IOS Apps for FAWM

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  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    I've spent a little over a year with my first modern iPad (which I got specifically for music) and bought/tried way more apps than is necessary, so I wanted to make a topic where I and others can mention some that may be useful for FAWMers. My first iPhone is here soon and I'll be able to speak to phone-specific app experiences then.

    My own least-effort-possible demos tend to be vocal, acoustic guitar, and drum machine, so let's start there. I do a little electronic-only music, but won't go into too much here. Others are welcome to post helpful things!

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    General stuff:

    I look here for sales more often than I need to:

    These guys have demoed most things and I like 'em:
    Doug at the Sound Test Room

    Jakob Haq

    And folks at the Audiobus forum have discussed it.

    Ipad Musician is a friendly FB group:

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    My favorite drum machines:

    - Patterning
    You wouldn't think a circle instead of boxes makes a difference in inputting drum beats, but it really does change your brain a bit. I haven't tried 2 yet. Tons of downloadable kits.

    - Ruismaker
    This comes in several flavors; Ruismaker FM is probably my favorite because you can edit sounds pretty easily. The algorithmic manner of describing a beat lends itself to some unusual stuff I wouldn't have thought of, which is what I like best.

    - Elastic Drums
    More glitchy and electronic-sounding, and some interesting performance pads.

    - Figure
    Free, easy, simple, lots of good sounds and good weird sounds. Also does bass and lead.

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    I use Reaper on desktop, and Cubasis looks and feels pretty similar, so I think I'll be using it the most for FAWM. I've never done a song start to finish in the iPad, so I can't speak to mixing and mastering.

    BeatMaker 3 is great for playing samples across pads (like with an Akai MPD218 or similar), and can also do plain ol' audio tracks.

    I forgot Korg Gadget! It can do audio tracks as well as MIDI sequencing, but it's a little less intuitive for audio than sequencing. It's fantastic for noodling up a song pretty easily/quickly, and the sounds are good. (You can spend a good chunk of money getting even better ones.)

    And I got Auria Pro in the Black Friday sales, but haven't poked around in it much.

    I don't know GarageBand well, but it's free and people have made all kinds of music with it.

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    Performance apps
    These have buttons on screen that you press in real time that make noise or send MIDI to other apps to make noise. I'm not a keyboard player, so chords are kind of a pain with a keyboard (which is standard in pretty much every app). I play these along with something in Reaper and record in realtime.

    I used Chordion last year in a song or three:

    This is a hair less simple but more flexible:

    Keynality is a little less polished but also flexible, but it different ways:

    Guitar players might like GeoShred:

    There are many, many others. Search for "IOS MIDI performance apps."

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    Auto Accompaniment/Backing Tracks
    Earlier in the year, I had a hankering for superfast auto-accompaniment, like you get at the bottom of a Casio keyboard, where you hold down a key and it goes boom-doot-doo-doo until you let go or hit another key. I looked around for something like that on the iPad but it's slim pickin's.

    iOptigan does it in entertaining super vintage fashion.

    I ended up with a $20 Goodwill Casio keyboard that you'll hear on this February's stuff, I'm sure.

    These work in non-realtime; you enter your progression and the app plays it for you, like Band in a Box. (free version available)

    I just got iRealPro the other day and it looks pretty useful.

    I haven't tried the Yamaha one that builds off of the styles in their home keyboards:

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    I have one of these:

    And probably should have gotten the one that also lets you charge your device:

    I really like my Bluetooth Korg NanoKey Studio, which is a little pricy ($150 new):

    And my Akai MPD218, which was $60 used at a pawn shop.

    Any number of MIDI controllers can be used, but check if they're class-compliant and can work from the USB current supplied by your device. The MPD218 can, but you have to start it in low-power mode by holding down Note Repeat, for example.

    Some will work when connected to a USB hub only.

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    I got this audio interface used and found that even with the hub, it wouldn't work with the iPad:

    So I got this, which does.

    People also use the Focusrite Scarlett Solo and 2i2.

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    Hope some of this is helpful!

