iPad DAWs Overview

A lot of people are looking for the answer which iOS DAW is better: Cubasis or Auria, BeatMaker or NanoStudio or may be something else… We will go through the most popular iPad DAWs. I don’t want to say here that one DAW is better then the others but to help you decide which one better suite your needs.

However not all the music apps listed here provide even basic features (like for example FL Studio, NanoStudio and Tabletop doesn’t support audio tracks and Auria doesn’t support virtual instruments/midi tracks) we’ve made a comparison of this apps as if you need to choose only one for music production. But a lot of mobile music producers would prefer to use different apps for different purposes.

Auria

Auria - Music Production

by WaveMachine Labs, Inc.

Auria - Music Production

Auria - Mobile Music Production. Redefined.

"This is the first mobile mixing (AND recording AND post production) app that I've ever used that is truly professional. Just Wow !" - David Kahne (Grammy winning producer/engineer for Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, Stevie Nicks, Sublime, The Bangles, Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor)

•TEC Awards 2012 Nominee•
•Computer Music Innovation Award•
•Computer Music Performance Award•
•Sound on Sound 2013 Awards Nominee•
•Electronic Musician Editor's Choice Award•

Auria is a mobile music production system designed from the ground up for the iPad. With professional-level features like third-party plug-in support from names like FabFilter, PSPAudioware and Drumagog (optional purchases), AAF support and more, Auria clearly sets a new standard for mobile recording.

"Prepare to be amazed." – Computer Music Magazine

“...I was immediately convinced that this is the hottest musical app to make it to the iPad so far...” – Recording Magazine

FEATURES:
• Unlimited audio tracks
• Up to 24 tracks of simultaneous recording when used with compatible USB audio interfaces (Camera Connection Kit required)
• 24-bit recording
• Vintage-inspired ChannelStrip on every channel by PSPAudioware includes Expander, Multiband EQ and Compressor
• MasterStrip on all subgroup and master channels featuring PSPAudioware BussPressor, EQ and Mastering Limiter
• 64 bit double-precision floating point mixing engine
• Third party plugin support available via in-app purchase
• MIDI Sync support with MTC Chase, MIDI Clock and MMC
• MIDI Remote Control (Mackie MCU and HUI protocol)
• Supports sample rates of 44.1KHz, 48KHz and 96KHz, at 24 bits (iPad 1 only 44.1KHz and 48KHz)
• AAF import and export allows transferring complete sessions between popular DAWs like Logic, Pro Tools, Nuendo, Samplitude and others
• Convolution reverb plugin with included IR library by MoReVoX
• ClassicVerb reverb plugin included
• StereoDelay and StereoChorus plugins included
• 8 assignable subgroups and 2 aux sends
• Time Stretching using ZTX technology
• Real-time audio scrubbing
• Ripple Edit mode
• Tempo sync and side chain support for plug-ins
• Powerful waveform editor with features like cut/copy/paste, crossfade, duplicate, separate, gain, normalize, dc offset, reverse, and more
• Flexible snapping tools allow snapping to events, cursor, bars, beats and more
• DropBox, SoundCloud and Audio Copy/Paste support
• AudioUnit (AUx) and Inter-app Audio support (IAA)
• Audiobus support
• Track freeze for minimizing CPU usage
• Full automation support on all controls with graphical editing
• True 100mm faders when used in Portrait Mode
• Adjustable pan law
• Optional video import feature allows sample accurate sync of video to an Auria project
• Timeline ruler options include minutes:seconds, bars:beats, samples and SMPTE time
• Auto-punch mode
• WIST support for wireless syncing of other compatible music apps
• AuriaLink allows two iPads running Auria to play and record in sync, allowing for 96 tracks of playback and 48 tracks of recording
• Full delay compensation on all tracks, subgroups, and aux sends
• Adjustable metering modes, including pre or post fader, RMS and peak
• Sample accurate loop function
• Automatic sample rate conversion
• Built-in metronome

REQUIREMENTS:
iPad 4 or later recommended
Compatible with all iPad models
iOS 7 or later
USB audio interfaces require Camera Connection Kit

Pro Tools is a trademark of Avid, Inc.
Logic is a trademark of Apple, Inc.
Nuendo and is a trademark of Steinberg, GmBH
Samplitude is a trademark of MAGIX.
AudioCopy and AudioPaste are trademarks of Sonoma Wire Works.
Mackie is a trademark of LOUD Technologies, Inc.

