New iPad app for that final step in your recordings!

FinalTouch_MaximizerEver record your Band or Choir rehearsals? Want to take it one more step and really put a bit of a final touch on that recording? What about actually recording your ensembles and selling a CD? Then you or someone else absolutely needs to use an app like this, or you could spend a lot more money on other tools and do the same thing!

Final Touch Small IconFinal Touch, by Positive Grid, is a complete mastering system for iPad. It includes Maximizer, EQ, Dynamics, Stereo Imager, Reverb and Dithering all into one integrated app! What does that mean in layman’s terms? Your recording is going to have a huge, balanced, polished and professional sound! Now this is NOT going to make an amazing group out of a group that is not playing or singing well! (Don’t we wish!) BUT it will give your recording that last polish, push, and EQ that will help make it sound even better.


Here… take a listen to the difference – and I have no hardly any idea of what I’m doing but this sounds better to me! The first couple of recordings are from my HS Band getting ready for State Festival and the next couple are from a friend on SoundCloud who used the iPad Notion App to record some strings…

Inspiration In The Storm – Using my iPad to express where words fail.

Using the iPad to put my digital sheet music on was my original intention when I bought the iPad1 the day it was released. I never imagined I would actually be using the iPad to create music and that it would be replacing my professional keyboards that have cost me a pretty penny (and a few dimes too!) I don’t think Steve and Apple had any idea what their little device was going to end up doing either!

The iPad inspires people to be creative, that’s the short of it! Especially with apps like iGrand Piano from IKMultimedia – and MultiTrack DAW – and Thor PolySonic Synth. I have loved playing the piano ever since about 4th grade when I asked my Mom to teach me – I really wanted to play in church. So my journey began and now I still enjoy playing piano but these days it is my keyboard in my basement instead of that old upright in the old stone church down the road from the two bedroom house we grew up in.

I am forever in search of better sounding piano sounds from keyboards, software and apps. Well I’m here to tell you that I really like the iGrand Piano app sounds that are now on my iPad! The app is on sale from January 30th until February 13th, 2014.  You can get iGrand icon smalliGrand Piano and iLectric icon smalliLectric Piano for only $9.99 each on the App Store. That’s 50% off the normal price of $19.99.  Already have iGrand Piano Free for iPhone or iPad?  Well you can upgrade to the full version at the special $9.99 price through in-app purchase as well.

This app has been one of those that I have been eyeballing for awhile now. This app and one other piano app were the two that I had decided I would buy. Which ever one went on sale first was going to be “it”. The other app is CMP Piano Small iconCMP Piano and has just as awesome of piano sounds in it!

So, since iGrand went on sale and that unused iTunes card was just sitting there, I downloaded the iGrand app and anxiously waited for it to download! I had played around with the free version but couldn’t wait to get my virtual hands on the full version! iGrand gives you 8 concert quality piano sounds for your $10. There is an in-app-purchase that gives you an additional 9 world-class pianos (but that will cost you another $10) I really don’t like IAP’s but it is the reality of apps now so I will deal with it.

Like this post stated – great apps/devices inspire people. The sounds in the iGrand Piano app were fun to play and all of them sounded great! I grabbed my little QuNexus keyboard and plugged that into the iPad and just started playing. A few ideas started forming so I then fired up MultiTrack DAW small iconMultiTrack DAW and started recording. (Why not Cubasis you ask? Well, I really didn’t want any drops in sound quality that I had gotten the previous night while using that app. Using MultiTrack DAW was a bit better but even using that app I have issues – like the sound just drops out for a sec or two while recording. When playing the recording back later all the audio is there but it is a bit weird when it happens)

After laying down the piano track I then went and fired up Thor Small iconThor PolySonic Synth and added a pad sound and a bit of a counter-melody. Now keep in mind that I played the entire song on a little QuNexus controller, which is great for many things but I am not so sure I would list playing piano parts as one of those things! I then uploaded the song right to SoundCloud from within MultiTrack DAW. Then I remembered that I should have ran it through the Audio Mastering Small IconAudio Mastering app that Igor has done such an amazing job with! So I saved a wav file version of the song and ran it through that app and uploaded it to SoundCloud  so you can all listen to the comparison of the before and after versions! (Of course if you are reading this post too many months in the future both files may not be there any more because I will need that space for new pieces of inspiration!)

Just a word about the song – I made it for a few youth that are very special to me and are having to deal with the imperfect world we live in. Sometimes we just are at a loss for words to say but music fills that need…. In the words of Apple – this is “my verse.” Hope it touches you. I pray God let’s you know peace in the middle of this storm, through His music…

Audio Mastering App for iPad – You should get this if you record audio…

AudioMastering App ScreenIf you are ever recording audio and sharing it in one form or another you should have an audio mastering app to take that audio file to the next level! For instance, ever record rehearsal then upload it to your groups SoundCloud account for the students to evaluate? What about recording your concerts and creating a CD? Have you ever sat down, written a song, recorded the audio and uploaded it to the web to share with friends? Well there’s an app for taking those files and making them sound even better…. I have been looking for an app that allows me to quickly chop off the start and end times of a recording – easily done with this app. This app allows me to maximize the volume of the recording, change EQ, alter the stereo imaging and even save presets to save time on future recordings.

Plus it’s on sale right now, this weekend – 1-25-2014, because it is about to get bumped up to version2! Which means even more capabilities soon, and if you buy the current version those extra capabilities come along next week for free!

The Audio Mastering Small IconAudio Mastering app for iPad by Igor Vasiliev is 40% off right now for $6.99.

Here’s is what you can do with the app…

Audio processing features:

● Fully 24-bit audio processing algorithms.
● Linear phase 10-bands graphic Equalizer based on phase shifting.
● Three bands Stereo Imaging with common Stereo Width level.
● Harmonic Saturator with three sets of harmonics.
● Loudness Maximizer with adjustable response speed and ceiling.
● High-quality sample rate converter from 96, 88.2, 48 to 44.1 or 48 kHz.
● Bit depth converter supports 16, 24, 32 bits.
● Dithering with noise shaping.
● Solo mode for all Equalizer bands.
● Function Normalize at conversion of file.
● Support .wav, .aif, .mp3, .m4a, .caf .flac audio file formats.

The app supports AudioBus, SoundCloud, DropBox and AudioCopy / AudioPaste. You can also use the Open In feature to get/send files from other apps.

BELOW IS A SAMPLE of what the app can do…

Amazing iPad DAW for Music Classes!

CausticIn the world of using mobile devices to assist you in your music making endeavors, iPad is the king. There are few apps that are of any real use on the Android market for musicians. Every now and then I do hear of something worth the time of Android toting musicians. On iPad though the app store is overflowing of choices of all flavors! (disclaimer – I make that statement from tons of research – not from my personal experience as I do not own an Android device. If you would like to disagree with me I would love for you to leave comments below telling me what apps and devices you are using in the Android world!)

On December 14, 2013 though a strange thing happened! One of the apps for Android that was actually pretty amazing for musicians came to the iPad! Caustic is a music creation tool inspired by rack mount synthesizer/sampler rigs. Caustic is an app in which a lot of musical creation could be done. All in one app. Caustic is one of those apps that cost’s $9.99 but I would strongly suggest as a possibility for schools using iPads in music tech classes. There are so many different parts of this app to explore that it would easily fit the bill for filling an entire semester class and keep the kids (adults) busy, busy, busy.

Look at this list:

* Subsynth – Virtual analog subtractive synthesizer
* PCMSynth – Multi-sample wave synthesizer
* BassLine – 303-like monosynth
* BeatBox – 8-channel sampling drum machine
* PadSynth – Harmonic table pad synthesizer
* 8BitSynth – 8bit equation solver synthesizer
* Modular – Fully configurable and routable synthesizer
* Organ – Tonewheel organ with rotary speaker
* Vocoder – 8-band harmonic vocoder
* FMSynth – DX-style 3-operator fm synthesizer

* Effects rack supporting 2 effects per machine (16 effect types).
* Mixer desk with EQ, panning and global Delay/Reverb effects.
* Master section with effect slots, parametric EQ and limiter.
* Song sequencer

Here is another feature that even some of the more expensive iPad DAW’s cannot say – Caustic supports automation recording on most controls and includes powerful editors for modifying automation curves.

We are talking about being able to teach kids all of those different module’s listed above, mixing techniques, all about effects, sequencing and song composition all without having to dig around for different apps. This app actually does not currently support AudioBus, which I almost always require an app to have before I consider it. I don’t believe that is such a drawback in this case as there is so much built into this one app. Depending on the ability of your iPad there are 14 slots you can fill with different modules (as listed above). Caustic is VERY processor friendly even on an iPad2!

There are several ways to share your creative genius built in Caustic – You can export wav files, ogg files, and even MIDI. Amazingly enough there is even a FREE PC version of this app online for those of you PC users out there! Which by the way really bugs me that it actually says PC on the app store as PC should actually be written as WINDOWS! It is written correctly on the developers website though.

Think about what kind of curriculum you could build off from this?! You have all the critical parts to compose with this app –  percussion, bass lines, melody lines, accompaniment even a vocoder that vocalists (and non-vocalists) can have a ball with. There are a ton of presets available too in each module but you could really dig in and teach the kids about how each one of these modules works behind the scenes. Amazing.

Plus the developer has a ton of awesomely created YouTube tutorials already loaded up. Seriously, this is the best collection of videos from any developer I have ever seen! Now we are talking about a flipped music class? hmmm….

YouTube Channel

I will say that I was so blown away with the possibilities in this app that I purchased it at full price. I have no idea if this thing will go on sale at any given time. If it ever does I would hope there was a way for a school to “purchase” it for an entire class immediately.

By the way… the app does require you to be running iOS6 so if you still have one of those iPad1′s around it will not work for this app. I am very interested if any of you schools are sporting iPad1′s so leave me a comment below if your school is till making use of the original iPad1. I know I have came back into possession of my original iPad, bought on the day it came out…. My wife moved to an iPad2 and my kids are using iPad3′s or iPad Mini’s so that iPad1 is being put back into use by me in various ways alongside my iPad2.

iPad Audio and MIDI Interface on Sale – Great deal!

Griffin Studio ConnectIf you have been looking for a great deal on a 30 pin audio/MIDI interface for your iPad this is it!

Sweetwater has the Griffen Studio Connect on sale for $39 right now!

Docking iOS Interface with 1/8″ Stereo I/O, 1/4″ Direct Input, Stereo RCA Output, 5-pin MIDI I/O, and Analog Volume Controls

That means you can plug in your guitar or bass or anything that has a 1/4″ output on it! Plus you can hook up your keyboard in stereo using the 1/8″ stereo input jack – or any other device that you would like to record in stereo.

Plus you now have a MIDI interface allowing you to hook up a nice big keyboard to your iPad to play GarageBand, Thor Polysonic Synthesizer, Nave, or AniMoog or any of those sweet apps you just bought on sale over the past couple of months!

Be aware that this had the 30 pin connector so if you are one of those that have the lightening connector you would have to have an adaptor.

Some iPad Creativity – Using Thor and Cubasis

Greece HatOne of the searches that brought people to this blog over the past year was their search for “Muti-Track DAW for iPad”.

Using my iPad as a multi-track DAW is one of the ways I get to have fun on it! I don’t have games installed (well not that many) – I just have a bunch of music apps! I have several recording apps – MultiTrack DAW small iconMultiTrackDAW was the first one I bought but as that only recorded audio I soon put out the money for Cubasis small iconCubasis so I could record MIDI as well. Of course when GarageBand small iconGarageBand for iPad came out that was a great $5 deal – and now it is free! I bought AniMoog as one of my first music synths and started adding more and more synths through the past few years.

