files, should you make go make one tweak too many. Audio Evolution also provides support for external USB interfaces like mics or MIDI interfaces, which opens up even more opportunities for creating the exact sound you want. Worried about your singing skills? There’s also a brilliant auto-tune feature to keep your vocals on track.
AutoRap probably won’t turn you into the next Eminem, but it might provide you with some fresh inspiration if you’re looking to add your scribbled lyrics to a quick and dirty beat. Just pick a beat, tap to record, and the app will take your spoken vocals and manipulate them into something resembling a real song – auto-tune and all. There are more than 100 beats to choose from, while AutoRap’s community features let you share your rhymes to the world, compete for the chart top spot, or even engage in rap battles.
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