Auria is first truly professional DAW for the iPad. In terms of audio quality and features (processing audio, mixing and mastering), nothing else comes close yet. Auria was designed from the ground for iPad and with this app that you don’t need desktop DAW anymore – you can do everything on the iPad.

Recording and processing are what make Auria standout. No other mobile DAWs can record up to 24 channels at once, and Auria offers true VST plugins from plugin makers like PSP and FabFilter. Now there is an impressive list of plugins available in Auria in-app store: FabFilters Micro, Pro-C, Pro-DS, Pro-G, Pro-L, Pro-Q, Saturn, Timeless 2, Volcano 2; WaveMachine’s Classic Verb Pro and Drumagog, PSP’s Echo, MicroWarmer, oldTimer, PianoVerb 2. Plus there are built in Convolution Reverb, Classic Verb, Retune, PSP Channel and Master Strips.

All these effects were ported as is from desktop versions so you can expect same high quality of plugins but for much less price (price per plugin defers from 10$ to 30$ which is 3-5 times cheaper then desktop VSTs). Lack of support of virtual instruments is definitely weakness of the app for electronic music production but developers committed to provide support in future releases. One of the greatest features of Auria is desktop style implementation of automation. You can automate almost any parameter of plugins.

Interface and workflow

Classical multitrack DAW interface with tracks, timeline and audio region and high quality plugins and effects make this app great for live recording, arranging and mixing. There are two main screens: Mixer and Track Editor. Mixing console is intuitive and looks similar to desktop DAWs. For better accuracy turn iPad in portrait mode and you’ll get much larger faders. Multitrack editor is also similar to ProTools/Cubase/Logic approach but it takes some time to get used to gestures to operate with clips.

Pros:

  • Recording up to 24 tracks
  • Professional level audio processing and mixing
  • Great third-party VST plugins support

Cons:

  • No midi tracks/virtual midi support
  • Some user interface elements come from desktop interfaces and are not optimized for smaller screens and touch control

 


 

BeatMaker 2

BeatMaker 2

by INTUA

BeatMaker 2

*** BEATMAKER 3 IS AVAILABLE NOW ! ***

BeatMaker 2: Advanced mobile music workstation.

Combining music production tools that were behind the success of countless artists, BeatMaker 2 is a powerful, easy-to-use composition interface for amateurs and professionals alike.

Build your own virtual home-studio, create multiple instruments and connect them to a full-range of audio effects.
Compose, record, arrange and transform your ideas into complete songs, ready to be shared with others.

Import your own sounds or use the sound library provided: more than 170 high-quality instrument and drum presets from synthesizers to realistic orchestral sounds. You can even import songs from your iPod library!

Connect your MIDI accessories for an external control of BeatMaker's instruments, effects and mixer, ideal for home-studio productions and live performances. Compatible with audio interfaces with the Camera Kit (iPad only).

Works on all iPhone, iPod and iPad models starting with third generation devices (iPhone3GS, iPod3G 32GB, iPhone 4/4S/5, all iPads).

* STUDIO:
- Create multiple instruments with Drum Machine, Keyboard Sampler, Audio Tracks
- 11 effects: Reverb, Compressor, Filter, Delay, EQ, Flanger, Chorus, AutoPan, BitCrusher, Overdrive, 6-Band Parametric EQ
- 3 effect slots for each instrument
- CoreMIDI support: connect your MIDI accessories to control instruments, effects and mixer.

* DRUM MACHINE:
- 128 trigger pads: 16 pads over 8 banks
- Chop Lab: Slice audio loops to automatically create new sound presets
- Control sound parameters on individual pad: volume, pan, mute, output bus, semitone, fine tune, reverse and autoscaling
- Low/high pass filter per pad
- Pad trigger modes: one-shot, hold & loop
- ADSR Envelope ADSR control for each pad
- Exclusive groups and polyphony management
- "Live" modes: trigger, mute, reverse, velocity and tune spreading.
- Pad copy & paste

