Multi-Sampling, Creating, and Importing User Instruments with the iPad

Music Studio App User Instruments
Music Studio App User Instruments

An interesting topic I’ve been researching lately is how to either import or create custom sampled instruments to be used on the iPad. I’ve been searching for some iPad music Apps that allow me to either create or import multi-samples from my library of Roland S-Series, E-Mu, and other sampled instrument formats. I have found that multi-sampling with the iPad is still in it’s infant stages, but have nonetheless found a few cool things that do work. Below are some examples I’ve found that have limitations, but it’s a start. Perhaps others with more knowledge on the subject will be able to comment about additional methods for importing multi-samples into the iPad. Note that I’m not so much interested in creating drum kits like you would with an MPC or iMPC, but rather simply creating custom musical instruments on the iPad much like the Roland S-50 for example.

FL Studio Mobile User Instruments
FL Studio Mobile User Instruments

So far, I’ve found several iPad music apps that work in some way with multi-sampling. Two apps which I bought and rather like are (1) FL Studio Mobile and (2) Music Studio which I have attached screens. Both allow you to create custom multi-sampled instruments from within their apps. Both also allow you to import .instr multi-sampled instrument files. FL Studio Mobile allows importing of .zip and .instr files via it’s PC Direct Wave software which also imports SoundFonts. I’ve tested this using the latest version of DirectWave and I was able to import all sorts of SoundFont files and then export back out to .instr format. I then could import easily into FL Studio Mobile on the iPad.

Music Studio App allows for importing of .instr multi-sampled instruments as well and I found it to be a little easier to loop and work with the actual wav files. It also had a cool auto assign to the keys function which you could later edit and modify the key zones. Both Music Studio and FL Studio Mobile could easily allow me to import my S-50 library into the iPad. This I am excited about and will be giving it a test run. In addition, both Music Studio and FL Studio Mobile can run on the iPhone so you can trigger the multi-samples on that platform as well. Note that advanced features like multi layered multi-samples is not possible with any app at the moment, BUT you could create multiple instruments and layer in an app which is a excellent workaround. So in a sense it is possible to multi layer sampled instruments on the iPad.

bs-16i SoundFont User Instruments
bs-16i SoundFont User Instruments

Another option is the bs-16i sampling App which allows you to import SoundFont files. This works very well and is a very fast way to move converted SoundFont files from your PC/Mac to the iPad. You could use Chicken Translator for example to convert Akai Samples to SoundFont files and then move them over to the iPad for importing into bs-16i. Using DirectWave on the PC, you can import SoundFont files as already stated and then export to .instr format and then transfer to FL Studio Mobile too. Once in the bs-16i app however, there is not much you can do with regards to editing the multi-samples as you can with FL Studio Mobile or Music Studio.

Peter Vogel Fairlight CMI Pro
Peter Vogel Fairlight CMI Pro

UPDATE: I have heard since writing this article that there are a few more Apps that can be used to create instruments. There is the Peter Vogel Fairlight CMI Pro App that works very well. It’s a bit expensive, but I made the purchase and am very happy about the App. I grew up in the 80’s and it’s been fantastic working with a 20 grand sampler on the iPad. I can definitely do quite a bit with regards to making your own custom instruments on the CMI Pro so I definitely recommend it.

Chainer for Beatmaker2 ThumbJam
Chainer for Beatmaker2 ThumbJam

Another exciting option is with a Windows PC program called Chainer which creates instrument files for both Beatmaker2 and ThumbJam. UPDATE: After researching this I found that you can use any program like Chicken Translator, Extreme Sample Converter, Awave Studio, etc. to create your Wav files. However, there are some script files provided by the Chainer developer that helps to build Beatmaker2 instrument compatible files. Please read HERE for more info. There is a there to check out called BeatMaker2_Instrument_Maker (B2IM)

Furthermore I’ve heard GarageBand can create custom multi-sampled instruments and at one time there was an app called GBSamplerManager from Redmatica which eased the transfer, but is now no longer available. At the moment, I’m not sure what the preferred method is for moving multi-sampled instruments over to the iPad for use with GarageBand, but I’ll update this post when I find out more info.

There likely are other iPad apps that allow you to create custom multi-sampled instruments. I’ll update this post as I find new contenders as for now I just wanted to get this topic started and out there. At this time, single layer multi-sampling across five or six key zones is doable on the iPad. FL Studio Mobile, Music Studio, and bs-16i are three apps that seem to handle this functionality pretty well. There are also loads of apps that handle custom sampled drum kits as well. Hopefully as the iPad grows in popularity and in use with musicians around the globe, there will become more options for creating custom multi-sampled instruments on the iPad.

Here’s a video from Youtube for FL Studio Mobile and importing User Multi-Sampled instruments.

Here are links to the Apps mentioned:

Music Studio
FL Studio Mobile

6 thoughts on “Multi-Sampling, Creating, and Importing User Instruments with the iPad

    1. Hello!

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, I believe Beatmaker2 can also create multi-sampled instruments. I have it actually and will check it out. I also found the Fairlight Pro Peter Vogel CMI App is great too and will be posting more about that App as well!


  1. Hi Jim,
    I am looking for an app so that I can use my iPod Touch for the very same purposes you are trying to use your iPad, as a live synth/sample player.
    Almost burning my eye lashes trying to find a decent app but it’s not easy since the system has to be dependable.
    Major problem is that the MIDI implementation of most apps is very, very poor, like accepting no bank select or even program change MIDI commands.
    Is there any update regarding this topic you’re aware of?
    An app like Music Studio, with its easy sample import method but with an additional decent MIDI implementation would be fine (perfect if it can offer velocity-switching capabilities).
    I was considering also alternatives such as synths like Magellan or Alchemy, which I think can import samples. Do you know if they can be used like a plain sample player/rompler?
    Thanks a million for any input, from anyone 🙂

  2. All useful information here, Thanks to Jim Atwood for taking the time to post it online. I found many useful things by searching the App store, yet you often cannot guess the name the most useful app is going to have.

    I recommend also
    John Walden’s
    New music apps and significant updates to existing ones are reported and reviewed in depth here.

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