  • @scottlake  Jan 2019

    To me Music Memos by Apple is going to come in real handy with its auto accompaniment

  • @mosley  Jan 2019

    Right on. I’ll be using my iPad as my main instrument this year, since my studio is torn up and tracking guitar parts will just not be possible for me. I’ll be going for the early Musique Concrete style, using ProTools for my recording/editing. On the iPad, I’ll mainly be using the Wolfgang Palm apps, along with the Moog apps and Syntronik.

  • @quork  Jan 2019

    I record music solely to my iPad, through iConnectivity’s Audio4+ audio interface, and when I’m on the road my Apogee One Interface. My staples are guitar, mandolin, vocals and mouth harp, recorded to Auria Pro, using lots of its in-app purchased effects.

    Favourite apps include Lumbeat’s Soft Drummer and other fantastic drum apps, Korg Module, iSymphonic and Moog’s Model 15 synth.

    Fun times.

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    After fooling around with my first iPhone, an Xr, for a couple of days, I think FL Mobile Studio is what I'm gonna use for quick FAWM demos.

    I'd love to hear of other music apps that are great on the iPhone, specifically! I love Moog Model D, for instance, but it's super cramped. Fluxpad seems usable.

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    Steve Lacy is an inspiration.

  • @axl  Jan 2019

    I had never heard of iOptigan before. Just watched the video and it sounds like my sort of app.

  • @vomvorton  Jan 2019

    Ooh this all sounds great! I just bought a new iPad mini after a few years out of the Apple game and I've been loading up some apps, but I haven't encountered a lot of those listed above.

    I picked up Cubasis as my main mobile DAW because it was on sale a couple of weeks ago, I've had a lot of fun with Garageband in the past too and they've added a bunch of new instruments since I last used it.

    I've also been playing with Auxy which is loaded with synths (similar kind of workflow to Gadget I think but with a more minimal style) and I dug out the iRig that I had from before so that I can plug an electric guitar in, Bias Amp and FX seems like a pretty great app for guitar amp modelling.

  • @andygetch  Jan 2019

    I sometimes use Garageband on iphone to record a quick one track demo outside. I have not explored beyond that.

  • @scottlake  Jan 2019

    Did you all try Music Memos yet?

  • @kahlo2013  Jan 2019

    Wow!!! @spingo This is all so helpful! It will keep me busy pre-FAWM! Thanks!

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    @vomvorton My iPad (and now iPhone) are loaded primarily with stuff from the last two Black Fridays!

    Auxy looks perfect except for the monthly fee. It hides stuff until you need it and uses the small phone screen beautifully.

    Oh, and I've only barely touched guitar apps, but ToneStack is on sale for $5. I got it as a cheap multifx.

    The rest of the Yonac apps are on sale, too -- I like Kauldron a lot.

    @scottlake Not yet here! I plan to, though.

    @kahlo2013 Sure! I like when all the junk I know is useful elsewhere.

  • @vomvorton  Jan 2019

    @spingo the monthly subscription thing is a bit weird. I'm going to give it a shot until the end of FAWM and maybe keep paying if I use it enough... but I'd much rather just have a one-off fee.

    Thanks for the reminder on Yonac, I had one of their older synths in my "purchased items" from my previous Apple explorations, now reinstalled!

  • @saltbearer Jan 2019

    SunVox is a highly versatile music creation app that's free for desktops and $6 for mobile devices, both iOS and Android. The learning curve may be steep for some, and it's got its weird quirks, but I've been using it for years, and its capabilities continue to impress me.

    Here's something I finished recently, done entirely on my phone:

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    @saltbearer That is 100x more coherent than anything I would be able to struggle to make with SunVox. My brain absolutely is not wired that way. It looks like there's some tracker DNA in there -- I've seen trackers for years but it's very much not my thing. Semi-related: I got KRFT right when I got my iPad because it looked interesting and holy hell, no.

    @vomvorton Hooray! Glad I helped.

    I spent the day wrestling with Audiobus and FL Studio Mobile and I don't think they're on very good speaking terms. Then I tried the same thing I was trying to do on Cubasis on the iPad and it worked beautifully. But there's no iPhone Cubasis!

    I'm almost ashamed to admit I never really wrapped my head around GarageBand, because there's this layer of ease of use on top of everything instead of menus. Like, I'm a photographer and I shoot in manual because it's easier to just do the thing than trying to guess what the camera's trying to do in sports mode, for instance.

