The 100 Best Music Making Apps: Best Real Apps

Best Real Apps

Oddly named, but we couldn’t think of another catch-all title to cover the apps available to make acoustic or band-type sounds!

IK Multimedia SampleTank


SampleTank is IK’s iOS version of its much larger desktop instrument. Even so, it provides you with hundreds of instruments and patterns from a range of ‘real’ instrument categories including pianos, organs, drums, basses, guitars, strings, percussion and vocals. You can expand the instrument set to over 600 via in-app purchasing, and these include MIDI riffs and grooves as well as just sample-based sounds.

You get a four-track MIDI recorder and the app itself is four-part multitimbral and has a built-in master reverb as well as insert effects. You can edit sounds and effects and MIDI is fully supported. A free version is available for you to test.

Web Price £13.99 Platform iOS

SoundFont Pro

SoundFonts are freely available files that use synthesis and samples to recreate different kinds of instruments. This app is multitimbral, multi-layered and multi-zonal, meaning that you can take an ordinary MIDI keyboard and assign key ranges to the different presets from different soundfonts.


You can also set up different zones and assign input MIDI channels to receive MIDI from an external controller or from another app. As well as some effects there’s voice recording capability, audio import from your library with overdub, live effects using a modulation grid, and Audiobus and inter-app audio compatibility.

Web App Store Price £6.99 Platform iOS

RHISM Guitarism

With a suite of electric and acoustic guitars and an amp, this app lets you play virtual guitar from your iOS device. Based on samples, it lets you play along with songs from your music library and save chord presets as well as recording and sharing performances with others.

Use the Quadroplay system to simultaneously control Guitarism and up to three additional MIDI-compatible apps, such as GarageBand, in complementary roles: guitar, bass and chords. Quadroplay essentially turns Guitarism into an advanced multi-channel MIDI controller. AudioCopy and Audiobus are supported too so you can integrate with other apps to take things to the next level.

Web Price £2.99 Platform iOS

iFretless Bass

The iFretless Bass app is a professional virtual instrument that provides bass and guitar players with an expressive fretless playing surface. The layout is like a nine-string bass guitar with the notes coloured black and white like the keys of a piano.

Although it looks different from a guitar neck, bass players will find it surprisingly easy to use. It has a good feature set and is based on over 200MB of bass samples. MIDI in and out are supported as are Audiobus, Audio Copy and inter-app audio. There’s an XY control pad along with velocity sensing of touch for more expressive playability.

Web Price £6.99 Platform iOS

IK Multimedia iGrand

The iGrand puts an entire gallery of the world’s finest pianos right at your fingertips with studio-grade quality thanks to high-definition stereo samples across multiple velocities. The app brings you the most playable, expressive and beautiful sounding grand, baby grand, upright and speciality piano instruments available on a mobile device.

You also get a recorder and a metronome, and you can record as MIDI with overdubbing and punch-in. Virtual MIDI is supported and there’s up to 64-voice polyphony on newer devices. A free version is available and you can add more pianos via in-app purchases.

Web Price £13.99 Platform iOS

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