FL Studio Mobile Review for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad
When GarageBand was announced, I was thrilled, and I bought it the day it was released. While GarageBand is gorgeous and immediately intuitive to use, it’s not quite so full featured as a music production app. Regardless of whether you’re an amateur or professional musician, if you like to come up with your own tunes and beats, you’ll be glad to know FL Studio Mobile by Image Line Software will pick up where GarageBand doesn’t. For starters, in addition to the iPad, FL Studio Mobile is available on the iPhone and iPod Touch too.
FL Studio began as a PC application previously called FruityLoops. Since I’ve been a Mac user for years, I’ve never tried the desktop software, so I’m delighted it’s been ported to the iOS. Now, FL Studio Mobile for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and FL Studio Mobile HD for the iPad will allow you to play and arrange songs wherever you may be. “The fastest way from your brain to your speakers,” the app declares as it’s loading. Even if you’ve already purchased GarageBand, as I have, FL Studio Mobile is very much worth considering, especially due to its flexible editing capabilities.
Like GarageBand, FL Studio Mobile lets you put together songs via multiple tracks, tap out your tunes on a keyboard, and arrange drum rhythms. Currently, it doesn’t let you record live performances, which is the main area it’s lacking in compared to GarageBand. In other areas, however, FL Studio Mobile shines.
You may start your project by hammering out beats either manually using the drum pads, or achieve perfect timing by using the Step Sequencer. This allows you to select which drums should play—and when—for each measure. You can also very easily duplicate one or more measures. This is probably the most effortless part of creating your song.
The app allows you to add as many step or piano instruments as you wish. In this case, “piano” instruments refers to all other non-step (non-drum) instruments, from the grand piano and synths to a few orchestra instruments and guitars, etc. These include several instruments that aren’t available in GarageBand, e.g. the flute, harp, French horn, and alto sax. I really appreciate having these additional instruments, but the app could still do with more.
What makes FL Studio Mobile a winner is its extensive editing functions. You can not only move, copy, and paste measures, but also individual notes in the Piano Roll Editor. This is not something GarageBand offers. On top of this, you can change a note’s pitch and duration. You can either select a fixed note length or adjust it manually by sliding your finger. Additionally, you may insert and delete notes. Not everyone can play (and record) a perfect tune, especially on a touchscreen, so these editing features are simply awesome.
In total, FL Studio Mobile has over 130 instruments, drum kits, and sliced-loop beats. The piano keyboard may be configured in several ways. You can play on either a single or double-row keyboard, and easily resize the keys by pinching the screen. To change octaves while playing, you may slide your finger along the top menu area. With an optional velocity function, you can control volume through your tapping position, which means the higher up on the keys you tap, the softer the sound. It works pretty well, but I wish there could be a sensitivity adjustment or velocity range adjustment.
FL Studio Mobile has a lot more functions than I have the luxury of describing here. As a music production app, it holds its place next to GarageBand, and I’ll go as far as to declare FL Studio Mobile indispensable for its track editing capabilities, which very definitely outperforms the former. Aside from the ability to record live music, the other thing I would love to see in future updates is additional instruments, such as the accordion, violin, viola, cello, piccolo, clarinet, trumpet, timpani, etc. With instruments, my opinion is the more the merrier. The app is compatible with the Akai SynthStation 25 and CoreMIDI, and song projects may be exported through iTunes as midi or wave files. Although everything is smaller on the iPhone, you can create songs in just the same way as you can on the iPad.
FL Studio Mobile for the iPhone and FL Studio Mobile HD for the iPad are currently available in the App Store for $14.99 and $19.99 respectively. That’s not exactly cheap, especially when compared to GarageBand. iPad users who just like to play occasional tunes will probably be satisfied with GarageBand, which is very easy to start using. But if you’d like to achieve more with your music, such as to edit and fine-tune your tracks, FL Studio Mobile is pretty much a must-buy. It’s also worth noting Image Line Software has described this as a “special introductory sale”, so don’t wait too long on your purchase.
Note: A promotional code was provided by the creator for use in this article.
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Filed: Featured • iPad • iPhone • Music • Reviews