Latency problems with audio on Android have long been recognized as a barrier to the development of music software on the platform. Android developers have had to fight with audio latency that can be 50 times as long as it is on iOS, making many types of music apps unusable.
That’s not the only problem facing Android music app developers, though. Mobile analytics firm Open Signal reports that two other issues are growing problems for Android developers: device fragmentation and OS fragmentation.
Device fragmentation, illustrated by the patchwork quilt of thousands of Android devices above, means that buyers “can get exactly the phone they want – big or small, cheap or expensive, with any number of different feature combinations”.
To app developers, though, device fragmentation means that their apps need to work on a rapidly growing number of unique devices. Last year, Open Signal identified about 4,000 unique Android devices. This year, that number had tripled.
This proliferation of devices means that Android developers have a lot more variables to think about and test for. For example, iOS developers have a total of 4 screen sizes to take into account. Android developers have to deal with hundreds, as shown in the graphic at right.
Operating System Fragmentation is equally problematic. Just as Android hardware is becoming extremely fragmented, the operating system versions installed on these devices is becoming extremely fragmented:
- According to the report, 95% of all iOS users are running the latest version of the system, iOS 6. As a result, developers focus on the latest version of the OS and don’t need to test their apps on multiple operating systems.
- Open Signal reports that just 5% of Android users are running the latest version. The most popular version is Gingerbread, released in 2010.
Here’s a breakdown of the most commonly used Android operating systems:
The result of this is that Android developers have to target the lowest common denominator, if they want their apps to run on a lot of devices. They also have to do much more testing, if they want to ensure that their apps are stable.
The Open Signal report notes:
While fragmentation poses a headache to developers, the success of the of the Android ecosystem cannot be separated from its fragmented, free-for-all, nature. Similarly, it is easy for developers to bemoan API level fragmentation, but this is part-and-parcel of device fragmentation. Cheaper devices will struggle to run the most recent versions of Android and the fragmented operating system serves as an enabler of an ecosystem that is becoming more globally, and socio-economically, inclusive.
The combination of device and OS fragmentation means that powerful Android devices, running a current version of the operating system, remain a tiny niche. And, as a result, great Android music apps will continue to be few and far between.
Got your own thoughts on the state of Android & mobile music making? Let us know in the comments!
80 thoughts on “Why Android, The #1 Mobile Platform, Won’t Get Great Music Apps”
FLstudio is now running Android…Iy’s a major software for mass-market.
One can buy the right machine to run FLstudio….
Yeah, but even on top hardware FL Studio on Android is an inferior experience. You simply do not choose Android if you are even remotely seriously considering attempting mobile music making. Period.
sorry for you if your have your periods……
If you are even remotely serious about making music in general you can make it on anything and recognize it for what it is…an instrument. That said, who gives a crap??? Theyre phones!!!! Its just not that big of a deal or that serious of an argument to call yourself “serious about mobile music making”. If youre serious about being mobile, buy a laptop….not a phone.
Android isn’t just on phones, there are lots of tablets as well. That being said, plenty of people are finding lots of utility in using an iPad (also not a phone) as a controller and even a real time instrument.
It came out months after the iOS version and is hobbled, by comparison.
The fragmentation argument is always overblown. For the most part many developers dont need the features in the latest and greatest version, if they do it gets specified as a minimum requirement, and walla, people who dont meet the requirement cant purcahse it. Its not that hard. Look at the most advanced games, many people just cant purchase them because their devices do not have the graphics capability to support that. The store knows this and doesnt let them buy it
The APIs also provide support for automatic screen size scaling, so unless your doing some wacky stuff thats not really an issue either. Many devs release both a small and large screen version though to offer higher res graphics.
The only real issue the latency, if they address that then there’s really no barrier
“Developers dont need the features in the latest and greatest version”
It’s exactly the other way around, a thriving community of developers will always want the latest and greatest.
“The APIs also provide support for automatic screen size scaling”.
This works for stuff like websites with adaptive mechanisms. Native programming is different, you have to code for the device size to make the best of it. Otherwise you have enlarged phone apps on tablets, which is mostly what you get on Android tablets.
“The only real issue the latency, if they address that then there’s really no barrier”
Actually there are a few important barriers more because the biggest issue Android has is not device size fragmentation or even screen resolution fragmentation, but API fragmentation because updates on most devices depend on carriers that couldn’t care less about user satisfaction or obscure (and not so obscure) manufacturers that won’t hesitate to leave your device out of updates one year in, just because they come out with new ones every six months.
“people who dont meet the requirement cant purcahse it. Its not that hard.”
Weren’t you guys freaking out earlier today because that Studio1111 app didn’t support iPad1?
Was that just the vocal anti-apple crowd, or are we all feeling bipolar today?!?
Huh? Just because someone states that they dont think that the fragmentation issue is really a problem that immediately places them in an anti-apple crowd? I really couldnt care less what apps run on the oldest/latest iOS version and what doesnt
Because you just can’t be critical of Apple’s practices without being immediately labeled as an anti-Apple person. Most people here don’t want to have a true discussion, they just want to cheer up for their favorite team and not see unpleasant remarks about their team, sadly.
Those people don’t even understand one simple fact : how could I be anti-Apple when I do use Apple products?
Is it so bad to want something more for the devices I own? Is it so bad to suggest things that would be great? … seems not because even the most positive critics will be downvoted, I remember being called anti-Apple when I was claiming IOS could do things like multitasking during the IOS3 period.
