These are the best music memo apps for iPhone

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alternative to voice memos
We've come a long way.
Photo: YunHo LEE/Flickr Public Domain

If you like to pretend you’re in a private detective movie, recording yourself with voice-memos as you go about your everyday business, then your app choice is obvious: Voice Memos from Apple. It’s built into your iPhone, it’s simple, quick to use, and rock solid. But if you’re a musician, and you want to quickly capture ideas, the choice is more complicated. Let’s take a look at the best iOS apps for recording music memos.

Fusion Guitar packs an iPhone dock and speakers

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fusion guitar
With the Fusion Guitar, you too can sit in a chilly, graffiti-covered street and smile.
Photo: Fusion Guitars

What would happen if you took an electric guitar, made it as thick as an acoustic guitar, and stuffed the extra space not with boring old air, but with speakers and an electronic brain that works with your iPhone?

Then, you might put in a cutout on the guitar top to hold that iPhone, and a rechargeable battery to power it all. If you did all that, then you’d have invented the Fusion Guitar.

The Roland Go iPhone mixer won’t rock your world [Review]

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roland go mixer
Like a spider at the center of a fancy audio-cable-based web.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Roland Go mixer is a little USB-powered mixer that lets you hook up a whole band’s worth of instruments to your iPhone, and record them. You can plug in almost anything, you can listen direct to the mix with headphones, and you can even pipe in music from an MP3 player or another iPhone via jack. On paper, it seems fantastic. In the studio, or bedroom, though, it proves to be just the opposite.

Cult of Mac Magazine: Music Memos app, Activating iOS Mail’s hidden folders, Huge Watch Store sale, and more!

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Your weekend reading is here! Check out Cult of Mac Magazine's latest issue for all the latest on Music Memos, screaming deals, monochromatic Mac setups, and more.
Your weekend reading is here! Check out Cult of Mac Magazine's latest issue for all the latest on Music Memos, screaming deals, monochromatic Mac setups, and more.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

In this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine, we show you how to use Apple’s Music Memos app to record your musical ideas as well as how to hook a guitar up to your iPhone and rock out.

Learn about Tekserve’s impressive Apple computer artifact collection which is now on display in a museum in the Ukraine —  at the headquarters of software developer MacPaw.

Check out Cult of Mac Watch Store’s first major sale on Apple Watch straps! Enjoy 20 percent off great brands including Meridio, Strapple, Nyloon and more!

Here are this week’s top stories.

How to use Music Memos like a cut-down GarageBand

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music memos in action

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
Recording guitar into iPad is sometimes painful.
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.

Best iOS apps of 2016

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Best iOS Apps
Appy holidays!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

2016 Year in Review Cult of Mac It’s been a banner year for iOS apps. From smart photo-editing tools to music-generating apps, Apple and third-party developers alike brought some serious heat to the App Store. We’ve combed through our home screens to pick out the best iOS apps of 2016.

Check out our picks below.

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appsoftheweek_1024
'Appy weekend everyone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Extreme hoverboardin’ and making tunes with Music Memos on The CultCast

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You're looking at the future... well, kind of.
You're looking at the future... well, kind of.
Photo: Back To The Future, Universal Pictures

This week on The CultCast: our legs are blown off by hover boards; our favorite ways to manage iOS photos; the new Music Memos and Garageband apps get our enthusiastic thumbs up; Bob Mansfeld is back to massage us; and we remember the hard, cruel, miserable realities of life before iPhone.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. It’s simple to build a website that looks beautiful on any device that visits at Squarespace.com. Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off.

Wireless EarPods, upgrading iOS, Apple’s awesome new music app and more

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How will Apple's next EarPod revolution change things for the better?
Apple's next-gen wireless EarPods could wow our ears in amazing ways.
Cover design: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Will Apple’s wireless EarPods change the way we hear? Why should you upgrade to the latest iOS version? How can you create a musical masterpiece with just a guitar and your iPhone?

You’ll find answers to these and other burning questions in this week’s edition of Cult of Mac Magazine. Grab the latest issue today and get the week’s best Apple news, all wrapped up in a shiny package that’s perfect for your iPad or iPhone.

Here are this week’s top stories.