iRockin’ in your pocket

FROM its first iPod to monolithic media player iTunes, music has long been front and centre of Apple’s world-domination plans. There’s an overwhelming amount of music-related apps on the market for the iPhone, iPod Touch and their supersized successor, the iPad (about 3500 at last count), ranging from analog keyboard emulators and recommendation services to innovative add-ons that make the listening experience just that little bit better.

These 12 don’t really scratch the surface of the sheer breadth of music-related apps but they do give a snapshot of what’s available at present for musicians, obsessives and audiophiles.


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Ever listened to a great new song in the car, only to sit through 15 minutes of back announcements to find out who played it? Shazam circumvents this by running the song, like a fingerprint, through its 10-million song database. Simply hold your phone up to the speaker, press “tag” and in seconds you’ve got the song’s name, the artist who played it and a link to buy it from iTunes. It even works in noisy conditions. The premium app ($7.99) features lyrics in real time for up to 25,000 tracks.

AmpliTube turns your iPhone or iPad into a miniature guitar amp, so you don’t have to annoy your neighbours when inspiration strikes at 3am. You’ll need to purchase the iRig adaptor first, which enables you to plug a guitar cable directly into the headphone jack. Guitarists will appreciate the range of effects — from flangers to fuzz boxes, choruses to delays — while their long-suffering “fans” will thank their lucky stars there’s a headphone jack. an in-app shop allows you to upgrade to Fender products and there’s a built-in recorder that saves all your greatest hits.

$60 including iRig and app,

MSO Learn

The inner workings of a symphony orchestra can be a little overwhelming, especially for kids. Developed locally for iPhone and iPad, MSO Learn demystifies the experience, grouping the instruments into interactive sections and offering profiles of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra players (did you know percussionist John Arcaro is an avid cyclist or harpist Julie Raines supports Essendon?).


TuneIn Radio Pro

Of course, it’s great having your entire music collection at your fingertips but it’s sometimes fun hearing something new, too. TuneIn stands out from an overcrowded radio app market with its clean, almost iPod-like interface and access to 50,000 stations worldwide — from US college radio to Ukrainian talkback. if that sounds a little overwhelming, you can search for your favourite song and find out what station is playing it around the world right now. It can also record.

Tango Remote allows you to control your music remotely via your iPhone without leaving the couch. It takes two to tango, of course, so you’ll need to pair your iPhone with another device — an iPod Touch or iPad — and have a working Bluetooth or wireless connection enabled. Handy for when you’re hosting a party and you can’t be bothered running up and down adjusting your iPod’s volume or changing tracks.



Sharing a set of headphones isn’t just uncomfortable (most of the time you feel like a Siamese twin), it also makes for a poor listening experience because you’re not hearing the song in stereo. Eavesdrop is like a modern update of those two-pronged headphone jacks for the Walkman, allowing you to share your music with a nearby friend via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in perfect sync.


Korg iMS-20

One of the coolest things about the iPad is that it can morph seamlessly into an analog synth studio like the Korg iMS-20. This app has been touted as a “complete re-creation” of the Korg MS-20 synth, which was released in 1978 and now costs an absolute bomb on eBay. The trouble with bringing back older technology is that it is not as user-friendly as one might expect from a modern-day app. but master these controls and you’ll be making retro dance music in no time. Features include a seven-channel mixer, a sequencer and a drum machine.


The iPad isn’t conducive to every instrument — there’s an awkward guitar emulator currently doing the rounds — but it almost seems purpose-built for two turntables (sans microphone). Djay is an award-winning app that allows you to pull off some nifty DJ moves — from scratching to cross-fades — using the iPad’s touchscreen. and the best part? It integrates with your iPod library, giving you access to your playlists and tracks on the fly.



Used as an alternative to your phone’s iPod application, Noize works intuitively to adjust your music playback volume according to how much noise is around you. if a neighbour starts mowing the lawn, for example, the volume goes up; if they stop, it goes down. It’s particularly handy when someone’s speaking to you — like in a cafe or on the train — but the makers caution against relying on it to hear traffic noises when you’re crossing the road.


Radio Soulwax

Belgium’s Dewaele brothers have a better record collection than you — and, thankfully, they don’t mind sharing it. The pair behind electro outfits Soulwax and 2manydjs has spent the past two years developing this app, which allows you to download or stream 24 one-hour mixes with accompanying visuals. The visuals pay digital tribute to the brothers’ long-held love for vinyl record sleeves.


No musical ability, no worries. Apple’s music-making app for iPad allows you to play a range of instruments — pianos, organs, guitars and drums — without even taking a lesson. You can then arrange and mix your creations using an eight-track recording studio, which you won’t need a degree in audio engineering to operate. Melbourne musician Marcus Teague (aka Single Twin) recently recorded an album using nothing but GarageBand and a single Rode NT1000 microphone.

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