Whether you are an amateur music producer or someone who is just curious about different musical instruments and how they sound, you might find applications that virtually simulate different musical instruments to be interesting. These apps allow you to test different instruments virtually, learn what they sound like, and even record your own virtual compositions with multiple instruments without owning them. Additionally, many of these apps offer free trial versions, which means that you can do this in a more convenient, quick, and budget-friendly way over buying a physical instrument. Rather than visiting your local music shop or ordering the instrument online and spending your hard-earned money, you can download these apps almost immediately and without paying a single penny.
So without further ado, let’s quickly dive into some of the best apps you can use to simulate musical instruments virtually. The selection of apps is highly dependent on the platform you use, so we will take a look at apps on two of the most commonly used platforms around the world; desktops and smartphones.
Desktop PC Apps
Desktop computers are the ideal platform for mixers and music producers, as it allows for a fine degree of control over the arrangements and easy tweaking of the sound. There is a countless number of apps for virtually simulating musical instruments that exist on this platform. Here are our picks for some of the best among the bunch.
Depending on who you are, you may or may not have heard of Ableton Live before. However, this software is an extremely popular option in the music production community. Many well-known artists who compose and produce their own music often use this DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) for this purpose. You can even find some artists using Ableton Live for their live performance as well.
Any DAW is capable of simulating different musical instruments virtually. However, what sets Ableton Live apart from the rest is the inspiring and easy to use workflow. Although the software does require a little bit of experience and tutorial-watching to understand how the more advanced options work, it is completely worth it if you are serious about digital music production. An experienced Ableton Live user can mix and produce a music track with good results in a very short amount of time.
The app offers a free 90-day trial you can use to test it out and determine if it is the right fit for you. After the trial expires, you can buy the software starting at $99. Currently, Ableton is offering a 30% discount on the app, so you can snag it for $69 if you hurry.
The rivalry between FL Studio and Ableton Live users dates back farther than we can remember. While some users prefer Ableton for its streamlined workflow, many others choose FL Studio over it for greater plugin compatibility.
Both of these platforms allow experienced users to recreate the sounds of musical instruments virtually and use them in their own compositions. And both of them are equally popular amongst professional music producers. At the end of it all, the rivalry between the two DAWs boils down to personal preference. We advise you to try both before you settle on one of them.
FL Studio offers a free time-unlimited trial you can use to check out its features. If you end up liking the profile, you can choose to buy it for yourself for $99.
The one thing to note is that both Ableton and FL Studio are complex and powerful programs that require a bit of practice and tutorial-watching to get the most out of the systems. If you are looking for a more user-friendly option, check out the next app on the list.
All of us are extremely familiar with Adobe’s excellent line of digital photo and video manipulation tools such as Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, and of course, After Effects. What you might not know is that Adobe offers a very capable audio production tool by the name of Adobe Audition as well.
A full-fledged DAW, Adobe Audition is geared toward beginner music composers and producers. Featuring an intuitive drag-and-drop interface and easily accessible options to organize your track and fine-tune the sound, this software makes it easy for new users to venture into the world of music production.
The app offers a free trial version, and if you like it, you can buy an annual subscription for around $240.
If all this talk of DAWs is confusing you and you just want a simple app you can play a virtual instrument on, we have you covered. You can use Skoove to play the piano virtually to your heart’s content.
Originally meant as a learning app that teaches you how to play the piano, Skoove can easily double as an app that you can emulate a piano on with your desktop. Using the keys on your computer’s keyboard, you can play tunes just like you would on a physical piano.
The best thing about this service is that you do not even need to install it on your desktop to get the experience. Simply go to the Skoove website and sign up for a free trial. The app will load on your browser, and you are ready to jam! No heavy downloads or clunky installers required!
Skoove offers its basic services absolutely free of cost. You can try out their premium features with a free 7-day trial, after which you can opt for a yearly subscription starting at just $10 per month.
If you are looking for a mobile app that virtually simulates musical instruments, chances are you are looking for a fun way to spend the time rather than a powerful software for mixing and producing music. Although the smartphones of today have grown powerful enough to be able to do this job, the lack of screen real estate on your smartphone is the biggest hindrance to do this effectively. For this reason, we will not be mentioning any smartphone DAW in this list.
Drum Pad Machine – Beat Maker
This app emulates a virtual drum pad on the screen of your mobile phone. By setting different instruments and different tones for each of the pads, you are able to create new beats on the spot using this app. There are a wide variety of samples you can use for your compositions, and you can even record your performance and share it with your friends.
The app is free to use and depends on showing you ads for revenue. If you do like the app, you can pay to remove the ads for a small subscription fee. This fee varies according to your region, and with time, so we suggest that you check out the pricing for yourself.
As we previously mentioned, Skoove is a service that is primarily geared toward teaching aspiring pianists how to play the keys. However, the way the service works allows you to use it to emulate a virtual piano on your computer. Skoove has an excellent mobile app as well, and you can check out here.