iPad for decent quality recordings?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by flyingfinbar, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. The older I get, the harder it is for me to get a few of my friends in the same room to play music. If I don't start recording some ideas, I'm gonna lose it! I'm looking to record the bass and guitar tracks, then probably program the drums, at least until the bug itches me enough to buy a kit.

    I've done a little research, and I think I'd like to start using an iPad to record, as it seems cheaper than starting with a laptop with enough gusto to get it done. Maybe pick up a new iPad Pro, install Auria, then run a reasonably priced interface, and start from there?

    Have any experience using an iPad to make decent quality recordings? Any advice is appreciated!
  2. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    iPads are great. iPhones are great. Many good interfaces for them. Lots of great software.

    The zoom, tascam other standalones are great too. The mics are excellent. Easy to transfer tracks to a pc or ipad to mix them.

    There's no downside anyway you go these days.
  3. I have a Macbook with Logic Pro and an iPad Air with Auria Pro. Don't use the Macbook anymore for recording music...

    I prefer the iPad for a lot of reasons: it doesn't feel like you have to start a computer, you don't need to operate it with a mouse while having a bass on your shoulder. It more naturally integrates into playing and recording.
    I use the iPad with a SPL Crimson. Very comfortable.
    BTW I have one of the earlier iPad Air and its power is more than enough for Auria.
    flyingfinbar likes this.
  4. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I have a Presonus Audiobox iTwo interface and the Presonus Capture Pro app for my iPad. It's a fine solution as a mobile recording platform. That said, if I'm going to do any work on the files after capturing it I will always transfer it to my studio computer to do the work. For me, tablets simply cannot compete with an actual computer in terms of functionality in the studio. If all you're using it for is an audio "notepad" to capture ideas it will be more than sufficient. Even your phone's built-in microphone will do a good enough job for capturing ideas.
  5. Did you try Auria Pro?
    If(!) I would record an entire band and would want to produce a halfway professional master, I wouldn't do it all with an iPad. But otherwise...
  6. I'm looking for more than jus capturing clips...ideally, multitracking and mixing full songs would be nice. It'd be cool if I could get it all done with an iPad.

    As far as the difficulties involved, is it a question of processing power, or more of an interface issue?

    Thanks for the input, folks!
  7. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I've not tried it, but I've heard good things. My problem is with the platform more than the software, so I doubt it would change my opinion much. It's a great way to capture audio, especially for location-based work, but it's not a great platform for any type of post production (editing, mixing, mastering, etc.).

    Possible? Yes. Ideal? Far from it. In my mind using a tablet is still light years behind using an actual computer for studio work. This is based on my experiences using my two year old iPad Air. It's not an iPad Pro, which would certainly perform better, but ultimately it comes down to...

    Interface issues. Not audio interface issues as there is a host of new mobile interfaces that work brilliantly with iPads. Interface as in the interface between the user and the device. Doing anything beyond capturing on an iPad is very clunky. I've not gotten into full blown mix territory with an iPad because I found the process so off-putting right out of the gate.
  8. I agree with you regarding studio work.

    But there is something between just capturing clips and - on the other end: producing a real band or a professional track and mastering it with lots of editing, effects and mastering.

    I record tracks, maybe just using a metronome, playing bass, then later adding some keys or guitar or a second bass track, maybe then a sampled drum track or I start with it: I prefer the iPad against any notebook etc.

    BTW some of the effects you get with Auria Pro are - my opinion - far better then what you get with Logic for example.

    I would say: if you are a musician - not an engineer recording other artists - and you record yourself, maybe with a heavy bass on your shoulder - an iPad makes you much more creative and distracts you much less from making music instead of navigating through endless menues with your mouse than a notebook or workstation with a DAW.

