2017
09/07
iPad Music Production Introduction
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So you’re a musician and you just got an iPad. At this point you probably want to know how to get started with iPad music production but don’t know where to start. The following quick start guide will give you the basics to get started without overwhelming you with the thousands of different apps available. I’m breaking it down into four simple items considering you CAN do everything within the box (pad) so to speak therefor I will not get into midi controllers and audio interfaces as that is taking things to another level and will be good for an additional topic of discussion.

I’d like to start by telling you a little about my self. I’m a composer with over 20 years in the music industry. I got my start producing royalty free loops for software companies (currently producing for Retronyms and Mixcraft) which led to a career in production music. Production music is music typically used for TV, film advertising, and video games otherwise known as sync. I got my first iPad for music production back in 2010 which is when I started this blog. At the time I was creating loop content for an iOS app that is no longer with us. The app was called Looptastic. Since then producing music on an iPad has become just as real as producing music on a desktop and laptop. iPads now have fast powerful processors and there are literally thousands of cool music creation apps out there. So with that said I would like to help you get started.

I know what you’re thinking. Where do I start? Well you might be following a popular blog such as my own and you’re probably aware of the many apps out there which is overwhelming I know. Don’t worry I’m here to break producing music on an iPad down to the core essentials. It’s really that simple.

1) Choosing your DAW – For those who are totally new to music production in general a DAW (digital audio workstation) is often times the central hub of your workflow. The DAW allows you to record, multi-track, sequence, arrange, and mix your music. Seems simple enough right? Well there are several options out there so you will want to spend a few hours researching the different DAWs available. Some DAWs are very open in regards to integration of other apps like Beatmaker 3, Cubasis and Auria for example where as some are a closed one stop shop type situation like Korg Gadget. I’ll get into that a bit later as you might want to look into getting both Korg Gadget AND an open DAW because Korg Gadget is really awesome. Most DAWs feature things like IAA (inter app audio), AU3 (audio unit 3), and Audiobus support as well as MIDI (musically integrated digital interface/instrument). MIDI is the language that allows synthesizers and drum machines to communicate with each other. It is also note information sent from those instruments as well as a few other things. I suggest googling MIDI if you want to know more about it. Eventually you will know everything about MIDI but honestly you can still write a wicked song with just the basics. Inter App Audio is a feature designed by Apple and it allows you to integrate apps from different sources and developers into your DAW much like a VST except you can ONLY integrate one instance of that app in a project unlike Audio Unit (also by Apple) which allows you to load multiple instances of an app within your project (DAW) similar to what we know as VST technology in the desktop world. Again if you are totally new and these terms confuse you PLEASE don’t hesitate to message me and google them. We will get you on the right path. I’m going to leave it at that because like I said I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed. These are the core essentials of what to look for in a DAW. To summarize does this DAW support IAA, AU, and MIDI.  SOOOOO to simplify things I want you to look and see if you got Apple Garageband with your iPad for free. You probably did. Garageband is a great place to practice and get your feet wet without having to spend any money or time researching other apps. You can do a lot with Garageband but it does have it’s limitations and you might want to expand your iPad production suite by investing in a totally different app like Auria, Cubasis, FL Studio Mobile, or Caustic to name a few. Will you also need to sync to hardware or other apps? If so there is a thing called MIDI sync (MIDI Clock) which until recently was the best way to sync BUT there is now a thing called Ableton Link which most DAWs support. Choosing the right DAW is really a matter of preference after you decide what is important to you. I used Cubasis because I use Cubase on my desktop DAW but I also have AUM and Audiobus at the center as well. Contact me http://ipadloops.com/about-ipad-loops/

2) Choosing a virtual mixing/routing app. iPad music production is quite unique because well you get a touch screen but it’s also unique because now you can have an additional hub to your workflow something to work beside your DAW. I’m referring to apps that act as extended routing and mixing. There are two popular apps for this at the moment and they are Audiobus 3 and AUM. These apps do similar things but they also have some features which are different from one another. Most iPad music producers own and use both apps!

 

 

3) File management – Apple did a great job of making the iPad file system unreachable so this really cool app came along and it’s called Audioshare. Audioshare is ESSENTIAL to all iPad music production studios. Why? It will help you record, manage, share, and organize your project files and samples. Go ahead and just buy it now you’ll thank me later

4) Your virtual sound palette – This is where things can get hairy. There are literally thousands of synths, drum machines, and instruments out there. Most of them are IAA instruments which means you can easily integrate them into your studio and SOME are also AU3 audio units which is even better. Those are two terms that will really mean a lot when choosing your sound palette. DAWs like Garageband and Cubasis come with a vast selection of virtual synths and drums so I suggest you start there. You will easily get buried in a sea of virtual instruments when you decide to step outside of your DAW for more sounds and inspiration which is actually a lot of fun but it’s only fun when you already have had time to wrap your head around the basics so don’t worry just take is slow. Try writing a song first with the sounds from your DAW then when you get comfortable dive into the sea of sound and choose your weapons of music construction wisely as they can really start to add up in regards to financial investments.

