By Ableton AG
Note is a place to form ideas, experiment with sounds and find direction. Get your ideas out or play until inspiration hits using a selection of Ableton Live’s drum kits, synths and melodic instruments. Or create your own sound palette by recording the sounds around you into Note’s sampler instruments using your phone’s microphone. If you want to take your ideas further, use Ableton Cloud to send your projects to Live (version 11.2.5 or later) without leaving the app. Open your project from Live’s browser, then keep working – you can edit all your MIDI notes, and all your samples and sounds from Note are exactly the same. Begin with a beat: • Choose from 56 Drum Sampler kits • Tap out a beat using the 16-pad grid • Quantize your beat to fix any loose timing • Nudge notes to correct mistakes • Add more layers of rhythm • Create beat repetitions with Note Repeat • Change parameters to shape your sound • Experiment with effects Start with a melody: • Choose from 261 synth sounds and 36 Melodic Sampler instruments • Play your melody or chord progression with either the 25-pad grid or the piano roll • Set a key and scale to get instantly harmonic results, or leave your options open • Overdub more layers of harmony • Change parameters to shape your sound • Add effects to experiment with sound design Sample your environment: • Create your own kits by recording percussive sounds into Note’s Drum Sampler • Record tonal sounds to create your own Melodic Sampler instruments • Manipulate your samples by cutting, filtering or repitching them • Shape or transform your sounds with effects Capture improvisations: • Play something, then tap the Capture button to keep it • Play at the tempo that feels comfortable and Note will detect it • Note will recognize the length of the phrase • A loop is created automatically • Quantize it, add to it, or change the sound Create variations: • Note features a grid-based Session View layout • Double your loops to create variation within clips • Duplicate your clips and create different versions of your ideas • Create eight tracks with up to eight clips on eight scenes • Try different layer combinations and song structures • Export your work in Session View as an audio file to listen and share
Honestly, if they would just add Piano roll from the start instead of strictly live playing I would probably like this. The whole focus is around playing live which is something I don’t like on iPad (plus I’m just not good at it). With BT headphones there is a delay in the app and if I wanted to set up all this gear like the latest update implies, I would just go use my computer with ableton. Apps like BeatMaker(though complicated) and Koala have a much better experience and fleshed out process. Even bouncing ideas from koala to Ableton is super easy. I can tell work is being put into this and the UI looks great, but I think smaller companies are doing way better than ableton is here and that really disappoints me to say. I would easily pay much much more to have a slimmed down version of ableton on my iPad, that I can continue with or sync with my PC later.
It took a little time to become familiar with the workflow but soon I found myself capturing ideas and even developing them in meaningful ways. There is also something very liberating in having less choices. And you have already addressed one of my wishes, the ability to adjust note lengths, so for now, all good. Thanks!
Update: I was so excited to open the app recently and literally see everything I asked for added to the new update. Thank you Ableton team! Great job continuing to find fun and fresh ways to innovate in this space. Original Review: I think the workflow of this app is awesome. It reminds me so much of why I fell in love with Ableton the DAW in the first place. Some suggestions that I hope to see sooner than later. 1) Adjusting note lengths. 2) more audio effect options. 3) and most importantly for me is it allowing you to play via midi keyboard (works for GarageBand). I hope Ableton continues to develop this further, best of luck!
Update 4/30/2023: It’s getting there. I still want to see a fully functional sequencer that uses a piano roll or a condensed roll depending on whether you have any key and mode set in the song preferences/settings. This feature would bump this up to a 5 star review. I’m not expecting a full fledged DAW, but a sequencer is very pivotal to my creative work flow so not have one is kind of frustrating at times. Initial review: It’s almost perfect for an on the go writing companion. However, I would like to see some more sounds added in the future. I would also really like to see the addition of a step-sequencer.
As soon as I heard about an Ableton app (being an Ableton boi myself) I couldn’t wait to get it! If you are considering buying this app as a musical sketch pad, this is the way to go! This is not a mobile DAW, however you can make some 1:30ish songs on here that sound pretty dang good. Some suggestions for the devs, MPE support would be so sick. Keep it up, this app works so well honestly I could go on and on. This is also a great option for special needs, as well as young beatmakers, while also being super in-depth and professional. Seriously this app should have at least 4.7!
Don’t expect this to be a full featured daw. It’s not. But that’s precisely why it’s so great. Even though it is limited, it has a surprising amount of functionality. Kind of like a teenage engineering pocket operator, but on steroids. It forces you to generate more ideas rather than tweaking the eq or messing with a synth patch (although you can do that to a certain extent). Even the piano roll is limited. By doing this, note forces you to have fun instead of getting technical. If you want polished songs, use a desktop daw. But if you want to generate ideas on the go, use note. I do wish it had a sequencer and an arpeggiator. As long as you don’t expect this app to replace your daw, you will not regret the purchase. 10/10 would recommend.
As a mobile producer, this really helped me bridge the gap between playing on my phone or iPad and then sitting down and polishing everything off. Love it BUT... As a finger drumer... A drummer... you have to let us set up our drum set. At least arrange them. It's a huge henderance. Even in Ableton the first thing I do is rearrange my pads. If this score was 1-100, you'd have 99 stars. So far it's my singular gripe. Everything else is amazing. LOVE how the tempo is set with my first groove. Genius! If you let me arrange my pads, this would be more powerful than koala! A HIGH bar.
Updated review 4/21: I’ll start off by saying that it’s so quick and easy to get my ideas out with Ableton Note that no other iOS can beat imo. I love the way I can collaborate with friends easily and move to my Ableton Live in a breeze. The included sounds sound great and high quality. The UI is what you would expect from Ableton and it makes navigating a snap. What I would like to see: -More than 8 scenes or recording session view jams to a simplified arrangement view. -Time stretching samples, even just a simplified version of what we get in Live. -Master track effects -Mobile ports of Operator,Analog, and Wavetable.
Finally!!!!! This is the update I’ve been waiting for. Tbh the novelty of using the iPad screen got old pretty fast because I couldn’t play real chords the way I heard them without losing my inspiration, now I can plug my Korg Microkey Air 37 into my IPad and play real chord progressions and melodies in ways I just couldn’t using the IPad screen. It would be nice if I didn’t have to set up midi input every time I open the app but I can live with it. I like the new editing features too. It would be very cool in a future update to be able to export stems but it’s not a big deal for me because I export projects to Ableton Suite 11 and develop it further there, but I’m sure users who don’t have Ableton Live would appreciate it. Anyway midi controller support is a major game changer for me. I wouldn’t mind more presets even if it’s via iap’s or even more instruments as well, but for now much thanks for this update!! Edit: No pitch bend or modulation? Oh well, I guess we take what we can get 🤷🏽♂️
As of the date of this review the app has been getting updates that the community has been asking. It’s slowly coming to shape! Great tool for ideas!