The further I venture into the world of iOS, the more I am amazed at what we, as musicians, engineers, composers, DJs, and songwriters can do with our iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads! This time around, I’ve got two items for you to check out, both of which will allow you to take your iOS device a big step forward in music-making power.
I use a number of different guitar and mic interfaces and docks for getting audio in and out of my iOS devices, but sometimes I just want a microphone that will let me plug in and instantly record, whether I’m tracking electric guitar, acoustic guitar, voice, or other instruments. Recently I’ve been relying on the Apogee MiC, and I’ve found it to be ideal, not only for its convenience and brain-dead, easy-to-use factor, but also because it captures great-sounding tracks.
The MiC is a compact but high-quality condenser microphone that features built-in Apogee conversion with 24-bit resolution. In my tests, I’ve found it to be a natural-sounding microphone that delivers excellent sonic detail with a rich, full sound. In fact, I’ve heard multitrack sessions that were captured solely using the MiC, then mixed down by a big-name mix engineer, and there’s no way you could tell those tracks weren’t captured in a commercial studio.
The cool thing about the MiC, aside from the great sound quality and compact size, is that it comes with two cables. One can be used to connect the MiC directly into your Mac computer via USB — a super-easy and super-fast way to track to your DAW of choice. The second cable has an iOS dock connector on it for direct connection to your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
Using this connector, the MiC shows up as an audio input in whatever audio recording program you’re using — Garageband, 4-Track, Auria (we’ll talk more about Auria later in this article), or your iOS audio app of choice. It also includes a tripod stand for easy placement in front of an amp or on a desk.
Using the MiC couldn’t be simpler. When you plug it in, a status LED tells you when you’re connected and ready to go. There’s an input gain control on the side of the MiC for setting the level. That’s it — put it down in front of your source and start making music!
By the way, I highly recommend the upcoming Apogee MiC Accessories Kit to go along with your mic. It includes a mic stand adapter, longer cables, and a hardshell case that has room for both the MiC and its tripod stand. Perfect for recording on the go to your iPhone or iPad.
WaveMachine Labs Auria
At Winter NAMM, back in January, I was completely blown away by an app that WaveMachine Labs (best known for their popular Drumagog drum-replacement software) had running on an iPad in their booth: Auria. I just got my hands on the official-release version of Auria, and I’m even more blown away now that I’ve used it!
So, what is Auria? It’s a 48-track (mono or stereo) full-featured DAW that can record up to 24 inputs simultaneously at up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution — and it can do it on your iPad! Plus, the app runs a version of VST and comes with a selection of plug-ins, including vocal tuning and convolution reverb. It allows automation, audio editing, snap to grid, AAF import and export with DAW software on your computer, and optional video support. Each channel has a full-featured channel strip with EQ, dynamics, dual aux sends, assignments to one of eight subgroups, and more! Auria is compatible with any class-compliant USB audio interface, so getting mono or stereo signals in and out is easy, and with its Class 2-compliant USB audio interface, you can get up to 24 ins and outs at once!
Auria is an amazing accomplishment. Who’d have thought that you could use your iPad as a 24-input, 48-track recorder? Edit, process, and mix tracks, then export either the files or a finished stereo mix to a DAW on your computer or to SoundCloud.
Auria is on the expensive side for an app, but on the very inexpensive side for a DAW. In my opinion, this one is a must-have for your iPad, regardless of the price. Pair it up with a compliant audio interface (for grab-it-and-go ease, use the Apogee MiC) and a set of headphones or monitors — and you’re recording. Big kudos to WaveMachine Labs for this exciting accomplishment. Now, with the example of this amazing app to follow, I have a feeling this is going to inspire developers to unleash a flood of high-powered audio apps for iOS — and that’s great for all of us!