If you want to have a true discussion, you’ll need to say things that are more insightful than calling iPads ‘rich kids toys’!
Did you ever read my entire posts or did you only read the ‘rich kids toys’ part? Its hard to have a true discussion when people only read the first and last sentence of a paragraph without even trying to understand what its about.
I’ve never seen you post anything here that suggests you’re actually interested in having a true discussion.
I did have plenty of discussions with people who actually are interested in reading, I guess I’m just not your type. See you around.
Arent most synth’s rich kid toys? I’m homeless and I own some Waldorf, some vintage Novation…stuff like that. If you cant figure out how to get what you desire to make music on then it might be time to change up your plan… if you dont want to make music on an iOS device, dont. I know I dont, so I dont. People need to get over this crap… quit bitching, start sequencing.
“Quit bitching, start sequencing” should be the new motto around here!
Rich kid toys lmao, yeah right. If I was rich, Iwouldnt be stuck untill Isave up to build my “final”studio pc – (hand built from scratch with plenty of room for expansion and upgrade, shootin for 2.8K or so) + rack mountable if possible.
Way to marginalize and stereotype the entire music making community, good job!
How about diligent workers who save money and have a passion for making and recording/producing music eh? I barely make 500 a month, have made less in the past (not complaiming just saying), yet over the years I’ve built a an approx 10k plus (lost track) almost pro home studio (need the pro studio pc then better monitorsafter getting acoustic treatment, use pro mix/master headphones atm, with bass traps, rockwool gobos, diffusion panels, ceiling cloud or drop acoustic tile ceiling and either a double back to back storm door with weather stripping or a legit sealed studio door. Plus an HVAC if i truely want it sound proof, maybe a floating floor (overkill?) A pro studio desk with moniter mounts , a nice rackmount for my analog outboard units and i really want to get my hands on Ableton Live Suite 9 and the godlike Ableton PUSH controller. Then I’d be somewhat satisfied lol though it’s never complete – as theres always more controllers, drum machines, sequencers, turntables (technics 1200s ftw), and various equipment to want lol (epic sound packs, VSTis, mixing/mastering units, post production units (exciters *drool* lol), cd duplicators, remastering suites (izotope RX), audio interfaces, instruments, preamps, AD/DA’s, DAC’s, synth/key module, microphones, mixing console, DSP Plugins with PCIe cards etc etc.) Plus upgrading n maintaining your curremt equiptment – eventually when i move somewhere more permanent I’m going to do construction and build the perffect studio space but can’t break down walls etc to build room within a room, sountil then great acoustic treatment on the walls will do. Not to mention making a live rig on the side too. Rich people can only have nice equipment though right ?
Even with minimal savings – txa returns should allow you to buy or start financing (3 month or 12 month installments) atleast a sick 61 key midicontroller – prob with some mpc drum pads, and assignable mixing fader/pots, a plus pitch and mod wheel. If not a decent 88 key controller or more if you finagle. Demo/floor models cheaper, same warranty it breaks you get a brand new one, deals running 365 if you know where to look and 2nd hand, craigslist, ebay/sell stuff apps (wallapop, letgo etc) or used from an affiliate even cheaper… It costs more to build an epic gaming pc than it does toset up a decent home studio that you can get results in, my first set up was 750 before shockmount and pop filter (cheap in comparison) not amazing but it wasnt bad.
“Wake up, down there!” It’s not about whatcha got, its about how you use it! Audio 101. 🙂 you can make utter crap at abbey road or elvis’s studio (forget atm) and you can makethat “hit record” (yet goddawful) bysouljah boy with stock FL studio sounds rofl, okay bad comparison – scratch the souljah boy lol – you can make a diamond record (err, platinum or gold haha diamond is insane on any level ) with neoprene closed cell foam, some spray on acoustic adhesive, a decent sized closet, pop filter (or ghtto rig it wire clothes hanger with multi layers of panyhose lol)cheap “acoustic open cell foam” (or go legit with auralex etc), a Rhode NT1A Condenser n shockmount (may come bundled with a op screen) used, a cheap focusrite-mbox etc, an XLR-M to XLRF and USB/DC cables. Then its all in the box unless you want (ie its a preference) midi controllers (Keys, synths – besides workstations, drum machines, samplers/sequencers, mixing units etcetera), outboard gear, or any cool but bottom of the list things like an ad/da that records to tape, vinyl, or reel to reel then back for legit vintage hiss/character.
I do agree as a musician who needed a powerful custom pc, when my old one fried but couldnt afford it atm, so i bought a sa,sung galaxy s5 as ive not had a cell since brick flip phone ad PDAs lmao and got a samsung gakaxy tab 4 for free as a new customer. Having heard how sick some mobilemusic apps and DAWs are I was excited only to be beyond let down. The first DAWs on the earliest windows OS’s had more use/functionality!! FL Mobile, what a joke…huge waste of money. All the drum machines and instruments might as well be toys! Timing all wrong even if hit simultaneously like any MPC etc sometimee because the clips dont mesh, at all, no matter the timing. Half of them cant record or have pitiful GUIs that look like a static picture, lack repeat, pitch shifting, any rudimentary mixing minus panning – sometimes, and no bpm/tempo input nor time signature. Some packs even in app purchases dont mesh to make a cohesive song, all the drums esp the kicks suck, no bump, flat, no bass. Hats too, so fake and not in a vintafe drum machine way. You can almost never stop n start transitioning from pad to pad without going offbeat, huge lag between hitting touchscreen and oad activation, and some are just loops that will only play one at a time, cant be played simultaneously ….I could go on and on but I won’t. Litterally the only i can see for these is a usb gto cord and ripping the hits, one shots, pads, n loops to your pc sound library and chopping them yourself in PT, FL, Reason, Reaper (like me lol, so much preferred to protools), any DAW really or old school on an sampler/drum machine/sequencer set up.
