Musical Smartphones 2014

If you enjoy listening to or making music you’ve probably also found a way to do so on your phone. Where some smartphones lack finesse, others compensate greatly. If you enjoy listening to or making music it’s likely that you’ve found a way to do so on your phone. These are recent observations taken in 2014 between the most popular devices’ audio capabilities for listening to and creating music. That french house/ragtime track you’ve been imagining won’t make itself!


             The iPhone and Mac can be proclaimed the go-to devices for music storage and creation. They provide less conflict in approaching Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) and apps for a productive experience kept simple. iRig, the guitar interface adapter for adjusting amplifier effects via iPhone, gives the user a pedalboard, amp head and (animated) cabinet, as well as a four-track recorder that can be utilized by connecting any device with an input into the iRig, not only guitars. There are four free apps offered from iRig’s site but others are available for purchase from the iTunes Store. The most notable is AmpKit by Agile Partners; while it is a free app it features several internal purchases that are well worth the fee. Its positive reviews praise the overall sound output and tactile capabilities available for precise tweaking. AmpKit also has MIDI controller and AirTurn stand support for multiple uses and possibilities. Android phones also use an iRig app but it’s only suggested use is for vocal recording and mixing abilities. It includes few effects but allows you to optimize the sound of your processed audio in a simple way. There are cable kits made by iLine which include aux, headphone splitter, and stereo/mono/RCA output adapter cables. Android may not have the iRig guitar app but there are other options for Nexus, HTC, and Galaxy phones which share a similar caliber. Peavey, a rather prominent guitar amp company, has made their own app with an accompanying digital guitar interface adapter for all Android and iOS devices. The app itself is pretty limited and linear but the guitar adapter looks really cool and features two headphone jacks. So the possibilities aren’t as narrow for Android users but there is more effort involved in mixing and recording their desired audio from their devices. From what I gather, Android has had latency issues with audio output but it surely isn’t that severe a problem if it didn’t make (TC) headlines, and the platform still supports quality audio applications. The iPhone has amazing sound properties such as loud, clear sound resulting from numerous magnetic transducers that enhance each speaker’s resonance and three microphones on the bottom, front (near headset speaker) and back. It seems there are no contingencies for the phone’s audio efficiency, although this is rarely addressed since the graphics and UI display grab much of the attention. Phones with an Android platform usually adhere to the basics, but sound good nonetheless. The Google Play feature is nice but isn’t so slick in its music-player application form. There are alternatives, such as Rocket Music Player by JRT Studio, that better suit the listener’s musical quest. Last but not least, the Nokia Lumina 925, a Windows smartphone, gets an honorable mention due to its name becoming synonymous with musical benefits. All of Nokia’s Windows 8 models support the free offline music service: Nokia Music. It provides hundreds of mixes to jump into and albums or individual tracks are downloadable if desired. That feature is neat but the real catch is the Lumina 925’s enhanced sound quality that doesn’t try to compensate with loud treble and bass, in-ear and out. It gives Dr. Dre a run for his money while somehow still managing to feature six signature Carl Zeiss camera lenses and an 8.7 Megapixel PureView camera.