The review is made on the iOS version but it serves for Android as well.
The review on iOS but being the same for Android outside of connecting with other apps.
While planning to do a review I got this very nice first impressions of Music Studio and so I talked to the writer whose name is Robin about posting his reflections and think that will give anyone a pretty clear idea of what to expect from Music Studio.
I agree with most things with some differences. I am not as fond of the sequencer as Robin is, it took me some time to get into the flow.
The sounds are well put together and it is easy to get some well produced music straight out of the box and like said by Robin there is a lot of good orchestral instruments. It is the same developer as of FL Studio Mobile and it is very similar. This will change when both applications do their next big upgrades.
One thing that Music Studio does have though is a demo version so people can test the app first in difference to FL Studio Mobile.
Here is Robin's first impressions:
I have been using it on a Galaxy Note 10.1 (2012) GT-N8010, running 4.4.2, and haven't noticed any performance problems other than audio latency, but more on that later. I have also tried it on my phone (Acer E380, running 4.2.2) and it seems similarly responsive and handles all of the demo tracks without any problems which bodes well.
Things I like.
1. The quality of the samples used is generally very good - though they should be good considering the size of the app. I've not used FL Studio Mobile, so I don't know how their sounds compare but the Symphonic orchestral sounds are as good as I've experienced on android. The only challenger would be the free Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra samples, which can be used with Audio Evolution, G Stomper and even Sunvox. I don't currently have it installed so i haven't made a direct comparison yet. The other, non-orchestral instruments seem equally good. For electronic, synthesiser sounds, I don't really think it begins to compare to the endless customisable options found in apps like G Stomper and Sunvox but that's okay - they're still perfectly useable.
(Edit: Since writing the above I stumbled on the information that the Symphonic instruments in Music Studio actually are made using the Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra (SSO) samples. I thought I should just check with the developer to make sure. Here is what they said:
"Music Studio’s SSO instruments are indeed the Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra: http://sso.mattiaswestlund.net
Here’s the story behind it:
Back in 2013, this forum post caught my attention:
We were amazed by the quality and decided that we wanted to include the instruments in the app for free. So we asked Matthias Westlund, got permission, edited and fine-tuned the samples for Music Studio’s instr file format and published them in the Music Studio 2.4 update, see
So, there it is: Music Studio comes with the complete SSO pre-installed. Yes, this is available for free anyway but it IS very good, has been optimised for Music Studio and all the instruments can have the same parameters changed (Volume, Offset, Attack and Release - which can introduce more variety than you might think) just like any other instrument. It also means that if you want to export your Midi from Music Studio into a different DAW, you could use the same SSO samples and retain the same sound quality. All in all, it can only be a good thing - unless you're very short of storage space perhaps - we should all thank Matthias Westlund for putting the SSO together and making it free - it is an invaluable resource for anyone who can't afford commercial sample sets.)
2. I really like the velocity control aspect of the onscreen keyboard. Unless I've missed it in the settings of other apps, I don't think it is there but I can imagine it's a feature which will be adopted by many other apps very soon. I emailed the developer of Music Studio requesting that moving your fingers vertically on the keys might alter the volume/velocity in real time. They've added it to the 'to do' list so hopefully it'll be implemented.
3. The pinch and swipe on the top part of the screen for moving and resizing works very nicely on all screens.
4. The ability to record the Filter effect in real time is a nice touch though, when you consider what Sunvox is capable of capturing in real time, all apps should really be able to capture parameter changes in real time by now.
5. My favourite feature is probably the piano roll editor. The simple use of traditional musical notation symbols for the note duration really helps and makes it very intuitive for someone like me who doesn't have a background in, or much knowledge of, editing midi. Having those options right there onscreen instead of having to change note duration via a drop down list is very convenient and makes doing so very quick. Moving the crosshair over the grid, with the notes sounding as one does so, and pressing 'ok' to place a note is also very quick and easy. The only improvement i would suggest would be that, when placing a note at a point where other notes already exist, all of those notes be sounded as a chord (I have suggested it and it has been added the 'to do' list, so fingers crossed). That said, it is, for me, the best Midi editor of all that I have yet encountered and it will be my go to app for that purpose from now on.
6. Audio scrubbing when sliding the cursor through the score is useful.
7. The use of the accelerometer to control the pitch for the keyboard and to control the filter effect is a nice use of the specific capabilities of mobile devices.
8. Comprehensive help section and downloadable user manual (though it is for the iOS version so you need to ignore the functions that don't exist yet on Android). Developers are responsive and very helpful too.
Things I don't like.
1. There's no audio latency compensation. This means, depending on device and android version perhaps, the app can only really currently be used for Midi and not for audio multitracking. Again, I mentioned this in my email to the developer and, again, it has been added to the 'to do' list. I cited Audio Evolution as the app which manages to implement latency compensation perfectly so hopefully they will manage to do so as well.
2. It is a huge app. Of course this is because of the quality of the samples and so understandable, but it would be good to have the option to install a stripped down version to use on devices with less storage available. I suggested this to the developer and he said it was something they'd thought about but that it would mean they themselves would have to host the downloadable content and would also involve a lot of work so they couldn't say if or when it would happen. Fair enough.
3. The app icon. In the new economic reality that mobile devices and apps have created for software, the price of Music Studio puts it at the premium end of the market. Of course it's just a personal opinion but, for me, the app icon doesn't reflect this. It doesn't stand out from the crowd, isn't instantly recognisable and doesn't do what an icon should do. Does this matter? Not really, but I can't imagine anyone seeing the app in a list on the Play Store and being intrigued to investigate it based on the app icon - it could be so much better.
