Open Mic: What Is The Role For Mobile Devices For Musicians?


We just posted our 2014 Best Desktop DAW poll – and for the first time, mobile DAWs are getting sophisticated enough that we needed to distinguish between desktop and mobile DAWs.

WaveMachine Labs Auria turns an iPad into a 48-channel audio recording system. Steinberg’s Cubasis lets you record up to 24 tracks simultaneously. And new apps, like Korg Gadget, offer complete virtual studios.

But, while mobile music apps are getting very powerful, most electronic musicians still think that desktop operating systems are best for music making.

Which leads to our question for you…..

korg-gadgetOpen Mic: What’s the role for mobile devices for musicians?

Is there a ‘sweet spot’ for these devices, as a portable DAW, mobile sketchpad, multitouch instrument or as touchscreen MIDI controller?Or are you using mobile music apps mainly for entertainment?

Leave a comment below and let us know what role mobile devices play for you and how they fit into your workflow!

Note: We’re looking for constructive comments that help us and help other readers understand the roles mobile devices are now playing for musicians. Off topic comments will be deleted.

63 thoughts on “Open Mic: What Is The Role For Mobile Devices For Musicians?

  1. Just curious. In these polls 4pockets Meteor multitrack recorder is never mentioned. Is there anyone here that uses it? I startet with that one, and still like it (not that I produce much on IOS). Its simple and has a setup very free of the “nifty” IOS solutions. Its like a simlpe DAW that just works on a touch device.

    1. Did of course forget to mention my own use of the ipad today 🙂 Now, mainly as a computer for synths. It has some unique synths like Animoog and Borderlands, other synths I just like tha sound of, but can just as well use a vst on my pc. Kind of like a hardware softsynth device 🙂 Also just started to use my old ipad 3 as a sequencer for my huge hardwarecollection of Korg ms20 mini and Kraftzwerg 😉 Works like a charm with PolyStepArp. Next I will test it out Amos, be course I love randomness 😀

      1. This is how I use my iPad as well – I have hardware synths and use it to compliment those in a live rehearsal situation. Animoog and Galileo allow me to quickly connect the MIDI out of one of my synths to the iPad for convincing organ sounds or off the wall synth-like stuff. Its sort of a Swiss-army knife of my setup.

  2. I use iPad strictly for virtual instruments. Most often to supplement a rhythm because it’s hard to find a really good sounding app (Animoog and iMS20 are good examples of the exceptions to this, both sound great). I used to use littleMIDImachine as a sequencer for hardware synths because it’s free, but MIDI over wireless isn’t always as stable as I liked and that got more and more annoying over time. A lot of times you can find a cheap app that emulates something you are interested in, and that can lead to a larger purchase. So experimentation/research for very little cash is also useful.

  3. I find myself using Korg Gadget all the time. I usually create snippets I like and then export to Logic X. The ipad DAWs can work, but why fiddle with them when you have Logic or Ableton. Especially now that apps like Korg’s sync directly with ableton. The ipad are great instruments but I think that a true DAW is still superior.

  4. While I run a studio setup using MacOS and also another using Windoze I also do a lot of work these days on iOS as a music production platform (end-to-end – from scoring to synths to FX to DAWs to mastering – all in iPad) as well as integrating iPads into my MacOS studio rig with a couple of iConnectMIDI devices.

    iOS has opened up a new path of mobile creativity for me – as another commenter also described, not only because of the touch interface but also because of the immediacy and availability of the setup. Is it more limited? Yes – in some ways – for example, the DAWs are not yet as powerful. However Cubasis is very functional and my normal go-to DAW for MIDI and audio and Auria is superb for audio alone (MIDI is coming at some point) and has excellent FX plugins (esp. e.g. the FabFilter ones) at a fraction of the cost of desktop equivalents.

    Further, the cost of applications on iOS that mirror or replace desktop equivalents (such as the Arturia apps, Thor, Z3TA+, Alchemy and so on) is also a fraction of the cost of those same desktop apps. I and others have performed independent sound tests of some of those vs. both hardware and desktop VST equivalents and find few functional and acoustic differences that matter when incorporated in a mix.