One of those new synths from this past year that is simply great was Thor Small iconThor Polysonic Synthesizer. It is a great synth that has amazing sounds in it that inspire you to record so that you can layer more musical lines on top of what you are currently doing. Out of all the people I listen to on SoundCloud that are using iOS to create music I continue to find them using Thor!

This recording also uses AudioBus small iconAudioBus – AudioBus is what sits between Cubasis and other apps like Thor – AudioBus works pretty well on an iPad2 so I use that more than the newer InterApp Audio.

I used one EFX app in the FX slot in AudioBus  - I put AudioReverb small iconAudioReverb in there for the melody line. Thor fed directly into AudioReverb and then the sound went into Cubasis. That meant that once I recorded the melody line I would not be able to go back and change the reverb settings but the benefit was that I had access to other FX’s from what Cubasis has built in.

Of course the last step was to upload my “masterpiece” some place I could share it with others and get feedback from my friends – friends that live in the same town as I do, friends/family that I have known for years that are online, and friends I know only by name and the sounds of their music! SoundCloud small iconSoundCloud is a great place to find other people writing music on just an iPad. It is places like this that I find others who enjoy the creations they come together under their fingers into something that they can call theirs…. something that inspires them to keep on living and looking for beauty in the world. Jack Morefield wrote this on his SoundCloud bio…

“Why is this music important to me? – many reasons, but the main one is that now, because of technology, I am able to make these compositions I have been hearing my whole life all on my own, which I never dreamed possible. I cannot believe that we can do on our computers and hand held devices more than any money could buy in a studio even 15 years ago…

So, I am slowly turning from a musician who had to prattle on – guitar wise- to a composer of soundscapes….to me that is very fulfilling.”

Here is my latest:

Here is Jack’s SoundCloud: – Listen to this piece he wrote on his guitar and recorded his iPad to record and provide further backup for his guitar.

Create Music on your iPad!

MagellanHow far we have come in one year – As I read my post from just one year ago about the soon-to-be-released AudioBus, I am reminded of what is now possible that wasn’t just a short time ago. A year ago, without AudioBus, a recording like this one was not possible on the iPad without the help of a computer. Thanks to AudioBus we can now use a DAW, like Cubasis, to multitrack and create to our hearts desire from one iPad!

Except for the drum track, this song is all from one app… Magellan by Yonac Software. (It is still on sale at 50% off too!) Of course we would absolutely need AudioBus and a DAW to create the multitrack recording. I used LogicX because I wanted to try out the new Drummer feature and I’m telling you what… I love it! I threw in some weird time signatures like 5/4 and 6/4 just for the fun of it (or maybe because I couldn’t count) and Drummer handled them very well! I may never have to create another drum track again!

iPad Musical Creativity

LogiciSemUsing Arturia’s iSEM synth that I bought today finally because of the Black Friday sales here, I decided to try out the app. Normally I would have fired up Cubasis and AudioBus but this time I decided I would also put to test iConnectivity’s iConnectMIDI2+ device along with LogicX.

This sort of project for me is proof of concept – the concept of where the iPad has brought us to.

iSEM was released as a software emulation of the 1974 Oberheim keyboard and then recently released as an iPad app. The hardware synth costs around $1000, the desktop software around $100 and the iPad app $10!

LogicX is a multitrack DAW that now costs $199. In the 80′s the hardware that gave you the same sort of capabilities cost thousands, easily! I now have several iPad apps that offer multitrack recording capabilities that cost anywhere from $10 to $50.

iConnectMIDI2+ is an amazing piece of hardware that allows MIDI connectivity to and from an iPad, and at the same time to a computer. The capabilities do not stop there though – this device also passes audio between the iPad and computer! Every track I recorded into Logic tonight was sent as audio to the iConnectMIDI2+ form my iPad! This is the sort of device that changes the way audio is recorded and manipulated. It changes the manner in which an iPad is used. the iCM2 is both an audio interface as well as a MIDI interface. The MIDI interface connects legacy MIDI devices, using the 5 pin MIDI cable that has been around since MIDI was born in 1981, to my iPad in 2013!

People really should not complain about paying $10 for an app like iSEM considering the past alternatives! (of course I am one of those who just bought it because it went on sale for $5 so who am I to talk right?)

I am very excited to see where the new processor in the iPad Air and iPadMini with retina display, takes us. That processor is such a huge bump in capabilities. Honestly, that’s one of the reasons I fired up Logic tonight. I could have used Cubasis but on an iPad2, it gets iffy.

Here is what I came up with for those of you who care to take an adventure in listening…

Musical Composition from Across The Globe!

globe3tAs I was browsing through my SoundCloud feed today I ran across this piece of music called “International Incident” from @sealpt

“I wrote this with my good friend Evangelos Koudonas. (@evagelos-koudonas). I live in the United States, Evangelos lives in Greece.
Evangelos brought this song to life!
Evangelos plays the first set of leads, then we split the bridge, then I follow up with the closing leads.
We used Beatmaker 2 with Jamup for our guitars, then mastered in Auria.
Evangelos plays his Ibanez on this song, I used my Paul Reed Smith. Thank you for listening and enjoy!”

Here is another collaboration of the same sort from @Alter Ego in the UK-

Collab Slow Minor Blues in Am – “Blues collab with Tom Adams (tyltblues) (Tom in Texas and me in the UK).
Solos are split into Tom, me, Tom, me :)
I used my Gibson Epiphone SG through a Fender JH Dual (in Amplitube) on my iPad and they were single takes.”

How awesome would it be to pair up our students in our music classes with someone from around the globe and have them compose together! Of course it would take several music teachers with the desire to make something this work. For one – there is always the issue of the time involved. Musical composition can take a huge chunk of time out of rehearsals that is needed for live performances! For two – there is the issue of technology. Al parties involved would need access to the internet and have a device that would be capable of recording the students in a multi-track daw (which means money in the budget to buy such an app)

BUT….. What if you made it work? How awesome would that be! Students learning about other cultures from other students that actually live in that culture – not from some text book or the internet! Students working on a project based assignment, working out the details in real time with students who are coming from an entirely different background and situation! (Or maybe it isn’t so different as we thought!)

Just sit and think about it! If you are not in the United States and you teach music and you are interested in collaborating like this with my students I would love to work it out! Contact me and we will do it!

Studio2, an iPad App for Digital Music Recording – at a great price!

Studio 2 AppI don’t know about you but I am constantly on the look out for apps that are on sale. I am also very willing to pay the full price for an app that I know I will use that offers me the quality I demand in apps! But come on, why pay full price when you don’t have to! This app right now is half -off for $4.99! Compared to the $50 for Cubasis or Auria this is more than a steal! Even at regular price this app is something to consider if you are looking to explore the world of DAW’s on your iPad!

Studio 2 from XME Inc is a great app to get your feet wet in the digital music studio app world! A few of the features that grabbed my attention right away was the fact that you can record 96 tracks, yup 96! I’m talking digital audio PLUS MIDI! There you go choir teachers! Record your accompaniments into this app – record the piano part, record each vocal part and then import a choir from YouTube singing the song and put that into the track as well! (Wait – better do all that in the reverse order as you will be at the mercy of whatever tempos the YouTube video is recorded at – so pull in the YouTube video audio, then record the accompaniment track and each of the vocal parts all on their own track. Amazing flexibility right at your finger tips in the middle of rehearsals!

Another feature I am finding very astonishing at this price point, in comparison to some of the WAY more expensive DAW apps I own, is the ability to record automation! That means that you can set points in your tracks where the volume (or pan) will automatically change! It’s a real trip to set a bunch of points and then watch the volume slider move all on it’s own!

Of course I would not even suggest this app if it did not also support AudioBus! There is also some reverb and delay that will help liven up your master piece.

I will say that there are some bugs still in the interface – some items do not re-draw immediately always. Also, when I closed the one session and created a new session I was left with the faders from my old session until I toggled back into the waveform view and then into the fader view again.



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