Countless music-mixing apps have been released for Apple’s iOS, but not so much so for Samsung’s Android. This is because of iOS’ developer-friendly infrastructure that makes it even the most novice of programmers can create apps for the iOS. And when it comes to musical workstations for the Android, it gets very difficult to search for the right one.
Fortunately for Android’s music-making users, their situation has been getting better (and busier) in recent years. One of the most well-known developers for the Android market is Open Labs, and this week launched the Stagelight app for free! Stagelight is a very capable DAW-style all-in-one music workstation! From electronic drums to synthesizers, Stagelight is here for Android and Windows phone users!
The app comprises most of the essential characteristics of a standard desktop DAW, now mobile-friendly for smartphone users. Tracks are created in horizontal rows, and rather on an endless timeline, each track is created in “Parts” on vertical columns. Each part can be its own length, thus can line up a 4-bar drum loop with an 8-bar bass loop and 16-bar synth loop.
Using the built-in mic or a connected mic, you can record tracks such as Drums (which comes from free sample audio packs), Instruments (tracks come from a selection of Stagelight’s mini plug-in instruments) or Audio. The tools on the 16-step sequencer (which can edit the length and position of the notes, as well as their panning and velocity) to create drum kit parts on each Drum track.
You can play these instruments with an on-screen chromatic using either a standard keyboard or a row of keys that contains just the notes for the scale you selected. And once you begin recording the instrumental part, you can use the editing tools and quantization to edit the notes in a piano roll display.
As a .WAV format, audio tracks are rather straightforward – simply hit the Record button on a selected Part and start singing/playing into the mic. You can then set the pitch up and down on the finished recordings or time-stretch them while preserving the pitch.
Stagelight can show the mixer channel strip for each track, rather than a traditional mixer view. This display includes a level meter with gain control, panning, mute and solo buttons, a graphic filter and slots where you can insert plugins for effect.
The app can work on older models such as the Samsung Galaxy S4., although the overall performance is more on the “middle of the road” compared to current Android smartphones.