That is unless a USB GTO 3.0 (and/or 2.0 for non usb 3 phones n tabs) can also be midi over usb then you could hook up a mpc or midi keys and somehow assign the periferal or acessory input in settings lol, also (how you’d install drivers – plug n play??? Maybe as DLC – or firmware is beyond me but if this worked, an latency prob was delt with (what you can change the buffer size on an android?! That’s always the latency fix in every DAW Ive used, all the majors minus apple because i prefer upgradable custom pcs than a trashcan thats overpriced for specs, though I AM jealous of thunderbolt – shame on you intel for not rolling this out for pcs aswell when it was made for both! Theres even an Intel TB1 PCIe card for PCs but doesnt work with the topshelf audio gear (Universal Audio Symphony I/O) I want or possibly anything yet.. Hopefully by the time they roll out Thunderbolt 4 (so fast) it’ll be standard or atleast available firewire what a joke, tb, pcie cards and usb 3.1 gotcha beat yet manufacturers chose freaking Beta Tapes (lol or Yazz drives) *facepalm*
But yeah if you hearing the music/your vox early or late, or not at all. Atleast in a digital audio workstation youd change the buffer size accordingly, and fixed….Where’s ASIO4ALL when yah need em sheesh. Codecs dont seem to have issues installing or working. Is the problem not having root access? (stupid, lmao its like Windows saying, no invoking administrative privileges OR ELSE – we’ll void your windows and your pc warranty *rollseyes* ..aaaannd im paying you for what again, and how much?)
Anychance of improvements when samsung gets off their lazy butts and puts out Marshmallow FINALLY? Or should I when the time comes reup on a new phone/tab (some program, new phone each new release, hope that goes for the tab too lol) if the new galaxy s7 has sd card expansion, transfer then wipe s5, same with tab 4 if next tab has sd expansion (couldnt justify the price w/o the space…s6 was a letdown cause no sd) sell them and get the biggest epic ipad there is (Air 2? No idea chick at the at&t store had one bigger than most pc screens ive had rofl, more than her arm). Or if no sd Im not interested so I’d keep my s5 upgrade to s7 (same with tab if possible and no sd expansion) or new iphone whatevers hotter on ebay and do the same.
Love android phones, the tablets are hella lacking lol better than a tiny or no screen though and the QHD is quite nice though I don’t think we broadcast, film or make anything close to the pixel count of QHD, last i checked most cable channels and movies dont even film or broadcast in full 1080p, but i might be wrong that was a few years ago.
Achem *edit*Jaz drives lol.
Right, and if the vast majority cant buy it, why kill yourself trying to make the app?
Won’t Get Great Music Apps ??
but it already does have Great Music Apps
SPC Music Sketchpad
Common Analog Synthesizer
Common FM Synthesizer
just to name a few – these all WORK VERY WELL
– putting a list of f the most commonly used Android operating systems
== if you’re doing music on android – you’re going to be running 4.3 with a new device – quad core min — not a single core 3.2 piece of crap
??how many ios users are running 5.11 ?
many ios apps still support that
Ummm. Have you seen what’s available for iOS? Caustic is pretty cool (unless you want to do anything in real time) but most of the others you’ve listed are pretty lame by comparison . You could run sunvox (which is awesome fwiw) on a palm pilot or an old windows mobile 5 phone, but why the hell would you? Is there anything on android remotely close to auria / cubasis / sunrizer / animoog / beatmaker / nanostudio / the korgs / the virsyn stuff / nave / Thor / traktor/ on and on and on and on. There are 250 audiobus compatible apps alone.
I really hope google get their act together – more choices would mean more debs would have more money to invest in mobile audio, but as has been said elsewhere here, its quite a niche thing and at the moment, apple have it sewn up
i don’t need to run 250 apps or audiobus to make a song
i only have 4 music apps installed on my ipad1
G-Stomper is a pretty nifty little Electribe-inspired app for Android. Surprisingly powerful.
But I agree, Caustic is pretty much the definitive Android app, though yeah, real-time leaves something to be desired. It’s adding a ton of new stuff in v3 (currently in Alpha), including support for more parts, a modular synth, an FM synth, and some other cool goodies.
I agree that the diversity on iOS is vastly greater — but honestly, I don’t think I’ve found any app on any platform that I like working with as much as Caustic — it takes the same kinds of easy-to-understand structure that ReBirth and early Reason had (before Reason got enormous) and makes it even more immediate thanks to the improvement of going from a mouse to a touchscreen. Don’t get me wrong — I’m certainly not saying that Caustic should be *everyone’s* favorite app. But I personally love it to death.
How to make great music on Android latency free?
First, open your iOS apps.