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    I don't know what the rules are there, but if I don't have to step around them, I don't need to.

    But trying to come up with a good iPhone-only quick-and-dirty-demo plan, I looked at GarageBand a little deeper for the first time and it's gonna be fine for guitar/vocal/drum machine/synth bass skirmishes and the like.

    And I can dump iVCS3 blooping loops into it via Audiobus! And it has a LinnDrum kit, as well as a household junk kit. Sold.

    I was really trying to avoid another 10 bucks for yet another DAW just for the phone, and gear cheapness led to knowledge. As it usually does once I stop grumbling.

    One completely unexpected thing I found today was that hitting play on the phone triggered playback on the iPad, using some kind of Bluetooth elf magic that I never set up. I might look into whatever that was more later, but for now I'm mostly concentrating on the meat and potatoes stuff.

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    (duplicated post)

  • @shortdan  Jan 2019

    @spingo I picked up Chordian the other day (and 'dot Melody' by the same developer). Was exactly what I was looking for - an Omnichord style simple interface which doesn't try to do too much. I did also pick up a retro Omnichord OM27 the other day too so we'll see which (if any) gets used this FAWM first!

  • @scottlake  Jan 2019

    For ease in making demos, Music Memos is insanely easy. Sorry to keep throwing that in here, but for many FAWMers that don’t understand synthesis and sequencing and audio sharing and whatnot, this thing from Apple is going to be their single app they use. The app detects chords you are playing based on the audio and gives you the option to auto accompany the recorded audio with an electric bass track and a simple drum track. Follows timing anomalies somewhat well. There’s a deeper layer to edit the auto figured out chords and downbeat locations, but it is ‘elf magic’ of the highest degree.

  • @vomvorton  Jan 2019

    @scottlake I have installed Music Memos based on your recommendations and am looking forward to checking it out this weekend!

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    @shortdan Chordion really is perfect for just knocking something out without having to think about playing chord shapes, especially if you get into extended chords. I can grab a G on guitar blindfolded, but struggle to even think about how to do a G dim.

    @scottlake No, it's perfect! I got a Digitech Trio pedal last year to do the same thing, and it's just been gathering dust. It's *great* at what it does, but needs its own workflow that's different than my usual slapping around. The fact that Music Memos lets you get in and tweak stuff is nice.

    This topic isn't for me to pontificate on the One True Way, just sharing what works *for me* -- everyone should come in and talk about what works for *them.*

  • @tawalker  Jan 2019

    I recorded almost exclusively using iOS devices between 2012-2018 (latterly, using my iPhone and a Line6 Sonic Port VX mike/interface), though last year I decided to switch to a hardware digital 4-track (TASCAM DP-006), to give myself a "Plan B" and "shake up" my working methods.

    For various reasons this FAWM, I'm minded to go back to the iPhone for at least some of the time - partly as this Feb I may not have much time to sit around with a guitar and the TASCAM. I'm quite a fan of Garageband, not least because it's possible to work on writing and arranging songs wherever you happen to be - you don't *have* to have an instrument with you. I've laid down a workable rhythm section in GB/iPhone, with the GB Drummer, the bass "virtual instrument" and electric piano from the "Smart Keyboard", whilst taking a bus or sitting in the cafe at work!

    I have plenty of apps I could "plug" here, but one of my all-time faves is FunkBox, a "vintage"-themed programmable drum-machine. I've used it since 2012 - I like the sounds, and it's handy for generating loops I can import into GB.

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    @tawalker I like FunkBox a lot. The layout's fun, and I'm a sucker for the old old drum machines, like the CR-78.

    Plug all the apps! We have room.

  • @jamkar  Jan 2019

    I am still using a 3 year old ipod touch. May be time to go ipad!

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    @jamkar I got mine new in 2017 on Black Friday for $250 and it's been eye-opening and fantastic. I can't imagine they'd be more than that used?

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Jan 2019

    @scottlake Music Memos SOUNDS INSANE!! I tried downloading but it wouldn't let me!! I have an iPhone 8 and I'm not sure why I can't get it.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Jan 2019

    But then I restarted my iPhone and tried again and it worked!