So there you have it. My intro to iPad music production in a nutshell. There is a lot more to it BUT this will get you started no doubt as these are the basic core essentials. Eventually when you get comfortable you will want to improve your workflow so it could take a bit of a little here and a little there. Don’t think about that yet. Remember it’s not the tools it’s what you do with them you can get the job done with these 4 essential items!

Recommended apps:

DAW BeatMaker 3 – INTUA

DAW Auria Pro – Mobile Music Production – WaveMachine Labs, Inc.

DAW Cubasis 2 – Mobile Music Creation System – Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH

DAW GarageBand – Apple

Vrouting/Vmixing AUM – Audio Mixer – Kymatica (Jonatan Liljedahl)

Vrouting/Vmixing Audiobus 3 – Audiobus Pty Ltd

File management AudioShare – audio document manager – Kymatica (Jonatan Liljedahl)

My artist spotlight on Retronyms:

http://blog.retronyms.com/2017/04/artist-spotlight-dj-puzzle.html

My guest spot on SonicTalk:

2013
09/28
Collaborative music studio for iPad
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Cotracks

Cotracks is a collaborative music studio for teamwork on a single iPad. With Cotracks you can create multiple layers of loops and phrases using multiple instruments. Cotracks is designed to maintain your creative flow and is always ready to capture your ideas, regardless whether you are flying solo or collaborating with others.

Collaboration is where Cotracks really stands out. Everyone in your session has the ability to play and record at will without disrupting or being disrupted by the workflow of others. This lets you lay down the foundation of a tune within minutes and makes Cotracks the perfect and inspiring tool for brainstorming new ideas within a group.

The loops you create may be exported as separate audio clips or as a mixdown audio clip which you may then import and use in any audio software supporting the common wave audio format.

DESIGNED FOR VARYING NUMBER OF USERS

You can start off creating music in a single user mode. Later when your friend decides to join in, you switch to a two user mode. The interface layout will adjust enabling convenient access to the application from both sides of the table. Whenever another friend happens to join you, the layout will adjust again enabling access from all four sides of the device, letting you team up with up to three friends for a super creative music session. Whenever one or more members leave the session, it is as easy as a single tap to switch back to the smaller team or to the single user mode, letting the remaining members continue from where the others left off.

DESIGNED FOR VARIABLY SKILLED USERS

Cotracks offers lots of fun at the same time for both novice and advanced musicians with the help of scale based keyboard, flexible quantize, sequence sharing and editing capabilities. For example, a novice musician may grab a copy of a complicated sequence played by a more experienced friend and edit the instrument, sound and effects, record modulation controllers over the sequence and tweak the various playback parameters including key and scale. Essentially creating something new and exiting without necessarily playing a single note. Cotracks is all about giving everybody the means to contribute, which takes the concept of music collaboration to a new level.

It’s like playing with a band, but this time you can record and play back your own parts, in perfect sync with others, and create the constituents for a great track at the same time. With Cotracks the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

FEATURES

MULTITRACK SEQUENCER
• up to 12 instrument tracks
• beat synchronized playback and recording

INTERFACE
• comfortable access for multiple users
• instruments may be arranged in multiple orientations
• dedicated interface modes for single user, two users and four users
• switch between interface modes with a single tap
• access four instruments simultaneously
• independent playback control constantly available for each instrument
• keys and ribbon controllers for synthesizers
• Futucraft’s dynamic beat synced repeater control
• repeater lets you play and record complex beat synced rhythmic textures
• XY-modulation control

EDITING
• nondestructive quantize and transpose
• change the playback scale of recorded sequences
• drag and drop copying of sequences between instruments

INSTRUMENTS
• polyphonic synthesizer with dozens of high quality instrument presets
• monophonic bass/lead synthesizer with dozens of high quality instrument presets
• sample player with a library of professional quality samples from Inspire Audio
• programmable XY-modulation
• band-limited oscillators to ensure professional grade sound quality

FX
• stereo delay
• stereo phaser
• 2 equalizer units
• dedicated units for each track

FILE
• export each instrument to separate audio clip
• export all in one audio mixdown clip
• export and import sessions via iTunes in XML format for backup and sharing

SUPPORT
• on-screen help and tips
• online support integrated in app
• video tutorials

Cotracks is available for $4.99

  • iPad Loops is a music app blog dedicated to exposing the best iPad apps for iOS musicians, producers, and Djs. This is not a database of every app. It is, however, one of useful recommendations from someone with many years in music production. I try to update it on a daily basis (ok sometimes every two days) and I do my best to post useful apps only. My name is Jason Donnelly (Dj Puzzle). You might know me from my royalty free loop packs and sound design. Some of the apps that contain my loops are Retronyms AudioCopy, LP-5, iPRO.DJSAMPLER, Looptastic, and Audio Elements. My work is published by Magix Soundtrack Loops, Sample Logic, Pakotec, Loopmasters, Acoustica, Xmix, Sound Trends, and many more. Subscribe to our RSS feed below to get updated when new apps are posted.

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