Import your beat to your Android device as a ringtone.
tested.= Big latency. Phone shows the call on the screen and the ringtone starts to play 1 or 2 seconds later
I think androids lack of restrictions, when compared to iOS development is its greatest strength, but is also its Achilles heal. Hopefully google will recognize this and correct the latency issues. But it may not be of concern to them.
Look at it like this; how many iOS users bought an idevice just for mobile music production? less then 10%. Maybe even less then 5%.
Is it really worth it for google to cater to such a small group? I’m sure there is a fix in the works but who really knows. They may need to rewrite the whole OS which I’m sure is expensive and time consuming.
no the question should be, how many musicians bought an idevice for mobile music production? 100%
how many musicians bought an android for mobile music production? zero
its not about all consumers its about consumers that want to make music, we know android is the number one mobile plattform because its even in the html adress of this article
and i can see that someone likes android as an all-in-one plattform, but in this specific point, making music, ios IS BETTER.
and honestly i cant understand ANY musician that seriously tells me he/she doesnt like ios^^
its not about apple or goolge, its having a device that offers me virtually limitless access to music apps at a very high level, so i can really use it as an instruments. how can a musician denie that? how can someone seriously tell me that a device like this is bad^^ and the other device, the one he likes, is not even capable of beeing halfway in realtime should be better???
how much of a musician are you if you dont choose the idevice just because its from apple^^
i really cant understand that
thats like ” i dont like yamaha motorcycles so the dx7 is a bad synth
I love Yamaha motorcycles, but the DX 7 *is* a bad synth.
musicians would switch to andriod from ios if google would address Andriod’s latency issues. If Moog can release Animoog for BlackBerry before andriod, that should say something. I sure every app developer wants to make money but I’m also sure no one wants to release an unusable app.
Don’t you think some money must have changed hands to get Moog to port Animoog to Blackberry? Nobody uses Blackberry anymore, so they wouldn’t do it to sell a lot of apps!
At the same time, if android put in work, your argument in a few years will beapple vs microsoft pcs for music – Out the box – macs no doubt. Custom built pcs to spec, top if the line components you can upgrade for life if you get a dope case, 6 to 12 core intel i7 or MORE / better, best full or eatx mobo with 802.11ac, DSP PCIe cards, Firewire, usb 3.1 backwards compatible, Thunderbolt (when available forpoc and usable lol), few ssd for os, programs, and a big hotswappable one for back up, desktop 4 to 6 TB back up, 64 to 128gb of best DDR4 RAM, HDMI, etc etc. That plus replacability wity whatever oarts and iinfite upgrade possibilities I think the custom pc wins IMHO plus I’m biased all my fav. DAWs are on win and i grew up since earliest dial up AOL on PCs (Gateway Cowbox to be exact lmao) not to mention built my first pc when I was 9 ish. I had a macbook pro for awhile before it was stolen but I never wanted to use it. I still know some DOS from dummy terminals lol but i realky cut my teeth mastering pcstil windows fd upwith 8, 8.1 and now again royaly with 10 if they dont continue supoort for 7 or atleast 8.1 indefinetly, i may have to make a hackintosh out of my custom pc lol. Not being forced into windows 10 hell indefinetly since they plan on ever making 11, skipped 9 for the helluv it and just infinetly updating this veneral disease of an platform rofl. Atleast 8.1 was workable didnt break tons of oc, well not as much as 10 i hear, minus it taking a half hour to restart, no updates with 16gb of ram >:0
Lack of restrictions is what i thought too being open source and their rep, but with the stipulation of rooting (
Imo like having administrator account on any Window platform with hide folders off, if samsung/A&T would put out Marshmallow already which will make it harder without your permission to grant apos ridiculously unneeded acess to parts of your phone they have noright or need to be messing with…
or focus on – Ohh, i dunno – giving you superuser acess but blocking changes to critical system files in an important folder……like hmm….Windows?!?! Seems like not only is it a no brainer, not hard but its been done on other os’s, i mean windows 10 bleeh is supposed to be coming to smart phones n tabs, god help us rofl, but id bet they dont void warranties for admin privileges…people would laugh all the way through the uninstallation.) alot of the issues i hear
you can run apps from xp, vista ect in compatibility mode in newer MS os. (software side).
zillions of hardware manufactures for PC stuff.
And you still having beautiful things for Windows. Come to my mind, Synthedit, classic windows stuff
Don’t feed me with this “fragmentation stuff” .Obviously its a market deal between Apple and Google
can’t understand why the thumbs down. People just don’t get the point.
The example above is about Windows platform, with lots of fragmentation, and is still usable for audio management. Big names in the software industry are publishing their products in this platform, Ableton, ni, IL, avid(?) etc, since the beginning of the Computer Audio Era.
Synthedit is the primer example of a “Windows only app” that I’ve running it smoothly in a bunch of PCs since last decade. I bet I can run it even in the Win95.
I’m not asking all Android devices it must have low latency. I’m not asking to run Animoog in a el cheapo $49 Android phone from that mysterious Chinese brand But the major companies from the mobile market, such as LG, Samsumg, Motorola, ZTE… C’mon its a shame that they don’t provide low latency in their devices.
One difference is that musicians usually go for well-spec’d PCs for running music software, and they get good performance as a result.
With Android devices, most buyers are are shopping based on price, so there are tons of cheap devices that don’t perform that well.
For people that do want an Android device that performs well, you can shop around and get a more expensive device. But you’ll end up with a powerful device with a fraction of the great apps that are available for the iPad.
