The Best Ear Training Apps for Producers, Engineers & Recording Musicians

The Quiztones App is available for Mac, iOS and Android devices

The Quiztones App is available for Mac, iOS and Android devices

The “Tones” category, which helps you learn to identify frequencies, is where Quiztones really shines. In this category, you have two settings to try: “Easy”, which draws from tones separated by at least an octave, and “Expert” which refines your ability by playing 1/3 octave tones.

Both the EQ and Gain modes offer a number of sources to use in your drills, and you can also use music from your iTunes in these quizzes. Difficulties once again range from “Easy” to “Expert”. These quizzes help your learn to identify boosts and cuts in EQ and level with music that is relevant to you, or using the built-in material.

Prices for Quiztones range from $4.99 for mobile devices to $9.99 for the Mac desktop.

Summing it Up

I found all three apps to be inexpensive, easy-to-operate tools for critical listening development. In the hustle and bustle of today’s world, these convenient apps offer an accessibility that hands-on studio recording can’t provide. With these apps, you can practice anywhere: Even standing in line at the grocery store or on a daily commute.

One thing I would like to see added to both Studio Ears and Quiztones would be the option of comparing the original sound to the altered audio in their quizzes. In its quizzes, Auricula does give you the option of immediately changing back to the unaltered signal for 1, 2, 3, or 4 second comparisons. For someone that is just starting out, this could provide a stronger learning experience, and perhaps, a faster way to get familiar with the variables in the quizzes.

Otherwise, I do not think one app is hands-down better than any other—they all are great offerings with their own twist. Like many things in life, I recommend trying them all to find out what feels right to you!

(PS—Have your own favorites? Tell us all about them in the comments below!)

Wells Gordon is a bassist, audio engineer and educator who lives and works in Maine.

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  • Mark Bassett

    I’ve listed some of my favourites including Jason Corey’s Technical Ear Training, Harman’s How to Listen (both free) here

  • Samuel Loy

    Being on Android I downloaded both the Quiztones and the “Improve your listening Skills” app and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the price has dropped on both of them, but I was not pleased by either app. “Improve your listening…” gives little explanation for anything, and Quiztones is good but limited in scope. So I went searching on the play store and to my greatest surprise I found “Studio Ears 2.0” for $4.99, I tried the free trial and loved it, I will be using this a lot!