    I have integrated the iPad into my rehearsal surrounding. There isn't that hurdle anymore: rehearsing or just playing a bit after work and on the other hand: if I want to record this I have to start the notebook, start the software etc....
    The iPad is always on, a lot of the times playing along with Spotify tunes or rehearsing songs for my band. And if I want to record something I just start Auria and press record...
  9. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Absolutely. For me, however, even that middle ground is a nonstarter on a tablet. For others that may not be the case. For me tablet recording is about capturing and nothing else, or transferring to a computer for additional work.
  10. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    If your goal is to do multi tracking and mixing, the most cost effective and efficient way is via a computer and interface with DAW. You can get a decent full feature DAW (like Presonus Studio One 3 Artist), and a very capable interface with 2 instrument inputs for way less than the cost of a ipad. And if you go Presonus Studio One 3 you'll have a future proof DAW that updates all the time for free. Also, the DAW and interface has no latency, and is easier to record and mix on because everything is a click of the mouse over a menue. And the WAV files are easily editied with graphics vs, going through multiple menus, and using single buttons for multiple tasks. Also, the DAW comes with a bevy of drum kits to help you create drum loops, or use the ones that come with the DAW.

    Most of today's DAWs and interfaces don't require a lot of processing power, a simple custom Gaming PC under $700 USD (or a laptop at $1200) will work just fine. And the best part is with a full feature DAW, you get a lot of power and control for recording and mixing with easy to use graphics. And, once you get savvy with recording and mixing you can the start to do the most complex mixing techniques available.

    That's the way I see it. But if you're set on getting a ipad or small dedicated multitrack recorder. You'll be able to get tracks recorded easy. But you may have to work harder to mix and master, and be limited to what the app or recorder offers. The major benefit of the ipad with apps and dedicated mini multi track recorders are the portability.

    Anyway, good luck with your choice.
  11. I run a steinberg ur44 with a ipad mini running cubasis and it works perfect for this purpose that said I'd like to get a good external drive and larger space ipad.
  12. So my iPad has long outlived it's projected lifespan, and it's been a little tired/cracked, so I just ordered a new 256gb iPad Pro.

    What kind of interfaces are y'all playing with these days? Ideally, minimum two inputs would be nice for a mic/direct signal.

    I'm thinking of rolling with auria pro as a DAW, unless anyone has any suggestions.

    Thanks for a productive conversation in this thread, folks! It seems like, for my purposes, the streamlined iPad route is the place to be.
  13. For me it is a necessity that an interface runs in standalone mode. I use it kind of as a small mixer when rehearsing. This way I can simply make music without having to start a program or make any settings on a computer or an iPad.
    This way, I don't have to change anything, when I want to record.
    Low budget: the Zoom U-24 and U-44. Cheap for what they offer, very portable. Run on batteries, with a USB-power plug or with USB-power. Have a special tablet mode (so you don't need a powered usb-hub, but this is offered by a lot of interfaces lately).

    On the more expensive side: SPL-Crimson. I own it since years, never had a problem with it, love the possibility to switch between many different sources. The audio quality is very very good as are the two headphone amps.

    And: get one of the new camera-connection kits for the typical Apple-price(grrrhhh!!!). They allow the iPad to load while using it with an interface.
  14. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    Auria sounds very powerful indeed. I went with Cubasis this Black Friday as reviews said it was a bit more user friendly.

    Garageband actually works fine but i wanted more control over parameters... haven't had a chance to try Cubasis yet.
  15. Deffinitly give cubassis a try I love it. I opted for the steinberg ur44 interface because it has more outputs and works seamless with ipad. This allows me to run click track just to our in ears and still have stereo backing tracks.
    knumbskull likes this.
  16. Didn't try the iOS version of Cubase, but as far as I'm concerned, Auria is the most userfriendly DAW I ever used. Garageband tries to be for clueless or stupid users but it fails. It's just annoying. For example it simply stops recording after a given time if you don't change the settings before. How stupid is this!
  17. That Steinberg piece is pretty sweet looking! Is it made to run specifically with Cubasis, or will it work well with Auria, if I decide to go that route?

    I apologize for the silly questions...music production, in its entirety, is a literal unknown to me
  18. cattrax


    Oct 17, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    flyingfinbar likes this.
  19. Hmm, well that is awesome/kinda sucks. Steinberg is nowhere to be found on that page. I assume it could also be because Sberg is explicitly connected with Cubase, a direct competitor with Auria.
    This isn't as easy as I'd assumed it would be!