Make music on iOS: create amazing tracks with your iPhone or iPad

If you're after a powerful MIDI controller, kings of the scene M-Audio have just updated their Axiom 61 keyboard (£229): alongside 61 semi-weighted keys, it boasts faders, knobs and pads for controlling desktop software, making it a worthy addition to any studio that speaks both iOS and OS X.

Alternatives include Novation's SL 61 MKii (£380), or if you don't need any control bling and would rather more keys instead, try the imposing M-Audio Keystation 88 (£132).

Those who produce mostly on desktop can use their iOS device as a controller. For iPad, touchAble (£17.49) is the best app out there for Ableton Live; touchOSC (£2.99) is compatible with stacks of programs including Logic Pro.

There are several serious groovebox apps available. Korg's iElectribe for iPad (£6.99) is an enjoyable emulation of the company's Electribe ER-1 hardware, while Propellerhead's ReBirth (£1.99 for iPhone/ iPod touch; £10.49 for iPad) is an exact copy of the formidable desktop software.

GarageBand and BeatMaker 2 are great for bringing all of these elements together, but Aurora Sound Studio (£6.99 for iPhone/iPod touch; £27.99 for iPad) is a great alternative - it contains synths, samplers, mixer and effects, all tied up in a Tenori-On-style Multi-Touch grid interface.


Numark DJ Pro

Big-name electronic artists such as whizzkid James Zabiela and techno icon Richie Hawtin are famous for using their iPads to get the dancefloor moving, and for good reason.

Slot an iPad into your existing setup and take advantage of this flexible paradigm with performance-focused controller apps such as Liine's Griid Pro (£17.49), which focuses on launching Ableton Live clips, and the intuitive, uniquely powerful Lemur (£34.99), which brings a piece of £1,700 hardware to your iOS device.

Digital DJing suites NI Traktor and Serato Scratch Live can be controlled by TrakPro DJ (£6.99) and MIDI-to for iPad (£5.49) respectively. If you'd like to take a step further and use your iPhone or iPad as the main mixing interface, algoriddim's djay (69p for iPhone/ iPod touch; £13.99 for iPad) is the one all the rest are trying to beat.

Connect two iOS devices running djay together with IK Multimedia's iRig Mix (which incorporates EQ knobs), and cue output and channel faders; or alternatively, buy a full hardware system including CDJ-style platters with the brand-new Numark iDJ Pro for iPad (£309) or iDJ3 for iPhone/iPod touch (£180). The cheaper iDJ Live (£79) provides an affordable gateway to the concept for beginners.

But DJing isn't the only method of performing with your iOS device - you can also play it as an instrument or effect on stage. Morph sounds from one timbre to another, note by note with MorphWiz (£6.99), create sonic mayhem with filter app Moog Filtatron (£5.49) or rub the screen to spit out diverse effects and lead lines with KORG iKaossilator (£6.99).

Reactable Mobile (£6.99) is something a little special: place generator and effect blocks on your screen to build up pulsating arrangements, then edit them in real-time to spectacular effect.

Guitarists will find a neat performance solution in DigiTech iPB-10 (£379), a 10-slot pedalboard programmed through iPad app iPB-Nexus (Free). With almost 90 effects, 54 amps and 26 cabs, you won't struggle to find an appropriate sound.

IK Multimedia's iRig Stomp (£39) is single stompbox that can slot into your existing pedalboard setup; run it through AmpliTube 2 (Free with IAPs) for a top-quality selection of guitar kit emulations. And there's even a handy way to keep your device in view without adding a vibe-killing table taking centre-stage - IK's iKlip (£25) and iKlip Mini (£25) holders clip onto a traditional mic stand.

How to put it all together

BeatMaker 2

Now that you know which apps and kit are worthy of your hard-earned moolah, it's time to investigate how to put it all together and wind up with a track or performance worth shouting about.

First, if you're a beginner and you know nothing about music just yet: chill. Have a go with the apps we recommended in the Dabbler section that require no prior experience whatsoever. Enjoy the experience of creating music and let it bring a smile to your face - that's what it's all about, after all.