4. Selecting an audio segment and pressing the button which is supposed to copy and paste that segment to the end of itself, pastes it instead to the beginning of the next measure. I don't know if that's a bug or by design but it doesn't seem right to me.
5. Unless I've missed it, there's no loop making function which is a shame.
I really like the app and can see myself using it a lot especially for the quality of the sounds and the ease of piano roll editing/composition. Currently, on my devices, the lack of latency compensation, means it can't really be used for audio recording. Hopefully this will get sorted though and if, as the developers say on their website, the Android and iOS versions will be consolidated in version 3 later this year, it will become a very, very capable app as the iOS version apparently already has some great features not yet in the Android version such as the use of user created samples, with sample editor and sample/drum pads.
I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a midi composition app with high quality samples, particularly orchestral ones, built in.
This is a couple of reviews of this interesting virtual instrument.
One in English and two in Spanish.
This musician/teacher have decided to review some of the many tuners available and these are the two first ones.
I do end up using Tunable when reaching for a tuner but I am sure that there is equally good ones out there...
To read the reviews go here:
To read this positive and deep review go here:
This would seem to be a departure of sorts here on Musical Android to do a review of hardware but think that Arturia’s Beat Step Pro is an interesting and useful piece of gear in combination with tablets and phones and for much more.
There have been some in-depth reviews already but do not think that they reach out to the same audience as the readers of this website and think that it can be useful to be aware of this lovely piece of hardware.
The first thing that hit me opening the nice packaging and bringing out the hardware itself was the weight of the thing. Having seen some images and videos were pretty much expecting hard white plastic. It is all in metal and sturdy as can be.
Feels like it can take a serious beating for many years. The knobs are top notch as well, not flimsy and it seems that they would not get loose unless you get serious withsome tools.
What I am trying to say is that it is nothing that feels cheap and for sure one thing that Arturia have been thinking about is that it should be able to be used live and be able to withstand abuse.
So what is it?
Beat Step Pro is a step sequencer and midi controller.
What makes it interesting is that there is three step sequencers built into one piece of gear. The unit has been well designed and there is easy access to all controls and the different sequencers. The sequencing can be for step by step input or recorded live with quantization. With sixteen to 64 steps for each sequence and up to sixteen separate sequences that are easy to jump to through specific buttons it is more than enough to write a song or a lot of variations.
The Beat Step Pro holds in itself sixteen songs/arrangements but it comes with software to be able to save as many as desired.
Two of the sequencers are made for melodic input reaching over five octaves with one octave of pads for playing or sixteen fixed midi notes meant for drums or as sample triggers.
The pads are sturdy and velocity sensitive.
One of the other main selling points outside of having three sequencers and midi controllers are the many different connections for all kinds of equipment and software. Even 8 CV outputs for analog drum machines.
So for example it is possible to clock a DAW to play and record while having one analog synthesizer/drum machine and for example two Android devices. It can also be slaved to another sequencer/DAW.
So as have been suggested in other places it can be the heart of a live set-up or for just plain home studio jams.
One thing that helps with jamming is that the midi control rotaries also can be used to switch notes and in scale. If the scales provided are not enough there is the possibility to create your own scales.
The 16 rotaries also, outside of being midi controllers are there for other functions as well.
One for each pad or step being sequenced. As mentioned before the rotaries can easily change notes of each note triggered in the sequencer but functions for the velocity and gate (note length) as well with the push of a button.
In the drum sequencer mode there is one very cool function which is to be able to shift each drum/sample pad forward or backward, making it very easy to build up any kind of groove desired. With separate options of velocity and length as well of course.
For each sequencer there is either separate or for all three sequencers a swing function which is nice, plus there is rotaries for randomness and probability that can be fun to play with to get some unexpected rhythms or unexpected melodies going, specially if locked to a scale. The randomness function is as well separate or for all tracks.
Two last things to mention is the roll/looper function to repeat parts of the sequence on the fly. Plus that the software that Beat Step Pro comes with makes it adjustable in questions of midi messages etc and even the possibility to edit midi in a piano roll window.
In conclusion Beat Step Pro is a great addition to any set-up as it can be used in so many different ways. Even though the sequencers are monophonic they are enough for making basic tracks and jams if just hooking up hardware and devices and not wanting to involve a DAW or as said before as part of a live set up.
Maybe one thing that could added is the possibility to sequence chords but the pads are playable polyphonically though for recording if recording into a DAW with external synthesizer/ a mobile device or using VSTi’s.
I am pretty addicted to it and it is great to be able to get Android apps (without sequencer) sequenced plus to hook up the one hardware synthesizer that I have to play nicely together. Have also had a lot of fun using it as a Groovebox to multi track apps with nothing else. Before have been composing with different apps by recording them into a DAW and then syncing them up manually afterwards this is now much easier both for composing and for getting everything synched from the start by clocking the DAW with the apps when recording.
The price is pretty good for what it is and well worth considering if you are thinking about getting a midi controller or sequencer and especially if you have hardware synthesizers.
In the end is something that will enhance and add to any kind of set-up.
Personally if I had to choose in-between this and my midi keyboard with midi controllers this would be much more preferable. Admittedly I am not a keyboard player though…
The price being 249 euros/299 dollars It is pricier than some other midi controllers with pads but having so much flexibility and being three sequencers in one it is pretty cheap in comparison, plus not being in plastic with the build quality being top notch makes it more impressive at this price.
Will write another post in a day or two regarding Beat Step Pro and Android apps that I have used with Beat Step Pro. As some works excellent and some apps with inferior midi routines built into their apps works less well. But have to say that Beat Step Pro will take my Android music making to other places that were difficult before.
So to read the review of the knobs that stick directly to your device for some controller action go here: