My opinion on iPads and recording

I’m creating this new discussion mainly as a response to @RyanA4, and because I don’t want to derail Olivier’s discussion over here: Audio interface recommendations

So Focusrite just released this iPad Dock with a lightning connector

I’m pretty skeptical of moving everything (production, recording) to the iPad and I would even advise against it. I have an i/o Dock from Alesis, which is basically the same thing, just with the old 30pin connector. It does the job, provides stereo in and out, MIDI in and out and even has direct monitoring. The problem is, so far the workflow tends to be more complex with the iPad than on a normal computer, the thing is so dumbed down that more complex things (those things Apple did protect the average user from) get extremely cumbersome.
Also Apple tends to change connectors once in a while (well pretty often) so docks don’t really have a long lifespan ahead of them. If should get a new iPad now I could not use the i/o Dock anymore and I would even have a hard time selling it, because most people change their iPads pretty often.
So it’s not a good investment. Probably getting an iPad compatible audio interface is better, so you just have to change the adapter… and you can also use it with your laptop. But still… I’m not sure the iPad is really ready to replace anything you do with your laptop.

Basically the only advantage of am iPad-based recording solution would be mobility. But with the dock and all is is really so? This iTrack thing is a lot bigger than the one from Alesis I have. Now what it you want more than one stereo input? So far I haven’t seen an iPad solution that would have more than a stereo pair as input.

Actually I regret having wasted so much money on the iPad so far…

FWIW I don’t expect Apple to move away from the new Lightning connector for at least the next decade or so. The old 30-pin dock connector was introduced in 2003 on the iPod so it’s not like they have a history of changing plugs every few years… :wink:

Lightning is actually very nicely designed; it can provide bidirectional power and hosting and is able to adjust to whatever is plugged in.

@t2k: we’ll see about that :slight_smile:

Changing a connector every 10 years can’t be called “very often” I would say.
Technology progresses…

@t2k: 2003

What I do agree with is that it’s probably not a good idea to get something that has a “docking” slot where you have to fit an iPad in. This pretty much guarantees you won’t be able to upgrade to a new thinner or smaller model iPad later on.

@mr_roboto Oops, typo. Fixed.

i feel the same as rumpelfilter. I bought an ipad 2 years ago to use it as dedicated midi sequencer.
I tried it a few times but it didn’t really work out.
Now it serves it’s time for my girlfriend and my daughter to watch television on the couch.

The problem with it it’s that it’s all based on a very simplified OS meant for operating a phone. It’s just not a serious machine to work on. Though it could be.
I do really like touch screen interfaces and still hope they would just add a simple layer of (high density) touch to something like a MacBook Pro or a flat iMac. Operating A DAW with a pencil and just dragging and drawing audio would be great.

Full power needs full computer.

iPads and app stores limit your power over what you can do. It’s almost like creating music on your games console.

i use ipad for production already more than 2 years… i’m very satisfied… touchscreen interface is for me lot more intuitive and inspirating than computer woth mouse - before ipad i was working on “normal” DAW on PC 10-12 years… i don’t miss any big plugin from my PC era - i was literally overloaded with tons of possibilities and i found that i lost the fun somewhere between these posibilities… now at iPad there are serious limits but i have LOT more inspiration and i’m LOT more creative… Less is more :slight_smile:

as DAW on iPad i use mostly Beatmaker 2 - it have lot disadvantages but currently for me most complex midi/audio solution on ipaď… but strongly waiting for Nanostudio2 or for midi/instruments in Auria :slight_smile:

As i said - i’m very satisfied with my workflow now. I record some extarnal synths phrases to audio tracks, and then i can take my ipad with headphones and play with sequencing on my couch (while my wife is reading some book) or in bed when i can’t sleep (during day i’m usually busy at work - not mich time for music) - iPad for me is lot more useable production tool than computer. And lot more funny - and that is most important for creative process

For HW synths recording i use Roland Duo Capture soundcard - but this Focusrite dock looks very promising - just shame they didn’t put there midi in /out just usb but this is not big issue, some simple usb2midi interface like m-audio uno will solve this :slight_smile:

Regarding alesis ioDock - friend of mine is using one with new ipad air… he told me that with connector reduction it works fine…

Btw here are my tracks - everything except of “remastered works 2008-2010” was produced on ipad using ipad synths and also few hw synths (for example that ambika demo haha :-)…

"iPads and app stores limit your power over what you can do. It’s almost like creating music on your games console."
Actually making music on game consoles can be more fun than on the ipad :slight_smile:

@dendy: I also have Beatmaker 2, because I agree, it’s currently the best solution… I find it ok, but most editing operations are a lot easier (and less frustrating) for me on a good-old mouse-based interface.

But of course this is probably just me.

I don’t even have a lightning iPad so i’m not going to be getting this, anyway =)

But, for me, the ease of just turning on my iPad and hitting record and then just dropboxing the multi-track and opening it on the computer might be worth it- but you’re right: I should just get small one that’s ipad compatible.

Of course, the time it takes to upload to dropbox might not make it much of a convenience…

you can of course also use the app filesharing feature either with iTunes or with something like iFunBox. Of course it would be totally cool if we could just plug in the ipad and open it like a USB stick… but well it’s still better than having to dropbox it all.

Yeah I forgot about that…it seems like ages ago that I decided I was going to use my iPad for more than spending money on music apps I never use!

No offense, but this should have nothing to do with the iPad or iPhone not having enough “power” or not running a “proper OS”. The current generation iPhones and iPads are faster than the computer you were using a few years ago, and a Retina iPad very likely pushes more pixels than your current laptop or desktop computer.

There are good frameworks (both from Apple and OSS) that make stuff like inter-app audio and MIDI routing reasonably straightforward to implement.

It is true that the economics of the App Store make it less appealing for developers to invest a lot of time into more complex applications. This is probably the reason why you won’t see something like Ableton Live on the iPad anytime soon.

It’s good for small developers getting started and bad for big ones. If Albeton doesn’t have an official iPad app, then it gives small companies a way to start by making one…

@ryana4 The problem is that the app pricing has been driven down so low that it’s very hard to write anything non-trivial that targets only a small specialized customer base. There are very few small developers who actually make a decent living writing their own iOS apps.

Well, the market is saturated with supply, most of it a different version (or rip-off) of the same thing or a cheap cash grab- so when there’s too many options with not enough accountability for bad apps, we get prices that sink lower and lower…

Think about all the kids who went to college to be app designers 5-6 years ago…

They’re all out now and churning out product. It seemed like a viable career at the time to everyone…

You have to factor in the lifespan of the hardware and software too.

If you iPad dies and the app you were using won’t run on the version of the OS your replacement device ships with then you’re screwed.

You could very easily lose access to all of your work.

@6581punk Can you show me just one actual example of an iOS music app that does not run on newer versions of iOS?