Touch enabled devices such as tablets and smartphones now play an integral role in our everyday lives. They make it incredibly easy for communicate, consume content, entertain ourselves and even monitor aspects of our health but how useful can our mobile devices be in our recording studio lives? As it turns out smartphones and tablets can be very useful as there are a plethora of cool creative apps and utility tools in both the Apple and Android app stores designed specifically for audio production workflows, many of which are free to download or cost a very small amount.
Chances are you own an Apple or Android phone, a tablet of sorts, an iPad perhaps…? But how integrated are these devices in your studio workflow? If you don’t use your iPad, for example, in your studio maybe you haven’t yet found a selection of apps that can help you in your workflow.
There are plenty of clever apps out there that you can starting using today to improve aspects of your day-to-day studio work, you just need to know where to look. Such apps range from free DAW controllers through to apps designed to encourage and inspire the creative side of music production.
In this article we take a you on a quick whistle-stop tour of iOS and Android apps you should consider if you want to integrate your touch devices into your rig for a more intuitive, productive and creative touch experience in your studio.
Many of these apps operate as a standalone application, which means the only device you will need in order to run these will be the touch device itself. Other apps may require additional hardware, which we’ve mentioned where appropriate.
Pro Tools Control - Apple iOS
Take wireless control of your Pro Tools session from your iPad with Pro Tools Control. You can record and mix audio in Pro Tools far faster and more easily using touch than working with a mouse and keyboard alone. The app combines the tight hardware/software integration and high-speed communication power of EUCON technology with the multi-touch advancements of iOS, so you get deep control, with great mixing flexibility. If you use Pro Tools Control with Avid’s Pro Tools S3 or Artist Mix control surfaces you gain new touch workflows and custom controls. Watch our free video tutorial to see Pro Tools Control in action with an Avid S3…
As the Pro Tools Control app protocol is EUCON other desktop applications including Avid Media Composer, Logic, Cubase and Nuendo are also compatible meaning this isn’t just a Pro Tools only touch enabled control surface.
Visit Avid for more information.
Logic Remote - Apple iOS
The Logic Remote app is the perfect addition to any Logic Pro X studio that has an unused or spare iPhone or iPad laying around. Why mix with a mouse when you can use an iPad with its multitouch capabilities to mix with using more than one finger at a time? Logic Remote is quite stripped back though the controls that it does feature are the key controls you need and will use all the time to navigate and manipulate a mix.
Studio One Remote - Apple iOS, Android, Windows Surface
The Studio One Remote app turns your touch device into a wireless control surface for Studio One 3 Professional. The mix page provides deep control of the mix console in Studio One but it offers more than just faders. It also enables you to access sends, inserts, inputs/outputs and even cue mixes. You even have control over the stock effects in your session accessed by use of eight assignable knobs, eight buttons and XY pads that are preprogrammed. Third party plug-ins controls can easily be assigned Studio One’s Control Link.
Visit Presonus for more information.
Neyrinck V-Control - Apple iOS, Andriod
V-Control Pro is an application for Mac and Windows computers that connects controllers to software using almost any popular touch enabled device. It’s a great system loved by many. The app can be run on multiple devices for up to 32 simultaneous tracks of DAW control and V-Console includes a V-Window feature that lets you control plug-in controls from the original plug-in screen with your fingertips with improved insert and plug-in edit pop-ups.
If the dedicated DAW remote apps we’ve already mentioned don’t capture your imagination though a touch DAW controller is something you need then V-Control Pro needs some of your attention, it’s a seriously impressive system that’s worth every penny, if you are unsure then test drive the free lite version.
Connects Digidesign Control|24 and ProControl to work with Pro Tools (11, 12, 2018, 2019), Logic Pro X, Cubase, and Nuendo (Mac OS 10.10/Windows 7 and later)
Advanced DAW control for tablets and phones
Surround pan control for Pro Tools
Surround pan control for Dolby Atmos Pan plug-in
Advanced Spill plug-in control with V-PlugIn app
Compatible with multi-device use
Compatible with Raven MTi/MTx
Slate Remote - Apple iOS
Slate Remote isn’t a stand alone app, it is designed to be used in conjunction with either Slate’s Batch Commander or Slate’s RAVEN touch control surfaces on Logic and Pro Tools systems. You can download the Slate Raven app for free but it will not work without first purchasing a copy of the Batch Commander or a RAVEN.
When Slate Remote is paired with one of the required Slate products it becomes a cool and useful app as it provides plenty of buttons that execute up to 1,000 key commands, menu selections, mouse clicks and more. Gone are the days of having to constantly run to your computer to control aspects of your session. Use this to control pretty much anything you need from anywhere in your studio such as being behind your vocal mic or sat on your sofa at the back of the studio.
Price: Free to download the app. Slate’s Batch Commander is a minimum requirement costing $99.
