iPad as Music Machine: Visually Appealing Audio Apps

iPad as Music Machine: Visually Appealing Audio Apps

Jeff Heaton
Jan 4, 2012

The sheer amount of music apps out there is staggering. It seems a new one appears every day, from detailed instrument synthesizers to animal noise song composers. The successful marriage of visual and audio has rarely been so available to so many (music videos shot OK Go-style aside). Clever app developers and music aficionados are delivering a wide range of experiences, here are some of the ones we've been playing with.

1. Planetary (Free)
Planetary is the most visual way of exploring your music collection we've ever seen. Artists act like stars, with albums like planets and songs like moons of those planets. It gives you a fuller grasp of your music universe. We like the stunning visuals for the low, low price of free.

2. Thicket (Free)
With the plethora of short-lived, nonsensical music making apps out there, Thicket shows a longer shelf life by adding different modes that give the user different visual and audio experiences. While this might not be the playground every musician dreams of, it does appeal to less musically inclined mainstream users, especially children who can squeeze enjoyment out of the combined experience. We like the interface, which appeals to all age groups.

3. OscilloScoop ($1.99)
OscilloScoop takes touch gestures and mixes them with simple visuals. Like a video game for music, OscilloScoop produces electronic dance music for those not quite ready for a Korg. It features pre-built beats, continuous tone melody, low pass filter, and tempo controls.

4. Garage Band ($4.99)
Of course Apple wouldn't be left out of the game with it's port of the iLife software for iPad. Not only is the app a beauty, but it's got brains too. Eight tracks to record on, simple and intuitive interface, and easy access to on-board instruments make Garage Band a standard for music recording. Some complain that it's too limited, specifically in the number of tracks, but it's hard to find an app that's easier to jump into for those working on their first album.

5. Guitar Toolkit ($9.99)
The swiss army knife of guitar apps, the Guitar Toolkit adds chord sheets, custom instruments, a metronome, tuner and a drum machine. It's also an iPhone Hall of Fame app. We like the wide library of guitars available and little details from the extensive bank of chords to precise metronome.

How do you use your iPad for music? Tell us in the comments.

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(Image: Flickr user tacoekkel under creative commons.)

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