Music Notation on the iPad – SymphonyPro Updated!

There are only a handful of apps on the iPad that are actually useful for music notation on the iPad. Tonight that list grows by one.

SymphonyPro     SymphonyProV3SymphonyPro has been updated to a version that is actually useable! I have really wanted this app to be useable ever since it came out but every time I have tried it in the past there have been too many bugs. The developers really wanted this app to work too though and have stayed hard at work. With this update I was actually able to get the app to work. It did the job very well in fact! There are still a few issues – The interface for instance has been updated to be iOS7 comparable but it is actually way too light in several areas and this makes it difficult to see! I also had an issue when inputting a clarinet part and the transposition of the key did not work very well . I was able to find a work around though because SymphonyPro works well with MusicXML, so with a quick export of my score from SymphonyPro into Sibelius I had the issue fixed. In fact this sort of situation is exactly the scenario I see many people using the iPad for – starting musical scores and ideas on the iPad then transferring them over to Sibelius, Finale or Notion on a regular computer.

Let me make a list of some of the areas I thought was very useful in SymphonyPro -

  1. I could input and edit the music with very intuitive taps on the touch interface.
  2. I was able to use a MIDI keyboard to help input music along with using the virtual keyboard/fretboard.
  3. I was able to record that MIDI keyboard live (required some editing but could be faster)
  4. When recording live there are nice quantization options and the ability to turn tuples on or off.
  5. Nice selection of articulations, dynamics, and other musical markings like chords, text and lyrics
  6. Editing through use of normal copy/paste, insert/rearrange, along with undo/redo was possible.
  7. I could play back the score to listen to it.
  8. Exporting of the final product had several options – Music XML, PDF, Picture, AAC, and even MIDI! SoundCloud is even an option – Lovely job there guys, thank you!

There are still some areas that need improvement -

  1. Layout of the score – not nearly as nice as in Sibelius (See the two PDF’s I have below for comparison
  2. Trying to export a Picture resulted in the app freezing up (To be fair I was using my iPad1 so that may have been the issue?)
  3. Transposition of instrument parts still has something funky going on – I thought it was working correctly when I started but after finishing the entire score I noticed that at some point my clarinet part started displaying in concert pitch and I could not fix that issue. (and yes, I know about the “Concert Pitch” option in the score menu – did not work AT ALL!) Plus when I imported the XML file into Sibelius my clarinet ended acting like it was setup for an Eb AltoSax.
  4. Multi-Rest and Rehearsal markings

NOW FOR THE EVEN BETTER NEWS – All this capability comes at a very small price in storage demands! This app only requires 209MB’s! This is awesome news for those of us working with a 16GB or 32Gb iPad!

MY EXAMPLES -

Comparison of SymPro vs Sibelius

Comparison of SymPro vs Sibelius

Meadowlands SymPro - Click to see the PDF from SymphonyPro

Meadowlands-Sibelius - Click to see the PDF from Sibelius that I imported from the MusicXML file out of SymPro. I edited the transposition issue quickly and added rehearsal markings is all I did here.

There are two other very important apps that are available on iPad for music notation you should know about as well….

Notion Small IconNotion Music, owned by PreSonus Audio Electronics, has both a desktop app and also an iPad app that is rock solid! I love that the desktop app is only $99 and that it works hand in hand with the iPad app, which is only $15 (Which is quite a bargain, if you are familiar with prices for music notation apps!) The problem with the iPad app is that it requires you to have 1.18 GB of free space on your iPad and that is only for the basic sound set! Now don’t get me wrong – these are going to sound awesome, but unless your iPad is of the 64GB or 128GB version you very well are not going to want to spare that much space!

Then there is NotateMe Icon SmallNotateMe from Neuratron- This is an amazing app that is well worth the price! You get to handwrite the music and it turns it into printed/computerized sheet music! I was more than willing to pay the $22 full price for this app because it is so amazing – handwritten music notation – any idea how much THAT costs on a regular computer? PLUS they even offer a free 1 staff version!

NoteFlight.com works very well through the Safari app so this is another great option.

There are other apps that are fun to play with – ScoreCloud Small IconScoreCloud Express lets you sing/play/whistle into and it will tell you the notes you are singing and is on a spring time sale for only .99 cents! (You should only sing one note at a time in this app by the way – meant for mono-phonic music!) TomChord Small IconTomChord on the other hand will recognize chords you are playing or from a song in your music library!

LAST THOUGHT

All of this comes at the same time as a new blog entry from an upcoming music app from former Sibelius developers who are now working at Steinberg - http://blog.steinberg.net/2014/03/development-diary-part-six/

 

Flipping the Band Room – iPad Apps to Make it Rock!

Explain Everything AppI’ve always been trying to find ways to get students more involved outside of the classroom in creating music. In reading all of the information about “Flipping the Classroom” I’ve been intrigued about how to make this happen within a Band setting. Of course, since we we are working on composing a piece a week for the remainder of the school year there are many details to discuss with the students. Seeings as how I am pushing the kids to compose outside of the class it stands to reason that maybe I could give feedback outside of the class as well! So I figured I may as well try it!

I’ve seen and played with many different to make videos explaining everything (pun intended) I was observing in the students compositions but I finally decided to work with the Explain Everything small iconExplain Everything” app. There were several very important reasons I chose this app..

First of all I fully appreciate the fact that this app does not tie me into some companies attempt to become “The Next Big Thing”. Explain Everything allows me to create my content and upload to where ever I wish – I stay in control of my content!

Secondly I knew that I was going to be importing PDF scans of the students work into the app so this capability was a must. The next part of making use of the PDF’s was that I would be drawing/highlighting/annotating/pointing out details on the PDF’s. I knew that at times I would of course want to simply draw my own material from scratch as well. The app I picked had to be able to handle all of those situations easily.

Thirdly I really like the flexibility Explain Everything gives me to record my own voice, draw, animate and layout materials on an endless canvas.

Fourth I knew that I would have files, pictures, PDF’s and movies scattered all over the place that I would be pulling into these movies. Explain Everything allows me to easily pull in file from my camera roll, iTunes, DropBox, Box, Google Drive, Evernote, SkyDrive and evenWebDave servers!

Lastly was the need to be able to share these movies with my students. The app makes it simple to export my creations to YouTube and a few other places as well (look at the list from where you can pull media in from).

THE PROCESS -

So I set to work to try this out – Here’s what I did. I took a handful of student compositions to the scanner and created PDFs. Those PDF’s then got uploaded to DropBox (This was I can use them other ways as well). Then I opened the Explain Everything app, imported the PDF’s and watched as slides were created for each page of the PDF. Once loaded I set to work erasing students names. Then I started the recording of my voice and writing/annotating over top of their PDF’s. The timeline allowed me to backup and re-do any section I was not happy with. After that process was done I took the project and exported it to my camera roll as a movie. This took a little while – during which I checked my twitter feed and chatted with a new friend in WI who is recording a Turkish Fusion band! How fun right?….. back to the post though…. Once the exported movie was in my camera roll I used iMovie to spruce things up a bit more. I added some background music and a few titles (I could probably have done the titles in Explain Everything but I used iMove. I had to find where each section started to split the movie up in order to add the titles but that did not take very long. Then I uploaded the movie to YouTube from iMovie (Which I could have just simply uploaded the movie from within the Explain Everything app but like I said… I wanted things to be a bit fancier.)

Last step was to link to the movie from my classroom blog. From there the students can watch the video right from the blog post or open it in YouTube – (By the way… If you have an iPad and do not use the YouTube app currently I would really like to know why! The YouTube app is a very slick app! I love the way they allow you to load one video then pull it down to the corner and search other videos while that first one is still playing! I fully appreciate that YouTube now has playlists as well – MANDATORY for classroom viewing of Youtube!)

THE OUTCOME -

A quick, fun way for me to give feedback to the students that they can incorporate into their work WITHOUT taking class time to do so. The feedback I give is nothing confusing so I doubt any student will have questions but if they do then they could ask those question via email, twitter or during class.

Quibbles with EXPLAIN EVERYTHING APP -

I would like to be able to add background music and the titles from within the app – I probably can but just haven’t figured it out yet. Since I knew how to do it easily from within iMovie I chose that route for now.

THE VERDICT -

I will be doing more of these movies and I think you should too! My only wish is that I could put an iPad in every students hands so THEY were the ones creating the videos! Go but the app and get busy having fun creating videos for your students – thats my suggestion -

The apps are of course available on the iTunes Store -
Explain Everything small icon Explain Everything -
iMovie iPad small iconiMovie
YouTube small iconYouTube

THE FINAL PRODUCT -

Almost forgot – Here are the two videos I created….

First one -

Second one -

and now… Bed, because that early morning gym time is not going to be fun as it is!

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…

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.

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.

iFretless Bass App Review

iFretlessIconThere are so many music apps available online that it is sometimes hard to filter through and find the truly inovative apps that will truly change the way we make music. Even when you do stumble on an app that you think might fit into this category it takes me several videos and a ton of reading to fully believe enough to actually pull the trigger and purchase the app.

iFretless Bass is one of those apps. I have been looking at this app for a while now and after seeing a YouTube video this weekend I decided it was time to make a purchase. Here are the two reasons I think this app is going to be a blast to start using;

  1. The interface allows for a new method of interaction not easily done on a piano style interface. This interface allows for so much more expression and access to a wider range than a piano does on iPad. Go watch a few videos on their web site and you will see what I mean.
  2. The app allows you to use MIDI to control other apps. This means that even though this app has amazing samples already included that are going to allow anyone to record some great bass lines, the sound options are endless with the inclusion of MIDI! Use iFretless to control Animoog or SampleTank or whatever other app you want. Even use it to control external MIDI devices!

Of course I would not even bring this app up on my blog here if it did not support AudioBus! One other technique I am going to try out is using this app along with Apollo, an app that allows me to use Bluetooth technology to wirelessly control a software synth inside of Logic Pro on my MacBook. I hope the latency is fast enough to use live!

Go watch a few of their videos, actaully go watch all of their videos! This app is going to be a nice addition to my live performance tools not to mention the apps I use to record my own songs! I love the new interface and possibilities it all opens up!

This is the app featuring iFretless Bass and Voice into iVoxel -

Great PDF app for teachers in the classroom!

PDF Cabinet 2.0I had been looking for a great app to use in my classroom as a sort of whiteboard app on steroids. My goal was to have a PDF worksheet on my iPad that I could project onto the classroom screen. Then I would be able to have the class see MY worksheet while I wrote on it, writing answers, notes and highlighting specific things I wanted to draw their attention to. THAT was the easy part… I had a few apps that would allow that simple task. The trick came in that I wanted to be able to allow OTHER people to annotate that same PDF that was being displayed on the screen. That way another teacher could help in making notes and we could have students write answers in on their iPad’s but have all of it show up on the screen in front of the classroom all on the same PDF! We would also be able to then save it for future reference!

I found an answer to my wish in the app PDF Cabinet which has now been updated to version 2! It is currently free as well so go get it while it remains free because I paid for the first version and I am sure this version will also go up soon!

The app allows you to annotate as expected, highlight, draw circles, lines, arrows and type text on top of any PDF. There are some nifty features that I did not expect as well…. things like the way you are able to review and skim through your PDF using the sidebar to show all pages or just the annotated ones. I also appreciate the way you manage documents with a simple drag and drop! Why all iPad apps do not allow this is beyond my comprehension. It only makes sense to me – it is a touch interface! Tap the document and drag it to the folder or the trash, simple and sensible!

You are able to sync folders in PDF Cabinet with a folder in DropBox or iCloud. That means that whatever PDF’s are on my iPad are also synced and backed up to the Cloud! I always worry that I will forget which apps have documents stored in them that I would like to have backed up, this syncing feature takes some of the worry away. It also means that I have even easier access to those documents that I have been working with on my iPad. We all know how much fun it is trying to find a cord to actually hook up the iPad to the computer to sync files (does anyone actually do that anymore?)

A couple thoughts about Collaboration….  The collaboration feature allows you to share and annotate along with up to 16 other people. Anyone who joins the collaboration session in the middle of the session also gets sent the previously made annotations.

 

WISHES FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT:
I wish the cropping feature would export out to other apps! This would allow me to crop a document using PDF Cabinet 2 and then send it to UnRealBook or even back to DropBox.

 

iPad Music Apps on sale right now! (Updated Again!)

Updated once at 2:47PM EDST – then again at 6:43PM EDST

For those of you wanting to get your feet wet in creating music on your iPads, this is the time to make a few purchases! These apps are currently on sale! Get them now because all of these are amazing and these prices represent a significant drop in cost! These are al apps that cost more than most people spend unless they are actually interested in what is offered. The price point of these apps are, at the same time, considerably cheaper than such an app would cost on a regular computer. Considering that many of these emulate a piece of hardware the difference in price becomes an even greater bargain!

For those who want some great synth sounds:
Animoog Animoog – $4.99 (On sale from $29.99) - If you do not have this app you need to get it NOW!
Animoog Animoog for iPhone – $1.99 (On sale from $9.99)
Filtatron Filtaron $0.99 (On sale from $7.99)
iMini iMini $4.99 (On sale from $9.99)
iSEM Arturia iSEM $4.99 (On sale from $9.99)
Magellan Magellan $6.99 (On sale from $14)
Sunrizer iconSunrizer Synth – $5 (On sale from $10)
Sunrizer iconSunrizer XS - 
Chordion Chordion – $0.99 (On Sale from $3.99)

For those who are interested in DJ app’s
TraktorDJ Traktor DJ – $9.99 (On sale from $19.99)
TraktorDJ Traktor DJ for iPhone – $1.99 (On sale from $4.99)

DAW – Digital Audio Workstation sort of app
MeteorMultitrackRecorder Meteor MultiTrack Recorder- $9.99 (On sale from $19.99) - A great entry price point into the world of iPad DAW apps!
Synergy Synergy Studio $9.99 (On sale from $19.99)
Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 11.38.29 AM BeatMaker2 $4.99 (On sale from $19.99)

For the Guitar players
TabToolkit TabToolkit $0.99 (On sale from $3.99)
Bias BIAS-Amps $14.99 (On sale from $19.99)
JamUpPro JamUp Pro XT $9.99 (On sale from $19.99)
AmpKit AmpKit+ $8.99 (On sale from $19.99)

For the drummer in all of us
ImpaktorImpaktor – $1 – (80% off!)
Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 11.38.29 AM BeatMaker2 $4.99 (On sale from $19.99)

GlitchBreaks GlitchBreaks $2.99 (On sale from $4.99)
iMaschine iMaschine for iPhone $1.99 (On sale from $4.99)

For the Live8 Users
LiveRemoteLiveRemote $6.99 (On sale from $9.99)

For Music Teachers
Moosic Studio iconMoosic Studio -$20 off right now!

NOT iPad/iPhone APPS
Presonus has 50% off their Studio One DAW, Notion4 software app, and Progression 2 software for writing tabs/notation!
Notion has a great iPad version of their notation app that works hand in hand with the desktop version. At this price Notion is a ridiculous low price of $49.50! That is even a lower price than you can cross upgrade for from Sibelius of Finale!

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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