Can you use mobile applications to actually make GOOD music?

With music technology always moving further forward we’ve seen a revolution of mobile applications that give you the ability to write, record, create, edit music and much, much more. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should – so is it all just for fun or can you make proper, good music using apps?

The abilities of the devices in our pockets have come an incredibly long way in recent years. These days you can record clear audio from a phone, download an entire Digital Audio Workstation into your pocket, access hundreds of instruments from a tiny screen and even plug guitars, microphones and more in to record anywhere you like.

The capabilities have come a long way, but has the quality? As with anything it of course depends on how you use it, but the simple answer is – definitely. In fact, mobile music making isn’t just for lowkey musicians and enthusiasts anymore and has spread into the A-star league of music makers as the possibilities and functions continue to improve and open up more and more opportunities.

For example Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz fame decided to make an entire album on his iPhone back in 2011. Following the launch of Gorillaz’s spectacular album ‘Plastic Beach’ Albarn went on the road to tour the album, and decided to create another on the way. Afterwards Albarn came out with an entire album named ‘The Fall’ and, whilst it may not be his most spectacular work, it was a well received, studio quality album that showed just what can be done with the phone in your pockets. And that was 6 years ago.

Prolific music maker and YouTuber Andrew Huang recently released a video where he set himself the challenge of also creating music from scratch using mobile applications. Watch below to see how it went, and just how easy it is to record real music with a phone and some apps.

Do you know any great mobile apps? Let us know what your favourites are.

Lyrebird is an AI that can recreate your voice from 60 seconds of speech

The ability to make anyone say what you want is quickly becoming a reality with fresh startup Lyrebird propelling voice synthesis further than ever before.

Lyrebird is a massively impressive AI that beats out all of it’s competition with crazy-fast voice scanning and surprisingly accurate results. With just 60 seconds worth of speech samples Lyrebird can accurately clone any voice to a mind-bogglingly accurate copy, reproducing accent, inflection and tone for an almost-lifelike replication.

The AI’s algorithm can cleverly process and manipulate the sounds of speech to translate it into a framework for how that voice sounds in techy terms. This is a massive leap forward from many speech synthesis projects which have seen the vocals programmed to create it’s sounds, rather than being able to understand and create it’s own (to an extent).

Other companies have made major developments in the area, such as Google who have been leading life-like AI voice development with their sophisticated project WaveNet. Additionally Adobe have been working on a similar project called ‘Project VoCo’ which allows editing and tweaking of speech similar to how their other programs work on other formats.

However, this Canadian startup blows even major company Adobe out of the water, with Project VoCo requiring 20 minutes of voice samples to recreate a voice, as opposed to Lyrebird’s 1 minute process. The recreations, whilst still tinged with robotism, are surprisingly accurate given the process – check out Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton discussing how impressed they are with Lyrebird:

Lyrebird’s technology is so advanced in fact that it can implement emotion into it’s speech, changing whether the voice is angry, sympathy, stress and more. Of course, with accurate voice replication comes a lot of potential issues and privacy conundrums, which the company acknowledge in an ‘Ethics’ section on their website, reading:

Lyrebird is the first company to offer a technology to reproduce the voice of someone as accurately and with as little recorded audio. Such a technology raises important societal issues that we address in the next paragraphs.

Voice recordings are currently considered as strong pieces of evidence in our societies and in particular in jurisdictions of many countries. Our technology questions the validity of such evidence as it allows to easily manipulate audio recordings. This could potentially have dangerous consequences such as misleading diplomats, fraud and more generally any other problem caused by stealing the identity of someone else.

By releasing our technology publicly and making it available to anyone, we want to ensure that there will be no such risks. We hope that everyone will soon be aware that such technology exists and that copying the voice of someone else is possible. More generally, we want to raise attention about the lack of evidence that audio recordings may represent in the near future.

For now however, the AI isn’t quite realistic enough to trick you into thinking that Trump has declared war – you can just wait for him to do that in real life. The project is currently still in development and information on a release seems vague, but the technology is fascinating and gives us an exciting (and potentially terrifying) glance into our future.

Want to learn how to sing? There’s a free app for that

There’s an app for everything nowadays, and Vanido is a fantastic new app that teaches you to sing through a variety of engaging and precise exercises and challenges – oh and it’s totally free!

Vanido offers a new unique and fun way to learn singing and acts as your personal coach for guidance, motivation and pitch-perfect feedback. With lessons and workouts that are designed to train both your ear and voice the app will personalise it’s sessions based around your progress and capabilities.

Vanido’s exercises are designed in collaboration with vocal coaches and it is based on scientific research. Real-time visual pitch detection has been shown to result in improvement in pitch by 90%, compared to when no such visual feedback is given. The app allows you track your pitch in real-time as you sing, review recordings of your voice and evaluate your progress as recorded by the app.

Vanido features:

  • Personalized: Each singing exercise is tailored to your vocal range so that you’re always comfortable.
  • Daily sessions: Every day, 3 different vocal exercises are delivered right to your mobile phone.
  • Goal-based exercises: Exercises that cover a range of essential singing skills like foundational singing, head voice, chest voice and flexibility. And we are always adding more!
  • Real-time visual feedback: Get feedback on your pitch as you sing. Helps train your ear, improve timing, and know when you’re off the pitch.
  • Stay disciplined: Track your progress, set challenging goals and practice every day.
  • Recordings: Review your exercise performance by listening to key-specific recordings.
  • Listen as you sing: Listen to your own voice in real-time as you practice singing exercises.
  • And more to come!