* KEYBOARD SAMPLER
- 128-key keyboard with pitch wheel, double keyboard mode, note display and zoom controls
- Easily create your own instruments from any sample combination with the keygroup editor
- Volume and filter ADSR envelopes
- Low/high pass filter with key tracking
- 2 LFOs to control volume, pitch and filter parameters
- Polyphony control, up to 32 voices
- Legato play mode with glide
- Velocity layers

* AUDIO TRACKS:
- Add audio tracks for recording and sample playback directly on the sequencer
- Record multiple audio tracks simultaneously
- Gain and noise gate on audio inputs
- Support for disk streaming to load samples without consuming RAM

* MULTI-TRACK SEQUENCER
- Create unlimited instrument, audio and FX tracks
- Automations: Record, edit and replay instrument and effect parameters
- Record, draw, arrange and resize patterns along the timeline to build your song
- Compose and modify patterns with a piano-roll interface. Edit notes, parameters and automations.
- Instrument and effect recording options: Quantize, take or partial undo, pre-roll, Overdub, note erasing.

* WAVE EDITOR
- Full-fledged wave editor with intuitive interface for manipulating samples
- Basic edition tools: trim, cut, copy, paste, with undo/redo
- High quality time-stretching and pitch-shifting algorithms
- Audio tools: normalize, silence, reverse, fade in and out, cross-fade
- Record new samples from microphone or instruments
- Loop points and tempo/signature editor

* MIXER CONSOLE
- Realistic multi-track mixer with level meters
- Edit volume, pan, solo, mute and bus routing features for each track
- Four sends available for each instrument/audio tracks

* LARGE SOUND BANK INCLUDED

* SHARING & GLOBAL OPTIONS
- MIDI files import/export
- MIDI Out, Sync, Thru support
- Virtual MIDI support
- Korg's WIST support
- Transfer files from/to your computer via iTunes or FTP
- Import songs from your iPod library to create new remixes
- Upload songs to your SoundCloud account
- DropBox support
- Share audio content via iOS pasteboard

If you take a look at the features list Beatmaker 2 looks fantastic: midi and audio tracks, sampler and drum machine, sending virtual midi to external apps, sidechain compression, timestretching, automation and other good things.

Beatmaker 2 is the powerfull mobile studio but you could expect something more for the iPad version. Some user interface solutions looks like they just was ported from iPhone without any rethinking on how it should be on iPad. Sequencer and MIDI editor interface looks very similar to NanoStudio and navigation with sliders is not what you are expecting from multi-touch device when you open the app.

Beatmaker 2 comes with two types of instruments: Drum Machine and Sampler. Actually Sampler is very powerful as it supports samples mapping to keyboard regions and multiple layers of samples.

Some workflow solutions are non-intuitive and BM2 is the only iPad DAW I looked for tutorials on youtube (other apps seems to be more intuitive). For example simple operation like pasting audiofile on audiotrack brings me to see 2 tutorials on youtube and only after that I found how to do this.

Integration

  • Import: iPod import, Pasteboard, iTunes Share, WiFi transfer, Dropbox
  • Export: Pasteboard, iTunes Share, WiFi Transfer, Dropbox

Pros:

  • Polished interface
  • Timestretching and pitch shifting
  • Large sampled library
  • Virtual MIDI
  • Sidechain compression

Cons:

  • No built in synth (only sampler but with filters and LFO’s) but the app can work with third party synth apps via virtual midi
  • Unintuitive workflow (working with Audio)
  • No Sonoma copy/paste support

Cubasis

Cubasis 2

by Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH

  • Rating

  • Premiere

    2012-12-17

  • Genre

    Music

  •   $49.99 QR code
  • Platform

    iPad

  • Version

    2.5 ⋅ 1.1 GB

  • Additional

    Info

Cubasis 2

Cubasis 2 equals ease of use and is as powerful as a fully featured iOS-based music production system can be pushing your capabilities out of limits. Whether you’re capturing simple ideas or complex musical masterpieces — It ships with outstanding, touch-optimized tools carrying you into the fun of recording, editing, mixing and sharing your music with the world right away. Get fascinated by the brand new features that Cubasis 2 comes with such as real-time time-stretching and pitch-shifting, a studio-grade channel strip, pro-sounding effects, massive instrument refills, a refreshed MIDI Editor and many more powerful features. Put hands on three internal instruments, numerous loops and instrument sounds to creatively lift your music to perfection using the included mixer and effects. Once recorded, share your music with the world via a simple tap or transfer it directly to Cubase.

