Capture for iPad Arrives – Drop Dead Simple App to Record With!

Capture LargePresonus released a new app recently that has high potential to make things simpler for us musicians. If you are a music teacher who needs to create accompaniment tracks for your students or if you ever record your performances this app would be an awesome choice. In fact, there are only two items missing from this app that would make it stand at the top of the list of iPad DAW’s – more about those two wish list items at the end.

WHAT CAPTURE IS: The purpose of this app currently is simple – it gives you a super simple way to record with your iPad. Capture gives you a mobile recording studio that you can then take back to the computer and edit further.

WHAT CAPTURE ISN’T: It is NOT a recording app to record from other iPad apps.

The app is called PreSonus Capture and it comes in two flavors – the FREE Version (Capture Duo Small IconPreSonus Capture Duo) and the $9.99 Version (Capture Small IconPresonus Capture). The only difference between the two is how many tracks you can record – free=2 tracks, not free=32 tracks! This pricing structure is a like getting a present at Christmas! – by offering you the free version, PreSonus has just given you a way to get those simple, straightforward recordings you need. For instance, Choir Teachers always need accompaniment tracks, Band Directors always need accompaniment tracks and we would all like to be able to record ourselves playing or singing our music. Now we have a great looking, simple and mobile solution that is free.

The app is very straightforward to use. Start it up, start a new session, select whether or not you want to monitor what you are recording in the headphones, tap the record button and start the music. Take a look….

Capture1 Capture2

One technique they have used for this app is to make it very easy to select the interface you want to use. The app works with the built-in mic and it also works with audio interfaces like the newly released (but not available yet) PreSonus AudioBox iOne or the iTwo or any other MFi iPad interface. I used it with my Line6 SonicPort just fine. Trying to find this interface selection in other apps and on the desktop is always a huge search, even for me!

EDITING AND SETTINGS:
It is also imperative that I was able to adjust my stereo/mono settings. It really annoys me when I record my keyboard and it is not in stereo. With the Capture Duo app it was easy, tap the single dot at the bottom of the input meter which will then become two dots indicating that you are now recording in stereo!

So just to make sure you are clear on what PreSonus is giving you – this means that with the Capture Duo app you can record 2 tracks of STEREO Audio! I can record a stereo piano track and then record another track of stereo drums as well! Nice

Here’s a picture of that….

Capture - Mono to Stereo

Adjusting and editing the audio was very easy. Just do what seems to be the right multi-touch gesture and you are probably going to be in business. Tap to select, double tap to bring up a menu to Cut/Copy/Delete/Duplicate/Split at Cursor or tap then hold for a second then drag the audio to a new location.

WRAP UP:
PreSonus has been very focused with the purpose for this app currently – A mobile recording solution to use in conjunction with other software that is easy to use. If you use it with Studio One it is even easier to work with your recordings because they will transfer wirelessly right into the desktop software!

I believe they hit the mark right on. I can not wait to see where this app is a year from now!

  • This app does not have to be used with Studio One on a desktop. Studio One is free though for Mac and PC both- PAY ATTENTION ALL OF YOU WHO USE THAT OTHER FREE RECORDING APP! Go download Studio One, it’s free!

WISHES:
I’ve got a short video at the end of this post for you to see how easy it is to use this app. First though a couple of observations:

  1. WISH ONE – With that being said, I really wish there were other ways to share your recordings from within Capture – Using the Open In option or to upload to SoundCloud or DropBox or even Box.net.
  2. WISH TWO – The app REALLY, REALLY, REALLY needs to get audioBus integration so we can use it to record other iPad apps! This would open up a HUGE open door! (I suppose InterApp Audio would help too.) There is a huge number of iPad Musicians who are using the iPad and apps as a very real way of making music! What used to have to be done in professional studios, on equipment that cost thousands of dollars, is now being done with apps and an iPad.

Side Note -

  1. If you use one of the new AudioBox Interfaces – the iOne or iTwo you will have to have the interface plugged into the iPad power adaptor.

 

and now a video to demonstrate…

 

 

As always – the links in this post are affiliate links. That means that if I inspire you to purchase any of the apps/music that I link to in this post I receive a small portion of that sales – something like 5% I think. This comes out of Apple’s share and the developer keeps their portion of the sales. It’s just a small way to inspire me to keep writing and sharing my ideas, thoughts and tech finding with you all.

iPad and Music Recording Apps (Audio and MIDI)

So I have been checking out apps that I can record audio and MIDI with on my iPad – here are some of my observations…

First of all there are several major features that are involved in looking at these DAW’s – 1)Recording of Audio – both from the obvious external source like a mic, guitar, wind instrument, etc… but also through the integration of AudioBus that allows recording of audio from other apps. 2)Recording of MIDI – both virtual MIDI as well as being able to access external MIDI equipment 3)Built-in synths, drum machines and sounds or loops.

With AudioBus integration the need for “everything” being built into one app starts to go away. NanoStudio, for instance, has a huge user base because it has allowed people to create some amazing recordings all in one app – go search SoundCloud. You don’t have to go purchase additional hardware synths, audio interfaces, MIDI interfaces or mics and you don’t need the additional purchase of synth apps or FX apps!

With AudioBus enabled apps though I can now use any app to record into another app. This allows the developers of Auria, for instance, to focus on creating an awesome app for recording audio while other developers focus their attention on creating really cool synth apps or drum machines for instance. I’m not so sure that the all in one is the HUGE benefit it was just a short few months ago (like November of 2012 – 3 months ago)

GarageBand Logo  GarageBand was the first obvious purchase -

  • PROS
  • So many very cool instruments built in
  • Capable of recording audio
  • Capable of using external MIDI keyboard to control internal sounds
  • Smart Instruments – go read their description and watch the video – very very cool, especially for elementary kids, middle school kids and those without the musical training needed to play the parts themselves!
  • Jam Sessions! Jam three friends (4 total people) over wi-fi or blue-tooth. How much fun would THIS be in a classroom setting! This is THE REAL GARAGEBAND FEELING!
  • Now has AudioBus integration! (This is huge for AudioBus for Apple to throw their support behind AudioBus!)
  • Has iPhone version and Desktop Versions
  • CONS
  • Will not play external MIDI keyboards!

MultiTrack Logo   MultiTrack DAW – my second purchase because of recommendations of friends on the internet! I LOVE people who share!

  • PROS
  • Great abilities when recording audio – 8 tracks of stereo upgradable to 24
  • per track compressor and EQ – also has delay and reverb built-in
  • Very simple to understand
  • AudioBus integration (one of the first DAW to do so!)
  • Will record up to 8 tracks of audio at once
  • CONS
  • No MIDI at all

MusicStudio Logo   MusicStudio – my third purchase – again because of friends on Twitter. There is a massive sea of apps out there – ask around to see what others are using and what is working well for them!

  • PROS
  • Records audio and MIDI both! (Yea!)
  • Records up to 24 tracks of audio at once!
  • AudioBus integration (just updated in March 2013?)
  • 127 track sequencer!
  • Instruments built-in
  • Has Effects built in – a bit limited though (read below)
  • Has iPhone version plus an LE version for free
  • CONS
  • Very disappointed to find out that there is no way to control the input level when recording audio! (At least I can’t find it yet!) As I am a Band Director this is a pretty vital feature!
  • Built-in Effects are somewhat limited. These are more of a global effects unit – you can have basically two effects groups – one for all the tracks or one that is on a separate bus or of course you can have tracks without effects at all. It is not a track by track basis by any means!

Meteor MultiTrack Logo    Meteor Multitrack Recorder – make sure you have at least 1 GB of free space available when using this app. The app itself takes only about 200mb but it requires more while running! You should also close all other apps to free up space. In fact, while using these audio related apps I have found this to be essential in having a successful session – no audio stuttering or apps quitting.

  • PROS
  • Records audio
  • Records MIDI
  • AudioBus integration (just updated in March 2013?)
  • 16 tracks of audio – upgradable to 24
  • CONS
  • Only records a stereo input?
  • Charges extra for the MIDI editor – Really? Come on people, if I am going to buy your app it is probably in part because of the ability to record MIDI! If I am recording MIDI then editing it is a basic function!

Auria Logo    Auria – This app is by far the one that seems the most professional – the one that seems the most like a professional recording studio full of effects, EQ’s and capabilities. This app has astounded people time and time again!

Have not purchased this one – I mean geesh – it’s $50! (There is a $25 version as well though if you want to get your feet wet here and try this out) Ouch! Don’t get me wrong… I am sure it is worth it but I am looking for something that I can use with my students on multiple iPads in the band room. $50 starts adding up really fast! Of course software for the desktop that does what this app is capable of would cost 3 to 5 times as much! Plus many of the plug-ins for Auria are 3 to 4 times cheaper for the iPad then they are for desktop versions!

  • PROS
  • From everything I can see this app is amazing in it’s ability to record audio
  • Records up to 24 tracks of audio at once! Plays back up to 48 tracks of audio at once!
  • Lots of plug-ins available as in-app-purchases (watch your kids! We don’t want any $2,500 bills here now people!)
  • CONS
  • Only does audio – no MIDI
  • I’ve read that this app is operated very much like a desktop app in that there are a lot of menus, clicking and such. Not enough use is made of the touch screen interface (just what I’ve read – not from personal use)

Cubasis Logo    Cubasis – This is from Steinberg. Have not purchased this one either for the same reason – it’s $50! Again… I’m sure it is worth it and the longer I look around for a cheaper option I think I might just have to go this route and pay the money! I am very intrigued by this company as this is now where many of the developers of Sibelius work now, after Avid went through their restructuring. I am holding high hopes for some amazing new technologies to come together in the form of Cubasis and a new notation program from the same company.

  • PROS
  • Records audio and MIDI
  • AudioBus integration
  • Unlimited audio and MIDI tracks!
  • Will record up to 24 tracks of audio at once!
  • Has a desktop version!
  • CONS
  • Price
  • No iPhone app

FL Studio Logo    FL Studio Mobile HD -

  • PROS
  • Record up to 8 tracks of audio at once
  • MIDI recording
  • Compatible with the PC Desktop version (In fact, if you use the desktop version you should buy the iPad version as well!)
  • Has a Desktop Version and iPhone version
  • CONS
  • User interface issues looks much like they just doubled an iPod screen
  • Effects only on the Main bus (working on a fix – 3-15-2013)

NanoStudio Logo    Nano-Studio – This app has been around for a long time (in iPad years anyways) and has a huge user base built up!

  • PROS
  • Some great internal synths/sounds
  • Desktop versions
  • Great built-in effects
  • Has iPhone version
  • CONS
  • No audio recording (does have a sampler though)
  • No MIDI
  • No AudioBus integration
  • Only 6 Simultaneous instruments unless you pay more $ for and in app purchase to get to 16

StudioHD Logog    Studio.HD – Not very familiar with this as it seems to be focused on using loops. For those that are into that though this could be a great choice. I would suggest the video they have on their web-site – it is very well done and highlights some exciting thing this app can do with ease! This developer has quite a few apps out there which tells me that he is not going away any time soon.

  • PROS
  • 24 Tracks of audio
  • Lots of effects built in – 14 total – 4 per track? plus master effects as well
  • You can record automation of items like volume, pan, effects settings
  • Can record multiple takes per track
  • 900 loops plus more as in-app-purchases
  • Has an iPhone app based off the same concept Studio.M (4 tracks of audio up to 8 tracks with iap)- not sure how compatible they are though
  • CONS
  • Lots of in-app-purchases (Although these feel more like things that are actually add-ons vs some apps where these in-app-purchases should have been included in the first place!)
  • No AudioBus integration
  • No MIDI

 

BeatMaker2 Logo   BeatMaker2 – (Read comment from Greg below)

In looking at all these other apps I have also ran across these Multi-Track audio recording apps -

n-Track Studio MultiTrack Recorder

CONCLUSION
If you have thoughts please let me know! Which is your favorite and why? Which of these do you own? What have you found to be huge benefits and drawbacks of these apps! Are there features you would like me to add to the list so you can compare the apps to each other?

I will keep updating this and will tweet at anytime I do post an update to the list.

iPads and Teaching Private Music Lessons – Can your life be better?

That question is what I approach every app that I use with – How is this app going to improve on my life? Is this app going to make my life easier? Can I do something because I have this app that I could not do before OR does this app allow me to do what I have been doing in a more efficient manner?

Moosic Studio AppCarlos, over at http://www.moosicstudio.com, had these questions in mind when he developed Moosic Studio. He developed this app to make Private Music Teachers, who have a music studio, more efficient. I love this paragraph from the App Store – “A music studio can be a chaotic and cluttered place. If your music studio was anything like ours, you probably have a laptop with Excel running, notebook, camera, maybe a video camera, a calendar, a stack of invoices, receipt book… all piled up and cluttering your piano workspace. On top of all this, you have students coming & going with their assignment binders.”

Moosic Studio is one of those apps that falls into the category of “not for everyone”. It also falls into the category of “expensive” compared to all other apps. I believe thought that this app is one of those apps that is indispensable and worth it if you are in the situation of needing to keep track of who you are teaching, what they are learning, who needs to pay you and needing a quick and fast way to do it!

You really need to sit down and work through all that Moosic Studio offers you. It is not an app that you will be able to “figure out” at one glance. You WILL be able to understand the basics of what it has to offer immediately though and get started quickly. Every time I sit down to enter more information into the app though I continue to find new capabilities and ways of tracking information.

Opening Screen

Opening Screen

Let’s Dig in – When you start the app this you will see the “opening screen” shot that i to the right.

This is your Dashboard – Here you can see projected income for the month (you do have to pay for this app some how right!) You will see a quick number of lessons remaining for the week, how many active students and how many items you have in your Music Library. On the left you find a list of basically the same items with a few additions. Tapping on the Projected Income for this Month does nothing currently – I believe Carlos is possibly going to be connecting future features here – right now it is informational only.

SCHEDULE
Tapping on the calendar icon is the same as tapping on the schedule – it pulls up a list of upcoming lessons on your callendar for the rest of the week. You see what time the lessons are scheduled for, who the lesson is with and what type of lesson it is. By type of lesson I mean – Piano, Guitar, Violin, Voice, Recital, Group Lesson, Camp, Workshop. Performance, Field Trip, Competition or Other Lesson. While looking at the schedule you have a nice feature available to you that allows you to print your schedule or email it – I really like how it looks when you do this.

Calendar View

Calendar View

STUDENT LIST
Tapping on the Active Students icon is the same as tapping on the student list – this brings you to what you would expect, a list of your current students. You can sort them by Instrument, Skill Level, Age, Grade or School Type. The useage of School Type here is an interesting choice to me. Not really sure how many teachers will find this useful.

Student List

Student List

LIBRARY
This is where you input all the materials you will be using for teaching your students. Things like Theory Books, Technique Books, Sheet Music, Sight-Reading you will use, Writing and Activity sheets and other types of things you would use to teach your students. you also get to list what level these materials are at. Later when you enter information for a students lesson you will be using items from this Library to fill in what the student has worked on and has been assigned to learn.

BILLING
This is currently a work in progress – Very useful in it’s current state though as this is where you will put in info about student’s parents and link them to a student.

LESSON INFORMATION
This is the fun part – Create a lesson for your student and schedule it.

Lesson Creation

Lesson Creation

Then you go in and start keeping track of what you are teaching those little buggers. You keep track of things like if they attended, if they brought stuff, how well they did, some comment that you make (These are not shared with the student), some notes (These ARE shared with the student), Circle of Fifths – materials used or to be used (This is from your Music Library) and then you can attach recordings – audio and video! I mean come on! How better to use that iPad with a video camera built in than to record specific items from a students lesson – like their finger position that they need to be reminded of – or a recording of you playing a demo of a piece or a recording of them playing ti to listen back to later. This would show improvement and allow you both to track how they are doing and what has been learned. You could even record their performance during the recital and stick it in here! How much fun is this going to be! Proof of what happens in the lessons when talking to Mom later.

Lesson Info

Lesson Info

Lesson Info Page

Lesson Info Page

 

CONCLUSION
If you are teaching private lessons – MoosicStudio is going to be a huge asset to you.

This is not one of those apps that you buy on a whim though. You have to know that you will use this app and make money back by saving time on your end and becoming more efficient.

Carlos is planning updates already – think invoicing. He is also going to continue to develop the app. Contact him if you have ways to make this app better! I do notice that the app school levels and terms are a bit more oriented with Europe than the US.

By the way this app is currnetly on sale because of the Music Education Expo going on in London so get it now at a much cheaper price! (3-20-2013) I am not sure how long the price will be lowered so….

 

Lesson Info Page

Opening Screen

SmartMusic for free! (If you are a new customer)

If you are not a SmartMusic customer yet y really need to take advantage of this deal! MakeMusic is offering new customers a chance for a year of free SmartMusic! All you need to do is attend three online clinics. See the link below for information….

SmartMusc free for a year

If you didn't know already, SmartMusic will be arriving for iPads this spring!

If you would like to visit the MakeMusic website and simply read up on what SmartMusic is all about here is the link to do that. Of course if you are a music educator and don't know what SmartMusic is then you need to go do this! It's free…. What better way to explore the possibilities!

 

 

Creating music with iPads

There have been some outstanding new developments in the world of music for iOS users this past few months!

First has been the actual release of AudioBus for iOS. As they say on the iTunes Store… This is a revolutionary new inter-app audio routing system allowing you to connect your AudioBus compatible apps together with virtual cables. In other words…. I can be playing a synth on my iPad, like Magellan, and record it into my MultiTrack DAW on the same iPad! This opens up very different possibilities of being able to record from a long list of currently compatable apps into other apps on one iPad instead of having to have two devices or using audio copy/paste. Check out their website for currently compatible apps as the list is changing almost daily!

In the late 80‘s I remember spending many hours programming keyboards for the ministry team at college that I was involved in. It was great fun to get inside of a synth patch and make all sorts of tweaks to it to come up with a new patch that was my own. Little did I imagine then, that I would be able to do this on an iPad with a color, touch screen! Check out the list of apps othe AudioBus page. I think there are some outstanding apps there that will make some outstanding music! Imagine if we could get these apps into the hands of our students in a non-traditional music class!

Audulus App

Audulus

Another major development is the development of apps that allow your creativity to fly to new heights! One of those apps that blew me away today is Audiolus. Audulud is a modular synthesis app that is available for the iPad as well as the Mac. This app allows you to create synth sounds from scratch, one step at a time! I can not begin to imagine the possibilities of this app in a music class combined with science concepts being integrated all in one mega fun unit! Your science teacher and you, the music teacher, could have a hay day with this app! You have got to watch the tutorials on their tutorial page! This tutorial in particular floored me when I started to get a grasp on what this app is capable of…. I love how it starts with a demonstration of the outcome and then it takes you back step by step to build the patch starting from absolutely nothing! (Wait…. isn't that the model for a great lesson plan?)

Lastly, I would like to leave you with a couple of great examples of amazing performances from people who are truly creating amazing music using iOS and iPads/iPhones. Both of these groups have active YouTube channels that I would suggest you subscribing to

The first person is Rheyne – Rheyne uses live looping with analog keyboards, USB controllers and iOS devices. The videos on his channel are all performed live! The integration he has between all the apps and devices is stunning! His music is digital and does not attempt to re-create an acoustic instrument performance!

The second group is the DigiEnsemble Berlin – This is a group of professional musicians trying to turn mobile devices into instruments. This group has music of both the electronic nature as well as classical and everything in between. You can see them recreating a classical string ensmeble using iphones and ipads for instance or performing Starlight (from the alternative rock band Muse) and then performing a magical, musical interpretation of Silent Night.

This sort of musical creativity needs to be taught in our schools alongside the traditional Band, Choir and General Music classes. Of course that means new classes need to be created and staffed! The biggest reason we need these sort of classes is that our students would be forced to become the innovators, the ones creating and designing the final product. There are not many programs like these in place yet so the development of this type of course is going to muddy water and the learning process will be messy. Let's wade in and get dirty!

 

Note for Note App

Are you a piano player but not a guitar player? Do you frequently have to work with a guitar player and help them figure out where to play chords on their guitar? Or maybe you play guitar but want to figure out how to play bass guitar. Well I’ve got an app for you!

The other night a developer contacted me about an app that was released in April. The app is called Note for Note. Now don’t go searching the app store for “Note for Note” just yet though because it will not come up in the search results for some reason. You actually have to search for “notefornote” without any spaces between the words. I found that a bit strange as the app name on my ipad has spaces in the name. Here is a link …. NoteforNote.

This app is one of those simple and to the point apps. It fulfills a need that I have had so many times in the past while teaching. I am a piano player and I also play bass guitar. For some reason, even though I have tried, I have never really been able to play 6 string guitar. Those chords and my fingers just don’t work well. Therefore when I have been working with a guitar player who is not a note reader it takes me too long to help them figure out chords and different voicings. With this app loaded on my iPad I will no longer have that issue. The app allows me to play a chord on the piano (on the bottom) and have all the different options of where I could play those notes on the guitar show up on the top. There are options for Guitar, Bass (4, 5, or 6 string) and Piano. If you are a guitar player but not a pianist then simply put the guitar on the bottom and the piano on the top. There is an option for playing only one note or chords.

If you are playing chords you have to play each note separately, hold it down, wait a split second then proceed to the next note of the chord. Otherwise the app does get freaked out.

Other than that one weirdness, I love this app. Like I said it fills a need in my teaching bag of tricks. I am appreciative of the developer letting me know about this app too. Of course that is one of the reasons I write this blog. We need to share great apps that we find that work well for us in our teaching of music education. That way we don’t have to dig through all the piles and piles of apps in the app store. Sometimes we would just not even be aware that there is an app that does a specific task. SHARE WITH EACH OTHER! Isn’t that one of those lessons our Mom’s made sure we learned a few years ago? Thanks Mom!

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