Recording with an iPad; just how "real" can you get?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by GibsonLives, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. GibsonLives

    GibsonLives Supporting Member

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    Just so everyone knows this is not meant to bash Apple in any way, I've never tried using an iPad for recording...in fact, I've never owned one.

    My dilemma comes down to needing a new multitracking option now that my SIAB Zoom 8-track is a decade old (and frankly, was just an okay system from the start). I do not really have the cash (or the space!) for a dedicated desktop computerf with which to do my recording, and with high-end options like the Roland VS multitracks being out of production, it seems as though I'm stuck between either buying another mid-level unit comparable to my Zoom but with more tracks (say, like the Tascam DP24/DP32), or diving into computer-based DAWs (which I'm trying to avoid for a few of the reasons listed above).

    The iPad approach looks great, since there are all types of DAW software to choose from (I have NO idea which one's best, but that's for another thread, I suppose), many of which should be compatible with their full versions (in case I ever did go the full-fledged computer route). Also, the portability and small footprint is appealing.

    But I've got a ton of questions. Just how deep do these recording software apps go? How is the sound-quality? How much editing do I have at my disposal? What about learning curves? Also, how would I burn CDs? I assume I could send files via wifi, and then burn them using my (PC) laptop? I'm also guessing there are drum-maching apps I can buy (since I'm not a drummer). Lastly, what type of connectivity do iPads support? I'll be doing most of my recording with my Roland GR55/GC1 Strat rig, with the occasional mic for vocals or when I need that "amp in a room" sound. Will I need a special mid. and/or an extra hardware interface to run my Roland into the iPad?

    I'm obviously REALLY lost here, and I so appreciate any and all information anyone is willing to throw my way. I feel like I've been asleep for the last decade, and that the recording world has passed me by lol.

    Steve
     
  2. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    ipad is about as capable as your zoom. to accessorize a new ipad, buy the apps, and options you are in the $800-900 territory.

    i would seriously buy the dp24 or 32 over the ipad. ipad is cool, and sounds ok, but imo the tools for recording are a novelty.

    for the same price you can buy a far more capable laptop, pro daw software and an audio interface. you will have access to more vst plugins, (many free or open source), cabinet emulators, room emulators, etc etc etc.

    for ex:

    $429 lenovo i3 cpu 6gb ram 650gb hdd
    $109 focusrite 2i2 audio interface
    $149 Sonar X2 Studio Daw software. (includes drums, pianos, bass, synths, vst effects, mastering plugs).
    $100 external hdd for audio files. (optional but recommended if having high track counts)

    less than $800 gets you unlimited tracks counts, 100x the processing power, 200x the data storage, a far far better audio interface to handle the audio resources.

    there are learning curves to all daw and daw hardware. time is your educator. many tools online to review and view at your leisure.
     
  3. GibsonLives

    GibsonLives Supporting Member

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    Thanks once again, mattball; you've really been a savior to me as I feel my way through all this new tech. which has cropped up over the last decade while I've been stuck with the Zoom.

    If the iPad method is more novelty than viable option, it's one I can live without. I'm quite confident that Tascam's current offerings will (probably) be sufficient without spending a ton of money, trying to find the space for a whole new (dedicated) computer interface, or braving a daunting learning-curve. I guess my next step is to figure out whether an "adequte next step" will suffice (which it most likely would, for now at least), or whether I have need enough of a truly professional rig to jump fully into computer-based DAWs. Since I just bought $1500 worth of guitar-synth stuff, and do have an "okay" mtr in the Zoom, I won't be pulling the trigger on anything right away. I always like to start early so I can see what's out there, what's feasible for me, and how much it will fill my needs. Thanks so much! :)
    Steve
     
  4. elijah

    elijah Member

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  5. JCM 800

    JCM 800 Member

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    Auria is a very cool app that is just in it's infancy. It's no where near just a novelty and is going to get better and better as they make updates. If you use a decent interface you could make excellect recordings with an iPad. If you want to colaborate with someone else, you can export the files and use them with a DAW.

    Bottom line, you can most definitely make very high quality recordings with an iPad. Plus you have the luxury of using the iPad for the thousand of other things it does.
     
  6. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    to an extent but op has been looking for options similar to a tascam dp24 or dp32. an ipad is not even close and cost more. i can only imagine what the ipad, accessories, apps and a 24ch recording interface would run just to get close.
     
  7. JCM 800

    JCM 800 Member

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    Did you read the OP's post? He specifically asks questions about recording with an iPad.

    "The iPad approach looks great, since there are all types of DAW software to choose from (I have NO idea which one's best, but that's for another thread, I suppose), many of which should be compatible with their full versions (in case I ever did go the full-fledged computer route). Also, the portability and small footprint is appealing.

    But I've got a ton of questions."
     
