Are Your Ready To Take Android Seriously As A Music Platform?

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Here’s an unofficial demo video of the virtual studio Caustic for Android, running on a Galaxy Tab 7″.

Says Caustic fan mshaftenberg, “Finally Android gets high quality music software.”

We haven’t done a lot of Android music app posts yet, because the platform just wasn’t there yet. This is starting to change, though, with the emergence of apps like Caustic. Android faces some unique challenges as a platform for music, but nothing that’s going to keep people from using it for music.

So what do you think of the state of Android as a music platform? Is it time to take it seriously?


39 thoughts on “Are Your Ready To Take Android Seriously As A Music Platform?

    • this is such a great litte tool! I ve been into electronic music since my first c64 in 1987 and since that I have been playin on stages with synths like my ms20 ( uuaaah) and been working as a music and video editor with avid and digidesign products. But I really didnt exspect t caustic to be such an easy to understand but nevertheless universal swiss knife for my phone. I tried fl-studio mobile. But this one is much better. Superb work , guys. For 3 euros! Rock on!

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  1. i take musicians seriously, the gear is not important. So yes this tools in certain hands will be brilliant!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  2. sacrificed gui over function. still not impressive. but could be fun.

    and the touch action for dialing in values seems clunky and will be for any serious artist.

    like painting with a fat brush trying to make details on a face.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  3. I think android can be taken seriously (well, as seriously as iOS) in a couple of months (say 6?) when 4.0 is out, which should also give android tablets some time to be more price-competitive with the ipad. Not to say there aren't a few good apps like CAUSTIC and Uloops out now, there's just still some legwork to be done in terms of smoothing out the OS and increasing demand for more music apps.

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  4. I'm mshaftenberg, the guy of the clip.
    Call me a fanboy, but Android is getting more serious with such music apps. Caustic is very intuitive and the function follows the design – no clunky knobs as "blah" stated, just try it out. The only serious thing all Android devices are lacking, is low latency. But that in mind, you can expect exciting results if you'd like to.
    Besides, I'll do music even with a Coca Cola tin or a telephone microphone – so, what's the deal? Get creative with everything you get and Caustic is just one fine tool for that :)

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  5. No, give the toys to the first graders. Apple has a much more serious street credibility when it comes to music production.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

    • In my opinion Apple had credibility, but that time is long over, but keep the myths alive.

      I deal with a Windows machine (IBM Thinkpads) and RME equipment just fine – regularly tested live, I'm a professional Discjockey.
      Remembered a speaker crashing onto my laptop – music went on playing. I don't want to know how a Macbook would've looked like after that… :D

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  6. David, the technology and it’s stability matters. If the machine is broken, it really doesn’t matter how good the musician is. Break the instrument with buggy code and nothing, nada, no music. When you are on stage, the very last thing you want is unreliable equipment. There ARE no second chances.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Actually I have been on stage when my equipment breaks. And I have had it go two ways. One time I got mad and it clearly made the performance terrible and awkward. The next time I was determined to "go with the flow", And I made all the sounds with my mouth and the crowd loved it. The performance starts from the heart and ends there.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  7. I have Caustic as well as a bunch of other applications…Nanoloop is awesome, I use SPC in my live shows, and I use Androidome everyday. Think of it this way, I got my Android free when I was due for an upgrade. Its an HTC G2. The lack of MIDI sucks, but other than that Its a perfectly capable touch screen sampler, I use it all the time for transitional parts in tracks running Nanoloop, and Ive done entire tracks live with SPC. I use WAG ERG for a lot of things. Ive done a bunch with nothing more than RD2 and my Casio SK1.

    Caustic is awesome. It sounds huge, its a bit cramped on the screen but its fun to play with, is a perfectly functional tool (MIDI sync would be nice), its also FREE at the moment. My use of the APPs has sold me on an Android tablet and will be picking one up ASAP.

    iOS…its nice but I dont have AT&T so Im not getting a $50 3GS. Im definetly not spending $500 on an iPAD or $300 on an iPOD. I have a few Macs and thats fine, but I dont need to take my PHONE seriously as a music making platform. As far as tablets go, its neat. Its fun. Not as fun as my Waldorf, many old Novations, my rack full of effects, and last but not least…the center piece of my rig….My Casio SK1, all of which play nice with Reason running my percussion and samplers all Rewired into Logic to handle auxiliary effects.

    My point…a tablet can be the center of your rig, but the guy with the tablet next to my rig of real instruments isnt going to be smiling for an hour after a performance after their Bass Station KB just made some hipster shit his pants with the twist of a knob and the beauty of the Waldorf Micro Q making ladies drop them tiny, nerdy drawers.

    I cant wait to reassemble my stuff at home and getting to tinkering everytime I do a show. Its too much fun play with REAL instruments.

