Author Topic: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?  (Read 240 times)

petekelly

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iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« on: April 14, 2015, 02:00:42 AM »
I posted this on the RM Ning sometime ago and got a good response, so I thought I'd do the same here.

Firstly, I should say I'm referring to iPad's here, not iOS devices in general - the larger screen is a bit of a must for my eyesight. I'II admit, I used to think iPads were just toys and I had little time for Apple as a company (I still think that now), but I've been quite amazed as to whats going on in the musical world with iOS. I tried mobile music making on a (fairly weedy) android tablet, but with the latency it had, it was virtually useless, I wasted some money on apps that weren't able to do anything decent.

Anyway, about six months ago, I bought an iPad 4 off a friend and he suggested a good slew of apps to get started with. I sold that on and I've now got an iPad Air2 and an Air (both 64GB models) and oodles of music apps. I actually haven't started a project in earnest, but I'm getting there :) I've had to adapt to Apples's rather cryptic approach to file management / transfer, which has been quite a learning curve in itself. In general I'm amassing the knowledge to create a different way of working on these devices.

Personally, I now feel it 's a great platform for music making, am interested to hear other people's thoughts / experiences - particulalrly with regard to ambient music.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 02:02:30 AM by petekelly »

Horizon 1982

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Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2015, 01:50:24 PM »
I feel that ambient made with these gadgets turns anything into disposable music.

1. No warmth, no nostalgia from old soundbanks (Why Steve Roach still utilizes the Emu, Oberheim, Nord Lead, Wavestation?) and not an ipad?

2. Hardware is made as a whole, including the DAC character, I doubt anything software for ipad will survive 30 + years, back to 1. (repeat often).

3. Larger screen is 15 inches up, anything smaller for any kind of production is counterproductive.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 01:52:16 PM by Horizon 1982 »

petekelly

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Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2015, 07:16:43 AM »
Interesting video regarding using an iPad as a mobile recording set-up:


Horizon 1982

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Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2015, 07:33:22 PM »
Interesting video regarding using an iPad as a mobile recording set-up:



..........

Hint number one: 10,500 usd MM27 Barefoots.

Hint number two: Plenty of outboard gear.

Hint number three: Dual 30 inch monitors.

He can say whatever he wants about Auria, in the end of the day we all know where he records.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 07:34:53 PM by Horizon 1982 »

ffcal

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Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2015, 08:36:48 AM »
Reminds me of the digital v. analog flame wars of yesteryear.  Why live in a binary universe?

iOS sounds like an interesting platform for trying out different approaches to sound generation, like some of the Jordan Rudess apps.

Forrest

APK

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Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2015, 09:32:20 AM »
It is quite amazing to me just what can run on an iPad, and smoothly. Kinda things that would have choked on a Windows system not too long ago. Seems to be a good and quite innovative development environment. And the hands-on control abilities, like the Lemur stuff, looks excellent. And great for artists on the move doing live gigs.
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petekelly

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Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2015, 11:13:40 AM »
Yes I agree with you APK, some of the apps for iOS are just great - controllers as well as synths / DAWs / multi-effects etc.

A favourite of mine is ifretless guitar, being a guitarist I can appreciate the way that you can play all manner of exotic chord shapes and the like:



In my correspondences with app developers, I've found them to be very responsive and the low cost of apps (20 + being considered pricey !) is a grand thing too.
Things aren't all rosey though and there's still a fair bit of 'hit and miss' regarding getting some of these apps to work reliably with each other.

APK

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Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2015, 12:46:30 PM »
Good point about the price, Pete. If a lot of regular VST plugins are somewhat overpriced, the iOS apps are generally underpriced if anything. Not bad at all.

And definitely have to try the iFretless. Thanks for mentioning it.
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Horizon 1982

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Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2015, 03:45:33 PM »
Reminds me of the digital v. analog flame wars of yesteryear.  Why live in a binary universe?

iOS sounds like an interesting platform for trying out different approaches to sound generation, like some of the Jordan Rudess apps.

Forrest

The problem is when you want to reproduce old circuits with new technology...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=c7GdSMDsZME#t=175

Altus

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Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 06:11:45 AM »
Yes, JMJ is talking about VSTs, plugins, etc. that are trying to emulate analogue synths. They can't compare to the real thing. I don't think anyone here would disagree with that. But there are tons of VSTs and apps that aren't trying to emulate an analogue sound.