Key features
• Unlimited number of audio and MIDI tracks
• 24 assignable physical inputs and outputs
• 32-bit floating point audio engine
• Audio I/O resolution of up to 24-bit/96 kHz
• iOS 32- and 64-bit support
• Real-time time-stretching and pitch-shifting featuring zplane’s élastique 3
• Micrologue virtual analog synthesizer with 126 ready-to-go presets
• MicroSonic with over 120 virtual instrument sounds based on HALion Sonic, HALiotron and Allen Morgan drum kits
• MiniSampler to create your own instruments (includes 20 factory instruments)
• Mixer with studio-grade channel strip per track and 17 effect processors
• Super-versatile RoomWorks SE* reverb effect providing uniquely professional sound and an intuitive graphical display for instant visual feedback at slightest parameter changes
• Fully automatable DJ-like Spin FX effect plug-in
• Over 550 MIDI and time-stretch-capable audio loops
• Virtual keyboard, chord and drum pads with intuitive note repeat control
• Sample Editor and Key Editor with MIDI CC support
• Refreshed MIDI Editor with ultra-intuitive, lightning fast and accurate handling to edit MIDI tracks and compose music easier than ever before
• MIDI Auto Quantize
• Track Duplicate
• Automation, MIDI CC, program change and aftertouch support
• Export to Cubase, iCloud Drive, external hard drives, wireless flash drives, Dropbox, SoundCloud, AudioCopy and email
• Core Audio and Core MIDI compatible hardware supported
• MIDI over Bluetooth LE support
• Full Audio Unit, Inter-App Audio and Audiobus 3 support to use compatible apps as insert/send effects and virtual instruments or simply record their audio output
• Import audio from your iTunes music library or iCloud Drive or iTunes file sharing, use AudioPaste or set up a Wi-Fi server in Cubasis
• Audio mixdown and MIDI export
• MIDI clock and MIDI thru support

"Probably the best iPad-based DAW in terms of usability and flexibility, and it links up with Cubase on your desktop, too."
— MusicTech.net

"So all in all Cubasis is a hands down victory. Everything supplied here works and works perfectly. If you are a Cubase user and own an iPad, this is simply a no brainer, you have to have it."
— askaudiomag.com

Technical support
http://www.steinberg.net/cubasisforum

Polyphony:
48 voices: iPad 2, iPad mini
128 voices: iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro

*User registration required to unlock RoomWorks SE reverb effect.
Audio Unit extension requires iPad Mini 2, iPad 4 or newer model.
Audio Unit and Waves plug-in (in-app purchase) automation requires iOS 10 or higher. Audio Unit MIDI and Files app require iOS 11 or higher.

Project export to Cubase requires Cubase Pro 9/Pro 9.5, Cubase Artist 9/9.5, Cubase LE/AI/Elements 9 or higher.

Cubasis project importer extension must be installed and is available at http://www.steinberg.net/cubasisimporter

Please check the Steinberg End User License Agreement on this website:
http://www.steinberg.net/eula

Steinberg Cubase DAW for desktop has always been one of the best DAWs on the market. And they recently introduced their DAW for iPad which is called Cubasis. Musicians familiar with Steinberg products (or other desktop DAWs like Logic, Sonar or even GarageBand) will instantly feel at home using Cubasis. No need to read a long user manual, everything works intuitively and you can be creative from the moment you start the app.

User interface and workflow

The user interface of Cubasis was meticulously designed by expert user experience designers and tested on a test group at a German university to ensure the best iPad DAW experience. Steinberg did really good job in rethinking on how classical DAW should work on the iPad and adapted interfaces for touch screen. It works very smooth. Cubasis comes with multi-track sequencer, midi and audio regions editors, mixer and keyboard/pads for virtual instrumtents. I found Cubasis great for composing and arrangement. But it lacks yet several important features like automation, sidechain compression and better effects (most of the effects are good but not on the level of Auria’s VST) to cover all the requirements. Steinberg promised to update Cubasis on a regular basis and they mentioned on the forum that they are currently working on new plugins and new virtual instruments which will be available as in-app purchases.