    Additionally, there are applications designed specifically for iOS for which there are no desktop equivalents. Some of those allow an expressivity via the touch interface that is not available in any desktop apps. Good examples would be Animoog and Thumbjam – but there are plenty of others.

  5. i’m using for my music just ipad already 4 years… made already lot of music with it .. using ios synth and sometimes sampling external hw synths.. for sequencing i use mostly nanostudio or beatmaker2.. really like it, don’t think i ever return to desktop…

  6. For me, there are four types of apps I use —
    1) DAW Controllers – Touchable2, Logic Remote, Lemur
    2) MIDI – StepPolyArp/ChordPolyPad, Chordion, Arpeggionome
    3) Synths – retro (iMini, iSEM, iProphet) and futuristic (Animoog, Nave, TC-11)
    4) Drum Machines – Different Drummer, 808/909 emulations

    I don’t have the skills to fully integrate, so it’s a lot of education. Mostly it’s the entertainment value of being able to control something with my hands. I don’t have the apartment space for a studio setup, but when I do I don’t think it’ll be a mobile solution so much as a touchscreen one.

  7. Love ipads for control, use one for eventide H9. Also for live uuse i’ve used it for crib notes of songs/setlist, using photos.
    Hate ipads cos a permenant dose of dry skin means at NO time can a touch be guaranteed to be recognized.

    1. Moist hands aren’t ideal either- too grippy. It might sound strange but I have found that a thin layer of chalk dust or flour on my fingers makes controlling a joy on the iPad. But my hands are always moist, some may have the opposite problem. No dirty jokes about my moist hands please.

  8. While I have an iPad and many apps that I like to PLAY with, I still feel like the whole workflow is a bit of a kludge and toy like to do real audio work on. It all feels very unfinished where as using Logic or Live or Pro Tools using plug-ins within the app and real interfaces and real audio files that I can freely use between apps and hosts etc. is much cleaner. The lack of CPU in the iOS is a return to a decade ago compared to a laptop or desktop. One day it will get there (if Apple would ever give it a real OS with a file system, if there was an AU or VST plug-in format for the DAWS, and if there was enough connectivity to hook up good interfaces and controllers).

    I did see a guy using one at a live show as a remote control for a digital mixer and I thought that was a great use for it. I could see plenty of live situations for mix control needs where the sound man could be in the audience and doing adjustments to the sound. That seems promising.

  9. Mobile apps have the downside because there is a lot of steps like having to jump to another screen to make edits/adjustments vs a desktop where you can use key commands or shortcuts.

  10. I use an iPad in a live situation(as does my FOH engineer) to mix monitors from a digital desk and manage what I hear on stage. While I enjoy several synths on my iPad for sketching out music (SunRiser, Animoog, MS20) I find myself waiting for their to be an app like Mainstage (which I use on a machine to manage my live rig) If I were able to run say an instrument or 2, a sampler and then backing tracks (and send midi clock to other gear) like I can in MainStage, I would be using iPads as stage gear period. Im sure it’s coming, we just aren’t there yet.

  11. Find my ipad to be the most versatile piece of studio kit I own, use it for field recording with a usb mic, experimenting with audiobus, as a softsynth/fx plugin for logic, making beats mainly in dm1, stroke machine and imaschine, which I then bounce into maschine on my mbp. Also use it as a controller, lemur for traktor, reaktor and touch osc for logic, find I’m more musical using my ipad, instruments in garageband, bebot etc, make it sound like I can play.

    Like all the chord controller apps like soundprism pro, polychord via wifi midi, also chord arrangement apps like chordbot, navichord, sessionband apps, mainly the jazz ones and harmonywiz. Has an absolute shit ton of great experimental apps like sector, sliver, different drummer, oscilab, I’ll just spend hours tweaking, then use audiobus when I’m ready to record them down. Sometimes I’ll start tracks in auria, use it for when I’m doing long field recordings, then bounce into logic.

    My mind is still blown what can be achieved just using an ipad, when I upgrade to a new air, I’ll use my ipad more from start to finish, using logic to add synths/fx I haven’t got on my pad and more precise, demanding work, polishing in mixbus. On its own is my favourite studio and romping about tool, but I still mainly use it as an complementary device for my laptop.