I don’t see this changing unless Google or Samsung monopolizes the Android market and bring a minimum standard of performance to devices.
Ok. Try to work with any music app on a Galaxy S3… It is not cheap, it is not weak. But its latency is a nightmare. 90ms for Caustic.
I get your line of reasoning, but you are forgetting that there are tons of “standards” now that make all the software and hardware work together better in the Windows world, even though it claims to be totally “open”. If you want a more accurate view on the current Android situation, you need to go back to the wild and wooly days of Windows 3.1 and 95, where even though things “should” be compatible they often simply didn’t work together for various reasons. Software development for Windows back then was a way different thing than it is now.
No, I think people do ‘get it’ – they probably just don’t agree.
Sometimes people use inaccurate comparisons as examples though.
Everything was fine until “Don’t feed me with this “fragmentation stuff” .Obviously its a market deal between Apple and Google.”
Apple and Google are competitors in the marketplace, I sincerely doubt that Apple has a “deal” with Google to dump millions of Android devices on the market at low, or no, cost.
Lol samsung doesnt even have any built in features to make the audio better either. None if the volume, bass boosts, equalizers etc work atcall, and the headphone volume is incredibky low even on my freaking top of the line mixing/mastering engineering headphones (with tempurpedic ear cushions muahaa). Even an ipod has preset eqs to try and you can crank the volume.
Whats the issue with low latency?? How would that detriment the rest of the phone or its apps fuctionality? I don’t get it, my audio pc always had setting for intensive audio demands and i never had an issue with the pc, internet or any of its programs…
Just look at those operating system names, so many empty calories. 🙂
The big problem is how the update process works on phones. Google creates a new version of Android – it’s then up to the device makers to compile it for their hardware and the carriers to test it and release it. Both of these steps are big hurdles, the manufacturers are more interested in releasing new devices than supporting old ones and the carriers selling new phones is more profitable and hassle free than rolling out updates.
At the last Google I/O they had a session on the Audio latency. They are still a long way from having a workable solution.
Whole bunch of fanboys here as I can tell by the votes.
Why hate on android? Because everyone should have THE exact same phone and tablet (I’m looking at you, IOS)??! Well I like a little variety in my life. I won’t use Windows on my computer. And I won’t use IOS on my phone. Easy as that.
And the schmagmentation problem would really be easily negated with specifying minimum requirements.
Don’t have 4.2.x? Well, then go buy a device that runs it.
It’s always sort of pathetic to see people resort to name-calling (“Whole bunch of fanboys here..”), because it means that they don’t have any logic or reason to back up their decisions.
If you don’t care about running music software, you’re in the wrong place! If you do care about running music software, it makes sense to understand the pros and cons of various platforms. Linux is a great OS that has never gone anywhere as a platform for musicians, and it looks like Android is going to do the same thing.
>Well I like a little variety in my life.
I do too, but I’ll take my variety as a selection of apps to run.
Your argument is ridiculous. Do you want 200 different airlines to choose from that all fly to just the one same city? Or do you want one airline that flies to 200 different cities? It’s a matter of perspective. If you want to pick hardware features for the sake of hardware features, by all means, enjoy your Android device. If you don’t really care about the device but instead want to spend your time doing things with/in apps, then enjoy your Apple device.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? iPhone and iPad users are constantly accused of being obsessed with Apple, but the haters are the ones who are limiting themselves to (in this case) inferior devices, because of their obsession with Apple.
no its about making music on mobile plattforms, and you can see that the “apple fanboys” all talk about latency and different music related problems, while the “android fanboys” all talk about marketshare and play something like fragmentation in any case down if it would be nothing.
even if the whole article clrearly shows whats up.
guys, this is a synth forum, its about guys that like to play around with synths.
and now tell me why latency Isnt an issue on an instrument?
and why ios isnt the better plattform for making music and play with synths?
i dont get it i myself and i guess around 99% of the people disscussing here and beeing on the apple side bought their ipad for making music.
thats 90%of what i do with my ipad, even more then surfing the internet
in the train in the car on the toilett, just everywhere, why cant you understand that we like that? and why do i have to explane that to musicians? even my mom gets that ^^
You don’t need to be a fanboy to grasp the fact that IOS is better for making music. And we’re not talking about ‘variety’ here, we’re talking about a device strictly in the context of making music…so I’m not sure where you’re seeing ‘hate’.
Latency ??? I have composed and mixed most of my recent musics on an old PC wich features a 100 ms latency (due to external hardware loops and old processor) You can check the result by clicking my signature (exemple : the BRAZIL song)
You’re not playing it via a touchscreen….
Obviously not live, on onstage with a keyboard controller, but more power to ya my friend.
There it is in black and white, Android owners suck it in and buy an iPad. Ha ha.
I think the REAL question is this: why does your music platform have to be mobile at all? To me, it smacks of frantic consumerism more than real need. To carry something small for capturing sketch ideas seems sensible, but without X amount of added gear, like a power source for speakers, its always going to be audible to only the people immediately around you. Actually performing with it ties any electronic musician to a power source issue bongo players ain’t got. That leads to a situation where you sacrifice a lot of ergonomic comfort and capability just to have the thing in your pocket.
I love Logic and it still feels too cramped at times, even on a 21″ screen. Pecking and poking at a small screen on the run is more of an obstacle to composition than an aid, IMO. The biological reality is that you CANNOT truly multitask without diminishing your total effectiveness per added task. Don’t think that fretting over updates and mismatches so often doesn’t take something away from the fun parts of the experience. That’s why we so often cry out for stability over bells ‘n whistles.
So, I am unimpressed with pads/smartphones overall so far, just as a composer. We could probably have a huge flame war over what constitutes real creativity or inspiration, but one thing I know from experience is that any kind of really lasting Art takes time and sweat to create. Pads and phones are based on SAVING time rather than INVESTING it, while preventing you from having to sweat so often. That’s where I already see a meaningful loss. I respect your right to choose your own path, but if a thing is too easy, it becomes less valued. Time & Sweat are still the best path to better music. If you are investing too much of them in your OS, something’s out of whack. 😛
Tablets, eventually huge tablets will be a major part of future studios. Hardware will always exist but it will become an add on or a novelty. Touch screen flexibility (it can be anything) will win out. Like lemur etc and software all in one display possibilities
Nice to see some thoughtful comments, even if I don’t agree with some of them!
Your criticisms seem like they may be valid for you, but may not be for a lot of other people. You see mobile devices as a way of saving time, but for me, the key benefit is that they give me the freedom to spend MORE time on music.
It does take time and sweat to make interesting music. Too many musicians, though, put so much time and sweat into buying gear and setting up awesome studios that they don’t have a lot of time left for actually making music.
I’ve got a day job and family responsibilities, so I don’t have the time or the money to have the type of home studios that a lot of electronic musicians have. I’d love to have a big a collection of vintage synths and a big Eurorack modular, but that’s not something i can do at this point in my life.
What I can do, though, is have a small home studio rig and an iPad for doing mobile music. And I’ve found the iPad to be a surprisingly powerful and fun tool to work with. Check out Audulus, for example, and see how deep the rabbit hole goes!
iMan said: “Your criticisms seem like they may be valid for you, but may not be for a lot of other people. You see mobile devices as a way of saving time, but for me, the key benefit is that they give me the freedom to spend MORE time on music.”
I think of it more as a critique, for exactly the reason you state: you found a way to make it work for you. I’m the near-opposite of a potential Push user, but I loved the Paganini demo, using just that. Part of my bias is practical: trying to cram things into that smaller package means compromises in both GUI and function. That stems from me having large hands generally unsuited to the mini-buttons on anything, heh.
So I acknowledge your point and I wish I had done so first thing. I simply try to pull a bit for the merits of more “sweat” because its more fun in the end. Many times, I’ve seen how the ERGONOMICS of a thing can decide its final result more than anything else, so the form-over-function line shouldn’t be crossed too casually. Overall, I’d say that if you are a pad user AND have a rig with a couple of keyboards to it, you can get the best of both worlds pretty readily. Its not a bug, its a feature, or in this case, a choice in style of approach.
As to the furor of the topic, its funny to see this happen with smartphones. At one time, you had to buy the computer that ran the software you most wanted. Now, music software for desktops/laptops is generally cross-platform and a similar argument has arisen with the phones. Deja vu.
^^^ THIS. Ok, I’m not anti-iPad or anti-android (have used both), or anti-mobile, however these devices require large compromises in most cases for mobility – yet I rarely hear people actually asking, is the trade off worth it? I mean really think about that everyone, how much more portable is an iPad over a laptop running a full, un-crippled OS? I’ve owned quite a few “apps” on iPad and iPhone and Android, and never once ended up using any of it for one of my tracks – because I have a basically infinitely powerful device sitting in my studio. Now if I did a lot of travelling, I could still have access to tons of power by getting a laptop. So the only possible reason I can see to use a mobile app to make music is if you were on the bus and just happened to only have a phone on you. All that said, I don’t have a problem with “mobile” music making, I just think a good chunk of those into it are so because of the new novelty factor and not because it actually makes sense over the other available options out there. /Rant
Yes! you can and you did. But would a pianist playing live in front of 100s of people happy with 100ms of delay with its instrument? Would capturing a simple idea on your mobile device having fun on iElectribe or Figure while in a bus any fun with 100ms latency?
Starting today from scratch I would tell a young producer to try out Renoise or any other amazing DAWs with a Linux option (Bitwig one day?). Artists, most of them love the concept of open source and a light OS to run and be creative. That is why most are shocked to realized how little Google cares about making their product better for them when dealing with latency
I am not sure about your PC but you can get a 1986 Atari ST for cheap on ebay + JL Cooper MTC sync + Old ADAT s and have ZERO Midi latency and perfect sync with audio. Many many album were made just like that.
But now in 2013 with have powerhouses with a magnitude of a 10000, compared to the 1986 Atari ST, that fit in our pocket and just roll over and accept and not make fun of their terrible latency because…?
easy answer : when I play the piano, I absolutly don’t mind about electroni gadgets….I play the piano with 0ms latency…….
When I compose music in FLstudio, I use it as a tracker, meaning that I enter notes one by one with the mouse. I don’t mind if there’s 70ms or 100ms latency….even for mixing the tracks with my midi controller (faders), 100ms latency isn’t a problem (100ms is a tenth of second…right ? )
If you are mostly using a step sequencer and no real time type of music apps, then yes it will not matter if you are using iOS or Android or even this cool thing:
cola verde: I understand your reasoning but if you try playing a software-synth on a touch screen device ‘live'(meaning not by step for step sequencing), you will understand that 100ms latency certainly make it harder to capture a sequence the way you imagined it before. and sometimes recording live played sequences can be more desirable than step-sequencing. as an example I prefer step sequencing in many cases but if I couldn’t record live output with my ipad (into recording apps or built-in recorders of the apps) I would be really disappointed. and making music with a mouse is totally unattractive to me.