Integration

Cubasis projects can be imported to Cubase (PC/Mac DAW) to work with them on a fully fledged DAW or you can share your mixdown via Email, Dropbox, AudioCopy, Soundcloud. Thanks to the “Split by track” mixdown you can continue working with your project in other DAWs.

To import audio data into Cubasis you can use iTunes share, AudioPaste and iPod import (import DRM free files files from iPod library).

Pros:

  • Great intuitive user interface and workflow
  • Virtual midi to work with external synths
  • Unlimited audio and midi tracks and good selection of easy to use effects

Cons:

  • No automation
  • Non customizable built-in instruments, no built-in synths (only sample based instruments) but the app can work with third party synth apps via virtual midi
  • Limited EQ (with HighShelf and LowShelf only)

FL Studio Mobile HD

FL Studio Mobile

by Image Line Software

FL Studio Mobile

Create and save complete multi-track music projects on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Record,
sequence, edit, mix and render complete songs.

NOTE: There are two FL Mobile Apps in the store - 'FL Studio Mobile HD' and 'FL Studio Mobile'. These are identical. Two Apps exist for historical reasons.

FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS

• High quality synthesizers, sampler, drum kits & sliced-loop beats
• Step sequencer for fast percussion programming
• Configurable virtual piano-keyboard & Drum pads
• MIDI controller support. Play instruments and link to knobs/sliders
• MIDI file import/export (import entire MIDI files, export tracks)
• Audio recording (with monitoring), track-length stem/wav import
• Browse sample and presets with pitchable-preview
• Pan, volume, release and attack time configurable per instrument
• High quality audio engine (input/output latency depends on your device)
• Mixer: Per-track mute, solo, effect bus, pan and volume adjustment
• Effects include: Auto Ducker, Chorus, Compressor, Limiter, Distortion, Parametric Equalizer, Graphic Equalizer, Flanger, Reverb, High-Pass/Low-Pass/Band-Pass/Formant (Vox) Filters, Delays, Phaser and Stereoizer to enhance your mix
• Piano roll editor to enter notes & chords or to edit recorded performances
• Intuitive screen layout configurable to work with all screen resolutions and sizes.
• Save and load your songs, import/export to WAV, MP3 & MIDI
• IAA App support (Input/Output)
• Audiobus support (input & output)
• Audio recording, Instruments and Effects
• Share your songs via Sync to other Mobile 3 devices / installations
• Load your projects in the FL STUDIO* FREE 'Plugin' Version of this App#

MANUAL / SUPPORT / TRAINING / VIDEOS

http://support.image-line.com/redirect/flstudiomobile_help

http://support.image-line.com/redirect/flstudiomobile_videos

WANT TO TRY BEFORE YOU BUY?

Install FL STUDIO 20 for macOS / Windows and you can use the FL Studio Mobile Plugin. This is identical to the App, just inside FL Studio for computers. Get it here: http://www.image-line.com/downloads/flstudiodownload.html

TROUBLE-SHOOTING & ISSUES

Please help us to help you! Register FL Studio Mobile and visit the support forum to report bugs, make feature requests and download free content:

http://support.image-line.com/redirect/flmobile_forum

NOTES

* Please tap 'HELP > Users & Support Forum' to report problems or make suggestions and to get free content.

# See: http://support.image-line.com/redirect/flstudiomobile_plugin

FL Studio is the mobile DAW from the desktop DAW developer – Image Line. Though the interface is a bit outdated and controls are not very intuitive the app sounds pretty good for electronic music. Image Line put nice library of sampled instruments and more instrument are available as in-app purchases.

If you are using FL Studio on your desktop you definitely should buy this app. In other case you can use this app for sketching electronic music: drum sequencer is very easy to use, there are nice instruments and also audio tracks are supported.

But there are several problems that prevent to consider this app as DAW of choice. First its crappy user interface. It looks like they just doubled iPhone screen. For some apps like Figure such approach works fine but not for such complex apps as DAWs. Second is effects implementation – you can’t do any serious mixing or sound processing in the app where you can put effects only on the master bus.

FL Studio has good integration abilities. It can export/import midi and wav files, support audiocopy, email sharing, dropbox, soundcloud and “open in” external apps features. It has virtual midi support but the implementation is pretty strange it sends all tracks data so you need to solo the track you want to send to external synth. Also virtual midi in is working almost fine – I could manage to send Cubasis midi track to play through FL Studio instrument (so you can record it in FL Studio and then send back to Cubasis or BeatMaker 2).

