1. Almost every sample-based iPad drum machine lets you import your own WAV files into its kits. You can make light work of kit creation by building specific kits in a DAW like Ableton Live, then collecting all and saving the project, which will put your selected hits into the project’s Samples folder. From there you can drag the whole folder out, label it accordingly, and upload it to one of your cloud-based file systems.
2. AudioKit Synth One (Figure 1) is making waves as the first open source analog-style synth that’s constantly improving and evolving, so that it truly can be said to get better with time. In just a few months since its introduction, they’ve already added improved anti-aliasing and Ableton Link compatibility. It also provides mind-bogglingly comprehensive microtonal scaling functionality for academics and experimental artists. Get it.
3. While Traktor and Djay deservedly get most of the attention for iOS DJs, the Pacemaker DJ app incorporates some very clever AI and Spotify functionality. It will even pick tracks from a preconfigured playlist and intelligently mix them, with basic controls available on your watch (Figure 2) — leaving you with both hands free to throw cakes.
4. As an alternative to headphones—or the iPad’s microscopic speakers—shop around for a decent Bluetooth speaker with a physical input jack. Prices vary, but by connecting with a cable, you mitigate the latency issues that currently plague wireless audio formats.
5. Touchscreens are awesome for some tasks, but nothing beats knobs, pads, and keys for real productivity on an iDevice, considering that most synth apps include the ability to assign CC numbers to their parameters. There’s a huge array of controllers to choose from, but Korg’s NanoKey Studio is the only one that has all of the above features as well as an arpeggiator, chord tools, and an assignable X/Y pad. At the higher end, Roli’s Seaboard Block fully supports their MPE protocol and fits in a backpack.