Roli Seaboard Blocks on BIG Sale

Wowza – this is quite the prices savings if you have been waiting to pick up a ROLI Seaboard Block…

This is a GREAT time to jump in and grab these amazing instruments that have totally changed the options we have available to us for very a expressive experience! They DO take a bit of getting used to but wow!

Black Friday Sale Link

Now… there is another side to this story. If you have been following the news at ROLI you will know that they have just released new software and hardware. I’ve been trying to get a straight answer from the folks at ROLI about the differences in old hardware and the new. But apparently I don’t have the right connections – BUT I did find the answer straight from Marcus on their tech support forums. THIS is the answer I was hoping for! Bless you Roli! I love a company that has the ability to update my instrument through firmware!

Check out the short version below and then if you want the full read click here

Auria Goes PRO! Now THERE is some news worth reading!

Auria Header

Over at the Auria discussion boards it was announced today that one of THE big DAW apps for iPad is going to be going to a new version which will be called “Auria Pro”.

If you are not familiar with what Auria is currently here it is…. Auria is one of the leading Digital Audio Workstations for iPad offering 48 tracks of digital audio playback from iPad and 24 tracks of simultaneous recording! I’ve said it before… when the concept of Auria was first introduced people could not believe that this would ever happen!

Now Auria is taking the next step…. of course we have heard rumors that this was going to happen but now it is official with the first public showing happening at the upcoming NAMM show! Here is the run down with some screen shots of the new and might I say much improved UI….

Some of you who are still using older iPads are going to want to start thinking about upgrading to an iPad Air or iPad Air2 because it is my guess that these new features are not going to do so well on much less – iPad2 is gonna be out as the current version of Auria won’t run that well on it.

Another thought – for those of you who are freaking out at the $49.99 price tag because you have never spent more than $1.99 on an app….. This is a pro app, this gives you functionality that has only been available on desktop apps in the past and those apps have cost $200 up to $500!

New Features: (I have bolded the items that are the main head liners……)

– Comprehensive MIDI capabilities including:
– MIDI sequencing
– Tempo and Time-signature tracks
– Piano roll editor
– Real-time MIDI parameters including quantize, velocity shift, velocity compression,
length compression, random, delay, legato and transpose
– Groove template quantizing with built-in DNA grooves (additional grooves available for
– MIDI processing functions including Transpose, Fixed Length, Velocity Gain, Fixed
Velocity, Delete Notes, Delete Controller, Restrict Polyphony, Optimize Controller Data,
Humanize, Delete Overlaps, Crescendo, Reverse, Pedal to Length, Velocity Rescale,
Velocity Range, Velocity Curve and Compress/Limit
– FabFilter Twin 2 Analog synth built in
– WaveMachine Labs multi-format sampler built in
– Powerful new audio routing with flexible busses
– Real-time audio warping using Elastique Pro v3
– Audio quantize feature
– Transient slicing
– Audio to MIDI conversion – WHAT!?! 
– Unlimited tracks
– 6 AUX sends
– Project templates
– Updated graphics and overall performance improvements

Auria Pro will be available Spring 2015 and will be priced at $49.99, and existing Auria users will also be able to upgrade to Auria Pro for a reduced price. I have no idea what the upgrade price will be but the full version of the current app is on a 50% sale for $24.99. Pricing for the standard Auria version will be staying at $24.99.

editor_detail editor midi_control mixer piano_roll warp_markers

Pocket Studio by XME is Free! A 98 Track Digital Audio Workstation on your iPad…

What’s to think about it’s free! Go get it – Especially if you haven’t bought yourself an app that does the the whole digital audio workstation bit yet!

Plus their BeatPad Small IconBeatPad is on sale for $2.99 (down from $5.99). BeatPad and PocketStudio work hand in hand. Pass your beats you create in BeatPad off to PocketStudio then record your keys, vocal and guitar into PocketStudio. Don’t forget to add some live horns in there too!

Pocket Studio LargePocket Studio by XME here is a list of top features to tempt you even more….

• 96 Tracks! YES, NINETY SIX TRACKS! Create as many tracks up to 96 as your iOS device will let you. 
• BeatPad midi plugin: Tap the folder icon/new/track/midi then tap the Midi Track’s input button to select BeatPad. 
• Audiobus
• Record Digital Audio from devices plugged into dock connector 
• Record audio and midi tracks in each session 
• Available reverb and delay effect sends for each track 
• Unlimited Songs 
• Beautiful Design 
• Import Audio from Your Music Library  
• Import audio from email 
• Record audio from thousands of online radio stations 
• Quantize midi tracks to keep notes in sync 
• Tap and hold metronome button to reveal metronome UI 
• Tap and hold Input button to quickly reveal input plugin (BeatPad or Online Radio for example) 
• 118 BeatPad Kits available for download 
• Quick Punch Recording 
• Tap Docs button/NewTrack/Midi then set BeatPad as the input to create BeatPad midi tracks