Pros:

  • Stepsequencer
  • Compability with FL Studio for PC
  • Multitrack Audio Recording

Cons:

  • Non intuitive outdated interface
  • Non tweakable built in instruments
  • No channel effects (effects are only on master bus)

NanoStudio

NanoStudio

by Blip Interactive Ltd

NanoStudio

NanoStudio is a recording studio for iOS, OS X and Windows. It has virtual analogue synths, sample trigger pads, a comprehensive sequencer, a sample editor, a mixer and multiple effects all integrated into a single application.


Record your ideas in real time, mix synth layers with samples, compose and arrange your tune using the powerful sequencer and bring the mix alive with effects such as reverb, compression and EQ. Share your tune on SoundCloud from wherever you are or use the comprehensive audio mixdown options and MIDI export feature to get your ideas over to your desktop DAW when you get back home.


NanoStudio's intuitive user interface frees you to get creative yet has loads of depth for when you need it. To try it out head on over to our website where you can download the OS X and Windows versions for free!



INSTRUMENTS

Up to 6 simultaneous instruments (including mixer) or upgrade with the '16 Instrument Tracks' in-app purchase, particularly recommended for newer devices.

'Eden', a powerful 16 voice subtractive synth with dual oscillators, 2 pole resonant filter, 3 envelope generators and 4 LFO's per voice and 2 dedicated insert effects. Eden's virtual patchbay lets you hook up almost anything for modulation mayhem.

The 'TRG-16', a performance pad for triggering samples. Adjust pitch, pan, volume and envelopes and assign each sample to one of the 3 output busses, each with its own effect sends and filter setup.

SAMPLING

Record samples with the built-in mic (iPod Touch requires external mic), resample NanoStudio's own output or upload your own samples using NanoSync for OS X/Windows. Edit your samples using NanoStudio's built-in wave editing tools (with multiple undo/redo) and process them offline with custom effects chains.

SEQUENCER

Record performances in real-time using the keys and trigger pads or create patterns and controller sweeps by drawing them in the piano roll editor. Arrange your patterns into a complete song using the track editor. You can edit while the song is playing and every operation has multiple undo/redo.

MASTERING

Nanostudio's mixer has 2 global effects sends, 4 insert effects per channel and you can record, edit and playback all your fader and pan changes. When you're ready to share your mix with others you can upload it direct to SoundCloud or use NanoSync to copy the exported .wav file to your Mac/PC.

EFFECTS

NanoStudio's reverb, compressor, parametric EQ, waveshaper, delay, chorus, and bitcrusher effects are all highly optimized so you can run lots of them.


FEATURE SHORTLIST (loads more at www.blipinteractive.co.uk/specifications.php)

* 6 simultaneous instruments, up to 16 with in-app purchase
* MIDI input with the Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer, Akai SynthStation 25 and Core MIDI
* Audio copy/paste for sharing audio with other compatible apps (Sonoma and Intua standards supported)
* Upload your mix directly to SoundCloud
* Eden synth (also plays samples) - single or dual keyboards, XY controllers, pitch bend and accelerometer control
* TRG-16 sample trigger pads
* Sequencer with up to 64 tracks and a piano roll editor for note, velocity and controller events, all with undo/redo
* Mixer with 4 inserts per channel, 2 global send busses and volume/pan automation on every channel
* Sampling and resampling, sample editor and effects processor with undo/redo
* Transfer samples, final mixes and individual track mixdowns to your Mac/PC using NanoSync
* Send projects, samples and MIDI files as email attachments
* Built in help

Support for Akai Pro's SynthStation25 keyboard controller is included. SynthStation25 delivers instant hardware control for improved performance capability and expression. For more information on SynthStation25, visit http://www.synthstationapp.com.

One of the most popular DAWs for iOS. I have seen more finished tracks on soundcloud made with NanoStudio than with any other DAW. NanoStudio was one of the first apps for iPad proved that you can create music “in the box” just on your ipad and it still wins out as the DAW which gets the job done, particularly if you’re into electronic music and synthesis. The official NanoStudio SoundCloud group stands as testament to this with almost 18,000 tracks and counting…

NanoStudio comes with midi sequencer, mixer and 2 built-in virtual instrument: Eden – a great flexible synth and TRG-16 – a sampler controlled by 16 pads. You can’t record or paste audio tracks but built in sampler is pretty good.

