Discover the easy way to compose high-quality music on your iPad or iPhone, without any technical or musical theory knowledge necessary!
The power of music, at the touch of an app
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How to make music on iPad and iPhone
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No complex theory
Discover the easy way to compose high-quality music on your iPad or iPhone, without any complex music theory or technical knowledge necessary
Start making music with Apps featured in this video
Where to start
Hey, thanks for liking/sharing iOS Music!
Nowadays AppStore offers large set of tools for making music. From simple ones that generates interesting patterns or imitates some real-world instruments to the complex professional-grade apps. As was mentioned in the video a lot of professional music desktop software developers are making apps for iPad and iPhone.
If you’re new to iOS music making then try to start with the GarageBand app (it costs $5 but you’ll like it).
GarageBand was developed by Apple and it is a simple yet powerful app to make music in almost any genre. With smart instruments (strings, piano/synths, bass, guitar and drums), you can make music without complex music theory. It would be good if you can understand chords like “C”, “Am”, “Dm” but even if you don’t you can still play with your ears. With garage band smart instruments it is actually pretty difficult to make mistakes. If you wish to record your guitar or vocal with GarageBand you can do it easily.
Another great simple and fantastic sounding app is Figure. Just try it. Some musicians even made entire albums (not very complex but anyway…) with this App. And the engine of this app is the famous desktop app Reason that is used by thousands of professionals. Figure is just 1$
After playing some time with GarageBand and Figure the next step is to add some additional sounds. There are tens of great free apps. Try Alchemy Mobile and SampleTank Free. Its basic versions are free and the sound is great.
Here’s the AppStore widget with the list of apps we used in iOS Music video.
This is cool collection of simple music apps, check it out in the AppStore.
In the next videos we’ll show how to make music with these and other apps and how to combine it all together with Audiobus. And if you have any questions, ask it below in the comments.
If you have both iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad try to play with iPad first. Large screen of iPad or iPad mini is easier to operate while making music.
What generation to use?
The later the greater. Some music apps are CPU and memory consuming so if you can afford the latest generation you won’t regret it.
The minimum requirements for the latest apps are iPad 2, iPad mini or iPhone 3gs.
Basically to start making music you just need iDevice and headphones. Actually the latest Apple headphones that come with iPhone 5 are very good. For this price (costs about 30$ if you’ll buy it separately) you can’t find any better headphones on the market.
If your music will consist of guitar/bass guitar recording you’ll need guitar interface. There are several high-quality guitar interfaces from Line 6, IK Multimedia and Apogee. Some you also can use as USB guitar interface to record to your desktop computer or laptop.
Another piece of gear you may need is midi keyboard. On the market there’s a large variety of different keyboards, from mobile and mid-size keyboards designed especially for playing with iDevices, to innovative ones.
If you already have the keyboard or USB guitar interface or USB microphone you can use Camera Connection Kit which has USB to 30pin adapter. Most of the audio interfaces that support Core Audio (the core technology inside MacOS and iOS) would work with music apps.
For beat makers there’s cool MPC-like controller for iPad called MPC Fly.
Using iPad/iPhone as controller for desktop music software
This is another approach on how to use iPhone in the studio.
If you’re using Reason, Logic, Ableton Live or Cubase for music production you can easily find apps that will turn your iDevice or even several iDevices into the touch-mixing desk or innovative midi controller.
DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. Think of it as the most important application in the music production process. Though you can make simple tracks in apps like Figure, ReBirth or iKaossilator, to make more complex production you’ll need a DAW. Usually this is the most powerful of music apps and the most expensive. If you just starting, start with GarageBand as it costs only 5$. Other DAWs to consider are: NanoStudio, Cubasis, Auria and BeatMaker2. Here’s the detailed review of different iOS DAWs.
Basic features of DAWs are: recording, composing and arranging, processing and mixing sounds. Some DAWs are better in one thing, some in another. Most of iOS musicians are using different DAWs on different stages. For example starting with NanoStudio and mixing/mastering in Auria.
Actually almost any DAW comes with tools to make drums for you tracks. GarageBand has SmartDrums that generates drums patterns and you control the complexity of each drum and also there’s cool touch drums instrument. You can play on it with your fingers.
If you want more options try these apps, these are pretty simple but provide good sound quality (we will have separate video for drums programming with iOS apps): DM1, iFunkBox, iMaschine….
If you’re making electronic music you’ll definitely need a few synth apps. And iOS is the paradise for synth based music. There tens of great synths: iMS-20, iPolysix, Thor, iMini ported from desktop. And, actually it is easier to operate these synths with touch screen rather than mouse. There are specially designed synths for iOS: unique Animoog, powerful Nave app and free Novation Launchkey.
Audiobus is the most advanced way to transfer music from one app to another. It is a paid app (5$) and when you launch it you’ll see three slots: Input, Effect, Output.
Think of it as the virtual wires between your app. You can play on the app in the input slot and the sound will go through the effects to the app in Output slot. Put for example Figure app in the Input and Garage band in the output. Open Figure and you’ll see small controller for GarageBand, push record on that controller and GarageBand will record what you are playing.
When you’re buying a music app remember to check if it does support for Audiobus. Because if it doesn’t you couldn’t record its sound to another app.
Exporting your music to desktop
iOS itself is the powerful platform but a lot of musicians prefer to use iOS apps to sketch music ideas and continue in desktop software to make final arrangement, finalize sound processing or add some new elements and mix the song.
Some apps were specially developed by desktop software developers to allow users to export their iOS made tracks in to the desktop software. Here’re few examples of such apps:
Native Instruments: iMaschine -> Maschine
Steinberg: Cubasis -> Cubase
Apple: Garage Band -> Garage Band for Mac or Logic Pro
FL Studio -> Fruity Loops
NanoStudio -> NanoStudio for Mac
For other apps there’s always an option to export as wav or mp3 file. Or just connect your iPad/iPhone to the computer (sound output/headphones into the line in of the computer and you can just make a live recording.)
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