If only acoustic pianos had 0 latency. A well-maintained acoustic piano has around 20-30 ms latency depending on how its played.
“If you concentrate hard, you may be aware of the lag between hitting a key and hearing the note, but many piano players will already be used to this, since there is always some delay between hitting a key on an acoustic piano and the hammer hitting the string.”
Great point on the atari, its like saying the IBM supercomputer could out music this yet android beast tgose giant relics, fit inour pockrts yet cant fix a freakin latency issue. People have gotten lazy and the consumers alliw it… theres really no excuse. If i wanna listen to spotify ill either break out the pa4 or decide not to and grab my ipod rofl. I thought 128gb on a tab, and 128gb on a phone migyt replace my ipod but it doesnt even have the sound quality for that. And are thise two tiny slits REALLY the speakers, come on now. I thought they were a vent! Until i couldnt hear anything overmy quiet ac *sigh*
There is also another way to look at it besides the technical issues and that is the marketing itself. Ever since Steve Jobs got back in charge of Apple they have been marketing their computers towards the creative types of users: writers, artists, video makers, musicians. But the PC was actually at least as good of a platform. And with the advent of Windows 7 that made music making on the PC even more smooth, we have a blooming scene of wonderful free plug-ins that are Windows only. So clearly there is a market and public for Windows based music making.
Now, transpose that to iOS vs. Android. It is very possible that Android will develop a stable platform for music making apps. But it will still take the users and the developers some time to adjust to it. An example is the C.24 keyboard that ditched Android in favour of the iPad. On the other hand if there is enough vocal and financial support for Android music apps whenever there will be a stable version for it, the transition for the user between iOS and Android might very well be faster than it was for the PC crowd to realise that you don’t need an Apple computer to make professional sounding music.
It comes down to economics – people buy the device that gives them bang for the buck.
Right now, for musicians, Android doesn’t deliver bang for the buck, iOS does.
I like RD3 and nanoloop. They are sequenced,so they work ok. I also run Jasuto for drones and it is cool as far as you know what are you doing. The funny thing is,that I have 2nd gen iPod touch and it has quite a latency even when used with keystation. I stil use it (for chords,pads and some sequences in nanostudio and midisynth)
“We’re not going to bite on the ‘Why Android, The #1 Mobile Platform, Won’t Get Great Music Apps’ flame-bait”
You just did, by calling a discussion of fragmentation that’s full of facts “flame-bait”.
I had an Android phone before I got a Mac. I was thrilled with it at first because it was such a huge jump up from the feature phone I had. Then I tried to do any of the cool music stuff and FroYo was just not up to it. Then my G/F insisted on the iPad and before long I had to have one after using hers and seeing the various iOS synths. Animoog and GarageBand became killer apps for me. Reasons to invest in the device. Then I noticed how well the iPad works with my Mac. So I bought in to iOS as well as OS X.
But that bummer Android phone still sucked and didn’t play well with my Mac. Then iCloud/Dropbox came around on iOS and Lion on Mac, and they started doing cross device syncing and it worked really well for me. I could have the same features on my phone… So I went iPhone 5. I paid for a lot of apps. They mostly all showed up on my iPhone. It would be stupid of me to buy an Android. I’m in the Apple ecosystem and have accepted. It would be equally stupid of an Android user to buy iOS devices if they are heavily invested in the Google Ecosystem.
But in my experience, I prefer the Apple devices for mobile recording and music production.
Amazing! Given the discussion and heat Apple got on the 1111 thread!
Here are ten very personal reasons why I love my iPad for making music:
First and foremost, portability, with headphones I can make music, anywhere, for hours without a power source.
Secondly, multitouch, there’s nothing like being we to use all four fingers and thumbs on both hands for interacting with a screen that responds to touch running these amazing apps.
Third, very low latency, the iPad (and most apps – although admittedly not all) is as playable as any of the ‘real’ instruments I have, perhaps more so.
fourth, Variety, oh. My. God. There are sooooooooo many amazing apps for making music, it’s actually a little overwhelming. And they’re cheap too!
Fifth, the instruments themselves, Nave is possibly the best synth I have ever used, virtual or physical, on any platform. That’s not to say there are not better synths, but I don’t have access, so…. Anyway, to have this for a mere £8 is just mindblowing!
Sixth, it’s fast, I can create a live performance, an actual piece of music, with just a little preparation, in minutes. I’ve never been able to do this effectively using a laptopin so little time!
Seventh, I can carry it around easily and where I live I’m lucky to be surrounded by amazing musicians who will strike up in the pub, at friends houses, wherever, and for the first time ever, I can run the audio out to the stereo and play along with any of the synths, drum pad apps etc… To me this is unprecedented and quite simply wonderful – they seem to like it a lot too 🙂
Eighth the iOS music community, perhaps not so much here on Synthtopia, there’s too much anti-apple ranting and bickering going on for folks to talk about the stuff that actually matters, but elsewhere, the folks are amazing; supporting, imaginative, excited about this stuff and more than willing to help and that’s awesome too!