Now there are versions of NanoStudio for Mac and PC so you can sync your projects with the desktop version. Also there is dedicated NanoSync Mac and PC software which allows you to transfer samples from desktop to NanoStudio TRG-16 sampler.

Pros:

  • Good built-in instruments
  • PC/Mac version

Cons:

  • No audio tracks support
  • No virtual midi support

Tabletop

Tabletop

by Retronyms Inc

Tabletop

Tabletop is an expandable studio with over a dozen included musical devices. Tabletop is a modular environment where you can mix and match different devices. Select from over 40 devices including samplers, mixers, effects, sequencers and more. Buy only the gear you need from an expanding catalog.

Need help? Email support@retronyms.com and we’ll answer your questions.

Retronyms has partnered with industry giants like Akai Professional and Arturia to create some of the Tabletop-Ready Apps, like iMPC, iMini, and iProphet! Using the Tabletop features of time stretching and pitch shifting, you can slice loops and time stretch them to different tempos and pitches in iMPC Pro. You can also use sliced loops from purchased AudioCopy sound packs inside Gridlock and iMPC Pro. Loops from these sound packs will automatically match the tempo of your sessions.

Tabletop is an audio playground where you can create beats, compose songs, mix live, make mashups with samples from your iPod library, and more... the possibilities are endless. Plug the output of a keyboard into a delay to add an echo, or wire it up to a mixer and adjust the pan. Chain up multiple effects to create new and evolving sounds.

FEATURES:
• 43 devices including effects, sequencers, drum machines, and synths
• 14 devices are included for free
• 64 bit audio support
• Access powerful Tabletop-Ready Apps
• Piano Roll style timeline editor
• Cut, copy, paste, duplicate, and create notes
• Control Tabletop’s keyboards, drum pads, knobs, faders, and other parameters
• Correct note timing with Fix to Grid
• Edit note length and velocity
• Undo changes and edits with Tabletop’s History Menu
• Features Core MIDI Support
• Works with any MIDI-compatible hardware
• Customize control mapping with Midi Learn mode
• Connect multiple devices
• Share your music to SoundCloud and interact with other Tabletop users

Tabletop is nice designed (actually one of the most beautiful music apps for iPad) modular studio for iPad. The app itself is free but most of the instruments are available as in-app purchases.

Each instrument and effect are presented as device. Devices are linked with wires. Similar approach to Reason DAW for desktop. Effects are pretty good. And flexible routing really makes difference. Plus Tabletop compressor comes with sidechain support (which is available only in Tabletop and BeatMaker 2 so far). Built in instruments are not best in class, but you can buy iMPC (if you install iMPC on your iPad you will see it as a device inside Tabletop) and also paste your own samples, built-in sampler is also pretty good.

To make a song you need to use Triggerator device which is patterns sequencer. For each instrument (synt, sampler, iMPC) you create patterns and you can trigger patterns and combine these patterns into a song.

You can’t mixdown track by track – only overall mix. And the mixdown can be exported as wav file, pasted in Audiocopy or uploaded on SoundCloud.

Pros:

  • Free (for basic version)
  • Flexible modular approach
  • iMPC as built-in intstrument
  • Sidechain comression

Cons:

  • Complicated approach to arrangement
  • No audio tracks support
  • Poor library of sampled instruments
  • No virtual midi support
  • Limited number of devices for the project (there are only 9 slots)
  • No AutoSave feature (which is strange beacause it is one of the core features of iOS)

Conclusion

I wouldn’t recommend you to stick to just one app. With different approaches in different DAWs you can definitely get different results.

I personally like NanoStudio instruments but it was a problem of making a full composition without audio tracks and external instruments. But the latest generation of iPad DAWs : Cubasis and Auria makes me think moving from desktop DAWs to iPad.

With Cubasis arrangement and composing is easier and is much fun. And in Auria I can get professional sounding mix (by the way, same plugins for Auria are up to 5 times cheaper then desktop VSTs).

And this year things might change – everybody will support Audiobus, Auria will come with virtual instruments… May be we will see some newcomers (Logic? Reason? Ableton?)… but that would be another story.

Which DAW do you use?

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