iPad integration?

So I never had any interest in any Apple products before. But I can’t deny that iOS seems to have a very healthy eco-system around mobile music making that’s pretty much unrivaled at this point. I need a new tablet and thinking of picking up an older (6th Gen) used iPad to dip my toes. Mainly want to use it as a couch/portable thing, but can also possibly imagine incorporating it with the rest of my gear (mainly for MIDI sequencing/MIDI controller/granular sampler).

Anybody use one of these? What’s your workflow? Educate me on peripherals. Must have apps. Etc.

It is actually really badass and a lot of the musicians here love using them for music. Personally, I own a lot of apps and they are awesome and easy to use, the top tier ones anyway. For some reason it doesn’t click for me though, in practice I don’t really enjoy using an ipad the way I use hardware nor a computer. Some how on a very practical? level it is the worst of both worlds to me.

But please let other people convince you I’m wrong, I think I am personally. With the right MIDI controller you and/or sequencer you basically have a world of synths samples drum machines etc at your finger tips. I’m the red headed step child in this scenario.

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I have some intrigue for an Ipad right now too. It does have some apps, but it also has control apps for some effects units or audio interfaces that would make a lot more sense for me if I had an Ipad to edit them with. And Ipad OS makes an ipad an interesting proposition for me as an apple device besides my iphone SE to back up my phone in case something should happen to it. And also as a gateway into the wider world of Mac OS beyond the taste IOS gives. However, I also am somewhat interested in a Surface since have been all-windows except for my phone my entire life so far and done pretty well. I need to do more research of my own for sure, but consider me interested in people’s music-making opinions as well.

The platform has come a really long way. I had a mind to get into iPad music making but ultimately it just brought me back to hardware. I agree with relic, it’s great but didn’t stick after I jumped in. That said…

I’d look into AUM as your main application hub / mixer. For apps I can highly recommend anything made by Ruismaker. For granular I’d suggest borderlands, spacecraft or quanta as they’re all great. Zeeon is a fantastic synth that will cover any ground you want, iSEM I can recommend as well. For sequencing it’s pretty tough to beat step poly arp. Those apps when combined with AUM will definitely give you the experience you’re looking for.

Here are a couple things I made while experimenting with the platform. The first one is an AUM session being controlled by a Liine Lemur template I created. The second one is an AUM session without the template. Both using step poly arp as the primary sequencer. Descriptions of exactly what’s happening can be found in the video titles and descriptions.


When doing full weight DAW-based stuff, I use the iPad as an interface for the Modal 002R.

For iPad based stuff I have a bunch of apps and soft synths on there. I’m not massively impressed with the iPad in its own right because if you’re not connecting to Apple stuff you tend to have a lot of hurdles to jump over. Mostly I just use it when I’m not at my DAW and then transfer anything promising to it when I next get the chance.

AUM is probably a must if you want to run a bunch of apps at once. I really like GR-16, it is basically both the new electribes in iPad format. You can import your own samples and export loops really easily. You can’t see the iPad in the video below, but I’m using GR-16 for the synths and vocals. I also really like Sunrizer if you just need a simple subtractive. iMini and iSem are must haves IMO.

Interesting. I bought Sunrizer on both IOS and Windows and find it a really weak synth compared to other soft synths. I was very interested to compare. I don’t grudge the makers their income but its pretty average I think. Not rubbish but they need to up their game.

Oh it is pretty average for sure. But when you need a basic subtractive sound really quick it’s all right in front of you. I tend to slather the FX on it a bit (the internal ones) it isn’t he best, but with the FX its more than usable to my ear.

Craigslist came through again. Just picked up a sealed 6th Gen, so it’s on. Going to wait until Black/Cyber to load up on apps, as I’m assuming a bunch of shit is going to be on sale around that time. Any convenient way to monitor when apps go on sale?

Definitely interested in Ruismaker apps (Noir, in particular). Sector looks pretty awesome too. Any experience with that one?

I have their Trouble Maker 303 and it is amazing. It scratches my 303 itch. But that’s the only one I’ve used.

It’s a really nice app, I owe lots to the developer, Bram Bos as his early software, like Touareg got me into electronic music production.
My fav for drums is ElasticDrums though, sponda really good and great interface plus it play well with my Mpc

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Generally companies have emails and stuff a lot of people opt out of. You could shoot that avenue or just reminder yourself to physically look when it’s closer. They’ll probably pre-advert, if they haven’t already.

I was hoping more for a site that was keeping up with all the shit and just aggregating all the sale. I think I found something along those lines:


I bought Sector and it’s really fucking awesome. Controlled randomness over loop slice selection and choice of glitchiness. Really well done.

Also amazed at how good Factory by Sugar Bytes sounds. The routing matrix has all kinds of ways to morph itself or randomized X and Y axes, or have an LFO modulate the range of all modulations. Just fucking with all that leads to all sorts of insane sounds, yet still keeping the same components (oscillators, filters, envelopes). Brilliant.

Also dicked around with a free port of some of the Mutable Instruments ports (Clouds, Rings, etc). Fun.

So far so good.

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I tried in earnest to use an iPad as the main sequencer for a live setup for a while, like months. Granted, this was also in the midst of a big learning curve for me, switching from playing your typical live drums, bass, guitar, to electronic music.

We are doing now a duo with vocals and guitar (me) and the other guy also on guitar. Initially, we were just looking to have an electronic percussion and bass rig. iPad has enough power to do that, we were not asking too much of the CPU. But we ran into some challenges.