  12. I’ve enjoyed playing with individual instruments on my iPad, some of them are very impressive indeed. But, I have yet to find something that ties them all together like a desktop DAW does. If such a product comes along, I would find the iPad very useful for “on-the-go” doodles and “project starters” for later work back at the desktop. I suspect the iPad needs, a) a bigger screen and, b) more processing power before it will be up to the task of being a true mobile DAW/music-making platform. I also suspect we are getting there and will see this come to fruition within the next year or so.

  13. I don’t think I’ll ever go down the mobile device road at all. As someone who uses a computer all day every day for work, I have intentionally moved away from also using a computer for making music.

    That said, I do see some fantastic uses for iPads as controllers. I doubt that I’d ever enjoy editing and doing nitty-gritty detail work with a small touch screen, but for bridging the gaps between devices and being a control surface, I think it’s great.

  14. There isn’t anything on the iPad that I wouldn’t rather do on my laptop. For me it is primarily a source of fascination and entertainment, but I don’t get any serious work done on it.

    I sometimes use as a tuner, metronome, and reader. I enjoy other things like synths, sequencers, and “toys”. For me it is to buggy, clunky and limiting to be used for serious & lengthy work.

    It does seem like a user-friendly way for tech-phobic or non-literate musicians to get in there and start making some cool sounds.

    1. “It does seem like a user-friendly way for tech-phobic or non-literate musicians to get in there and start making some cool sounds.”

      From another perspective, it can also be used as a complete music platform, as long as you’re not “tech-phobic or non-literate”. If you take the time to understand the platform, it can be extremely powerful. Check out Derek’s comment above, for example.

  15. Ability to do a full-on gig using only two iPads is a far-cry from the days of lugging amps around to gigs.
    Running JamUP Pro / BIAS amps on iPad mini (retina), and then splitting my stereo guitar to 2nd iPad Air running MIDI guitar driving various synths (iSEM, Animoog, etc.).

    Bang for the buck is amazing quantifier for me, as well as saving the agony on my back!!

  16. On-stage, ForScore for music, PlainText for set list and notes. At home, iOS GarageBand is fastest way to capture an idea and email it to a band mate. Would like to use synths onstage, but seem to have glitches with the available hardware I’ve tried.

  17. I prefer to use IOS exclusively – but I’ll note that I’m not recording and producing electronic symphonies, just songs with a relatively low track count and jamming out with friends. If file management, peripherals and performance improve, it’s where I’ll stay. Sort of the ‘experience’ of using simple hardware with the recall and portability of software.

    Really itching to get my hands on the Air announced today, but it was hard to get conclusive information about the RAM – Apple didn’t seem to know when I called them, and skirted around addressing the actual amount saying RAM functionality is built into the processor rather than being a separate component. Product reviews of previous models suggest this isn’t the case? Very keen to start putting away my pennies but does anyone have an update?

  18. I have used my iPad and iPhone for so many different things since I got them. I use synth apps(ivoxel,iSEM) and Samplr to sample everything I hear and turn it into music. Recently I have been running my external gear through my iPad running turnado, adding effects,then to loopyhd where I capture loops now I have many ways to vary the track I am building on my external gear. I love the versatility, inventiveness, and unique sounds it brings to my setup

  19. . I use synth apps(ivoxel,iSEM) and Samplr to sample everything I hear and turn it into music. Recently I have been running my external gear through my iPad running turnado, adding effects,then to loopyhd where I capture loops now I have many ways to vary the track I am building on my external gear. I love the versatility, inventiveness, and unique sounds it brings to my setup

  20. Ivoxel as a vocoder Samplr to sample everything I hear and turn it into music. Recently I have been running my external gear through my iPad running turnado, adding effects,then to loopyhd where I capture loops now I have many ways to vary the track I am building on my external gear. I love the versatility, inventiveness, and unique sounds it brings to my setup

  21. I am probably in minority in that i pretty much jumped from hardware midi sequencers, samplers and synths straight to iOS without excursion into laptop land. The iOS platform for music is in it’s spotty teenager phase.
    There is obviously a lot you can do on a desktop you cannot do (as quickly/easily) on iPad but there are also things you can do on iPad that cannot be done on a laptop (See Borderlands Granular, Samplr, Earhoof and TC11). As mentioned by some above there is a huge cost saving element when you can get ioS versions of Arturia synth ports like iSem on sale for $5 or a fully featured DAW with midi and mix automation (Beatmaker2) for $10. Even the more “expensive” apps like Auria DAW with FabFilter plug ins as in app purchases are cheap compared to their desktop equivalents (or exact ports). Fabfilter proC currently $200 on computer $30 as plug in for Auria.
    The freedom to create anywhere is a huge pull for me and I think that the iPad has now proved itself to be far more than a vehicle for musical toys. There are plenty of producers now producing whole albums entirely on iPad. To me the proof is evident that things are developing nicely when other producers have no idea from listening that a track was made on iPad or are suprised when you mention it.

    1. Interesting comment, especially about Borderlands Granular, Samplr, Earhoof and TC11.

      A lot of times, people get hung up on the idea that a mobile device isn’t as powerful as a desktop or laptop workstation and ignore the fact that mobile devices have their own strengths, and may even be more powerful for some tasks.

      Apps like Samplr and TC11 really make great use of the multi-touch screen on an iPad, and it makes the apps fast and immediate to work with. I like Samplr especially, because it’s equally good as an editor and as a performance tool. Playing samples directly on a touchscreen is an interesting way to interact with sound, too, because you’re not playing an abstract button, you’re playing the waveshape itself.

      I was disappointed that Apple didn’t announce the rumored larger iPad Pro. It sounds like it would be perfect for music apps!

  22. Ipad is great for composing in bed and in trains, my two favorite place to make music. And also had some great apps for “sensitive” playing (like Thumbjam) who turn him close to a real instrument way more sensible than a synth keyboard.

  23. For me Ipad synthesizer apps are the go to for writing a new tune. Where ever you are from Mexico to Brooklyn to Panama. Where ever you are, it sounds just as good as hardware synthesizer’s and if you know what you are doing. You can make it sound amazing. I don’t want to become a programer when trying to write a new song. It’s the sounds that bring the inspiration for writing that dope track. Want to expand on that idea. Fly it out of the Ipad via drop box and BAM! it’s on the laptop and you can go from there. My go to apps are Beat Maker 2, and Sunrizer. I play tracks that I produced on the Ipad and people are in disbelief. That’s what I like about it. You don’t need a million dollar studio to get quality sounding music. At the end of the day it’s the skills that pays the bills. Not the equipment.

  24. I am surprised MS surface 3 isn’t used more – not much bigger than an iPad but full PC (up to i7) that can run full DAWs and VSTs. It is also pressure sensative with the pen input and not much more than an iPad (i3 is about 750) – oh, and it has a USB port 🙂

    I have an old ipad 2, I won’t be upgrading, my next tablet will be a surface running Live 😉

    1. I think the reason that Apple is miles ahead of other mobile OS platforms in music creativity is because there is only one OS and a very limited number of hardware configurations that OS runs on. Outside of the Apple sphere there are several OS options multiplied by the number of non-standardized hardware options, and your head begins to explode at the number of app versions that you would need to code if you were a developer that wanted to cross all platforms (or even just non-Apple ones).

    2. First off – glad that the Surface works for you. It sounds like the tablet/laptop blend is perfect for what you want to do.

      The issue I have with Microsoft’s approach to tablets is that it feels like a compromise. You end up using desktop apps, designed for mouse control, with a touchscreen. So the apps tend to have tiny user interface elements that work with a mouse, but are fiddly with a touchscreen. And desktop apps aren’t designed for multi-touch.

      So, if the apps work better with a mouse, why spend more to get a Surface, when you’ll get better bang for the buck with a regular laptop?

      Microsoft’s pushing hard on the idea that you’ll use the same operating system on your phone, your tablet and your computer, but that seems like more of a plus for developers than users. I don’t have any interest in using Word on my phone or trying to use Ableton Live on a smallish touchscreen. But I love using apps, like Figure or Samplr, that are really well-designed for mobile devices.

  25. I commute to work by train, so a big use of my iPad is during this time. I either sound design in various synths (Nave, Animoog, Thor, others) or I sketch out ideas with Korg Gadget. In the studio, I have a dock which gives me audio in/outs as well as midi, and I’ve used the iPad as a synth, effects unit, looper or midi sequencer.

    I love touch interfaces for synths, and what I’d really like is for there to be more mobile versions of desktop synths, so that I can do sound design anywhere, then bring it back and use it in more serious projects in the studio.

    1. On the iPad you do have Thor, Z3TA+, iMini, iProphet, iSEM, iMS-20, iPolysix, Alchemy, Turnado, Effectrix – all of which are ports from desktop counterparts – and most of which allow you to share even at the patch level between the two. Caustic and Sunvox are cross-platform as well. There are also some port-alikes – such as the Virsyn series – breakout components of their desktop counterparts.

      In addition, Cubasis on iOS can export projects to Cubase for the desktop (add-in module for Cubase).

      For composition there is also Notion which can share projects with Notion for the desktop.

      Some synths / apps that started life on iOS are also now being ported to the desktop – like Nave and BIAS.

      Lots of options there to allow portability as well as integration – it’s a rich and developing scenario.

  26. Mobile device = mobile music

    Try out and record musical ideas as midi files whereever I happen to be. Alt home it is the default device that gets connected to my piano. My other options are bulky to move, and have to boot first.

  27. I use it as sound source to play and record directly in to my Octatrak: synths, drum loops, mini jam I might have created on the go. I often use it as a multi fx and amp sim for my guitar and bass: much easier to set up and play on the couch than anything else. All of the above, if worth it, than goes in to my MBP for further editing and stuff. I also did use it as a controller for external gear (mainly synths or DAW controller), but I can’t dedicate that one iPad for control only!! I need more!
    I personally put the iPad music experience as a great tool (relatively inexpensive source of virtual synths) to integrate in a creative workflow, not necessarily a substitution of any traditional studio gear.
    Very practical.

  28. I started with ForScore and an iPad 3 as a way to playback my MP3 accompaniment files and display sheet music while playing piano… that was over two years ago and my iPad 3 still works perfectly in that function. I’m sure it always will, no upgrade needed.

    As a hobby I have loaded up my iPad with lots of music apps. Many apps sound great but have functional issues – for example, I struggle with getting virtual instruments to record in Auria using Audiobus 2. Drumperfect may be a great app someday but it’s hard as heck to use currently. SessionBand has potential but I’ve found issues trying to output the audio to Auria, etc. etc.

    Things did improve dramatically when I got an Alesis iDock II for my iPad and now I finally feel like I can get professional results using the iPad as an all-in-one device for composing and recording. My goal is to create an album from start to finish on the iPad but it seems like every time I start working on it I uncover another hidden speed bump. I now find that my iPad3 isn’t up to the task of running programs like Korg’s Gadget… it’s much better at running Caustic. It’s trial and error finding apps and DAWs that work with your version of the iPad AND provide a good workflow.

    Also, the state of MIDI controllers for the iPad isn’t good. Many keyboard controllers are designed to control DAWS or the almighty Ableton but fall short of being good controllers for IOS virtual instruments. I’m hoping that will change soon. My iDock II allows me to use any MIDI keyboard as a controller but I dream of a nice portable IOS keyboard controller that will provide the functionality with virtual instruments that I am looking for.

    So why do I do it? Why struggle with the iPad for making music? I certainly have computers and mulitracks and a very complete home studio so when I want to make music I have the tools to do it right… but my iPad is there all the time and I spend a lot of time with it outside of music. I am fascinated by it’s potential and ease of use. And I have this feeling that one day I will use nothing but an iPad Air Gen.XYZ for everything.

