iOS / iPad Music Production App Roundup: esGrain, TC-11, Beatsurfing, Devobots

In this month’s iOS / iPad music production app roundup we take a look at some unique synths and sound creation applications including esGrain, TC-11, Beatsurfing, and Devobots.

TC-11 Multi-Touch Synthesizer

TC-11 is a new type of synthesizer that developers Bit Shape describe as a “fully programmable multi-touch modular synthesizer for the iPad.”  The synth offers up to 8 voices that can be controlled simultaneously through the touch screen surface and a unique user interface. On another screen, the software offers modular creation of sounds with a matrix of oscillators, filters, amp effects, filter envelopes, LFOs and sequencers that can be patched in more ways than we can list here. At $29 it’s not the cheapest app around, but it seems to be one of the most powerful synthesizers available for the iPad currently. TC-11′s most recent update (version 1.8) offers Audiobus support,variable polyphony, and better graphics performance than previous versions. For a deeper look at the app’s capabilities, check out blogger Discchord’s review on Youtube.


csGrain by Boulanger Labs is “real-time audio processing and recording tool for the iPad” that uses a number of effects to create unique textures of sound. The app is built around the highly customizable Csound programming language and a “stereo granular sound processor” as well as 10 effects that allow you to mangle your sounds into new creations. You can input sound in a number of ways including Audiobus, Dropbox, AudioCopy, and Email. At $9.99 the app is an affordable way to get a taste of granular synthesis and it’s a unique effects processor as well.


Beatsurfing is one of the more inventive MIDI control apps that we’ve seen for the iPad in some time. Developer DRUW explains that the program “allows you to draw a 3-dimensional controller and use it in two different and complementary ways” which include tapping on the iPad surface and then by ” surfing your fingers along routes, colliding with objects, triggering samples or effects.”  The latest version of Beatsurfing (version 1.1) introduces some handy new additions including a quantize module for synchronizing MIDI in signals and seamless integration with Dropbox and email for file sharing. Beatsurfing


While this app is more of a toy than production tool, we include Whitewall Studios’Devotbots in this list because at the introductory price of free, it’s a great way to play with Devo’s eclectic and analog sonic palette. At its core, the app is a sample player that features loops from the legendary electronic rock band with a robot creation feature included for fun.

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Dubspot blog editor Michael Walsh is a  journalist, DJ, music producer, and Dubspot instructor. He believes in open-source ideas and advancing the evolution of music by sharing ideas that push technology in new directions. As a catalyst for of electronic music’s growth, Michael was co-founder of the Ritual Recordings house imprint, helped develop numerous club nights and events, and has curated music for corporate events with clients such as Nokia, Puma, and Betsy Johnson. Michael has been a professional DJ for over two decades and produces house and techno music under a number of aliases.