You can download Vanido from the Apple App Store for free now. The app is coming to Android soon.

DJ straight from Spotify, as Djay finally comes to Windows from Mac

Djay’s awesome DJ-ing program has finally expanded beyond it’s Mac origins and has launched for Windows computers.

Djay has built a reputation over the years for being a solid, powerful DJ software app whilst remaining accessibly easy to get to grips with. With recent introductions like video manipulation and our favourite new feature, Spotify integration, it’s the perfect time to expand the app to Window’s millions of users.

The Windows version of Algoriddim’s DJing app remains much the same as the macOS version with a few small tweaks to make it fit better on Windows OS. Djay will have to go up against established Windows DJing apps like Serato DJ and Traktor Pro, however has an advantage in it’s Spotify integration which allows users to access Spotify’s 30 million strong catalog to chop, screw and mix as they wish.

The biggest addition to the Windows version of Djay is Surface Studio integration which allows you to use the Windows’ Surface Dial. The Surface Studio can be used for a variety of functions depending on the dials position on the screen. For example you can place it on top of the decks to scratch and spin, or place it on your music library to scroll through your songs.

One of the company’s co-founders revealed that it took about a year to develop a Windows version of their app. Djay Pro is available now from the Windows Store for the same price as on Mac, $49.99.

Tracktion launch massive new DAW for modern producers – ‘Waveform’

Tracktion have launched a brand new music production software that they claim is “the most creative, inspirational and affordable digital audio workstation ever created”.

The all new MIDI composition tools available in Waveform are designed to empower and inspire the creative process. Tools which demystify complex musical structures and allow non-untrained enthusiasts to explore composition. Synchronized pattern generators allow you to dive into chord progressions with matching bass lines, melodies and arpeggios. Real time chord players turn one finger keyboard players into musical maestros. Don’t let your instrumental abilities restrict your creative flow.

Waveform features an expanded modular mixer that can take advantage of multi screen setups. The customizable interface allows you to quickly switch from editing to mixing workflows and desired viewing. Waveform’s powerful ‘racks’ environment allow you to build limitless DSP chains and save/recall them as presets, whether it be your favorite DSP for a particular vocalist, or deep sound design patch. Embrace the power and flexibility of digital modular.

Unlike other apps, Waveform supports all major plugin and loop varieties and runs on all major desktop operating systems – now including Raspberry Pi. The beautiful user interface has been carefully crafted to guide the user through the deep capabilities of a digital audio workstation. Dive in and start creating today.

Tracktion Waveform DAW music production software producers music dj making creation make recordingAll Tracktion DAWs feature a single screen interface and an ever-growing list of premium features. They’ve been designed specifically for use by musicians, artists and composers in need of a powerful, easy-to-use and affordable recording platform. The differences between T5, T6, T7 and Waveform are shown on the comparison chart.

Support for macOS 10.9 or later 10.7.5 or later 10.7 – 10.11 10.7 – 10.10
Support for WINDOWS 7 / 8 / 10 7 / 8 / 10 7 / 8 / 10 7 / 8
Support for LINUX Ubuntu 14.04 Ubuntu 12.04 Ubuntu 12.04 Beta
Support for Plugins VST/AU/Linux VST VST/AU/Linux VST VST/AU/Linux VST VST/AU
Unlimited Audio Tracks Yes Yes Yes Yes
Unlimited MIDI Tracks Yes Yes Yes Yes
Automation Yes Enhanced Yes Enhanced Yes Enhanced Yes
Keyboard Shortcuts Yes + User Scripts Yes + User Scripts Yes + User Scripts Yes
Color Editor No No Yes Yes
Video Sync Yes Yes Yes Yes
Timestretch Algorithm Professional Professional Professional Basic
Latency Management Yes Yes Yes Yes
Step Sequencer Enhanced Enhanced Enhanced Yes
Freeze Point Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes
Edit Clips Yes Yes Yes Yes
MIDI Learn Yes Yes Yes Yes
Audio Comping Advanced Advanced Advanced Basic
Free Online Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
In-App MARKETPLACE Yes Yes Yes Yes
Warp Time Yes Yes Yes
Track Tags Yes Yes Yes
Hardware Insert for Plugins Yes Yes Yes
Pitch Fades Yes Yes Yes
Blue Steel UI Yes Yes
Clip Layer Effects Yes Yes
Integrated Setup Assistant Yes Yes
Multi-Browser Sync Yes Yes
Slimline Transport Bar Yes Yes
Animated Panels Yes Yes
Visual Plugin Selector Yes Yes
Grouped Clips Yes Yes
Linked Clips Yes Yes
Automation Patterns Yes Yes
LFO Generators Yes Yes
Edit Previews Yes Yes
Quick Zoom Yes Yes
Melodyne Essential (Pitch) Yes
Collective Sampler/Synthesizer Yes
Master Mix DSP Yes
Modular Mix Environment Yes
MIDI Pattern generators Yes
Realtime MIDI chord player Yes
Detail MIDI Editor Yes
Crashed plugin assistant Yes
Variable color schemes Yes
Support for Raspberry Pi Yes