Originally posted on makeuseof.
New to making beats? Skip the DAW for now and try these beginner-friendly beat-making apps.
Whether you’re an aspiring music producer or simply enjoy experimenting with sounds, you don’t need an expensive DAW to start making music. There are many free beat-making tools that provide a wide range of samples and loops. Here are our top picks.
Groovepad is a beat-making app that lets you create catchy rhythms across a wide range of genres. From the homepage, you can access genres such as house, drum and bass, and dubstep, and each genre category offers a range of instruments related to that style.
Groovepad uses color-coding for instruments based on their role, such as lead, backing, and percussion, which streamlines the process. You can add instruments to your mix by simply tapping the squares in each category.
There are extra tools to refine your music in the Effects tab. Here, you can access effects such as reverb and delay and apply them to instrument groups or the entire mix. There’s also a basic EQ filtering tool, so you can enhance your audio using equalizers.
Groovepad offers a beginner-friendly music-making experience, so you can start making catchy beats in no time.
2. Drum Pads 24
The Drum Pads 24 app features music packs that you can explore by searching for specific genres. You can save music packs to the Favorites tab or even download them for offline access. Every sound pack features a description and a sample pack preview, so you can get a feel for its sound before making beats.
Drum Pads 24 lets you compose in two styles; in live time or using loops. The Live Time option is great for experimenting and finding which sounds work best for you. If you have a favorite rhythm, create a loop by long-holding any pad.
The loop editor is highly customizable, making beat-making simple. You can change the BPM and tap the arrows for a selection of rhythm presets. To make music from scratch, you can tap the squares to add sound effects and make sophisticated rhythms.
Creator is an online beat-making tool made by LANDR, a music creation platform that boasts an expansive library of music samples. There are thousands of free samples in LANDR’s sample library spread across multiple categories, including vocals, bass, and FX—and you can load up to eight samples at once in the editor.
Easily find specific sounds by searching for a loop based on its instrument, genre, BPM, or key. You also have the option to search for similar samples based on your current tracks, which can more accurately bring your ideas to life.
Creator’s customization tools are at the top of its game. You can change the key and tempo at any time and samples will adjust automatically, giving you less manual work. You can also easily organize your musical ideas in collections and share your tracks.
Taking beats into your DAW is effortless—you can download your music as one file or download each sample individually.
If you’re looking for a mobile music-making experience that resembles a DAW, Remixlive is a perfect option. The app offers a range of free packs, including Massive Bass, Latin Trap, and Funky Pop, each with a range of impressive sounds. Each sound category is color-coded and organized in a simple grid structure.
You can change the volume for each sound and add effects such as EQ and reverb. You can also change the tempo and key signature of your loops from the top menu banner, as well as tap your desired tempo.
If you’re seeking a more advanced beat-making experience, you can organize your song in a timeline view with Song mode by paying for the subscription. But if you’re looking to create simple and effective beats using high-quality sounds, Remixlive’s free version does a great job.
5. Beat Machine
Beat Machine offers a simple approach to creating rhythms, making it an accessible platform for beginner music-making enthusiasts. You can explore a variety of vocal effects, pre-made drum beats, leads, synths, and more.
To get started, select a sound pack and tap an instrument to add it to your mix. You can save up to four presets for each instrument, so you can easily switch up the rhythm whenever you like. Thanks to Beat Machine’s tutorials, you can learn the basics and start making music instantly.
There are also tools for finer adjustments, including a BPM feature and a volume meter for every instrument. When you’re happy with your mix, you can record your music and share it.
PatternSketch is an online drum machine and sequencer with various impressive instruments and effects. There are several presets to choose from across multiple genres, or you can create your own patterns. Best of all, you can export your favorite beats to use directly in your DAW of choice.
The interface nearly replicates a physical sequencer, featuring 16 audio channels to play with. Every channel offers volume controls as well as a mute and solo button, making Patternsketch one of the best virtual instruments you can play online. There’s also a 3-band equalizer, so you can easily bring out different frequencies in your mix.
PatternSketch’s controls are very intuitive—adding sounds to your loop is as easy as clicking a cell or using the built-in keyboard shortcuts. At the bottom of the interface, you can access global settings, such as the track tempo and number of steps.
PatternSketch is a brilliant experimental tool for making sounds in the early stages of your composition.
BandLab is one of the best GarageBand alternatives for aspiring music producers. It features hundreds of virtual instruments and effects that you’ll find in premium DAWs. Unlike GarageBand which is Mac-specific, BandLab works flawlessly on any device, with a powerful web editor and frequently updated mobile apps.
BandLab offers an experience that suits all musicians. You can record audio, connect to a MIDI keyboard, or plug in your guitar to use BandLab as an amp. You can also use your computer keyboard to input MIDI notes.
If you’re looking to create crisp sounds, BandLab offers top-notch mixing tools. You can apply dozens of effects and presets, including basic tremolo, bright chorus, and several reverb presets. There’s also an automation tool, so you can easily modify volume and other parameters throughout your music.
If you’re looking for a beat-making tool that isn’t far from a professional DAW, BandLab is certainly worth a try.
If you want to create music without getting overwhelmed by the complexities of a DAW, these apps offer a beginner-friendly approach to creating catchy beats. So why not skip loading up a DAW when inspiration strikes and give these apps a go instead.