Musicians haven’t traditionally had a lot of tools on mobile. Phones are small and music creation is complex. Sometimes the UI just doesn’t work. However, people can create all kinds of neat noises with their phones by using something like a synthesizer. There are two main types of synth apps. The first lets you hook up your existing equipment to make music. The second lets you create sounds within the app with no extra equipment required.
We took a look and here are the best synth apps to make some music with your phone. Please note, most of these work better with tablets, but they work fine on phones.
The best synth apps for Android
Price: Free / $9.99
Caustic 3 is one of the more popular synth apps on the list. It’s technically a whole DAW where you can record, edit, and produce music. However, it has a bunch of synths built-in along with support for hardware synths connected via USB OTG. You can do quite a lot with this one and you don’t have to export just to put it into another audio editor. We do have audio editors listed as a separate item, but Caustic is much more friendly to synths than most others.
Price: Free / $6.99-$13.99
DRC is a synth app with a lot of good features. It can recreate the sounds of popular synthesizers like Roland Jupiter, Yamaha DX7, Moog, and others. There are also quite a few power user features like a low pass filter, multi-mode filters, and more. We didn’t experience any noticeable lag or anything like that when testing it. The app just seems to work well. This is a good tool you can add to your collection and it doesn’t cost all that much.
Price: Free / $13.99+
G-Stomper Studio is a music production tool similar to Caustic 3. It includes things like a drum machine, various synthesizers, a piano keyboard, and some other useful features. There is also native support for Ableton if you use that on your desktop computer. Some other features include WAV file export, real-time audio recording, and a decent set of tutorials to teach you the features. This app is also one of those good ones that people seem to really like.
Price: Free / $4.99
Hexen bills itself as a virtual, modular Eurorack synthesizer with over 50 modules to choose from. The developers also have a full PDF manual for you to learn the software. You can mix and match your favorites and come up with some fun stuff. This is great for beginners who aren’t well versed in modular synthesizers. The free version lets you create racks and save tracks, but it is fairly limited. The premium version lets you do everything the app is capable of doing.
Koala Sampler is, well, a music sampler. It lets you record up to 64 different samples with your microphone and then you can use those samples to create music. It can also change the sounds with built-in effects, resample into a new sample, and you can import existing samples you’ve made. As with most, you can’t record full songs with it, but it’s an excellent tool for song crafting. It’s also pretty cheap.
KORG Kaossilator made headlines when it went free for a limited time during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it’s not free anymore, it’s still a good app for this kind of stuff. It boasts a collection of over 150 sounds that you can tap and swipe to create music. There is also a scale feature to eliminate bad notes and you can choose between 35 different scales. It even has a loop sequencer. This one is among the most expensive on the list, but it’s effective and it works quite well.
Nanoloop is a sequencer, synth, and sampler app that does a little bit of everything. The app features eight audio channels with eight patterns per channel. You can also sample via microphone, resample, export to WAV (for import to another DAW later), and use the loop function to create basic beats for songs. It also boasts compatibility with the iOS version. There is minimal lag on most modern Android phones and the UI is much easier to use than many others.
QiBrd is one of only a few good free synth apps for Android. It boasts a free experience with no ads. The developer says they developed the app for personal use so why would they want to create an experience they didn’t like? In any case, the developer made this with the expectation that it be a workhorse. It has a ton of controls on screen but they’re well laid out and easy to use. You can change up the included sounds by quite a bit. This is fun for amateurs, and even some professionals use it.
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Saucillator has the best name of any app on the list and it’s also free with no in-app purchases. Like many other apps, it lets users tap and swipe to manipulate sounds and create something that sounds fun and unique. It lets you choose the scale, control the bass note for the pad, and you can record to your SD card. The UI is smooth and easy to use. There just isn’t a lot wrong with it.
SunVox is a cross-platform synth tool for mobile users. It boasts a pattern-based sequencer, also known as a tracker. The app includes a modular interface, support for high-quality sound output, support for USB MIDI devices, and it can record directly from a microphone. Additionally, the developers allow other developers to use SunVox libraries in their synth apps, and we think that’s kind of cool. The mobile version works with the PC, Linux, and macOS versions of the app so you can use this both at home and on the go. That’s its biggest selling point aside from being fun to use.
Other music studio apps
Most mobile music studio apps have some form of synthesizer built-in. It really depends on what you choose to go with, but most do. For example, Cubasis (the mobile Cubase) includes support for MIDI controllers, has a sampler, and over 120 virtual instrument sounds. Meanwhile, FL Studio has plugins with all kinds of sounds. It really just depends on what you want.
Music studio apps put an emphasis on recording and producing music, but still have synth functionality. Many of the synth apps you use above will likely need to output to apps like these anyway so it’s a good one-two punch.
If we missed any great synth apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments. You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists.