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Marshall

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Any iOS aficionados here? I’ve recently bought an iRig Pro I/o so I can plug in my guitars use my mics in my iPad. Trying out Cubasis and GarageBand. Cubasis is pretty intuitive if you’ve desktop DAWs for any length of time. GarageBand is my first ever experience of using an Apple product for music making and takes slightly more getting used to. But I’ve managed to record a song in both - mainly audio, but a few midi bits too. 
 

Great fun, but of course I’m already wishing I could reach for some of the FX I have access to in the desktop world. I’ve signed up to the AudioBus forum and it’s a decent resource, but I wondered whether you guys know of a central place for iOS “deals” or, actually where I can find quality plugins. It seems that many are available (you really want the  AUv3 format), but reviews and demos seem almost non existent. Just because a particular plugin is much cheaper than a VST version, it seems you are expected to take a blind punt, and hope it’s OK. 
 

In all fairness, I think it’ll be a long time and possibly never that I complete album standard pieces on an iPad, it may always remain a place for sketching out quality demos and ideas, so the “need” for third party plugins is questionable, but why not have a bit of fun?! I especially miss my Waves Scheps 73, Melodyne and VocAlign, but in terms of amp sims Tonebridge is astounding and it’s free!
 


 

 

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Spent a fortune and a year trying to go down iOS route and then just gave up. So many hoops to jump through just to do standard stuff. There are some great apps but not worth the aggro for me. Audio bus forum is best place to hang out looking for deals definitely 

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My original plan was to integrate the iPad with the PC using StudioMux acting as a link between the two. I wanted to use iPad virtual instruments in the PC environment with audio/MIDI being communicated between the two. It did work but I found the setup a bit flakey and in the end it was too much of a faff. I will try it again sometime though as I'm sure it will improve.

I spent a long time hanging out on the Audiobus forum and getting apps when they were on sale. As far as DAWs go I mainly used Cubasis 2 (with all of the Waves and other add-ons) and Garageband, although I also have Beatmaker 3, Stagelight and Beathawk but haven't used them as much.

There are a lot of excellent and reasonably priced synths available including some that originated on the PC/MAC. Korg is well catered for with Gadget and Module plus all of their individual offerings. Then there's Moog stuff (Animoog, Model 15 etc), Arturia, IceWorks (Mersenne, Lorentz etc), Yonac (Kauldron, Magellan etc), ApeSoft (iVCS3, Mood), Scythe, Photophore, Sugar Bytes, IK Syntronik and a whole load of others.  GeoShred is also a brilliant guitar come synth app conceived by the great Jordan Rudess.

I also found a lot of "pattern generation/experimentation" type plugins which I probably used more than all of the other plugins for sketching out ideas when away from the PC such as ChordBot, ChordMaps2, Navichord, Suggester, ChordPolyPad, Fugue Machine, Chordup, ChordBud, LatticeHarmony and a few others.

As far as Guitar Apps I use Amplitube, JamUp, Bias Amp 2, Bias FX, Bias Pedal and Tonebridge but really like the Yonac apps e.g. Tonestack and more recently bought Roxsyn in the sales (guitar synth) which is really good fun! Their Steel Guitar is also very good. There is an IOS version of MIDI Guitar which is worth a look but as I have the PC version I tend to mostly use that.

Generative Music is also quite well served on the iPad with apps like Wotja, Droneo and Refraktions. I have an old version of Wotja but I'm tempted to get hold of the new version 20 which has a lot of improvements.

Utilities such as AUM and AudioShare are also must haves for integrating individual apps and also for sharing and exchanging files between IOS and PC.

For a while I used some of the IOS apps when creating YouTube videos, especially Wizibel and Frax HD.

I use an iRig HD for iPad guitar input but my old Steinberg UR242 is also iPad friendly so I can use that for more flexibility. I have used this setup a couple of times to record while away from the home studio which worked great and minimised the amount of gear I had to take with me.

At the end of the day though I still find it far easier to record/mix/master using a PC based DAW.

