Smartphones are handheld pieces of multifunctional wonder that can act as telephones, calendars, browsers, and cameras without even breaking a sweat. With hundreds of available apps, smartphones are now gaming consoles, e-readers, and even MIDI controllers.
MIDI controllers electronically record and store music, adjust the acoustical features of electronic instruments, and can even cue theatrical effects in a live performance. Actual MIDI controllers are large and difficult to transport, but MIDI apps make the technology convenient and portable.
Types of MIDI Apps to turn your Smartphone into a MIDI Controller:
There are as many MIDI apps today as there are stand-alone devices. No matter what type of functionality you’re looking for, you’re sure to find an app to support it. If you want a minimal approach to smartphone MIDI technology, you can even access some great apps for free.
Here are some top choices:
- MIDI Memo Recorder for iPhone — This simple app records and plays back audio and sound bites from your instruments.
- FingerPlayMIDI for Android — This records music from either OSC messages or the app’s unique FingerPlay format. The finished compositions are then sent to the user’s computer via WiFi.
- Shake MIDI Controller and Sequencer for iPhone — A stand-out contender, this app responds to physical movements like shaking to make changes to MIDI sequences
- GarageBand — The classic program for Macs is now available on iPhones with a full array of features including special effects for your electric guitar and vocal recording with the phone’s microphone.
In addition to these multi-functional MIDI apps, there are also applications for various smartphones geared specifically toward drum, keyboard, or guitar use. Most users find MIDI apps that connect to real musical instruments to be the most functional. However, if you don’t mind sacrificing some sensitivity in the keys, you can even play an instrument directly on the smartphone. Before you head to your local music store for a new MIDI controller, you just might want to visit your app store first.
Downloading MIDI Apps:
With the proper equipment, downloading a MIDI app is quick and easy. There are MIDI apps available for almost any smartphone device. With the free T-mobile prepaid cell phones, you can connect any unlocked smart phone to a new T-Mobile plan. Your old smartphone can quickly find a new life once again. If you’re planning to send data from the MIDI app to your computer, you may need to download the program to your computer as well.
Accessories for MIDI Apps:
Each MIDI app operates differently, but the best way to use most of these applications is with a special plug-in device like the iRig. The basic iRig device is a connector that hooks up your iPhone to a guitar and headphones so you can listen to the sound, play your guitar, and take advantage of the features of your MIDI app while everything is connected seamlessly. The more advanced iRig MIDI connector device brings even more functionality to your setup with three MIDI ports, two LED ports, and a micro USB port so you can connect additional devices like a synthesizer and drum pad.
Five Reasons a MIDI Smartphone App Is Better Than a Stand Alone Device:
If you’re not already itching to get your hands on one of these great MIDI apps to turn your smartphone into a powerful accessory for music recording and customization, here are a few more compelling reasons to give this technology a try.
- Your MIDI app is always with you on your smartphone, so you’re never stuck with a great riff in your head and nowhere to record it
- You’ll cut down on the number of electronics you need to drag along with you to play a show
- You can keep multiple MIDI apps on your phone with various features, so you have all the functionality of a handful of MIDI devices in one handheld item
- Many MIDI apps are free; even those that come at a price are typically cheaper than a separate MIDI device
- Face it, plugging a smartphone into your guitar is just plain impressive
MIDI apps for your smartphone add a whole new level of functionality that any musician can appreciate. If you’ve never worked with a MIDI controller before, you’ll be astonished at the compositions you’re able to put together with these powerful recording and customization tools.
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