Best iOS Apps of 2013: Controllers

It’s inevitable. Reaching the end of the year and looking back on what it brought us. For iOS musicians it was another good year. A year that our devices became more capable for serious music production and our apps following suit, powered by technologies such as Audiobus. We already have a lot of exciting things to look forward to in 2014, but let’s take a look at our favourite music apps on the iPhone and iPad.

Besides having music apps that can stand on their own, iOS devices became a more powerful tool in professional studios as well. Powered by a whole range of new hardware accessories that came out this year, new apps were also released that aimed to touch-control external hard- and software. We have selected our favourite controller apps from 2013 (in no particular order)

Arpeggionome for iPhone

arpeggionomeThis excellent arpeggiating controller app that was released for iPad at the end of 2012 saw a little brother being born on the iPhone this year. While Arpeggionome for iPhone produces sound of its own, the true power lies in the MIDI functionality, that’s available through an In App Purchase. The circle-based interface translates very well to the smaller screen of the iPhone and the developer Alexander Randon does a great job in musically showcasing the app’s abilities in his promotion videos. This is a great match for your DAW or iOS Synths.

Arpeggionome for iPhone on the App Store


conductrAmidst heavy competition there was a new Ableton Live controller for iPad released this year called Conductr. Despite the false claim of being the first dedicated Live controller app (TouchAble anyone?), we have to say that this is an innovative tool for any Live-based setup. Next to the straightforward clip launching and mixer controls you’re able to modularly set up new touch controls for additional device and system parameters. Along with the Figure-inspired design and creative implementation of touch gestures Conductr is a great tool to create custom setups for live-performing your projects.

Conductr on the App Store

SugarBytes Thesys

thesysOne of our favourite MIDI step sequencing apps has to be SugarBytes Thesys. Like Arpeggionome, Thesys is also able to produce its own sounds, but the fun really starts when you start to feed the MIDI to other iOS apps. Inspired by traditional hardware MIDI sequencers, Thesys has a bit of a learning curve, but once you dig into it you’re able to trigger advanced performances from your apps.

Thesys on the App Store


chordionLast up is Chordion. With a slick instrument designer on board (check out our first jam), you might overlook the fact that this app is able to control your other instruments as well. Sporting a hexagon layout to play chords and a set of keys on the right to either strum or play individual notes on, Chordion keeps everything neatly organised in whichever key you choose. As you can assign both the chord hexagons and the keys to different MIDI channels you can imagine the possibilities for controlling other apps while staying in key.

Chordion on the App Store

That’s it for the top controller apps of 2013

Did we miss anything important? Let us know in the comments below.

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