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iPad advice for multitrack recording

I am considering getting an iPad mostly for recording guitar.

My question, for those who multitrack on their iPads, What should I place more importance on...
The more powerful iPad Air (64gb) or the storage space of the regular iPad (128gb) ?
(Air/256gb and the Pros are out of my price range).

Will I just keep filling up the storage on a 64GB ?

Also, I read in another thread here that iPads are only good for a couple tracks worth of multitracking.. is this true?
I know a few of the iPad apps advertise many more tracks available than that.

I'm just a hobbyist that hasn't recorded since using Cakewalk a couple decades ago, so I don't want to spend much in case I lose interest.
Thank you.

Comments

kmetal Wed, 01/01/2020 - 15:12
Ive only experimented with the original ipad air, one track at a time.

I would lean toward the more poweful device over more storage. Either one of them is going to fill up, and its easier to dump files into icloud or dropbox or somewhere else, than it is to upgrade the ipad (which is impossible).

More power gives you more tracks and effects.

Sigur Ros Wed, 01/01/2020 - 15:26
kmetal, post: 463034, member: 37533 wrote: Ive only experimented with the original ipad air, one track at a time.

I would lean toward the more poweful device over more storage. Either one of them is going to fill up, and its easier to dump files into icloud or dropbox or somewhere else, than it is to upgrade the ipad (which is impossible).

More power gives you more tracks and effects.

Okay, thank you.
That makes sense.
When you were doing one track at a time (which is all I'd be doing), were you able to get multiple tracks recording fine?
I know a tablet will have it's limits but I opted to go that route instead of like a small Tascam 8 track recorder. Was the experience pretty frustration-free?

Maybe I misunderstood the comment I read in that other thread about "only 2 tracks". Maybe they meant simultaneously.

kmetal Wed, 01/01/2020 - 15:45
Yes it was painless.

I had about 8 tracks with 2-3 effects each going, if i remember correctly. Im not sure if that was the max or not.

I was using cubasis. However i would rather the arturia program if i was more serious about it since it can run drummagog and fabfilter plugins. Cubasis projects can be opened in cubase on a computer if i remember correctly.

I liked the touch screen editing. For quick ideas i felt it was pretty cool.

I used the onboard mic, and a bluetooth speaker. I would consider an proper interface for anything more than getting quick ideas down. I think the focusrite scarlett is ios compatible.

Im not sure how good or bad the latency is when tracking with effects, but an interface with "hardware" monitoring allows for zero latency tracking (no fx).

Sigur Ros Wed, 01/01/2020 - 18:07
kmetal, post: 463036, member: 37533 wrote: Yes it was painless.

I had about 8 tracks with 2-3 effects each going, if i remember correctly. Im not sure if that was the max or not.

I was using cubasis. However i would rather the arturia program if i was more serious about it since it can run drummagog and fabfilter plugins. Cubasis projects can be opened in cubase on a computer if i remember correctly.

I liked the touch screen editing. For quick ideas i felt it was pretty cool.

I used the onboard mic, and a bluetooth speaker. I would consider an proper interface for anything more than getting quick ideas down. I think the focusrite scarlett is ios compatible.

Im not sure how good or bad the latency is when tracking with effects, but an interface with "hardware" monitoring allows for zero latency tracking (no fx).

Am I mistaken in thinking the iRig2 or something similarly small will work good enough ? Would hate to have to buy something too expensive.
I have a Tascam US-322 audio interface, but I don't know if it would work. The whole iPad thing is new to me.

Thanks again for all this info, too.

kmetal Wed, 01/01/2020 - 18:21
The irig2 would doesn't have a mic input, so it will work with instruments only. It depends what your recording.

I think the scarlett solo is around $90 usd, and has both mic and instrument input.

Im guessing there are models at all price points and quality levels.

It really depends what your goals are for using the ipad and the end results.

Sigur Ros Thu, 01/02/2020 - 15:42
kmetal, post: 463038, member: 37533 wrote: The irig2 would doesn't have a mic input, so it will work with instruments only. It depends what your recording.

I think the scarlett solo is around $90 usd, and has both mic and instrument input.

Im guessing there are models at all price points and quality levels.

It really depends what your goals are for using the ipad and the end results.

Okay. I guess I like the idea of something small like the iRig types, as opposed to something I'd have to sit on a table, etc.
I will work that one out, and I know the Focusrite stuff is good, so maybe the Solo will be ok.

One more question, and maybe someone else will chime in to take the load off you, lol..

Is there something special I need to look for in an interface?
Other than having the right inputs/outputs of course.
Anything related to iOS ? Do they need to specifically work with the iPad or can any interface like the Tascam I mentioned earlier work for me ? (with the right adapters).
I've researched a little bit and while some recommend those that state they will interface with the iPad, others have said any audio interfaces will work. Would be nice if the Tascam US-322 I already own would do the job, at least until I get more serious about this.
Is "class compliant" required? Or just preferred ?

Again, thanks for all the help Kmetal.

kmetal Thu, 01/02/2020 - 17:11
To my knowledge not all interfaces are ios compatible. I would verify that whatever interface you select, it is in fact ios compatible.

You can always try your tascam and see if it happens to work, it shouldn't do any harm.

Another thing to keep in mind is the interface is going to be powered by the ipad, so expect shorter battery life while its plugged in. I don't think there's an easy way to charge the ipad and have the interface plugged in. I think i recall some people hacking there own cables to make one that does both.

Best of luck.

Sigur Ros Thu, 01/02/2020 - 17:34
kmetal, post: 463052, member: 37533 wrote: To my knowledge not all interfaces are ios compatible. I would verify that whatever interface you select, it is in fact ios compatible.

You can always try your tascam and see if it happens to work, it shouldn't do any harm.

Another thing to keep in mind is the interface is going to be powered by the ipad, so expect shorter battery life while its plugged in. I don't think there's an easy way to charge the ipad and have the interface plugged in. I think i recall some people hacking there own cables to make one that does both.

Best of luck.

oh, ok. I didn't realize the Scarlett was powered by the iPad. Assumed it was plugged in separately.
The Tascam is old but still unopened. Never got around to using it. Think I'll sell it off and put that toward something current, and ios compatible.

Listen.... thank you so much for all the help.
I really do appreciate it.

Boswell Fri, 01/03/2020 - 04:23
There are several crucial points that have been mentioned so far, but are worth highlighting:

1) You need an audio interface that comes with both an interface cable with a 30-pin connector (for iPads 1 - 3) or a Lightning connector (for iPads 4 onwards).

2) The interface must have a software driver and continuing support for the specific IOS version that is running on the iPad.

3) You need to be able to connect a mains charger at the same time as running the interface.

I don't know of a simple cable or an adaptor that covers points (1) and (3), but you may be able to find one. I believe Alesis used to make a low-cost docking station for the 30-pin iPads that would get round these difficulties, but I've never come across one with a Lightning interface.

I have seen people using an iPad camera adaptor for connecting USB devices that are "class compliant" with Apple IOS, but unless you have an App that supports them, most of those can only give you basic functionality since they use the generic audio and video drivers. The latest Apple cable appears to let you connect a mains charger at the same time as the USB peripheral.

Sigur Ros Sun, 01/05/2020 - 11:33
Boswell, post: 463058, member: 29034 wrote: There are several crucial points that have been mentioned so far, but are worth highlighting:

1) You need an audio interface that comes with both an interface cable with a 30-pin connector (for iPads 1 - 3) or a Lightning connector (for iPads 4 onwards).

2) The interface must have a software driver and continuing support for the specific IOS version that is running on the iPad.

3) You need to be able to connect a mains charger at the same time as running the interface.

I don't know of a simple cable or an adaptor that covers points (1) and (3), but you may be able to find one. I believe Alesis used to make a low-cost docking station for the 30-pin iPads that would get round these difficulties, but I've never come across one with a Lightning interface.

I have seen people using an iPad camera adaptor for connecting USB devices that are "class compliant" with Apple IOS, but unless you have an App that supports them, most of those can only give you basic functionality since they use the generic audio and video drivers. The latest Apple cable appears to let you connect a mains charger at the same time as the USB peripheral.

Thank you.
I have been doing research before I joined and posted the questions, so I am aware of most of the other requirements I think.
Thanks for the explanation on "class compliant" also. Videos I've seen make it look so "plug-n-play", but I think you're saying that's only if the software accounts for it.

Again, thank you all for the help.
Still not sure which iPad I am going for but I'll get it sorted. lol

dvdhawk Sun, 01/05/2020 - 21:12
Sigur Ros, post: 463029, member: 51810 wrote: I'm just a hobbyist that hasn't recorded since using Cakewalk a couple decades ago, so I don't want to spend much in case I lose interest.

That's certainly not an unreasonable approach, but you could just as easily make a case for investing in something good enough to give you a chance at success. Making it complicated, or sonically unsatisfying, seems like a surefire way to make someone lose interest. And if you buy something decent, not only will recording be much less frustrating, it will retain some resale value if you do lose interest.

A person trying to do just a few tracks and keep it hassle free could do a lot worse than a digital Portastudio from Tascam, Zoom, or Boss.

Even with a interface intended to capture audio directly to the iPad, (like an iOne or iTwo for example) you will probably run into storage problems pretty quickly. You have to export the tracks to another computer with DAW software as part of your routine. I use often "Capture" software with my laptop and it records quite painlessly, so the tracking to iPad functions might be fine, but you can't mix with it. You would then have to "Share" the files from the iPad to a computer running StudioOne - which would come with the PreSonus interface purchase.

