The iPad has become an incredible tool for musicians who wish to quickly and confidently record and produce live music on their tablet. Recently, I had the opportunity to produce and record a session for Ella Joy Meir, using just my iPad, software, and recording accessories. Last week, I covered when you might want to use an iPad and what you need to get started; now, let's talk about the actual recording and post-production process.
Recording, editing, and mixing
There are two versions of the Auria app: one that allows you to record up to 24 tracks (Auria LE, $25) and a more powerful version that can record up to 48 audio tracks (Auria, $50). Auria's touch interface is excellent: I really believe that using your fingers to trim, fade, cut, copy, and paste the audio regions is the easiest way to edit audio; it removes most of the layers (keyboard, mouse, and control surface) that stand between me and the music when I use more traditional computer-based recording systems. In my experience, the touch interface also makes editing a much speedier task. Another big advantage of Auria is that it offers many of the mixing features usually available only on a computer-based platform, including plug-ins (available via in-app purchase).
If you feel that the built-in plugins are not enough for your mixing needs, you can also get extra ones through the in-App purchase options, where you can find some really good compressors, convolution reverbs, equalizers, modulation effects, and amp simulators from companies like FXpansion, PSPaudioware, FabFilter, Over Loud, Positive Grids, and Sugar Bytes. You can even add the excellent drum replacement tool "Drumagog 5" or the pitch correction plug-in "ReTune" by Mu Technologies. For any serious mixing I highly recommend getting some of these extra plug-ins. They are very affordable, with prices ranging from $6 to $40, but with the majority being around $20. Auria features also a flexible input signal routing through the Input Matrix that allows me to route any physical input of my audio interface to any audio tracks inside the software.
While the combination of iPad and Auria creates a very powerful tool for music recording and mixing, there is still room for improvement. The lack of a "Take" or "Playlist" system, like that in Pro Tools, can make managing multiple takes cumbersome. This could be a potential deal-breaker for complex studio sessions.
Tips, tricks, and suggestions for a happy recording session
Want to tackle your own iPad recording session? Here are some tips I found invaluable in making my recording process run as smoothly as it did.
Maximize battery time: Fully charge your iPad before the session, and turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Reduce the brightness as much as possible.
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