Here are some of the websites I use to keep track of App Sales as well as the Audiobus Forum (there are others):

http://musicappnews.com/ 

https://appshopper.com/music/

https://www.iosnoops.com/

Edited by ZincT
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Great tips above. Yeah tried recently to integrate iPad into DAW with studiomux but not working anymore on PC. Hasn’t been developed in ages. Any alternatives? Would like to use some of the great apps again with DAW but haven’t found solution except external midi

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I've been checking these:

http://appstore-discounts.com/

https://www.iosnoops.com/iphone-ipad-app-deals/

 

Some I found just now but haven't used:

https://appshopper.com/

https://appsliced.co/apps?sort=latest

 

For reviews I mostly use:

https://appgrooves.com/

 

Buyer beware of some antics of iOS app publishers on Appstore:

  • Sometimes prices are discounted just to get listed on sites like these and make the price more appealing. Typically the app is either constantly priced well above the discount price but discounted very frequently to get visibility on these deal aggregators -- you know how that is -- or the prices are bumped right before the "sale". It's bullshit but achieves visibility
  • Although occasionally legit good paid apps go free for a period of time, often when an app goes "free", it may simply mean that the payment model has changed to in-app purchases.
  • Some apps are "paid" apps just nominally and are in fact available for free most of the time. When someone constantly does this you should probably stop to think why, and what these apps actually do, and for whom.
  • There are straight-up charlatans whose apps are crud and they know it. Example: https://apps.apple.com/us/developer/han-chang-lin/id1074348727#see-all/i-phonei-pad-apps -- Look at that list of complete garbage and their ridiculous prices. Look - do not buy. I wouldn't take any of it for free, let alone the asking price. So if you don't know better and/or are demented, when this crud is discounted it may seem appealing to you, "oh, that must be useful". I'd love to know some statistics on how much that actually happens, because it likely does.

If you click on the app name in iOSnoops it takes you to a page that has price history in the left margin. This is sometimes a good indicator of what kind of a deal you're actually getting, but it seems a bit limited and I'm not sure how accurate it is. Perhaps there are better price trackers on other sites.

Edited by sarine
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4 hours ago, tom said:

Great tips above. Yeah tried recently to integrate iPad into DAW with studiomux but not working anymore on PC. Hasn’t been developed in ages. Any alternatives? Would like to use some of the great apps again with DAW but haven’t found solution except external midi

If you get deep into working with both the world of iOS and desktop music, you should consider an interface from iConnectivity.

@Marshall  I spent a few years going to the Audiobus Forum a few times a day, and I found it to be an excellent resource.   Each one of the hundreds of apps released during those years was discussed and debated at great length.  And if it was a big one like Gadget, you could see many discussions going on for 80 pages. 

But I think that the summary by  @ZincT is excellent.

For me, doing anything but sketching on the iPad was frustrating, because you quickly run into RAM limitations for any kind of big projects unless you freeze a lot of tracks.  But others have much better luck.  Nowadays, I work within the limitations of Gadget over full DAWS like Auria and Cubasis, because Korg has worked out the memory thing by keeping the gadgets all pretty simple.

The touch interface of the iPad makes it possible to have mind-blowing instruments like TC-11,  Borderlands, Gestrument, and Geoshred, that have no equal on the desktop.   ROLI MPE is a lot easier to work with wirelessly on my iPad than on my computer, where I have to hook my ROLI devices up with USB.

As  @ZincT mentioned there are all kinds of "pattern experimentation/generative" apps.  There is stuff like this for the desktop, but I don't think they are as good as the ones currently on the iPad. 

I agree that the best of all worlds is to finish your work on your computer, but there are things on the iPad you won't find anywhere else.

Edited by Reid Rosefelt
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Thanks guys. I’m into this as well. Or I want to be, that’s for sure. 

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What fantastic information - thanks so much to all. 
 

@ZincT “GeoShred is also a brilliant guitar come synth app conceived by the great Jordan Rudess.”

I couldn’t agree more! There is an issue using it in Cubasis 3 which I’ve raised with GeoShred’s tech - fantastic service (it’s a Steinberg issue). I’m also due to meet Jordan at a Dream Theater meet and greet in Madrid on Friday and I’ll mention it to him!! 
 

 

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Guys - have any of you stumbled across an EZ Drummer equivalent? A drum player with a ton of midi drum loops? I know GB has loads of good inbuilt options, but I feel Cubasis is lacking in this regard. 

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24 minutes ago, Marshall said:

Guys - have any of you stumbled across an EZ Drummer equivalent? A drum player with a ton of midi drum loops? I know GB has loads of good inbuilt options, but I feel Cubasis is lacking in this regard. 