    1. Which MIDI controllers have you tried? There are a good number out there which have been designed with iOS compatibility in mind – with knobs, faders, drum pads and so on – that aren’t simply focused on desktop DAW control. Check out some of the major suppliers – many of them these days maintain lists of iOS specific hardware including MIDI controllers. You might be surprised at how far things have come 🙂

  29. I have been using my iPad, which was given to me as a present, almost strictly as a MIDI controller. However, it is definitely not my main controller on stage for two reasons:

    – The ad hoc-wi fi connection is not reliable and breaks more than once during performance
    – The screen is not tactile and the device itself is not stable enough for fast performances as one needs to do in freely improvised music.

    I have also recently used it as an instrument in a project, where I used Samplr for real-time sampling and processing.

    I am currently looking into the iConnectivity interfaces that allow MIDI and Audio from the iPad over physical cables. If I purchase one, I may use the iPad as a more complicated MIDI controller and also an instrument in Ableton Live, at least for composition work. I don’t know how reliable this would be for live work.

    Finally, if there were a multitouch version of the Korg Kaosspad, I would definitely use that as a controller instead of the iPad, because the tactility of the Kaosspad, even the older generation ones, are far more superior than the iPad.

  30. What comes to music software, I completely left desk top and moved to iOS. I didn’t feel like making music with an office interface, and I also dislike booting times and generally gooey feeling of Windows. They are fine when you buy a computer, but in 6 months they always start to slow down(and for Windows comforters, no, I don’t watch porn, never use pirated software and I do know how to use computers).

  31. Control surface – I am a guitar player, with two separate rigs (analog and digital modeling both end-to-end). My first real iOS project was to use Midi Designer as a touchscreen interface for quickly accessing multiple controls in my VG-99, and then I built a custom one for my analog rig. Using wired MIDI it is perfectly stable enough for a live situation. This got me hooked on iOS. I now use BIAS+JamUp on my iPhone as my go-to mobile guitar rig for rehearsals.
    Touchscreen instrument – I use GeoSynthesizer to drive any number of iOS softsynths (individually, SampleTank, Nave, Mitosynth, Grain Science, Thor, even some Garageband instruments) and is also stable enough for live. I will also occasionally use it to trigger samples live with the Launchpad app. There are other apps that are also really good in this area like iFretless Bass, Thumbjam and Borderlands Granular and others that take advantage of unique aspects of the iPad as a touch instrument that can drive other sound sources.
    Sketchpad – Audiobus with any number of music apps is great for putting down musical ideas. Apps with probabilistic and/or generative abilities are my favorites in this area, like Xynthesizr (driving a drum and/or bass app), Yamaha Mobile Sequencer, Noatikl (despite its horrible UI), Drum Perfect) but also easy chording and arppegiator apps like ChordPolyPad, StepPolyArp and Arp Pro.
    There is plenty of hardware to integrate the iPad into a live or studio situation with wired MIDI, this is no problem.
    I personally am not that into DAW apps as I will always finish projects in Logic.
    Mobile apps can and should make serious improvements in two areas: (1) developers need to include Midi Implementation Charts in their user guides, just like in the hardware world – don’t leave it to users to guess at this by trial and error; and (2) integration with bluetooth querty keyboards, this is clearly the future as the line between laptops and tablets becomes blurred, so don’t assume the touchscreen itself will be the only input device.

    1. And obviously the mobile aspect wins when I am not in the studio, which is more often than not it seems (I am not a professional musician).

  32. for me I see using this type of app when you’re out and about to catch ideas to be refined in the studio. sometimes recording a vocal track idea or a melody or lyrics on video or audio is useful, same with writing lyrics, but what if you could kinda do some outbound “homework” in this case i guess it would be “outandaboutwork” where by the time you’re back in the studio you’re already hitting the ground running. a lot of my best ideas for songs that get developed and finished the fastest, usually started on my way home, or in my case on my way to the studio, and having some sort of elaborate device streamlines the process, last night i completely wrote and basically finished a song, but with batteries dead i was singing the melody and chorus the whole way home in an effort not to forget both the melody and the idea i had for the verses

  33. i guess the simple way of saying what i mean is these devices act like shuttles to the mothership. is the mothership fine without them? yes. is it better with them? of course!

