The iPad is a beautiful device for all kinds of music-making and synthesiser goodness. Here’s our selection of iPad-ready music creation and learning apps that we think you’ll like (and if you’re a Mac user who likes these, why not peruse our 35 piano, synth and sound apps from the Mac App Store too?):
Click on the title to go to the iTunes Store for more information.
ThumbJam – $6.99
Over 30 high-quality multi-sampled real instruments and hundreds of musical scales allow you to play a range of styles.
It’s endorsed by Jordan Rudess, and comes with two of his signature sounds.
TouchOSC – $4.99
For sending Open Sound Control (OSC) messages to other devices via Wi-Fi. Includes touch controls for faders, rotary controls, toggle buttons, XY pads, multi-faders, multi-toggles, LEDs and labels, with full multi-touch of up to five controls at once.
miniSynth PRO – $9.99
Grab hold of analog synthesis on your iPad with this completely revamped version of the original iPhone synth.
Fully-featured, professional grade virtual analog synth incorporating an improved version of the zero-latency “push-pull” Yonac keyboard algorithm.
A huge range of specs include dual subtractive / FM virtual-analogue polyphonic / monophonic synthesis, fully configurable FM filter or modulation based tone shaping, 16-bit quality stereo output, dual syncable oscillators, six optimised custom waveforms per oscillator, adjustable dual keyboards, BPM-based arpeggiator module, and so much more.
Korg iElectribe – $19.99
A faithful virtual recreation of Korg’s ELECTRIBE-R sound engine, featuring analog synth modelling, PCM samples, virtual valve force tube modelling, patterns and effects.
Pianist Pro – $9.99
The original iPhone piano now arrives in a pro version for the iPad, featuring full recording and overdub, standard MIDI output, MIDI to OSC, multiple instruments, pitch bend, modulation and swell pedal, arpeggiator and a drum machine.
Pocket Organ C3B3 – $2.99
Optimised for the larger iPad screen, play a simulation of the Hammond Organ using a virtual tonewheel system controlled by nine drawbars as per the real thing. Features include scrollable keyboard, transposition, rotary speaker effect, harmonic percussion effect, reverb, overdrive, vibrato, chorus, and glissando via the accelerometer.
SunVox – $4.99
Another iPad app endorsed by Jordan Rudess, SunVox is a small and fast multi-platform pattern-based (tracker) sequencer with modular synths. This means you can use it across different operating systems.
Features include a modular interface, optimised synth algorithms, Wi-Fi import and export, including WAV samples, various generators and a sampler, DC blocking filter, effects including delay, distortion and echo, a three-band equaliser, low-, high-, band-pass and notch filters, flanger, LFO, loop, reverb, a vocal filter and vibrato.
bleep!BOX – $9.99
A combination drum machine and synthesiser box with sounds generated in real time (not from samples).
Features include real-time processing, audio copying, classic x0x drum emulation, analog style 2-Osc synths, 10 parts, 50+ parameters, ringmod, FM, PhaseMod, Sync, Distortion, global delay FX, eight waveforms, tempo, swing, pattern length, saving of patches and patterns, step sequencing and recording, automation, song mode, and recording songs and patterns to WAV files.
Ellatron HD – $5.99
Experience a virtual Mellotron synth on your iPad, featuring 27 voices, 16 banks of programmable chord buttons, ‘fat keys’ for better playability, save and restore of voice settings, and ready to take on the road. Jordan Rudess say’s “it’s pretty cool”.
Looptastic HD – $14.99
Create remixes and electronic compositions simply by dragging and dropping loops, using the built-in DJ mixer and adding effects with the touch pad.
Features include over 900 samples plus the ability to record your own, a dozen real time effects with X-Y touch pad, including Bit Crusher, Multimode Fingering, flanger, delay and glitchy repeater, time stretching, triple-zone mixer, scratch strip for triggering samples part-way through, importing of a range of audio sample file types, export in 16-bit AIFF, and sharing via SoundCloud.
GrooveMaker Hip-Hop for iPad – $9.99
The application for creating non-stop electronic, dance and hip-hop tracks in real-time.
Features include instantaneous control of eight stereo loop tracks, play, mix and randomise loops on the fly, combine studio-quality loops, manipulate loops in real time, arrange grooves with drag and drop, save and recall tracks and upload WAV files via Wi-Fi.
Nota HD – $5.99
Designed for pianists of all levels, Nota HD features piano chord and scale browser, piano and staff note locator, note quiz and reference library with over 100 symbols.
Raindrops for iPad – $1.99
Play music simply by touching the screen, either solo or over the Internet.
Synth – $0.99
Simply titled “Synth”, this cheaper app offers over 40 instruments, mod and pitch bend wheels, adjustable delay and distortion plus a built in sampler.
Bebot – Robot Synth – $1.99
Feature packed polyphonic musical synth with a unique multitouch control method — an onscreen animated robot character who moves and sings while you play.
Four synth modes, analog-sounding filters, versatile delay/loops, overdrive distortion, programmable scales, and full touchscreen control.
Music Studio – $14.99
A complete music production environment featuring dynamically configurable 85-key keyboard, 74 studio-recorded instruments, low-latency, high polyphony, real time effects, 128-track sequencer, note editing, quantising, transposition, repeat, move, velocity and so on, Wi-Fi transfer, MIDI import/export.
iSequence for iPad – $14.99
Music creation studio featuring eight-track sequencer, flexible mixer with DSP, real-time recording and control, 160 instruments, pattern editing, sampler, and wi-fi file sharing.
Electrify – $14.99
A virtual sample groovebox for iPad, designed to combine the best features of existing hardware grooveboxes and the ease of use of software applications.
Features include an eight-track sequencer with individual track lengths, two chainable effect buses with 8 effects, direct access to track parameters, step sequencer, pattern matrix, seven parameters editable per step, professional sample library, import of samples, sample editing, copy and paste to other iPad apps.
Mellotronics M3000 for iPad – $11.99
The only moxMatrix – $4.99
Turns iPad into a canvas for rhythm and melody, featuring a multicoloured, multitouch pulsating groovebox.
Features include tone matrix interface, loop creation, sampler, alternative scales, pattern storage and jam mode.
olsynth – $6.99
Classic monophonic synth with a clean and simple interface. Settings include dual oscillator with four waveforms, fine tune, modulation, filter, envelope volume and filter, and arpeggio.
A highly specialised app designed for professional piano tuners. It can be calibrated to an accuracy of 0.02 cents, stores hundreds of tuning files for individual pianos, plus historical temperaments for period music, automatic note switching, plus a range of displays to aid in tuning.
Mac user? Don’t miss our 35 Piano, Synth and Sound Apps from the Mac App Store feature.