Have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch? Then you know that playing music and videos is just one thing those devices can do! With the addition of free or low-cost apps, you can put your handheld to work for you in the studio or live venue doing everything from tuning and tracking guitars to controlling your software or console, from drum machines to samplers, from synth control to multitrack recorders! It’s amazing how powerful these little apps are and how much great stuff you can get out of them.
Here are some of the coolest and handiest apps we’ve found from pro audio and music manufacturers:
This allows you to take control over media playback on your computer or Apple TV. Great for rehearsing, live playback of media, controlling backing tracks live or in the studio, and more.
Allen & Heath iLive Tweak
Now you can use an iPhone or iPad to take remote control over your Allen & Heath iLive console by using iLive Tweak, the first app to provide mobile control over the iLive digital mixer series. The free app lets you browse and select channels, and adjust level, mute, PEQ, GEQ, and delays. The app is compatible with iLive version 1.7.
Blue Microphones Blue FiRe
The free stereo field recorder app from Blue Microphones is optimized for use with their Mikey CD-quality stereo mic, though it will work with other compatible mics too. It features configurable time display, waveform display, various record threshold and duration controls, three sample rates (11.025kHz, 22.05kHz, and 44.1kHz), file export via FTP, and support for WAV, AIFF, and CAF (Core Audio Format) audio files.
Frontier Design Group Apps
The folks at Frontier Design Group have plunged head-on into the app world. Want a rainstick on your iPhone? Cowbell or other percussion? A tiny handheld piano studio (complete with sequencer)? Shredder guitar effects? No problem – Frontier has these and others available for you!
IK Multimedia iRig
IK Multimedia is offering the iRig interface/adapter, which allows guitarists and bass players to connect their instruments to an Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. iRig uses the brand-new AmpliTube for iPhone mobile app (or any other iPhone guitar app) for cutting-edge amp and effects models for ultra-realistic guitar tones on the go! You can run models of up to three stompbox effects, an amp head, a cabinet, and a microphone at once, allowing you to get whatever tone you want or need. There are three versions of the AmpliTube for iPhone software:
AmpliTube Free: 3 stompboxes, 1 amp+cabinet, 2 microphones
AmpliTube LE: 5 stompboxes, 1 amp+cabinet, 2 microphones ($2.99)
AmpliTube: 11 stompboxes, 5 amps+cabinets, 2 microphones ($19.99)
You can also upgrade the Free and LE versions with additional stompboxes and amps+cabinets.
Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a drum machine! Perfect for use as a click/metronome or a loop in the studio or live. There are hip-hop, club, rock, “Ministry of Sound,” “HEd Kandi,” and “RZA of Wu-tang” versions available. There’s also a “full-sized” version available that you can run on your laptop or desktop computer with a bunch of additional features.
Building beats? Use an iPad? Then check this out! Korg’s Electribe has been super-popular with beat makers and dance programmers for many years. Now you can have that power and sound right in your iPad! Totally cool. The interface looks just like a “real” Electribe, so there’s no learning curve.
Line 6 MIDI Memo Recorder
Record and play back any MIDI information on your handheld! Capture song ideas. Store, recall, find, and e-mail synth or other device settings and patches. Control any MIDI gear. It’s a MIDI studio in your phone! This app requires Line 6’s MIDI Mobilizer, the first MIDI interface for iPhone and iPod Touch.
MOTU DP Control
If you have an Apple iPhone, an iPad, or a third-generation iPod Touch, then you’re all set to take remote control over MOTU Digital Performer 7.2! The new free DP Control app for those devices provides remote transport control; multi-touch mixer functions, including faders, mutes, solo, record enable, and more; menu functions; undo; new takes; save; and many other keystrokes and functions. It works over a WiFi connection using OSC. There’s even bi-directional communication for tasks such as renaming a take or adding a marker.
Peavey has released AmpKit, a new guitar interface/software for the Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. There are two parts to AmpKit: the AmpKit Link audio interface, which allows a guitar, bass, or line-level signal to feed into an iPhone, and an output that can feed headphones, studio monitors, or a PA. New CrossTalk Eliminator technology eliminates the feedback problems experienced with many other iPhone interfaces.
The AmpKit software is available free through the iTunes App store, and it includes a faithful model of the Peavey ValveKing amplifier, three pedals (a dozen or more pedals can run simultaneously), two speaker cabinets, and two mics. Additional amps, cabinets, pedals, and microphones can be purchased through the iTunes App store.
AmpKit also allows you to record both dry and processed guitar signals as you play. It can play back backing tracks or songs as you play, and it includes a tuner and a metronome.
Planet Waves Guitar Tools
The folks at Planet Waves have created a number of apps aimed at guitar players, but you may also find them useful on your iPhone or iPod in the studio so that you can help out clients or visiting guitar players. Check out ChordMaster, ProTune, ProTempo, Guitar Tools, and Scale Wizard for useful apps to have around. Free LE versions are available for some of these.
At some point, you’ll need TR-808, TR-909, or TB-303 sounds in your studio. But why mess around with finding and maintaining vintage units when you can have those sounds in your phone or iPod? Propellerhead helped revolutionize music when they put the TRs and TB into computers via the original ReBirth (which led to Reason later on), and now they’ve done the same thing for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. There are even compression, distortion, and filter effects built in, along with a mixer.
The Sonnox app provides information about the company’s plug-ins, plus video tutorials and video demonstrations by pro users. Applications including live sound, post, and music production are covered.
Sonoma Wire Works
This one is incredible. FourTrack is a multitrack recorder for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch! The recorder can do four tracks at 16-bit/44.1kHz resolution. Other features include track panning, 1ms latency, compressor/limiter, song bouncing to free up more tracks, a metronome, Wi-Fi sync to a computer, master 4-band EQ, and much more.
Sonoma also has several flavors of InstantDrummer customizable drum loops as apps. You can even paste the loops directly into FourTrack!
Spectrasonics Omni Live
Omni Live from Spectrasonics is a remote control app for use with the company’s Omnisphere virtual instrument. Omni Live provides wireless control over Omnisphere’s Live Mode page, turning your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad into a handy control surface for live or studio use.
Are the guitarists who work in your studio still tuning one string at a time? Then you need PolyTune for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch! Based on the amazing six-strings-at-a-time PolyTune pedal, this app lets you view the tuning for all six strings at once, or you can tune one string at a time in the traditional method. It’s incredibly fast and accurate!
Add some horns to the mix! The Wallander Wivi Band is an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch version of the popular virtual instrument. It features 15 expressive instruments. You can even use your iPhone’s microphone as a wind controller for adding dynamics! There are two versions: Wivi Band 15-in-1 and the free Wivi Band.
WaveMachine Labs iGOG: Massive Drums
WaveMachine Labs, purveyors of Drumagog, has created a drum machine especially for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. We’re talking up to 384 multi-samples per touch-sensitive pad! There are eight pads (including hi-hat and ride pads), six free drum kits, a built-in sequencer, MIDI export, the ability to record sequences to MP3 files for backing tracks, mic trigger mode, and much more. Believe it or not, you can even load your own WAV files or Drumagog GOG files to create your own kit!
Way Out Ware iSample
iSample is a powerful sampler that runs right on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. It ships with over 50GB of samples created by Mutato Musika (Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh’s studio). There are six sample engines that can load and play samples or loops, tap tempo, a graphical looper, a 6-channel mixer, delay and reverb effects, a pattern sequencer, song mode, and banks of sample pads that can be saved and recalled.