  8. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    does anyone have and use the Alesis I/O? if i have that and GarageBand already installed, am i good to go recording simple guitar/bass/vox using the GB drums?
    i just want this for very basic songwriting demos...nothing too processing/track intensive...any input would be appreciated :)
     
  9. kenneth

    kenneth Member

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    I really struggle with this in concept general. In a recorder, I really want solid stability, and multitasking an iphone, ipad for recording plus everything else it does, does not help keeping it stable. Just like a PC/mac with a DAW, running a bunch of other stuff on it, websurfing, reduces stability significantly. Nothing more frustrating then discovering some other software you installed yesterday, conflicted with Protools, and now your DAW does not work.

    Today, I prefer to have a dedicated recorder, and keep my phone/ipad separate. Perhaps that will change in future, I hope so.
     
  10. Joseph Hanna

    Joseph Hanna Member

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    Kenneth, what are you using for you conclusions. What basis?? Websurfing decidedly hasn't affected DAW performance for a decade or more now. I suppose one may come to the conclusion that exceeding any devices capabilities to provide enough memory to run a dozen or so applications simultaneously does indeed reduce some stability. There again I've yet to run into an intense recording situation where I'm tempted to do a half dozen others things all while recording. Just shutting down the offending programs doesn't seem that out of line or difficult :)

    Much of this mind set has years ago been abandoned and rightfully so.
     
  11. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    yes, but other interfaces with the camera kit (usb option) for ipad can provide more option (internal dsp and converters) than alesis i/o. alesis i/o is plenty for your intended purpose.
     
  12. mattball826

    mattball826 Member

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    yes, but op has many other posts as well relative to the dp24/dp32 he was interested in primarily. ipad option wont touch either or those at their price point.
     
  13. dhdfoster

    dhdfoster Silver Supporting Member

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    I love iPad recording, but I already had an iPad. I wouldn't buy an iPad as a recorder, though.
     
  14. kenneth

    kenneth Member

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    I'm basing it on my experience, but I see yours is different.

    Depending on your websurfing habits, this can impact that normal operation on your computer, I thought this was pretty common knowledge, but I guess all websites are completely safe of viruses and malware these days. So I probably play this safe here.

    I've installed some little sound utility on my imac to do some small task I was struggling with, and it totally hosed all the audio settings and drivers for protools. Fun wasting the afternoon thinking I was going to track, and I'm futzing with system settings and such.

    mainstage and protools do not work well together, all the midi drivers conflict. This is pretty much known on DUC. At least for PT9. Re-installed PT, gave up on having mainstage on my DAW.

    That is my experience, I did not mean to limit my statement to websurfing. So, I prefer to use my imac primarily as a DAW, and do other work/play on another device.

    I would guess that professional studios that rely on a DAW for their livelihood, would be very conservative in what else they may use their DAW PC/mac. Or else have a backup. I will have to let those folks comment, or maybe this is you.

    Regarding imac/iphone, basically i prefer to have a dedicated recorder with a known battery behavior, such that when I'm done with my recording, I can still make phone calls, and not have a dead battery. Sure, I could use some USB battery pack, but I just prefer to have a dedicated recorder and make phone calls at the same time. The D50 and H4n work for me better than my brief experience trying garageband on the ipad, for portable recorders. And are cheaper.

    That is my experience, but please, if something else works for you, continue, I'm not dictating how you or anyone else uses your devices. But the above is what works well for me, and keeps me moving forward without spending a lot of time debugging stuff and reinstalls. I would rather be tracking.
     
  15. JCM 800

    JCM 800 Member

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    An iPad is just as stable (if not more) than running a DAW on a computer. A computer can do many many things just as an iPad can do many things. That doesn't mean that you have to be doing multiple applications while recording.

    Just as Joseph mentioned, computer DAW stability is really a thing of the past. Computers are so powerful today that they can take on so much more processing.

    I can run a very large Pro Tools 9 native session with a huge amount of plugins, listen to music on iTunes, surf multiple internet pages at the same time and download a file off the net. Not that I do that on purpose but I have tried it just to see what I could get away with.

    My opinion is that buying a separate stand alone recoder (such as a Roland VS, Tascam or Zoom unit) is extremely limiting, and would be a real hassle. Use a computer or an iPad and you have so many more options and the ability to grow.

    Just my opinion based on my real world experiences.
     
  16. kenneth

    kenneth Member

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    Power and stability are two different things. Maybe I should say "configuration stability". I have no doubt that my DAW can do tons of stuff at the same time. And be stable.

    Please read my post above for the examples of instability I'm talking about.

    If installing a boatload of "stuff" on your DAW, and running it simultaneously as you track works for you, great.
     
  17. GLinks

    GLinks Supporting Member

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    Hello all. I just discovered this site and wound up on this thread after reading about some other gear. I'm not an expert by any means, but I bought my first IPad about 10 months ago. The fact that they are solid from both the app and recording perspective is what drew me in to the IPad vs Android tablets.

    Little did I know what a surprising journey I was in for. I am a guitarist and singer, and I continued dabbling with things more electronic, as I had with DAWs like Cubase, FL, Nuendo, and Reason.

