Lightning Review: Beatmaker

benji starts off our iPhone App Lightning Reviews and scores a %25 off coupon with a review of Beatmaker, which you can find with this iTunes Link and buy yourself for $19.99. We have plenty more reviews coming, but don't forget you can submit your own in the forums for you chance to win a coupon yourself -- full details here!

BeatMaker is one of the first in a higher league of iphone apps. In short, it is a music creation tool that picks up where the MooCow Music "Band" app leaves off...and improves in leaps and bounds.

Read on for the full review!

You create music from a 16-pad sample library that that can be loaded with an assortment of provided sample banks ranging in genres from Rock, Electronica, Funk, etc. There are also a few custom banks provided by DJ artists with their own special sounds. You arrange the samples into 4-beat patterns which can then be sequenced into a song.

Most of your time in BeatMaker is spent flipping back and forth from the "Pads" environment and the "Sequencer" environment. Beatmaker lets you either record your pattern on the pads, or manually enter the "steps" in the "Step-Sequencer" environment accessed from within the Sequencer environment (this app has depth!). Once you create a few patterns and start to line them up your song starts to take shape and the music creation/beat mixing madness begins!

Trigger the pads and manipulate samples.

Create your song by placing your patterns along the timeline.

Go in-depth and place the triggering steps on time for better precision.

As you can see, rather than defaulting to the SDK's included GUI elements, BeatMaker presents its own completely original interface and branding. Fly-out tabs are placed at the top and bottom of the screen to help you navigate the programs various menus and functions with a touch.

You can save your songs out as a wave file and use a soon to be released free sync tool called BeatPack to sync your creations with your computer.

What's this!? A saving and file management system?...I must be dreaming...

Many will complain that the downfall of this app is the $19.99 price, to which I respond that you honestly get what you pay for. In my opinion, the best and most comprehensive to-do list in the App Store is Omni-Focus (also priced at $19.99) and the best music creation tool (and best non-gaming app) so far is BeatMaker.

A lot of the apps in the App Store are simple in their design and function, but they get the job done....And that's OK. But I want apps that take mobile applications to the next level like the iphone took mobile phones to the next level. Many of the current apps barely surpass the functionality and depth of a web-app!

BeatMaker takes mobile apps to the next level and should set the standard for future apps...If your into music creation, I highly recommend it.

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Look and Feel: 5
  • Navigation: 5
  • Features: 5
  • Reliability: 5
  • Overall: 5


  • Intuive
  • Looks awesome, sounds great
  • Lets you save your songs and is suited for live performance!
  • Included RSS feed for updates


  • A little pricy
  • Crashes every once and a while, but this could be a 2.0 thing and not an app thing.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Dieter Bohn

Dieter Bohn is former editor-in-chief of Smartphone Experts, writing across iMore, Windows Phone Central, Android Central, and more. You can find him on Twitter (and everywhere else) @backlon.

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Reader comments

Lightning Review: Beatmaker


This program is amazing!!! Definitely worth the $20! It really allows you to build tracks at a granular level! You can even create your own kits!

Only crashed on opening the first time I opened it (probably a 2.0 thing). Has worked fine ever since.
I have been using programs like fruityloops, reason and ableton live for about 8 years and this application is really quite amazing. If they added a keyboard to the mix I'd probably never have to use Reason again.
Fantastic piece of software, makes creative use of the daily commute.

Fun application, but I find that it crashes all the time,
or every time I use it. I thought the problems would be solved when I updated Beatmaker and the iphone software but it wasn't.
So my conclusion about Beatmaker is that it is a really great application, its fun to express yourself while comuting or at the park etc... but it's hard to count on for performing or something more serious. I really hope they fix this buggy issue because I really enjoy it.

Kinda fun, but lacking some really crucial things like: Ability to enter beats in the sequencer in smaller increments than quarter beats.
A few built in kits with just a synth and a full octave or two octave range.
Stability is also shocking, have had to do full DFU restores because of the application locking and bricking my iphone and also generally just crashes out to springboard alot.
I think maybe a years time and it will really go some.