    Caustic is fun, as well as many other apps. Its just nothing to be taken seriously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  8. The iPad has proven that music is truly a "killer application" for tablet PCs. It's only a matter of time before Android gets its act together and fixes the latency and MIDI issues and becomes a good alternative platform for music software.

    In the mean time, you can make do with Android's limitations, get an iPad, or plug that stupid dongle (thanks, Propellerhead et al., for hating your customers) back into your laptop.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  9. Honestly, sure. I love my iPad and iPhone and can’t begin to describe how much apps like samplewiz have meant to me. Hardware matters, but it’s really the app. I don’t see why android users can’t get in on it. Its just a computer after all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  10. We already were promised that Android "was" serious at least once within the last year. Maybe even more than once. Seems that somewhere between the maker and the user the ball keeps getting dropped. And not just because of iOS. Seems to be struggling to get a footing. There should already be a lot more Android apps that are heavy hitters as well as what you can get for iOS. Plus the cheap Tablet PC's available to run Android are either too slow or the higher end ones can't justify the cost. At least for $500 with the cheapest iPad your guaranteed that it will run the apps you want pretty smoothly.

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  11. not a fanboi, but the "that time is over" comment is just not true. go to any world class studio in the developed world or japan and everything music related (apart from sadie for mastering) is running on macs. abbey road – macs, air – macs, metropolis – macs, ocean way – macs, hit factory – macs, skywalker – macs, etc. etc. all the major film composers – zimmer, etc – macs. fact is, anyone who's making music at that level is doing it on a mac.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

    • squarepusher and venetian snares create some intense and complicated stuff. without the help of a mac

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  12. The problem for Android is they should have sorted out the latency issue early on. The device builders were not given a spec for low latency audio so to retrofit it to existing devices may not work. Maybe Microsoft can get their act together and issue a new Windows 8 phone and tablet which is a real competitor to IOS for audio apps.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. Too little, too late. The synth in particular looks boring. If this came to iOS, nobody would have posted it into any blog.

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  14. until they resolve latency issues on the ipad, and android, they will still be toys. for way less cash, you can get a high powered laptop that will run all your legacy stuff, new stuff, and have low latency. the idea of using a device and having the sound 500ms or more is not cohesive to working well…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  15. I'm surprised to see everyone here missing the one and only problem with Android. It's a fine platform, and there is fine hardware. But there are also crappy versions of the OS and hardware… it's like Windows 95 all over again. If you buy hardware with a good spec, you will be fine. If you get the $50 phone on the upgrade program from the carrier that installed extra software, you probably have a piece of junk when it come to something like making music. iOS gives you less options, but all of them are standardized to be "above the bar" for music making. Android is wide open, which means you need to be smarter when shopping for one, but in the end you can get quality.

    The apps are slow to come to Android only because it's so hard to support/test them on the "lesser" hardware, and there are so many hardware options it's a shot in the dark if your software will run on them because you can't possibly buy them all. But things are smoothing out, and standards are emerging. I believe iOS has already reached a critical mass tipping point and will remain the lead platform for most app development, even if it's not the volume sales leader, but Android will still have plenty to work with when it comes to music apps (or anything else).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  16. I love how Android fans keep touting the awesome new MIDI functionality/scripts that are 'coming soon'.

    Still waiting. Months and months now. lol

    Nobody cares about Android for music making. Google certainly doesn't, lol.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  17. I can only comment based on what I've seen and read, not as a user, but it seems like iOS is far ahead in terms of MIDI support & peripherals, which are very important to me.

    Also – the platform inconsistency seems like it will lead to a lot of apps that may work OK on one Android device but not so great on another.

    Still, the app looks kind of cool and it will be interesting to what happens with Android.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  18. Music making on Android is really an underground thing. Right now it's mostly small developers pushing out apps. All your major audio companies are trying to ride the ipad wave. It doesn't bother me any…these things are just tools. All that matters is the end result.

    With that said Caustic is a pretty useful app. I'm using it along a bunch of the new apps like Nanoloop, G-Stomper, Voloco, Sythe, and the Nick Copeland synths on my next Android based album.
    http://www.cooloutmusic.com for those that didn't hear the first one.

    For me the appeal of android as a music making platform is the super low cost of entry, variety of hardware, and how the OS works with my other computers. Apple is ahead in audio app development, no doubt, but for me there are pros and cons on both sides. I personally hate how apple uses itunes as a gatekeeper, how you only have the choice of a small iphone screen or a 10" ipad (I prefer a 7" tablet), and also that iOS hardware is the pinnacle of planned obsolescence (no memory expansion or easily replaceable batteries).

    I'd rather have a device with a real hardware keyboard, a battery and SD card I can swap out, and one that I can transfer files like a regular windows folder…plus the fact you can tweak the OS and overclock the cpu.

