The mobile boom brought forth a world of opportunities to creative individuals – especially musicians. Gone are the days when these artists were bound to full studio equipment (which costs fortunes) in order to get anything done. Professional music makers still need those, but our smartphones and tablets are more than capable of taking a quantifiable load of work.
What really makes us grind our teeth here at Android Authority is the fact that Apple has had a foothold on the music industry for a long time (in terms of mobile music making, at least). This is changing, as there is a plethora of Android developers making great apps for musicians, but we need to dig deeper into the platform in order to understand what’s going on.
Apple wasn’t doing amazingly well among musicians only because of its fame and widespread support; Android devices did have a limitation, which proved to be a huge slow-down. iOS has offered audio low-latency for a long time, something Google only implemented with the introduction of Android 5.0 Lollipop, along with multi-channel audio stream mixing and USB audio support.
With these changes in place, and considering Android does own the market in terms of numbers, we are sure to see some great developers getting on board with our favorite mobile OS. In the meantime, we would like to share some great apps any musician and music maker should take a look at.
Guitar Tuner Free (previously known as Guitar Tuna)
This app’s design is great, and I love having it around to tune my instruments. Mostly because it has support for tuning multiple instruments, including guitar, bass and ukulele (my personal favorite). It includes games for learning to play, a metronome and a design that makes it a breeze to use.
Serious musicians will also love that it touts “award-winning audio technology” and “professional accuracy for advanced players”. And with over 5 million downloads, this app sure has its fair amount of popularity.
Even the best of musicians forget lyrics, so it’s always convenient to have a lyric app around, just in case you need it. This application grants access to lyrics for more than a million songs, something considered to be heaven-sent to many cover musicians around. Lyrically can even recognize the music you are playing on your phone and present the right lyrics on the screen.
Having trouble syncing to a beat? Metronomes are no longer just tools that need to sit on top of a table. You can carry it around in your pocket, thanks to the power of our smartphones. Pro Metronome was a hit on iOS, and us Android users can also take advantage of it now.
Sure, other tuning apps include metronomes, but this one is far superior. The user can choose between many timing styles. Users can also “access subdivisions, poly-rhythm settings, and create complex patterns with triplets, dotted notes, and non-standard time signatures” if they purchase the Pro version. It’s also more precise than a real, mechanical metronome, as it’s not affected by friction, air resistance and other natural factors.
Musicians love their high quality sound recording. Sound needs to be as pristine as possible, and even though mobile is not quite up there with studio standards, I have to say RecForge Pro is about the closest you can get to the real deal.
RecForge Pro is a serious audio recorder. It can record in mp3, ogg or wav, and you can convert audio files between those formats, as well. It has support for storing clips in the cloud, and one can even edit these sound clips before doing anything with them. There’s a wide array of settings and tools for making your sound as perfect as possible.
I will advice that you get a good microphone to use with your handset, as phones usually don’t have the best microphones integrated.
How many times have you gotten inspired during your commute to the city, without an instrument within reach to hear how well your new song ideas work out? After all, music often sounds very different in your mind than it does coming out of an instrument.
Walk Band is meant to be more of a creative music-making app, with multi-track recording and a series of digital instruments you can play around with. That’s all fun, but I use it more as a tool for translating my thoughts into sound waves when on-the-go. Maybe you will find it just as convenient, so give it a go!
Here is one area where Android is still a bit behind, with apps like Traktor DJ putting all their chips on Apple. That’s not to say there aren’t some good DJing Android apps out there, though. One of my favorites is DJ Studio 5. It’s completely free and all they make money on are skins. No ads, no hidden charges, no catch.
DJ Studio 5 is simple enough to welcome beginners, yet it has its good share of more complex features for the advances DJs out there. You at least have to try their unique scratch system and disk physics!
Sadly, we are far from getting anything similar to Garage Band, which continues to be a great tool even for some serious musicians. With that said, w can also say there are some great apps like Caustic 3 around, which allow us to create music from our mobile devices.
This app’s design is inspired by rack-mount synthesizers, which I say give it an awesome style. You can choose from a wide variety of synthesizers and different sounds. It’s fun and it’s free to use. You will need to pay $9.99 if you want the ability to save or export your projects, though.
Of course, this is all the opinion of one humble musician here. I am sure many of you have found great uses for other apps, and maybe you even have better alternatives to the ones I happen to love. Whatever the case may be, please do share your thoughts on the comments below.
Do you use any of these apps? Which are your favorite applications for making music?