  34. I have an iPad2 fully integrated into my PC DAW rig and it is a truly wonderful thi ng! I’m a little surprised by those who feel it is more “toy” than serious tool. I cannot recommend the iConnectmidi4+ enough. Paired with the Lemur app (also highly recommended) it has made a huge difference to my creativity – endless possibilities. The ability to design your own custom step-sequencers, midi-controllers and still take advantage of the audio output as if it were a vst in your main DAW is something I could only dream about until now.

    I think the “clunkyness” reported has a lot to do with how you have it connected ie. via wifi vs hardwired. Expecting any sort of timing stability over wireless is a bit much at the moment but once it is wired up through the iConnect unit the sync between it and the PC is solid – really solid!

    Im able to sync the iPad to an MPC at the same time as the DAW is synced to the MPC – all three units running together smooth as silk for hours on end after hitting play on the MPC, magical. Lemur will never leave me now – currently 7 seperate sequencers running alongside each other triggerning VST’s for drums, synths and samplers on the PC, plus pages of midi-control for hundreds of parameters and I have not even begun to learn the scripting – no glitches unless I need to edit the actual template itself which is quickly resolved by a restart of the iPad. It feels like using HW only it would cost a fortune to have the equivalent control sans physics engine using HW devices.

    Its really nice to be able to jam away with my 3yr old daughter on the sequencers – painting sounds!

    As you can tell i’m in love with what the IOS revolution has brought us and feel it to be the missing link when used together with a traditional DAW – a perfect match especially if your seeking out the Live performance thing.

  35. has anyone used or heard of use of a casio ctk 3200 keyboard with apps like thumbjam, garageband or other synths?

    Don’t know how the casio keys compare to other midi keyboards but a 61 velocity sensitive keyboard is avail for $99

    worth it?

    I’ve always thought casio was subpar compared to real music equipment.

  36. If it wasn’t for iOS apps I wouldn’t have moved from ableton, if it wasn’t for iOS i wouldn’t have brought the a4, if I didn’t have the a4 I couldn’t rout my iPad through the inputs, filter , delay reverb, of the a4, which goes back through I connect into my laptop out of ableton in to the analogue rythm into the microbrute using touchable, sequencing with poly cord fu?ing things up with appregiator pro while sending signal to resolume onto my desktop into my projector and all recorded through this and that and this and that and well …….the ipad rules! ( I’m from the eighties excuse the I rules bit)

  37. I’ve attended loads of open mics and also run them in Manchester and Yorkshire (and written a book about them). I love it when electronic musicians show and am happy to listen to ipads and lap top based music. It makes a refreshing change from the dominance of the acoustic guitar. However, the discipline I set myself for playing electronic music live is that the whole thing has to be created live – so I use various electronic devices such OP1 synth, kaossilators v1 and v2 (not kaoss pads), soursby synth, roland loop pedals and so on, mainly they have to be portable. I haven’t used ipads myself because you see them in general use all the time and you don’t get that wtf factor that you get with more obscure devices. Thanks for asking and just a few thoughts – p.s. you can listen to my music here:

  38. I have been hardcore about hardware for almost 20 years now, and thought I would never use soft synths. But the iPad changed my mind, since getting hold of Gadget, I’m now considering integrating the iPad with my hardware setup, and in live situations I can leave some of the heavy gear home. I would still never, ever try to perform solely on an IPad in front of an audience, I would feel like I was trying to get away with something. Aside from Gadget, I enjoy oscillab, nano loop, ipolysix, animoog, DAW, and Naive. With the iconnect midi 2 I sync the IPad to my hardware, and the world of possibilities opens wide. Eventually I want to try to mix down and master in DAW (app) and Remaster (app). Current IPads may not be as good as a good computer for this application but just wait, in a few years the processing power will catch up. To sum up- iPad plays a supporting role for now, but the platform is really still in its infancy.

  39. My iPad quickly replaced my thick folder with music sheets. I’m using For Score for displaying sheets and notes at rehearsal and for playing backing tracks when I practice at home and for organizing setlists for gigs.

    I have quite a few synths and other sound apps on my ipAd but I don’t use them other than to pass the time e.g. when travelling. I’m not prepared to invest too much into a device or software that could be obsoleted by Apple’s update policy or lack of support for older OS versions by app authors very quickly.