    If I can support some guy in his bedroom thinking up cool stuff instead of giving more money to Numarkai (Numark/Akai/Alesis/Ion) all the better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  19. It depends on what you mean by 'take it seriously'. The only Android app I've really found useful until I discovered Caustic here yesterday is Nanoloop. Nanoloop is super great, and I've made entire songs on it. Caustic is pretty awesome, too. Had a lot of fun with it on my bus ride this morning.

    But having fun on the bus is about as far as it goes with me. I couldn't see my Droid, or for that matter, an iPhone or iPad being the centerpiece of my music-making – but that is just me. Great to see more useful and fun Android stuff finally emerging now though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  20. Well said COOLOUT, you've hit the nail on the head with your "guy in his bedroom" comment, for this dev at least. ;-)

    I wrote Caustic, by myself, for fun, because there wasn't that much out there for Android and I had the resources and the knowledge to do something about it. If the fact that Caustic wasn't made by some big trendy company makes it not good enough for anyone, too bad. Those companies aren't coming to Android because it's probably not profitable enough yet and that's all they care about. I made it for people who still enjoy music for what it is, entertainment and fun. And in the right hands, I know it can do great things.

    Developing for Android really isn't as bad as the stereotypes would let you think, I don't have a bunch of code specific to each device, just one version and it works. I'm also not counting on anything being fixed by Google: latency, live MIDI.. what's there now is usable if you're willing to compose with sequencing. I know that's not for everyone and if you need real-time synths, you're probably better off with iOS. Fair enough, let's move on. You guys make the music, I'll make the tools, we'll all have fun.

    Can't wait to hear your next album mate.

    Rej – SingleCellSoftware

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

    • Thanx a ton Rej… for Caustic … looking forward for more exiting improvements along
      .. Cheers !!!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. Big surprise, all the Apple dick-riders on here. But hey, if you REALLY need an overpriced iPad or whatever to make your music sound good, that’s fine. Not to mention if you’ve got that kind of dough to waste on an iPad, you’d be better off buying some REAL gear anyway. I don’t get how it’s a toy and not legit on one tablet, but on another it’s your ultimate end-all music production station. Just because of latency the Android platform is useless? Come on, you guys have more intelligence than that…

    Bottom line is that true talent transcends hardware/software, and that extends past the music-side of things. Case in point is the developer of Caustic, who made an EXCELLENT music production app on a platform that people STILL rip on…”It’s hard to code for…fragmentation….other stuff other people say that I heard and like to repeat…”, yeah, well the dev just shot that boat down, so what leg do you have to stand on now?

    MAKE MUSIC. Fuck the platform, fuck whining and arguing about it, because if you’ve got the slightest bit of talent, you’re going to take WHATEVER you’ve got, use it, and make music.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  22. With new version of Caustic and more affordable android tablets available, something special is happening. I have a Viewsonic G-Tablet and Caustic (full version) and I gotta say, for $255 this is not a bad sketch pad. The full version offers midi file export, which is all the incentive I needed to get the full version. The Rebirth style rack makes it really intuitive and there are decent enough effects for each instrument to make everything sound pretty decent. With Caustic, I see Android tablet as a viable alternative to the platform that refuses to do Flash. Now if we could get Touch OSC optimized for tablet I could really work it out then.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  23. I use Caustic all the time. I enjoy it as a toy-ish sort of pastime. Kind of like the musical equivalent of doing crossword puzzles or building with Legos. It stimulates the part of your brain that needs to be exercised by creating something, and it leaves you with a nice little souvenir afterwards. I will probably get an ipad if I buy another tablet, and I can only hope that the synth apps available are as good as Caustic is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  24. I just payed for the full version of Caustic 2.0 and holy crap is it ever awesome. Really good sound, really fun to get into, you can export WAV, OGG, or MIDI…yeah that’s right. I can sketch out a song on the go, export the midi files to Google Driver/Gmail…and drag them into Ableton when I get home. This is by far the best Android app I have ever tried. Android is the perfect tool for a geeky musician.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  25. props to the creators.. i’ve been a producer for over 10 years now and its amazing how far tech has come.. looking forward to whats next… cheers

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  26. I’ve enjoyed using caustic on my HTC Evo 3D and I’ve never experienced latency issues. Now that I’m in need of a new device, I’m apprehensive hearing about issues as such.

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  27. Do any of you play music FOR A LIVING? The latency issue is a dealbreaker. You CANNOT perform live in realtime on the Android platform. Sure, you can line up a bunch of loops and play them, but try to improvise a solo over it using ANY synth on Android. It can’t be done. Until this is sorted out, these are just toys to full time, serious musicians. I can’t put meat on the table with Android OR IOS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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