Visit Slate Media Technology for more information.
Duet Display - Apple iOS
Duet Display for Mac and PC is a cost effective solution for those looking for extra screen real-estate and who already own an iPad. Not only does Duet provide extra display space but it also enables us to touch and control parameters in any desktop application.
It’s a simple app to setup. Plug your iPad into your desktop or laptop computer with its USB cable, install the Duet desktop application, run the app on your iPad and you’ve instantly unlocked some extra usefulness from your iPad, as you will see in our quick tip video below. Some users complain that Duet Display doesn’t work wirelessly, we don’t mind as connecting the iPad via a cable reduces latency between devices.
Price: $9.99 for the app, desktop application free to download from the Duet Display website.
Visit Duet Display for more information.
GarageBand For iOS - Apple iOS
GarageBand is a free app for Apple iOS devices which comes pre installed on new iPads. It’s a serious portable DAW that’s a joy to use, especially if you are the type of creative that works well on touch devices. Garage Band iOS has come a long way over the years. It performs similarly to how desktop DAWs do, especially on the more powerful iPad Pros.
We tested GarageBand for iOS using two desktop class audio interfaces by Focusrite that you would typically find bolted into a studio rack and connected to a computer. We tested GarageBand iOS on a iPad to see if it could record a full multitrack drum kit, which it did and without even breaking a sweat.
Visit Apple for more information.
iZotope Spire Music Recorder - Apple iOS, Android
Like Garage Band iOS, Spire can be your go everywhere portable studio ready to capture your creative ideas as soon as inspiration strikes. Spire was designed to work with iZotope Spire Studio hardware which is a standalone 8 track digital recorder that includes a splendid built-in microphone and runs of battery power.
The Spire hardware isn’t required for you to make full use of the app, though we recommend it as it does compliment the whole Spire experience. We had the pleasure of putting the Spire App and hardware through it’s paces. In our verdict we conclude that this package is an essential piece of kit for prolific songwriters on the go.
Price: Spire app is free, Spire hardware £349
Visit iZotope for more information.
Eventide H9 Control App - Apple iOS, Android
Eventide’s H9 multi effects box is an extremely popular device in the electric guitar scene. It’s fairly simple to use as a standalone device thanks to its large single light ring dial but there is a much simpler way to set and adjust its built-in effects by using the iOS and Android app. Eventide also provide a desktop app for the H9 but we prefer the iOS option for two reasons:
iPad app provides quick and easy touch control on a dedicated display
The app saves us having to switch between our DAW window and the H9 Control app.
This is a very simple system that gives us quick and easy access to all the algorithms, presets, settings and the effects store. The H9 isn’t limited to being just an effect engine for guitar players, it is also a very capable DSP based effects box for your DAW. Learn how to set this up in Pro Tools by reading our article Using Eventide's H9 As An External DSP Effects Unit With Pro Tools Controllable Via Touch
Price: H9 app is free for iOS, andriod, Mac and PC. H9 hardware prices start at $399
Visit Eventide for more information.
IK Multimedia Amplitube For iOS
AmpliTube for Apple iOS is a fantastic sounding drag and drop guitar tone suite for endless hours of fun playing and recording electric guitars and basses. Out of the box it includes 6 stomp box effects (4 pre-amp and 2 post), one amplifier and one speaker cabinet with up to 2 positionable microphones. To plug a guitar into an iOS device you will need an audio interface designed to work with iOS such as one of IK’s iRig interfaces.
Price: The app is free and come bundled with a small selection of amps and stomp boxes. Extra cabs and effects sold separately. iRig HD 2 costs $99
Visit IK Multimedia for more information.
Universal Audio OX Rig Control - Apple iOS
This is a free companion app for controlling Universal Audio’s OX Amp Top Box. The OX hardware provides a full palette of virtual speaker cabinets, microphones and effects for getting legendary guitar amp tones. There is a similar desktop remote application but we prefer using the app version as the OX is a portable device that is equally at home in the studio or on stage.
We got early access to Universal Audio OX Amp Box, watch our video below to get a guided tour around the system and to see how the app controls dial in guitar tones.
Price: The app is free, Universal Audio OX hardware costs $1,629
Visit Universal Audio for more information.
Antelope Audio Remote Control Apps - Apple iOS, Android
More and more audio interfaces these days provide a means for us to control their functions from a touch device. Antelope, the makers of many DSP powered interfaces offer remote control apps for 3 of their most popular interfaces being Goliath, Orion Studio and Zen Tour. Apps such as these make it incredibly easy for us to quickly control our interfaces without the need for us to reach for the unit itself.
Price: Free, check with your local pro audio dealer for Antelope Audio interface prices.
Visit Antelope Audio for more information.