And thank goodness, because that would be boring. ;D

Ultimately, whether using an ipad app or beefy analogue synth, they're both just tools to make music. How you use the tool makes all the difference in the world.
Mike Carss -- Altus : aural journeys for the mind's eye
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Scott M2

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Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 12:39:40 PM »
I've been using iPad instruments to make ambient music for many years now (beginning with an iPad1) and I'll pop into this thread to discuss some of my personal favourite instruments later, but I thought I'd have to start by addressing Horizon's concerns.

"I feel that ambient made with these gadgets turns anything into disposable music."

OK, that's just a nice inflammatory/warm-blanket opener along the traditional lines of: "A synthesiser isn't a real instrument." or "You can't make real music with a computer" or "This Rock and Roll/Rap garbage will never last". Well done! I'm guessing you've never actually used one to try to make ambient music.

"1. No warmth, no nostalgia from old soundbanks (Why Steve Roach still utilizes the Emu, Oberheim, Nord Lead, Wavestation?) and not an ipad?"

No one is coming to take away your old nostagic instruments or stopping anyone from using them along with an iPad. In fact they go very well together. I'll also bet that Steve, who maintains an inquisitive mind about new technologies, might be interested in adding an iPad or two to his setup after exposure to some appropriate iPad instruments/techniques.

"2. Hardware is made as a whole, including the DAC character, I doubt anything software for ipad will survive 30 + years, back to 1. (repeat often)."

This is very true. Apple's continual updating of their operating system is creating very real problems for instrument designers, who have to try to update their instruments regularly so they work under a new OS. I'm currently keeping my iPad OS at iOS7 because it works well - though iOS8 is the current version. Apple has recently screwed up my future usage of Alchemy, my main laptop VST by buying the company and withdrawing support this summer. They did the same to me when they bought Logic and stopped supporting the PC version. In the hardware world, the issue is availability of parts as the decades pass. I've been able to replace old pots myself on my Modular Moog from time to time, but other instruments are not as simple and various ICs are no longer made. Readout screens are another tricky thing to replace. I'm lucky that many of my instruments are by Roland, who, so far, have been good at keeping old parts and I was able to replace the fading screen on my SuperJupiter about a decade ago.

The quality of the D/A from the headphone jack is, of course, far from perfect but is surprisingly good and useful. I imagine you don't use the headphone jack on your computer. There are excellent DAC interfaces which work well with iPads from Apogee, RME and many others. I love being able to work on sound-design, drum grooves and sequences in my living room, yard, on the bus or anywhere I go and then use it in live performances or into my main DAW later. I use iPads as instruments and not as DAWs so far but I understand that the quality can be very good in Auria or Cubasis. Depending on the app, the word can be 16 bit or 24 bit. I just bought an iConnectAudio4+ which will transfer MIDI and audio at 24 bit back and forth between my iPad and computer without any D/A or A/D conversion. (There are many excellent iPad F/X apps too.) It's just out of the box, so I haven't implemented it yet.

"3. Larger screen is 15 inches up, anything smaller for any kind of production is counterproductive."

I look forward to the rumoured larger iPad supposed to arrive this fall - but the current size is great for portability and is quite playable - depending on the instrument design. (People do amazing things on even an iPhone screen. Thumjam is brilliant as it also includes the use of the gyroscope for pitch-bending, vibrato or tonal shifts through wrist motion.) I like to use external hardware controllers to supplement the screen, just as I do for my laptop.

The new interface possibilities and the portabilty make them powerful new tools. They can be used as compact sequencers or control surfaces for old and new synths too.

Cheers,
Scott

Horizon 1982

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Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 04:18:48 PM »
(People do amazing things on even an iPhone screen.



Well I'm not an apple supporter, and I think making music on an ipad with my butt sitting on a coffee shop chair is a not a step forward, but if you think it makes you look cool, then go ahead :)
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 04:24:46 PM by Horizon 1982 »

petekelly

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Re: iOS - useful for an ambient musician ?
« Reply #12 on: Today at 02:45:16 AM »
Hi Scott,

Great to hear your experiences, it sounds like you've been there 'from the start' so to speak. I've got one of those iConnectMID2 things as well, which I plan to use more so when I'm ready to roll (so to speak).
Another great thing I'm using for guitar recording is the iRig HD http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/irighd/ whilst not being the last word in audio quality is actually very useful. I use 'Bias' by Positive Grid for guitar stuff and very good it is too.

Off now to the local greasy-spoon cafe to sit with the builders, drinking huge mugs of tea and scoffing bacon butties whilst simultaneously creating cutting-edge electronica tunes in Garageband...