Top IOS Music-making Apps, for Kamelmauz, for 2014

Three track live-in-studio; iPad based: (1) TC-Data controlling AlchemyPro mobile synthesizer (2) “C” controlling Mitosynth (3) eBow processing pedal steel guitar [July 2014]

1. Alchemy Mobile Pro
2. Mitosynth
3. Animoog
4. Photophore
5. Gestrument (sf2 synthesizer)

1. Gestrument
2. Xynthesizer
3. TC-Data
4. ChordPolyPad
5. SP Electro

1. AUFX:Space
2. Crystalline
3. Ultra Phaser
4. Audio Reverb
5. AUFX:Dub

During 2014, for the most part, Kamelmauz improvised in the studio in little mini-sessions during small slices of time. There was no point after January that he would focus obsessively on particular recording ambitions.

Kamelmauz: “The trick was sliding into the player’s chair ready to go with two iPads set to go, one as a synthesizer station featuring Alchemy Mobile Pro, Animoog, Mitosynth, and an iPad MIDI controller, and, the other iPad set up as a MIDI controller via wifi for an plug-in synth or sampler in Logic. This allowed me to quickly render two track recordings somewhat on the fly.

I heavily leveraged MIDI controllers to trigger composed sequences and improvs. On the iPad, the excellent Xynthesizer, ChordPolyPad, and, at the end of the year, SP Electro, all could be employed to design melodic progressions. I especially like Xynthesizer‘s random boxes which can be shaped as a generative elememt inside its equivalent of a piano roll. For improvising and ambient sound design in real time, Gestrument was my main tool for a second year. TC-Data proved to be good for recording intuitive hits and stabs.

On the laptop side, using the iPad as a controller really refreshed my approach to using go-to AudioUnit tools in Logic. Although my long-in-the-tooth MacBook sometimes balked at real time two track live recording, once I removed the iConnectMIDI aggregate device and went back to routing audio individually from the iPads into the laptop’s Focusrite I/O interface, everything worked much more smoothly. The other mode I used was recording audio from one iPad and using the other to control via wifi MIDI my favorite software synths, Alchemy, Absynth and the sampler Kontakt. This was a completely successful workaround to any direct recording overload, with clock set by the Focusrite interface.

It is easy to overwhelm processing bandwidth on an iPad. I did a lot of tinkering. For me, Audiobus is nifty for recording to the iPad Air, but, I do not load up the signal/effect chains. I found InterAppAudio to have better overhead, so, by the end of the year I was using Audioshare as my down-and-dirty iPad recorder. In the aforementioned two track set-up, besides recording to a bus, I would usually use effects in Logic rather than on the iPad.

The biggest fault of the iPad is inconsistent levels at the output of the interfaces I use, the Behringer UCA222 and the Line6 Sonic Port. The former does have a level wheel, whereas the otherwise solid Sonic Port does not. My sense is the configuration of gain in the IOS Audiocore is tied to hardware considerations because I have found it usually advantageous to back off the internal gain by one increment.

My hope is 2015 will provide me with some obsessive washes of studio time to start to deal with approximately 200 hours of raw recordings, recordings that were the fruits of many a ‘short late night session.’

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