Focusrite Control - Apple iOS
Focusrite iOS Control is a free app that enables you adjust your cue mixes and preamp settings remotely from your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Focusrite iOS Control works with the Focusrite Control desktop application that comes with all Focusrite audio interfaces from the Scarlett 6i6 (2nd Generation) up, including the Clarett and Red interface ranges. It gives you complete control of hardware inputs, software playback, panning, solo and mute as well as the preamp settings on your interface - all from your iOS device.
Be aware that the controllable features will vary depending on the Focusrite interfaces you are using. Configure input settings such as Mic/Line/Instrument mode or engage Air mode on the Claretts, access gain and other preamp settings such as stereo linking or phase reversal. View channel metering and enjoy full control over output levels. Control individual software playback and input monitor levels for each mix you create in Focusrite Control. Focusrite Control makes it easy for you to change your own monitoring levels while sitting away from your mix position, such as sitting behind a drum kit, all from your iPhone or iPad.
Control output levels
Control software playback levels and panning
Control hardware input levels and panning
Control mute and dim
View input and output metering
Control preamp features available on your connected Focusrite interface
Approve devices for control
Price: Free, check with your local pro audio dealer for Focusrite interface prices.
Visit Focusrite for more information.
TotalMix FX For iPad
TotalMix Remote extends the power of RME interfaces by provide remote control access via iOS. Users can adjust any aspect of TotalMix FX on a host system on the fly from any position in the studio. The remote app mirrors the the host system, including the full display of the interface, the routing of inputs and outputs as well as all settings including level meters.
TotalMix FX for iPad supports RME's Fireface UFX+, UFX II, UFX, UCX, 802, Babyface, Babyface Pro and MADIface Promixer audio interfaces when set in Class Compliant mode.
Price: Free, check with your local pro audio dealer for RME interface prices.
Visit RME for more information.
Klevgrand - Weeel
Many hardware keyboards lacks a decent pitch wheel. Weeel saves the day! Weeel! is a MIDI utility app that transmits pitch bend and any control change (like modulation, breath control etc) to any MIDI port available on the device. Use it with hardware MIDI interfaces, Network MIDI or other solutions like MusicIO or midimux (via Virtual MIDI).
Touch and drag to transmit pitch (x-axis) and modulation (y-axis)
Acceleration sensitivity setting
Lock/Unlock modulation (whether it should go back to zero or not)
Transmit pitch bend on/off switch
Select which MIDI ports to transmit to (on/off switch for each port)
Select MIDI out channel
Select control change number (0-127)
Visit Klevgrand for more information
Neumann Recording Tools - Apple iOS, Android
The Neumann recording tools app is an essential tool for anyone who records in stereo. its SRA (Stereo Recording Angle) calculator takers the guesswork out of getting stereo arrays right. Try this and you’ll find that you’ve probably been doing things wrong - we had!
It also features tools to help manage gain structure, something else lots of us don’t do right.
Visit the iOS App store for more details
Tap Tempo Pokus Labs - Apple iOS
Working out the bmp of a freshly written song in the early stages of pre production can be a challenge. A simple way to establish a tempo is to tap along with the song using an app. A simple app we recommend, which is also free on iOS is TapThatTempo by Pokus Labs. There are several apps just like this in both Apple and Android stores, search for tap tempo to find the best app for your needs.
musicMath - Apple iOS
musicMath is a must have tool for musicians working in the studio. It features:
A timecode calculator
A tap tempo
A tempo to delay in millisecond and hertz converter
A note to frequency table converter
A sample length converter
A tempo change converter
A frequency to note converter
In short, musicMath is the calculator for audio producers you need by your side as it removes the need to work things out longhand.
Splice Sound - Apple iOS, Android
Do you produce music using online loop libraries? If so then you know that inspiration can strike anytime, anywhere. Often you need to hear a number of samples to get the creative juices flowing but how can you do this if you are not sitting at your computer? The Splice Sound app enables you to browse, listen and catalogue samples on the go with this app syncing between your mobile devices and desktop workstation.
Visit Splice for more information.
WaveMachine Labs’ Auria Pro is the ultimate DAW for iPad, serious this is as good as most major desktop DAWs. You can use it for MIDI Sequencing, audio recording, mixing and audio editing just like using a DAW but with your fingertips instead. Auria includes a huge suite of effects with additional plug-ins that can be added through in-app purchasing from the likes of FabFilter, Overloud and FXpansion to name a few. If you are a producer on the go then this should be on your iPad.
Price: $49 for the Pro version.
Visit WaveMachine Labs for more information.
That Is Our Pick Of The Bunch - What Are Yours?
That concludes our quick whistle-stop tour of apps designed for creative audio production for iOS and Android devices. We know that this list is by no means complete. If you use an app regularly in your studio that you swear by and we didn’t include it then please suggest it in the comments below.