  40. I use iOS exclusively now although I admit the workflow is slower than on my MacBook.

    The reason being is I find the element of touch on a screen a lot more enjoyable than fiddling with a mouse or a midi keyboard.

    Also the fact that I move around and travel A LOT, means that while in transit I can just whip out my iPhone or iPad and keep working on tracks.
    You just cannot pull out or even carry a MacBook Air on a train or bus:)

    Because I’ve been using iPads so long, when I do open up the MacBook it feels strange. Having to use the trackpad and keys!

    So I’ve learnt to use daws like cubasis, beatmaker 2, auria, Nanostudio and create my tracks within them using grooves and stuff made on key synths and drum apps like Nave, Sunrizer, Thor, DM1 and Drumjam.

    For me it’s a matter of convenience and pleasure as well as quick , affordable access to new tools and discovering the joy of being able to compose while sitting under a tree without looking obvious.

    That’s the magic, almost anyone could actually afford even a refurbished iPad and spend a few quid on some decent apps.

    Unless you use torrents, you are paying through the nose for daws and vst for a desktop situation.

    Somehow iOS can now cater for many kinds of musicians who will use music apps in individual ways.

    Remember when Animoog was first released at 69p/99c? You cannot even buy a cup of coffee for that! That’s a full synth right there, right up there with any bloody hardware:)

  41. like laptop only smaller,
    better control / interfacing
    sketching ideas recording

    If I’d buy one ov these that’s what i want them for

  42. I have never used a desktop DAW and record and master all of my tracks on my aging iPad 3. I use my BS2 as a midi controller with added support from my Shruthi and Volca Bass. The thing that distinguishes the iPad for me is the ingenuity of the developers and apps and the seemingly endless variety of fun and beautiful interfaces. At the end of the day, IMO it s more about what works for you and makes you happy rather than the debate of one platform over another.

  43. This is a great thread but I don’t get how the leading producers don’t chime in. Those that use iOS exclusively and set up labels such as appstrumica

  44. In terms of sound generators they are okay but still not desk top quality plus the lack of RAM makes using multiple apps slightly difficult and buggy. Audiobus and IAA are still not really a solution as you have to keep switching between apps which is a total hassle, but fine when trying to work on something on the fly. I think the Lemur app and some of the chord apps are kind of cool, but I haven’t had a chance to use the wireless Bluetooth maybe yet with Logic Pro or Ableton Live. I afree that there are some pretty cool all-in-one apps like Gadget, but again, it’s just still not there in terms of easy workflow. The guitar sim apps like Bias (using an Apogee Jam96k) sound great but the iPads output sounds pretty horrible and if you add an I/O device, the latency is pretty noticeable, making it unusable.

    Importing and exporting using iTunes is probably THE biggest weakness of using iOS devices.

  45. One more plus is the price of the apps are cheap. I almost feel guilty paying the developers so little for their passion projects.

  46. I use it mainly for what I bought it for – Animoog. Great synthesizer. Also Drawjong. But as I have iPad2, which is quite slow nowadays, I can’t do much more with it. I would probably upgrade if rumored 12″ version would come out.

  47. Use your tablet for email. Use your phone for phone calls. Use a dedicated laptop for your audio recording, and another for your MIDI/soft synths. This is what the grownups do.

  48. I am using my ipad more and more as a quick recording tool for demo with my acoustic guitar/voice. Still digging in with the electronic stuff but have been trying to get there as well. I like Auria LE for a DAW within Ipad. This gives me 24 tracks. not the full on 40+ channel one. So far have not needed more than the 24 in LE

  49. I use my iPad for lots of other stuff besides music, but I do have a bunch of music apps on my pad. If you use the iPad for more than just soft synth apps, then the music side of things is just a huge bonus to owning an iPad. What the iPad can do, is amazing. Ten years ago, we would have shat our pants if we could have suddenly been able to do what we do on these devices that we have now.

    I sprinkle the iPad sounds in over my hardware foundation. Just use it for fucks sake. It’s fun!

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