BeatPad LargeFEATURES 
– Create Custom Kits by sampling microphone audio or Importing audio from email and the web! 
– Share your custom kits with friends! 
– Download Kits made by others from around the world 
– Universal App Installs on iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch! 
– Quantize: Automatic Note Sync keeps you on beat
– Email Your Beats to EVERYONE! 
– Upload Your Beats to SoundCloud, YouTube & Your FaceBook wall 
– Professional Sound Banks used by Real Producers
– 8 Channel Music Sequencing 
– Type and Save Your Lyrics to Each Song 
– Easy to use interface.. 
– Send your song files to friends for collaboration

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 –

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.


Creating Music with iPads


I was “One of Those” that said, “The iPad is more for consuming than creating.” Of course that was the first 6 months I ever owned my iPad (which was the first 6 months they were available – I bought the original iPad the day it came out. Go read my first blog post on this blog to find out my adventure THAT day!)

Now I would never even think that quote! Yes, I still use my iPad to consume plenty but I also use my iPad to do things my laptop used to take care of for me. In fact there are activities I don’t even consider touching my laptop for anymore!

One area that I don’t have time to explore very often during the school year is creating music on my iPad. It seems with all the day to day activities of teaching that I totally loose touch with musical explorations and composing. I’ve been taking more time lately to do this and I am floored at what I can do with an iPad and a few apps. I am not going to give you a history lesson here but I will say that at one time in my career I dreamed of creating a wonderful MIDI lab outfitted with computers, keyboards, speakers and mixers for my students to use. That dream never happened because of the crazy cost involved. My dream has been reshaped. Here is what I’ve found….

You have to have a multi-track recording app to start with in order to really have fun here. There are plenty of apps out there – the most obvious one is of GarageBand for the iPad, then the list goes on from there. On the cheaper end of things there is MultiTrack DAW from HarmonicDog, Meteor MultiTrack Recorder from 4 Pockets Audio, Music Studio from Xewton, and NanoStudio from Blip Interactive. If you really want to get serious then there are a couple of big players (read as expensive for one thing!) – Cubasis by Steinberg and Auria App by WaveMachine Labs.

Cubasis Logo1st Block – All of these apps will allow you to record multiple tracks of audio. You play, it records – simple! In fact, Auria was one of those apps that blew everyone away when it was first publicized because many could not fathom the iPad being able to record 48 tracks of digital audio! We all held our breath hoping this dream would come true and it finally did come true. It works very, very well too!

Many of these above apps will also allow you to use the synths built into the app in order to record multiple tracks alongside the audio (MultiTrackDAW and Auria strictly audio apps, no synths or drum machines built-in). You should be familiar with GarageBand, these other apps are much the same idea. Drums, Keyboards, Flutes, Bass, Synth… you name it they are all there!

I own and use both Cubasis and MultiTrack DAW. I finally bought Cubasis because of the added support for MIDI and AudioBus. AudioBus….. if you are not familiar with what AudioBus is you will be before you finish this post! It is the glue that takes the apps I just mentioned and intertwines those with other amazing apps. AudioBus is the 2nd Block

AudioBus2nd Block – AUDIOBUS
AudioBus is what brings apps together! Many of the above apps have synths and drum machines available along with the ability to record audio or MIDI but the real fun comes in when you can also take other stand alone apps and use them as inputs for the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Again, AudioBus was one of those apps that people could not believe would work when the press releases first came out. We held our breath and prayed that AudioBus would actually do what was being promised. I’m so glad to be able to say that it works wonderfully! In fact it works so well that Apple made and unprecedented move and built support for it into GarageBand. Apple doesn’t support 3rd party apps on a whim!

So if AudioBus is what brings our Apps together than why would we even need this capability? Well this brings us to the 3rd Block….

I use the word Instrument loosely here because I am talking about a wide variety of apps here. Synths, Drum Machines, Guitar simulators, Vocal apps, Looping apps, Arpeggiators, DJ Turntables apps and Sampling apps to name a few! Even apps that Band and Choir Directors should be using in rehearsals like AnyTune Pro+ from AnyStone Technologies and TonalEnergy Tuner from Sonosaurus – If you are a music teacher in anyway shape or form you really need those two apps by the way!

There are some $5, $10, $15 and $20 apps out there that are the equivalent of my Roland X8 keyboard that I payed $2,500 for!

This past couple of weeks has seen some outstanding apps released that have really raised the bar for what is possible on an iPad.
ThorThor is one and the other is Nave Nave. If you have not seen these two apps and watched some of the videos about what they are capable of you need to YouTube them, check out the companies websites and the tutorials listed there.

Here are some of the other outstanding apps that I use and enjoy.

Alchemy, AniMoog, Figure, Impactor, Magellan, Seline Ultimate, SunRizer, ThumbJam and DrumJam

One of the reasons I find these sort of apps so outstanding and fun is that they offer me ways to manipulate the music/sound that I have never had before. They also make working with different scales fun and easy! There are new ways to interface with the music too – no longer am I tied to a traditional keyboard! Impactor for instance lets me tap on my desk and have it turn into drum sounds!

So with your multitrack app of your choice (I would start with GarageBand) and AudioBus and one of the Input apps (I would start with ThumbJam or AniMoog) get your creative hat on and start playing around! I would just start messing around with the different interfaces, like the smart instruments in GarageBand, until you found something “cool”. Use that as a starting block, record something! Then start adding to that until you have a song!

This we all learned in BEFORE kindergarten, Share with others! SoundCloud is a simple app and service that is free. In short, SoundCloud is your record company that will allow you to publish your work to the world! Their iOS app is wonderful! Below I have included the link to one of my songs that I uploaded onto SoundCloud which would give you a chance to try out and explore SoundCloud if you are not familiar with it. Listen to my song and leave me a comment! I use SoundCloud all the time with my High School Band…. we upload a recording of rehearsal and then they go evaluate the recording by leaving comments. The comments show up “in time” with the wave form as the audio plays, it is very slick! (This is an entire new blog post….)

This is one of my creations to give you an example of what is possible. I used Cubasis and AudioBus. I ended up with 13 tracks of recorded material – 2 of those were soft synths inside of Cubasis and the rest were all digital audio from another app. Here is the list of apps I used – Nave, Thor, ThumJam and SunRizer. I did all of this on my iPad2 sitting in my easy chair, my bed as I was getting ready to sleep, in the car on the way to town and in the public library! (why else would you go to the library right?)

I call it Sachabac because it is based off from the Sabach scale from Europe (of which I know nothing about so go Google it!)

One of the reasons I like Thor and Cubasis is that they also have desktop versions of their apps. That means you can start a project on your iPad and move to your regular computer later to finish it, change it and even transfer it back to your iPad! Versatility is wonderful.

I have had some issues with Cubasis – for it being the price that it is I don’t really expect to have issues like these. One of those issues showed up tonight for the first time ever – My melody line recording got moved ahead one measure in the mix down! It was only the last 3rd of the song that got moved ahead like that, very weird. The other issue I was having was that the app would crash when I would try using it with an external audio interface (an Griffin iMic). That is not listed on their web site as an interface that is actually supported so I cannot blame them BUT that interface worked just fine with Harmonic Dogs’ MultiTrack DAW! With that being said…. I am very glad I spent the money on Cubasis and have NOT asked for a refund!

One last warning – on my iPad2 the processor is taxed to it’s limits doing this stuff! 90% of the time it works fine. There are times though, with Nave especially, that the audio just stutters and I have to choose a different sound to use. When recording audio like this I wholeheartedly believe that you actually need to use the force quite function on your iPad! Quite every single app in your dock, in fact after doing that, re-boot your iPad! I never ever use the force quite capability any other time… go google it if you don’t believe me that it really is not neccesary usually.

Auria App has been released! iPad DAW re-defined!

If you are looking for a way to record audio on your iPad you know have a new amazing option as of today.

Auria by WaveMachine Labs is an app that allows you to record up to 24 tracks of digital audio at a time and will playback up to 48 tracks of audio at a time. Not only will it record but there are effects built-in for you to apply to those tracks. You can edit your recordings and master the final recording. I think we will be seeing some awesome music being created with this app.

The app has been keeping many people checking the website for news of the app approval by Apple for a while now. I have not had the $49 dollars to purchase it yet so I can not personally state how well this app works compared to MultiTrack DAW by Harmonicdog for instance.

Of course you will need an audio interface to keep all those 48 tracks of your wonderful creativity into your iPad. There is a page listing audio interfaces that have been tested with Auria. None of these interfaces actually allow for recording 24 tracks at a time so I am wondering how WaveMachines Lab tested the 24 track limit. They must have chained a couple devices together. If you are looking at these interfaces there is a significant thought to keep in mind…. what is listed as the number of inputs on most of these interfaces is not “really” what most of us will be utilizing. For instance, the PreSonus 1818VLS claims 18 inputs. most of us are really interested in only ever using 8 of those inputs. 8 of those inputs are for the mic/line level/instrument inputs that we commonly use. There are SPDIF and ADAT inputs to account for the other 10 to get to 18 total. Who uses those anyways?

If you grab this app let us know how well it works. It’ll be awhile before I get it as the price tag is a bit steep for me. Don’t get me wrong though… I think this app is totally worth that price! The website states that this is only the introductory price too. Makes me wonder if they are planning on raising the price at some point.

MultiTrack DAW – The Question is not “What is Possible” it is “How Do I Do It?”

The first year I owned an iPad I had to tell people that the iPad was meant, so far, as mostly a consumption device not a creation device. About the time the iPad2 was released things started changing and I felt like I could use the iPad for creating more often.

Of course the biggest problem is that we have to go through a major paradigm shift using an iPad. I think that the iPad can do WAY more than what most of us have a grasp on. The question about what the iPad is capable of doing should never be “What is possible using my iPad?” The question should be, “How can I do_____ (fill in the blank)?” For instance I’ve been on the search for an audio interface. After doing a LOT of digging I discovered that I could use a Griffin iMic, which I had like 4 or 5 of because of using SmartMusic. I reached up on my shelf, grabbed one, plugged in the camera connection kit into my iPad and went to my keyboard. I was trying a free version of MusicStudio and found that I could indeed record audio using that iMic into my iPad!

One problem – it was noisy! Don’t get me wrong – I was enjoying the recording – but there was no way I could actually use this for a serious recording in a real situation. Fun, yes – useful, no.

After all the research on the web I did finally buy MultiTrack DAW from Harmonicdog. (Thanks Simeon for giving me the last push!). Even though I knew the iMic was noisy I still plugged it in and tried out the new app. This app actually had a solution to the noise though! There was a way to lower the input level! (which might be in MusicStudio as well but I couldn’t find it! More on that in a minute) Because I could lower the input level on the iPad input I then could turn up the output level on my keyboard and get an acceptable signal to noise ratio! There was still just a little bit of noise but it worked for now!

I used the 1/8″ stereo to 1/4″ mono adaptor cable to get my keyboard outputs into the iMic (by the way if you are still using those little RCA to 1/4″ adaptor plug’s…. get one of these cables instead!). I also used my headphones so I could record multiple tracks. I then proceeded to record 5 tracks. All of these tracks were a one shot deal (I did not bother to go back and edit out mistakes or do multiple takes to fix things) The only thing I did do was cut out a few short things when one of the pad sounds was making things too mucky.


Click to see larger version of file sizes on my iPad.

Why in the world I picked a Christmas song I don’t know but I did! I also picked a song that I still do not know very well. In other words don’t listen to the mistakes. Use the recording as a sample of the quality that is possible! I also picked a song that was really long on purpose – it’s 5:37. I wanted to see how much room these recordings were going to take. Click the picture on the right to see how large the recordings were. I also wanted to see what the iPad would do with a long recording like that. (The iPad never hesitated a second! It takes a few seconds to draw the waveforms though. I was never bothered by this.) I did not mess around with any EQ or effects or any other plugin’s or anything like that – I usually don’t when I am coming straight from my keyboard.

I think the recording on my iPad was as good of a quality as the other ones I have done straight to my laptop with Logic Pro and GarageBand. Again, we are not discussing plug-ins and all the fancy stuff. I was able to do edits as I expected to on the iPad – things like cut out a few things, added a couple of fade outs and I was able to adjust once when I cut a little bit too much off a clip. I went back and added back in the part I clipped off just a bit early. If you listen in the very beginning you can hear what little bit of noise was left after adjusting my input left. MultiTrackDAW was pretty quick to figure out and worked as I would expect it to intuitively. The only thing I had a bit of trouble figuring out was how to set the track to a stereo recording. Even after reading the help file I still did not “get it” but after playing with and studying the pop up controls closer I found that all I had to do was slide my finger down or up by the rec enable button.

I invite you to listen to the recording I uploaded to SoundCloud from within DAW – just be nice 🙂 If you want a comparison to coming straight from my keyboard to my laptop then you are welcome to listen to some of the other songs on my SoundCloud.

There are several sharing options built into DAW.You can email, use SoundCloud (A nice surprise) or do a mix down into the iTunes file sharing folder. The app supports three file formats – wav, ogg or m4a. There are a bunch of Bitrates supported too – 128, 144, 160, 192, 224, 240 and 256. The file that is linked on SoundCloud is from a m4a at 192 bitrate.

Creating a Mixdown version of my song in wav format was much faster than creating an m4a. To be fair, I’m sure that the reason it took longer was because not only was it Mixing down (bouncing down) my 5 tracks but it was also compressing the file. I think in the future I would do this on the laptop. The capability HAS to be built into the app though because then you don’t NEED a laptop to create a recording and then email it to someone.

This is going to be REALLY fun! Way cool!
 Listen on SoundCloud

The price point here is staggering between what is possible with my iPad compared to what we had to spend 5 years ago to get this same setup! Even when you take into account the price of the iPad!

For Educators looking to expand offerings to their students this sort of experience is a very real life experience of how a student could end end up making money doing music, something they love!