Figure, the iOS app that’s powered by Reason instruments and effects, is now available on the App Store for US$.99 cents. The sound is Reason on your phone – literally, with the Thor polysynth and Kong drum machine, plus the Master Bus Compressor and side-chaining from Reason in effects. But the user experience is quite different. Introduced as something you’d use on the bus, this is really more about playing drums and making melodic gestures with your fingers, then tweaking those sounds and musical elements via X/Y touchpads. It’s a little bit like Korg’s Kaossilator and Reason had a love child.

For beginning users, this could mean a friendly environment to play with your fingers. But for more advanced users, there’s still enough open-ended room to work so that actual music talent might yield a very different result.

A number of our readers pointed to other apps like Intua’s Beatmaker, one of the first iOS production tools on the iPhone, as more fully-featured micro workstations. (Going back to the days of the Palm handheld, you might see something similar.) But there are already good options for those; Figure appears to be something different.


  • Drums, bass, lead synth
  • X/Y pad controls melodic figures, constrained by key
  • Adjustable controls for key, rhythm, tempo
  • Tweak as the songs play

What’s remarkable about Figure is as much what it doesn’t do as what it does. There’s no MIDI control. No AudioCopy/Paste. No SoundCloud export. No … export. Actually, absolutely no saving. All of this is in itself rather interesting, if only for the reason that it swims upstream, and if you make something you like, you have to sample it with another piece of gear. (Cue various people upset about this, others who defend its purity. Go.) Me? I’m not, uh, super thrilled not to be able to save, but I’m going to run with it in my test – plug it into my KAOSS Pad, record without a click, $*&# with the result… okay, yes, in a weird way, it could wind up being more fun without it.

More information:

iPhone-optimized user manual (readable from your computer, too, though, if you’re curious)

And you can find Figure in our Apps section, then grab it from the iTunes App Store (or add your own review):

(We’re working on expanding functionality in that store with our partners; expect a full look at what we’re doing for this multi-platform collection of apps this month.)