Mobile music creation on Apple's iOS devices

To realize what I can do from within the confines of an iPad, I must now consider that all of the music apps that I use in the course of producing music and the iPad itself in total; this is my Mobile Digital Audio Workstation.

The thoughts and realization stems mainly from asking one question. Is the app Auria really a DAW? It is a professional level recording app that can include everything needed to produce any style of excellent sounding music, voice and sound recording from sources outside of the app. The last bit being the key to my answer of no, it is not a DAW.

Auria handles Digital Audio; I consider the Workstation part of the name literally. Defined as, “This is my workstation, I cannot leave my workstation and remain fully functional on my job.”

Cubasis is a DAW, as are Garage Band, NanoStudio, Bealtmaker2, etc. but Auria does not contain its own sound generator. What Auria, and its plug-ins, can do with the fine sounds that you feed it is truly beautiful. That reinforces my concept of the MDAW. The best apps are those that are more specialized. Cubasis and others are great apps that do many things, but to me they fall short of doing any one thing at an excellent level.

Thinking about the size and structure of an iOS device, it makes perfect sense to use many different apps to arrive at a final result. Thanks to Audiobus, IAA (Inter App Audio), and MIDI, all giving the ability for apps to talk to each other, one can build musical works made from very diverse sound sources. This is much like a desktop DAW, where one can purchase plug-ins for sounds and effects.

In a DAW, one works from within that software environment be it Logic, Cubase, Reason, whatever. This is not unlike working within a certain software environment called iOS. So, my iPad is my MDAW, and within the MDAW is a professional level recording suite (Auria), several different high quality synths, and various sampled percussion and instruments (sound plug-ins). I use several high quality effects apps such as Aufx: Space, GrainProc, Echo Pad, and Tornado, so these would be the effects plug-ins.

In this regard I consider iOS.7 with IAA as the breakthrough, thus making my iPad my MDAW. For those working within iOS, it matters not what it is called, but for those outside, for those who we wish to gain acceptance as a legitimate music making machine, to refer to our working environment as a MDAW may help in some way. Well that, and it is just kind of cool to think about it in this way. Also this is another way that describes how incredible and versatile the iPad truly is.

Happy Holidays,
-Bourne (24Dec13)

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