Buying Guide: The Best iPhone Music Apps


Drum Machine

Beatmaker, $19.99 (intua.net). The call of duty is lost on the dedicated worker bees at Intua, for they have triumphantly surpassed all yardsticks with a first-class drum machine that blastbeats the competition out of the water. Along with the 16-trigger-pad drum machine, Beatmaker also sports a sampler, a sequencer, and an effects rack. Unlike the other toys out there, this is one of those rare apps that really elevates the iPhone to a class of professional musical gear. It’s effortless beat making and programming is fun (the provided sample library is exquisite), but it’s the sampling and wave-editing functions of recorded audio with seamless integration that deserve the award. It’s incredibly easy to quickly record a snippet of sound straight into the program, crop any unwanted audio, and assign it to a pad for instant triggering. To top it off, Intua has also developed free software (Beatpack) that supports drag-and-drop kit creation. This means it’s possible to create a kit of homegrown samples on the computer and download it to the iPhone. Finally, I can put my drum kit in my pocket!

While it certainly isn’t a drum machine’s job, Beatmaker’s absence of a synth really leaves much to be desired. One other missing detail is the inability to change the screen-locking preferences within the app.

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