Best looper apps for iPad and iPhone

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looper apps iPad
You don't need a pedal, or even a guitar, to make amazing music with a looper app.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

A looper is a great musician’s tool, for practice and for making songs. Looper apps are also fantastic fun for anyone who wants to take a crack at creating a tune. Just hit record on a looper app, and make some noise. Then hit the button again, and your recording is played over and over, in a loop.

Then you then build on this, adding more layers. A guitarist can chop out drum beats, then some chords, and play a melody over the loop. A beatboxer can boom, boom, chick and spit into a microphone to build up what the kids call “sick beatz.” And Jimmy Fallon can sing a duet with Billy Joel.

There are many looper apps for iOS. Here are a few of the best.

Zoom’s Livetrak mixing desk turns your iPad into a music studio

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Zoom livetrak l-12
Zoom’s wonder-box has real knobs and faders, just like a proper music studio.
Photo: Zoom

Zoom’s new Livetrak L-12 could be the only box you need to turn your iPad into a mobile music studio. In one unit, the L-12 combines a mixer, a 12-track recorder, and an interface that lets you hook up all your musical instruments and gadgets to your iPad. And that’s just the beginning.

Groovebox turns your iPhone into a toe-tapping music machine

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groovebox
You won’t be able to stop grooving.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you’re looking for a way to lose a few hours later today, you could do a lot worse than Groovebox, a free music-making app for iPhone and iPad. It’s simple enough to start making music as soon as you launch it, but offers enough depth (and enough in-app purchases) to keep you going for quite a while.

GarageBand for Mac now syncs your projects with iOS

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sync GarageBand on Mac
Now you can sync GarageBand projects from Mac to iOS.
Photo: Cult of Mac

GarageBand’s most recent update for macOS adds a few neat new Mac-only features, but perhaps its biggest addition is for iPad users. Now the Mac version of GarageBand can sync a cut-down version of any song with the iPad or iPhone, allowing you to add new tracks, then sync them back with the master project back on your Mac. It’s a feature that only came to Logic in January of this year.

This is big, because it lets musicians use the full power of the Mac GarageBand in their studio or bedroom, and still add tracks to that project from a phone. You could, for instance, take a mix with you to band practice, lay down some new tracks on your iPhone, then sync them back.

Apple launches new ‘Today at Apple’ website for stores worldwide

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Apple's new website keeps you in the loop on classes in your area.
Apple's new website keeps you in the loop on classes in your area.
Photo: Apple

Apple is revamping its efforts to keep customers educated on all of its platforms today with the launch of a new website called ‘Today at Apple.’

The new sub site provides Apple fans with portal that shows all of the events, classes and other happenings at local Apple stores, giving users an easy way to sign up for the 4,000 sessions held across the globe each day.

How to use Music Memos like a cut-down GarageBand

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music memos in action
Music Memos is like having two extra members in your band, only it doesn't run up the bar tab.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s Music Memos app is just about about the best way to record musical ideas before they evaporate into the ether. For years, musicians used the built-in Voice Memos app to record snippets, but Music Memos, as you’d expect, is much better suited to the task. It can listen to you and record only when you start playing, it can detect the chords you play, and it can even add drum and bass tracks to your recording automatically.

This last feature is what we’ll look at today. We’re going to record a simple guitar track, add drums and bass, and send the whole lot to GarageBand on iOS for further work. That sounds like a lot, but once you lay down your recorded track, all it takes is a few taps of the screen. And remember, I use a guitar, but you can use any instrument.

How to plug your guitar into your iPhone and rock out

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guitar iPhone setup
This is all you need to make some awesome noise.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Short of learning air guitar, hooking a guitar up to your iPhone is just about the easiest way to get started playing music. But it’s not just for practice, or goofing around at home. You can record and edit serious music with an iOS device, and even produce whole records.

But we’re already getting ahead of ourselves. Today, we’re just going to hook things up and rock out.

Apple makes iWork and iLife apps free for all

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You no longer need to buy a new Mac to get GarageBand for free.
You no longer need to buy a new Mac to get GarageBand for free.
Photo: Apple

One of Kendrick Lamar’s new songs was created entirely on iPhone

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You don't need a professional studio to make dope beats.
You don't need a professional studio to make dope beats.
Photo: Apple

Kendrick Lamar unleashed his eagerly anticipated fourth studio album, DAMN, on the world today.

Lamar is known for his perfectionism, using some of the best producers and equipment in the game to get his sound just right. But when it came to one of the best tracks on his new album, one of Lamar’s producers crafted the entire thing using only his iPhone.

Don’t Leave It!, Red’s Kingdom, and other awesome apps of the week

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Awesome Apps
'Appy weekend everyone!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac