With pro audio companies like Shure, IK Multimedia, Apogee, and more releasing iOS-specific mics and interfaces, the iPad is expanding what the mobile platform is capable of in the studio, on stage, as well as at the front of house.
One of the genuine strengths of the iPad is how it gives producers and engineers a tactile approach that was often missing from the computer experience. When heavyweights such as Korg and Moog started developing for iOS, the iPad as a performance device became apparent. Suddenly, world-class synth sound engines, coupled with hands-on control of parameters, freed you from reaching for a mouse every time you wanted to tweak a tone.
Pros and amateurs alike are now using the iPad as more than a toy—as a capable, unique addition to their production rigs. For those who miss the responsive control of traditional keyboards or pads, third-party controllers are available. The iPad can easily be transformed into nearly any style synth or drum machine, giving beat makers and musicians instant access to parameters, modulation controls, and much more.
Obviously, the portability of the iPad is an attractive feature, because it allows the device to be integrated into live performances in several ways. iPads have found favor with DJs, keyboardists, and musicians of all sorts. With apps and powerful peripherals, the iPad has snuck its way into guitarists’ rigs, vocal chains, and DJ setups.
As the iPad’s processing power continues to grow, along with its storage capacity, so has its use for recording, editing, and mixing audio and MIDI. iPad Pros now sport powerful computing, with multi-core CPUs running in 64 bit, and other features that render them ideal for mobile music making.
Apple has a version of its GarageBand program for the iPad, and apps from third-party developers, such as Cubasis (from Steinberg), or FL Studio Mobile HD (from Image-Line), allow your iPad to handle dozens of tracks simultaneously for mix-down and export. But, unlike your typical computer, the iPad is hands-on with your editing in the most literal way, which can make critical waveform editing efficient and intuitive.
Also, many desktop Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) provide ancillary iPad-control apps that let you control your favorite DAW in a more tactile manner. Notably, Apple’s own Logic Pro, Avid’s Pro Tools, and Steinberg’s Cubase all have apps that, when connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the computer running your DAW, allow you to automate various parameters and control faders, as well as give you transport controls that are great when you must track your own vocals.
Tell us about your audio-production experiences with the iPad, below.