Best Online Apps For Creating Digital Music

Creating digital music often involves installing software on your computer or mobile device. If you're serious about making music then a digital audio workstation is an essential component that gives you a virtual music studio.

However, with the advent of cloud computing and online apps, it's now possible to realize your musical ideas without having to install any software—all that is needed is a Web browser. Although the majority of online DAWs aren't as feature-rich as professional software, they still provide a good degree of studio virtualization. Many offer essential tools for making music similar to traditional DAW software, including virtual instruments, samples, effects and mixing tools. You can also usually mix down your creations to WAV files in order to publish them on the Web.

Using an online DAW is a good starting point if you are new to creating digital music. The biggest benefit is not having to install any software. Online DAWs also tend to be far less complicated. If you are a musician, an online DAW can also come in handy if you want to collaborate on music projects, generate loops or just want to get your ideas out without having to rely on any software.

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AudioTool Main Screen
AudioTool's Modular Interface. Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

AudioTool uses a modular design similar to other digital audio workstations you might have used before such as Propellerhead Reason or MuLab. This means that you can connect devices together just about any way you like using virtual cables.

The interface is easy to use, but if you're new to the modular way of doing things then it might look a bit complicated. To help you get into AudioTool, use one of the standard templates that contain devices already linked together so you can see how things work.

Use a mixture of virtual instruments, samples and effects to create music. AudioTool's sound library is particularly impressive. There are plenty of samples and synthesizer presets to use in your compositions. More »

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If you've already used GarageBand to create music then you'll probably get on well with Soundation. It's got a similar-looking interface where you can drag and drop loops and midi sequences into the arrangement. The free version of Soundation comes with a library of around 700 sounds. There's also a selection of virtual instruments you can add to your arrangement.

The free version of Soundation also allows you to mix down and export your music as a .WAV file. You can then publish it in the same way as you would when using any other DAW. More »

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AudioSauna is another full-featured online tool that provides an all-in-one music studio. If you like using synthesizers then this Web-based digital audio workstation is the tool for you. It offers both an analog and FM synthesizer, both of which have a healthy selection of presets.

AudioSauna also includes an advanced sampler that presents built-in sounds for drums and various instruments—you can also import your own samples too.

This online DAW also comes with mixdown facilities for either rendering loops or your entire composition—these can be downloaded in the normal WAV format. More »

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Rather than being an all-in-one DAW, Drumbot is a collection of 12 separate tools. Drumbot is mainly focused on creating drum rhythms and has a few apps dedicated to sequencing loops.

However, there are also some useful tools for musicians such as chord utilities, a BPM finder, chromatic tuner and a metronome. More »

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