  • @scottlake  Jan 2019

    @stevenwesleyguiles you, an acoustic guitar, and Music Memos...I predict a 50 song FAWM from you for 2019

  • @tawalker  Jan 2019

    @vomvorton @scottlake I've made a few FAWM songs with Music Memos - I find it really handy for auto-generating bass/drums backing tracks from guitar and ukulele, which I can then transfer into Garageband (iPhone) for further overdubs and adjustments. Perhaps FAWM 2019 is a good opportunity to remake its acquaintance!

  • @tawalker  Jan 2019

    @axl @spingo I also really like iOptigan, and ended up using it on three songs (the title track, "Pesto Lemonade" (!) and "Taking My Time") on my 2017 album "45" (

    "Taking My Time" was basically written using iOptigan - I used the "Easy Does It With Vibes" "disc", and transposed it down by a 5th using the app's "pitch wheel". Because the real Optigan transposes by slowing down the disc, this also changes the timbre of the sound (like slowing a tape or record), giving "Taking..." a distinctive "woozy/muddy" atmosphere.

  • @vomvorton  Jan 2019

    @tawalker @scottlake I had a quick test of Music Memos at the weekend and it does seem pretty clever! Looking forward to giving it more of a workout when I have an actual song to test it with, but I was impressed with how well the rhythm followed my little improvised guitar jam. The bass was a little less impressive but I was using some pretty strange chords.

  • @tawalker  Jan 2019

    @vomvorton Music Memos does a pretty good job of "following" what you play into it, but I find it helps if I play "cleanly" and don't get too clever 😝

    I usually export the MM "project" into Garageband on my iDevice, where I can tweak the bass and/or drum tracks (which are both MIDI). The drum track is also converted to a GB "Drummer" part, which if you then export to Logic Pro X (Mac), is preserved as a Logic Drummer track. All good for the way I work 😀

    Also, I find that MM gets "confused" if I play 12-string guitar into it - maybe it's all the extra harmonics?

  • @scottlake  Jan 2019

    You can edit the auto chord info in MM. one thing I haven’t figured out is how to start playback at a point of my choosing in the middle of the song.

  • @axl  Jan 2019

    @tawalker Taking my Time is a beautiful song. And the patina of that background noise is so gratifying. I think I'll have to buy another app.

  • @axl  Jan 2019

    @scottlake Open the chord editor, select the section you don't want any backing band on and tap "No Band".

    I've also found that when you tap on the time signature symbol you can make the "band" go double or half time. In just half an hour my verdict on Music Memos has changed from "I'll never open this again" to "I have found my most minimal demo making setup."

    Thanks for making me aware that a) you can not just sing but also strum chords into it and b) you can export your project to GarageBand. Very cool.

  • @scottlake  Jan 2019

    I’m aware of the no band option. I’m trying to figure out how to move the play head cursor to a place of my choosing

  • @scottlake  Jan 2019

    Hold on the drums icon and you can change the complexity and kit used!

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    Bass too!

    I just opened a saved bit and got a blue playhead bar I can move anywhere -- it doesn't seem to be movable on the record screen (dark blue) but does seem to be there on the white background.

    This is really pretty interesting. Thanks, @scottlake ! I'd been meaning to fool with this but didn't ever get to it, and now that I can get around GarageBand, well.

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    The Trio pedal (which is basically MM in pedal form, with Band in a Box styles) gets confused if you get too complicated for the rhythm - one way around it is to feed basically just the bare minimum of chords to it, don't get too syncopated, etc. Here you could do that, and then export to GarageBand and overdub fancy rhythm guitar and vocals, and toss the old rhythm guitar track.

  • @konemake  Jan 2019

    I haven't really used iPad so far for "serious" music making, but I've liked these software to fool around:

    Akai iMPC PRO (I've got the old version still, there is also v 2)

  • @swampjaw  Jan 2019

    For anyone that needs it -- in my spare time, I make iOS music apps. Infinite Looper is probably the main thing folks would be interested in (it's a MIDI looper with built-in instruments, IAA, and a bunch of other stuff -- including a pitch-to-MIDI thing that works with guitars). If you want to give it a spin, I can get freebie promo codes to you (part of my FAWMers Fly Free program).