    A) I do not experience crashes as I have inevitably with all PCs (not Apple). Yes, there is not as much processing power - I have IPad2, but unless someone has a 100GHz computer or a bunch chained together, I wouldn't say 100x the processing power of an IPad is realistic. I close other apps before starting my sessions.

    B) It has probably saved me money in the long-run. Why? Well, I was going to buy a tablet anyway. I bought my IPad2 open box for $359 at Best Buy. But it's also an instrument, a DAW, an effects processor, a wave editor, a phrase teacher, or whatever else I want or need it to be, for less than I might pay for a standard soft or hardware equivalent. A good example: I became interested in Korg's Kaossilator, which was about $129 for the original. The app version was $19.99 (expensive for an app, sure) but saved me over $100, gave me a bigger screen and more features an functionality.

    C) I'm not recording scores, so Auria for $50 is plenty for me. Audiobus is where this experience gets great. Input, effects and output using your own selected combination of apps. Factor in Audio Copy/Paste protocol, and you can pretty much get what sound you want in whatever app you want. Without that, there is DropBox, SoundCloud, ITunes and other apps for file-sharing.

    D) Portability. Wow. Now, I love lugging gear around. Who doesn't? In my IPad, I have an Animoog, Korg iMS-20 and 5 other synths, plus DAWs, an MPC, amps, cabs, effects, loopers...in just so many ounces.

    E) Workflow. Yes, it's a different animal, but with Audiobus, it's a game-changer. As well, do not underestimate the touch aspect. It's incredible.

    The new new IPad, 4th gen, clocks in around 1.3ghz, but benchmarks twice as fast as the 2. I would give merit to that, but haven't needed it. The geek in me will pick that up before the musician in me needs it.

    I use a Focusrite iTrack $139-159 for my interface, which connects directly. Little to no latency at all, great preamps. Others (USB) can be used with the camera connection kit ($29). Apogee announced at Winter NAMM the One, Duet and Quartet will get iOS connectivity this year. I'll add either the One or Duet.

    I have since added a 2nd IPad to my setup (bought my wife a 4th gen for Christmas, she gave me her old one). I also recently picked up a pair of Roland Cube Monitor 30s for under $200 ($400 regular). Each speaker has 5 inputs, for a total of 10. I'm sure you can imagine the possibilities.

    So, I can be in the box, out of the box, somewhere in between. Most importantly, because of the varied input methods I can use at once, I really can get my ideas out quickly, literally on the fly. I can be the guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, drummer, engineer, producer, all pretty much standing or sitting in one place.

    I will say, you have to think your way through your workflow and envision your setup, and do your research, but it's been fun and a new musical frontier for me. I'm probably $650-700 including IPad, apps and hardware without factoring in the 2nd IPad and monitors.

    Just remember that a lot of apps will go on sale for 50% off, and many have free versions to start with, plus there are a lot of resources to read before deciding what to do. It seems everyone is recognizing that making music this way won't go anywhere anytime soon, as the amount of accessories for the IPad is growing at a staggering rate.

    And of course, whatever you do in the IPad can be further tweaked in a standard DAW. I usually tell people like this: If you're thinking about a tablet anyway....
     
  18. jb4674

    jb4674 Member

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    Steve, if you already have a laptop (even an older one), it will be much more up to the task of recording than the ipad. Get a simple interface like a Presonus Audiovox Studio or Audiovox 22VSL (if you don't want the mic and headphones) ($249 for the studio vs $179 for the VSL) and it'll give you more than adequate results. Both units come with Presonus Studio One.

    Don't get me wrong, the ipad is a cool device but, I don't understand why people go crazy about trying to record from it and make it do things that clearly an older pc (be it a mac or windows machine) can do much better. I got my wife a new ipad 32gb for her b-day and I can tell you that I would never use it to record for the simple fact that I can use even my old 2ghz single core dell laptop with 2gb of ram and get better results.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2013
  19. ddevil

    ddevil Member

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    People love recording to the iPad as they aren't wasting time with drivers and driver conflicts. Just plug in and record. There isn't a more flexible device that has different ways to record on the market right now. Use GarageBand. Hate it? Try Amplitube. Hate it? Try Ampkit, etc.,. Then connect them all with Audiobus.

    The last "Gorillaz" album was done ENTIRELY on the iPad.

    Don't listen to the naysayers..like anything, how much effort you put in will determine the results. Use the tools you like and find easiest to use and get back to the most important part of it...making music!!

    Cheers,
    dd
     
  20. GibsonLives

    GibsonLives Supporting Member

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    Thanks, all...lots to think about here.

    JB, interesting that you brought up Presonus; that's the second mention I've heard today of Studio One (a DAW I'd not heard of when I woke up this morning). Therefore, I'm off to Youtubeland to check this software out. After hearing so many horror stories about PT, I was told Studio One had tons of functionality without giving me the urge to jump from a high window :).

    Steve
     

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