The closest thing is probably X Drummer from Positive Grid but also check out all of the Luis Martinez drum apps (Lumbeat) as they are brilliant e.g. Rock Drum Machine, Future Drummer, Soft Drummer etc.

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iOS is really interesting for music applications, The most recent fun I have been having is with the iPad version of the Ravenscroft 275 and experimenting with running IK Mulitimedia’s Hammond B-3x on my iPad Mini...amazing!

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@ZincT     @Reid Rosefelt      @sarine   @tom       ...and everyone else....If I plug a guitar cable into the headphone jack of my iPad, and the other end into my audio interface (it's a Focusrite) then I am able to play the output from my iPad and record it into my desktop DAW. This is pretty amazing as I can use the GarageBand Drummer for example, the GeoShred app, and the standalone Tonebridge amp sim which is iOS only. 

The only thing is that the signal comes through as mono - not the end of the world - but is it possible to get a stereo signal from iPad to desktop? Obviously I can export stereo wav files, but I am talking about playing something "live". 

 

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3 hours ago, Marshall said:

@ZincT     @Reid Rosefelt      @sarine   @tom       ...and everyone else....If I plug a guitar cable into the headphone jack of my iPad, and the other end into my audio interface (it's a Focusrite) then I am able to play the output from my iPad and record it into my desktop DAW. This is pretty amazing as I can use the GarageBand Drummer for example, the GeoShred app, and the standalone Tonebridge amp sim which is iOS only. 

The only thing is that the signal comes through as mono - not the end of the world - but is it possible to get a stereo signal from iPad to desktop? Obviously I can export stereo wav files, but I am talking about playing something "live". 

 

A standard guitar cable is a mono (TS) connector and is 6.35mm whereas the iPad heaphone jack is stereo (TRS) and 3.5 mm so you would need a splitter/adapter cable to connect the stereo iPad headphone output to the Focusrite inputs. Something like this..

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XNSN85B/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_ieymEbFC5W552  

It might be worth comparing the quality of the iPad headphone out with the headphone out of your iRig Pro I/O as that might be better quality. Using the headphone output is of course in the analogue domain so it would depend on the quality of the DACs being used in the iPad vs IRig.

That's one reason why I was trying to use Studiomux which allows the audio to be passed over USB while still in the digital domain. You could always give it a try if you are feeling adventurous! You need to install the server on your PC and the app on the iPad.  https://zerodebug.com/studiomux 

By the way, on a different subject did you know that you might be able to use your Focusrite directly on the iPad ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaARidUY2yU

 

Edited by ZincT
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20 minutes ago, ZincT said:

A standard guitar cable is a mono (TS) connector and is 6.35mm whereas the iPad heaphone jack is stereo (TRS) and 3.5 mm so you would need a splitter/adapter cable to connect the stereo iPad headphone output to the Focusrite inputs. Something like this..

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07XNSN85B/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_ieymEbFC5W552  

It might be worth comparing the quality of the iPad headphone out with the headphone out of your iRig Pro I/O as that might be better quality. Using the headphone output is of course in the analogue domain so it would depend on the quality of the DACs being used in the iPad vs IRig.

That's one reason why I was trying to use Studiomux which allows the audio to be passed over USB while still in the digital domain. You could always give it a try if you are feeling adventurous! You need to install the server on your PC and the app on the iPad.  https://zerodebug.com/studiomux 

By the way, on a different subject did you know that you might be able to use your Focusrite directly on the iPad ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaARidUY2yU

 

Thanks - after I posted this morning I tried  the headphone jack from the iRig and indeed I think it is slightly better - still mono of course! I think I'll leave the Focusrite set up with Windows - the iRig sounds great with the iPad and it's so portable. I'll float these issues over at AudioBus too. Cheers. 

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On 1/28/2020 at 1:59 PM, Marshall said:

Guys - have any of you stumbled across an EZ Drummer equivalent? A drum player with a ton of midi drum loops? I know GB has loads of good inbuilt options, but I feel Cubasis is lacking in this regard. 

Again I agree with @ZincT about the Luis Martinez apps. 

If you're looking for a really high quality iOs drum program, check out DrumPerfect.  But not a lot of MIDI patterns. 

For a really different approach, where you can "play" the MIDI patterns live, check out DrumJam. 

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If you want a pure digital connection without Studiomux, then the best method I know is to get an iConnectivity interface. 

There's a discussion of the quality of the output from an iPad headphone jack HERE.

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