Although you would connect the iTwo interface to the iPad to with a lightning cable, the iPad cannot provide power to the interface. It needs to be powered from another USB compatible power source. It's also likely you could buy an adequate laptop with the money you might save vs. buying a tricked out iPad loaded with extra RAM. In which case, now you can connect the same interface (Scarlett, iTwo, or any other) straight into that computer via USB. To my way of thinking, that essentially puts you right back where you started - you'd need a computer running DAW software and a USB interface... Unless you're really just looking for an excuse to buy an iPad.




Good luck!

kmetal Mon, 01/06/2020 - 13:50
dvdhawk, post: 463090, member: 36047 wrote: It's also likely you could buy an adequate laptop with the money you might save vs. buying a tricked out iPad loaded with extra RAM.

For reference a lenovo 330s laptop can be had for 320$. It includes 4 core/8 thread ryzen 5 2500u processor, 256 pcie ssd, 8gb ram, 15.6" screen, and space for an internal 2.5" drive (from what i can infer, not 100% sure until i open it up.)

This is an immensely more powerful machine for the cost of of low tier ipad, and would work with the interface you already own. Add an audio drive, reaper for free and you have a pretty nice little starter package.

I will +1 on presonus interfaces and daw, both are good.

miyaru Mon, 01/06/2020 - 15:09
I would go Windows/Laptop too..... buying an iPad limits you in so many ways. And altough I understand portability, I never use laptops for music, I like the my Desktop PC build into a nice 19 inch 4he enclosure. If I need to change or add something, I slide it out of my rack and work on it. Also I'm addicted to my 26 inch screen by iiyama LOL.

Beside being nice for music in a way, a laptop can also be used if you decide not to preceed with music. An iPad can be usefull too, but a laptop seems so much nicer to me......

Sigur Ros Mon, 01/06/2020 - 17:58
dvdhawk, post: 463090, member: 36047 wrote: That's certainly not an unreasonable approach, but you could just as easily make a case for investing in something good enough to give you a chance at success. Making it complicated, or sonically unsatisfying, seems like a surefire way to make someone lose interest. And if you buy something decent, not only will recording be much less frustrating, it will retain some resale value if you do lose interest.

A person trying to do just a few tracks and keep it hassle free could do a lot worse than a digital Portastudio from Tascam, Zoom, or Boss.

Even with a interface intended to capture audio directly to the iPad, (like an iOne or iTwo for example) you will probably run into storage problems pretty quickly. You have to export the tracks to another computer with DAW software as part of your routine. I use often "Capture" software with my laptop and it records quite painlessly, so the tracking to iPad functions might be fine, but you can't mix with it. You would then have to "Share" the files from the iPad to a computer running StudioOne - which would come with the PreSonus interface purchase.

Although you would connect the iTwo interface to the iPad to with a lightning cable, the iPad cannot provide power to the interface. It needs to be powered from another USB compatible power source. It's also likely you could buy an adequate laptop with the money you might save vs. buying a tricked out iPad loaded with extra RAM. In which case, now you can connect the same interface (Scarlett, iTwo, or any other) straight into that computer via USB. To my way of thinking, that essentially puts you right back where you started - you'd need a computer running DAW software and a USB interface... Unless you're really just looking for an excuse to buy an iPad.




Good luck!


Thanks.
I actually talked myself out of going for an 8-track Tascam PortaStudio through Sweetwater's 4 years interest free promotion last week. Was concerned if I gave up on it then I have a PortaStudio to try and sell -vs- ending up with a decent tablet for other things. Figured I could do what I want on a tablet then on my PC.... and in time, if I need more.. I'll get it.
Worst case, I don't stick with it and still have the iPad for photo editing, etc.
But I am also looking into the performance of my Android tablet to accomplish this same thing.
I know the iPad's are better so I've been researching those.

I will look into the Presonus a bit more. Had figured I'd end up with Focusrite, but am still mid-research.
Was actually hoping for something smaller and more mobile.

I appreciate the advice.

Sigur Ros Mon, 01/06/2020 - 18:03
miyaru, post: 463097, member: 49780 wrote: I would go Windows/Laptop too..... buying an iPad limits you in so many ways. And altough I understand portability, I never use laptops for music, I like the my Desktop PC build into a nice 19 inch 4he enclosure. If I need to change or add something, I slide it out of my rack and work on it. Also I'm addicted to my 26 inch screen by iiyama LOL.

Beside being nice for music in a way, a laptop can also be used if you decide not to preceed with music. An iPad can be usefull too, but a laptop seems so much nicer to me......

I have a laptop, and my PC. I guess I was just looking for something more convenient, and yes portable. Something I could toss on the couch next to me.
Certainly if I wanted to work more on final outcomes, I would have exported to the PC at that point.
Definitely more power than any tablet. But... the tablet was just going to be my 8-track (or so) "idea recorder". Something very portable.
I do understand the limits, which is why initially inquired about the iPad Air's power, vs the double storage of the reg. iPad.

Thanks for the help.

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