Many of the apps lack in-song tempo changes. And some developers are astonishingly a bit incredulous that that is an important ‘feature.’ There isn’t consistent implementation of midi. You can use some hosts to set up midi controls for audio units, but we had a lot of failure of those settings to stay put. i.e. we’d turn the setup back on again and they just wouldn’t work despite showing the correct cc’s and devices enabled. Also, that means adding dual host apps which causes issues since you can’t easily multi window, it would be small where you did. There was inconsistent sync with arps between apps and devices and it wasn’t just a latency thing, there was drift.

I don’t know how many hours of my life I won’t get back from messing with the above. Probably 100. I’m not bitter though cause, again, this was all part of me just learning electronic based production.

I’m also not sad I invested in an iPad for two reasons, though we’ve transitioned to Ableton for the above.

For one, we are both using it as a sketch pad for tracks. Korg Gadget will even output in Ableton format. We also use Modstep which is an awesome app but isn’t very often updated. It will just export midi which is easy enough to load up. It sure beats my old mobile method of writing down song ideas, scribbed sheet music!

I am still making samples on the iPad. Making samples, for me mostly percussion, that’s a nice commute, out and about mobile use. Something I fit into regular life stuff. I’ve made some many percussion sounds on the subway, at the park watching my kid play, etc.

Some of the apps I use to make samples: Twisted Wave, a great simple recorder, but will load AU3 effects so you can do sound mangling there too. Do a lot of field percussion recording with that…hey this train car has a nice thud, this broken glass here has a nice scrape… Fieldscaper, designed to record noise out in the field and play around with it. Bunch of AU3 effects. Ruismaker - Noir, FM, and original. Great for making percussion, which I usually edit in Twisted Wave.

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My experience has also been “the simpler, the better” with iPad and music apps. Some folks seem to get some pretty complex things happening, but I’ve never gotten like more than 2-3 apps to play nice together and then been able to repeat that.

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Ya. Good way to describe it. It made me really appreciate how easy I have it integrating some odd 50 VST plugins and a dozen hardware units with laptop/desktop with two DAWs and only having some technical issue a few times a decade.

I forgot to add initially. Useful hardware to add:
As with anything an audio interface - here you need one to be totally class compliant.
A powered USB hub - get one with a 2.1A output and the Apple CCK usb3 to power the iPad and use the hub at the same time. Anker makes nice ones.

Yeah, I’m going into this with very little expectations. It’s already a pleasure to use just to browse the interwebz or reddit on the shitter. So anything beyond that is a bonus. But I’ve had some successes so far.

Bought Samplr. I know it hasn’t been updated in years, but I see everyone rave about it, so I grabbed it while it’s still working in the current OS. I can totally see why it’s praised so much. Brilliant execution and proper use of the touch interface.

Kept seeing references to Network MIDI in all these programs, so I remembered I already have rtpMIDI installed on my machine for the DeepMind editor. Fired all that shit up and hey, it worked with Samplr. Not rock solid or anything, as it takes it a bit to lock after it gets a Start message from Cubase, but still somewhat stable once it does that. I doubt I’m going to use that, but it was still fun to witness in that “look-ma-no-cables” kind of way. I also ran the headphone out through some pedals and it sounded ok. Again, probably not going to use that method for anything serious, but good to know it’s usable. I still want to do some shoot outs with going through the headphone out vs just rendering inside whatever app. But transferring files back and forth doesn’t seem so bad at all. Bought AudioShare for a few bucks. It stands up a little web server that I can connect to from my desktop and I can just transfer files back and forth. Bonus is that AudioShare seems to interface with a ton of apps and I can load things directly from AudioShare. Neat.

Bought AUM too, but haven’t gotten too deep into it yet, since I don’t have a whole lot of things. But already running into annoying issues. Samplr doesn’t want to sync up to its clock for whatever reason. I also couldn’t get AUM to respond/sync to Network MIDI. Again, not a big deal, since I won’t be using it that way. But still a nice reminder that some shit is simply not going to work and I should just move on to something else.

Made a large list of apps that I keep seeing getting recommended, so going to grab whatever is on sale at the end of the month.

I should be getting my CCK today and want to see if I can get MIDI going between my PC and the iPad via that. Have you (or anyone else) messed around with studioMux/midimux. I should potentially be able to do that with those apps (and audio too, apparently, with studiomux). So that’s what I’m going to mess around with next. I don’t really want to invest in another interface. As long as I can have MIDI stabled between iPad and PC/Cubase, I think I’m going to be ok with just recording audio on the iPad itself and transferring files via AudioShare. I can use the headphone out for monitoring what I’m doing. I think that should be just fine for my needs.


I haven’t tried studioMux/midimux. Most of my midi gear has 5 pin so I just do midi between iPad, computer, etc. with a usb to 5 pin on the iPad. I bought that before I had heard of those apps but it works so no reason to change it.

Samplr is a good one : ) That was one of the first apps I got that made me feel like “Ok, might be something to this iPad for music thing” FWIW I have gotten usable recordings from just the headphone out on my iPad Air gen 1. Of course an interface might be needed to get a good, hot recording.

Heads up, Best Buy is selling $100 App Store gift card for 80. Though it looks like they just switched it to in-store only. I was able to pick it up digitally a few hours ago. And naturally there’s a shitload of apps on sale right now. Audiobus forum has all the deals:

This shit is fucking dangerous, though. I’m going to end up spending more on peripherals and apps than I spent on the device itself. So much for dipping my toes…

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