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    @swampjaw I just grabbed Apollo motion! That could be fun with iVCS3 and Quanta! Thanks!

  • @spingo  Jan 2019

    Pasted from elsewhere, for possible helpfulness:

    I used and loved Chordion last year and did some research into playing iPad live, and ended up with Keynality, KB-1, and Polychord on IOS. All are a little different and all are similar to (but do a little more than Chordion).

    Which I love!

  • @oblivionratula  Feb 2019

    @swampjaw I got my first iPad a few months ago and am still figuring out how to use it for music (got it for aviation apps), but that MIDI looper sounds up my alley and I'd love to check it out.

  • @spingo  Feb 2019

    Oh, here is a thing I just found: If you're recording, say, uke and vocals on any phone at a desk, a little phone tripod gets the phone up away from your guitar/the weird desk sound reflections and toward your mouth!

  • @scottlake  Feb 2019

    ^^ a pillow works for that as well. Reflecting surfaces within inches of microphones = bad for nearly any sound except if you are using a boundary layer microphone which is designed to be placed on a surface directly.

  • @spingo  Feb 2019

    @scottlake Yeah, I've used a couple of hats! A tripod's a little easier to find room for on a desk as cluttered as mine, that's all.

  • @dragondreams  Feb 2019

    I liked a demo video of GeoShred so much I ended up buying an iPad just so I could use it!

    Thanks, @spingo for the links to some more stuff for me to check out.

    And this has reminded me I haven't used GeoShred at all yet this FAWM!

  • @spingo  Feb 2019

    @dragondreams Hooray! Glad I was helpful!

  • @aflinner  Feb 2019

    Thought I’d try to do as much as possible on iPad this year, but I’ve hit a snag: for some reason, it seems it’s impossible to export anything to mp3....which is a problem, because I’m hosting my files on FAWM, and it won’t accept m4a. Tried WAV file as I just did my first song ever on GarageBand, but the file was over the 10mb limit.

    Had to work around by sending the file to my laptop and back again, spent way too much time poking around. Any advice? I just really don’t want to install any third party conversion apps. Feels like it shouldn’t be this difficult to save as a standard file format, Apple.

  • @unclee  Feb 2019

    You, sir, have made a major mistake introducing me to the iOptigan!
    How am I supposed to get ANY sort of sleep now? 😁

    I have been stuck in my head with this this year. I think this ridiculous, amazing bit of fun is going to snap me out of it! Thank you!

  • @spingo  Feb 2019

    @unclee Hooray! It's really fun. I don't use it nearly enough.

    @aflinner What about an online converter via Safari? Picked at random:

    Or you could kick it to Dropbox, open in iTunes, convert there and upload from the laptop?

    I use free Soundcloud and it seems to take m4as just fine, for what it's worth. GarageBand can share to it.

    I'm newish to IOS and I'm on PC, so m4as are pretty new to me and I don't really know workaround stuff like that, but maybe someone else will.

  • @oblivionratula  Feb 2019

    @swampjaw I finally had a play with Infinite Looper last night. Very cool! I hope to be able to integrate this into something this weekend. Thanks for the code!

    @aflinner I think I would either go to SoundCloud route suggested which can take wav files, or send the wav to your laptop, open in audacity, which is free, and render to MP3 from there. Then you can add tags right away as well.

  • @oblivionratula  Mar 1

    @scottlake Wanted to say thank you for mentioning Music Memos. Used it a few times to capture ideas for later fleshing-out. Awesome.

    Never got too deep into Infinite Looper this month, but I hope to make use of it beyond FAWM. And get to know it well for next year.

  • @paulhenry  1 week

    I haven't tried them for FAWM, but iReal Pro and Music Memos could be a fast way to get something together for FAWM. I see they have both been mentioned earlier. Music Memos works best if your song form and chords are "standard," that is, well within a genre, with an obvious beat. iReal Pro could act like a poor man's Band in a Box, though I haven't checked to see if the accompaniments are exportable.

  • @kalcedonka 2 days

    Polychord is a nice one, thanks!

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