Ninth, the iOSdevelopers are just, on the whole, lovely wonderful open passionate people who will engage with their customers on a personal level and listen to and respond to their needs – wow!
Tenth, it’s never boring, there is always something new to play with, a new app, an update – nothing else is developing at this rate right now in the music making world…
I LOVE my iPad – for me, personally speaking again, this is the best instrument I’ve ever owned :)))))))
Ooh 1 thumbs down already – that’s the kind of soulless & joyless person I am talking about who lurks around here, they simply can’t see anyone else having a good time without taking a great big dump on it… Very very very sad and as others have mentioned, really not welcome at all!
Nothing anyone can say, or no number of thumbs down will stop me thoroughly enjoying what I do, so go ahead, if you really need to click that thumbs down to make yourself feel better, do it!
I feel sorry for you and hope you find some peace and happiness sometime soon!
Here you will get downvoted just by saying “I love X”, or “wouldn’t it be great if X could do this?”
People won’t even read what you say, they will just look at the username and downvote accordingly.
Btw, I agree with almost all your points.
It is really amazing all the fantastic synths you can get – usually for $20 or less – on one device.
It can run a Moog, a Fairlight, a Waldorf, a Korg and so many other synths – those are some serious synths!
Device and OS Fragmentation are NOT the real issue, as is neither the “app piracy” thing. The big obstacle to writing as good and as many music apps as in iOS is the fact that Andoid app code is based in Java and iOS in Objective C. Look up in the internet just how many music apps were written in Java and then look up how many are written in C (C++. C#, or even objective C).
The real issue is that Jave and Android lack the appropriate APIs to handle low latency audio, while C has had it probably for at least 20 years.
If you ignore music apps and focus on what a smartphone really is for, I think Android can do everything iOS can and better with a lower cost.
This whole diatribe disgusts me (not you,synthtopia…I’m @GetOfaMahLawn). I thought the childish rah rah behavior ended junior high; see Sega vs. Nintendo. Musicians need tools that work for them. It’s simply a fact that the ios platform is the only choice, if you don’t include Win8 (full,non RT) tablets. The only choice for even semi-serious music production. That doesn’t mean I punched your mom. I have no corporate loyalties. What, should we switch to a Peavey vs. Fender amp slapfest?
My question-doesn’t the CoreAudio framework work its way in here somehow? Also…are there any lists which compile the audio chips USED in various android devices? I mean…that’s pretty important.
Wow, the audio issues that plagued Windows for years (audio dropouts/glitching, inability to play back 24 bit files without an external soundcard, hunting for the right drivers for each application used) still exist even in their mobile music making systems? Big surprise.
I think you can find a way to make any music making tools work, however…
It is just a lot easier to get the crap out of the way with iOS. And seriously, Audiobus alone (is there an equivalent, working platform on Android? Not that I have heard of) supports over 200 Apps, many, many of them extremely good synths, effects, DAWs…Even the input options have just taken off with Apogee, Focusrite, Avid and others jumping into the iOS interface game.
No contest for me as far as to what Platform. However, choose your weapon, and what will matter in the end is the music you make regardless of the tools you select to make it…
ok, even though this thread is old ( over a year ) i thought it interesting enough to chime in. As far as Android vs Ipad for music production goes, as a musician, an Ipad is the clear choice, simply because of whats available for us. Either you can debate as to why an Android tablet is capable or doing the same thing, and hold out until developers start making comparable apps to whats already available for the Ipad or you can get an Ipad.
As far the mobility of an Ipad vs a full on home studio worth it or can you be as productive on an Ipad, of course you can. Sometimes just being able to change the environment you’re in can be just what you need to spark some creative juices and an Ipad can do just that. I have a macBook pro and an Ipad and enjoy the best of both worlds as far as Ipad vs a full n processor power of a computer goes. Somethings Ill use my Ipad as a stand alone synth ( using Animoog, Nave, Sunrizer or many others ) and record the audio into Logic Pro X , which is sometimes a freeing experience for sequencing midi and just capturing the moment and the feel. Sometimes quantizing can be good or bad but having the audio takes me back to the days of tape when you just recorded the audio, sometimes I use my Ipad to run my guitar thru an app like Jam Up Pro, or sometimes ill use my Ipad as a DAW controller for app.
I also have the IK multimedia Irig keys so Im not limited to only playing my IOS synths via touch screen.
The Ipad is a great and powerfull tool to my over all workflow, not to mention the powerful Ipad DAWs like Auria, Cubasis , GarageBand and others that we can literally create an entire song with. Even synths like Arturia Imin and ISEM, even though I have the OSX versions, I also have the IOS versions, which are much cheaper yet sound just as good, but give me an entirely different experience with the multi-touch features of the Ipad, I dont have to fiddle with a mouse, I can virtually touch them, its the next best thing to having the hardware.
Anyway getting back to whether an Android tablet will be as good for music making? I’m sure the hardware will catch up if it hasn’t by now, but when the standard has been set sometimes its hard to try to reset it, kinda like trying to reinvent the wheel, especially when so many have invested so heavily into the IOS ecosystem already.
This being an issue for Android is disappointing on many levels. I love music and I have always lived Android because you can download free music, my options now are to spend money on music or run my data in the truck when I’m on the go which is still spending money. Whish the problem could be fixed.