« Woz by David Newman | Main | Inspirational iPad Educator »

Video Find: iPad as a Music Studio

Can an iPad replace a laptop as a Music Studio? Here is someone who thinks you can.

In this video, recorded on an iPhone, Andrew Turner (deepliferecords on YouTube) discusses replacing his failed two year old HP Tablet with an iPad and a bunch of apps plus hardware add-ons, as a music creation device.

Andrew demos IK Multimedia's Amplitube for iPad and the iRig hardware interface along with NLogSynth PRO and a Korg nanoKEY midi controller plugged in via Apple's Camera Connection Kit. He is certainly impressed and at the end of the video he says:

"Overall, I'm very happy with the iPad as a replacement for my laptop... there's nothing that I can't do so far with the iPad that I could do with the Windows Notebook or a Windows Computer." 

We tend to agree with Andrew, but what do you think? Can an iPad replace a laptop for music creation? Let us know in the comments. 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: audio editor
    iPad Creative - iPad Creative - Video Find: iPad as a Music Studio

Reader Comments (17)

I think it can't for now, at least with this version. But probably will. The recording process involving multiple apps and external instruments is not so easy to deal with as the notebook process using DAWs (sonar, cubase...).

I wrote 5 articles about making music with the iPad ( http://musicapps.com.br/category/especial-musica-no-ipad/ in Portuguese, but there is a handy translate button on each post :) ). The best situation I experimented talking about replacing the notebook with an iPad was recording real instruments. With the Camera Connection Kit, the USB interface Edirol UA-25 (with a usb hub) and a good recording app (MultiTrack Daw), I can do almost anything like I was working on my notebook. But there are some limitations: apps without good fx or no fx at all.

Would be awesome If the iPad was capable of recording in one app the sound generated by another (using multitasking). For while it isn't and I don't know it's because of the iOS limitations, hardware or not ready apps.

Congrats on your great work with the blog!

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarcus Padrini

Marcus - we definitely agree about the multi-tasking issue. Not being able to record the audio out of an effects app like Amplitube into a DAW like StudioTrack for example is one of the main frustrations with the iPad as it is. Great comment, thank you!

December 13, 2010 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

It is possible though, just a bit of a hazzle.. I use Amplink with AmpKit+ and use a backing track made in StudioTrack in AmpKit+, thus recording the effects live. Then I use copy/paste to put the guitar track in StudioTrack.
The latest update to AmpKit+ provides Sonoma Wireworks copy/paste funktion which gives up to 12 diffent tracks in memory at a time.

StudioTrack have just a couple of days ago submitted an update that also gives the ability to copy tracks in-app, thus removing the need to constantly having to use wifi back and forth on your pc to make the different apps working together.

Another bonus with AmkKit+ is that it records the "wet" recording with effects simultaneous with the dry sound without effects, so it's very easy to try out different effects after recording the track. That's a killer feature that I use a lot.

I have so far made 6 full recordings on the iPad and iPhone using a lot of different apps and instruments, and the sound quality is very respectable, though there is an issue with using the Amplink and the iRig using the earphone jack, there's a bit of crosstalk there from other tracks. Will buy the Guitar Jack 2 when it arrives on the marked. Guitar Jack 1 doesn't work on the iPad/iPhone 4. Afraid of committing to an Camera Kit solution due to the bug/change in iOS4 with the power issue there.

December 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan J

Jan J - Thank you that is really helpful. It is encouraging that you have been able to do this successfully. It is still not as easy as we would like but at least it is possible.

We have some time set aside over the Holidays to give the new AmpKit a thorough workout now it works on iPad natively and we will report back on that as soon as we can.

We didn't know about the StudioTrack update but we have that too and this would make things easier so looking forward to that!

Thanks again for your comment and if you want to share any links to your tracks we are happy for you to post them here.

December 14, 2010 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

No, thank you for a great site that gives us the opportunity to read about and discuss the iPads creative possibilities. :-)

Don't know if I made it clear, but the update to StudioTrack is only submitted to apple, it's not yet out. They say on their site that they have optimised the app so it's not quite as CPU hungry, which may alleviate some of the issues with live effects giving some clicks and and stutters (though not in the finished mix).

Not sure how to submit any songs on this site though.. Also a bit apprehensive about posting them for the world to hear :-), but it would be cool to get input on the recording quality of them.
I've experimented with a couple of friends, with the goal of only using the iPad and iPhone, no manipulation allowed on the pc. It's been quite fun to do, though my neighbours might be a tad tired of listening to the noise.. :-)

If you could give me a quick run down on how to submit a song or two I would be grateful.

I apologise for the spelling errors in the previous post (and in this one in advance), the iPad can be a bit difficult to write on sometimes, and I sometimes miss a key or two, also, English is not my native language.. :-)

December 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan J

Ok, I think I figured out a way to share a couple of the songs.
I'm using SoundCloud.com to host my songs.
Be aware, if you click the links wednesday, they may not work, as SoundCloud will be undergoing a database maintenance with a scheduled downtime

First song is a cover of an old Mick Jagger song.
Using StudioTrack, Multitrack DAW, Audioview, miniDrum PRO and AmpKit+.

Song and acoustic guitar is using the built-in microphone on the iPad.
Electric Guitar and Bass recorded vith an AmpLink cable using AmpKit+ for effects.

No computer have been used and all effects applied have been done on the iPad.

Link: http://soundcloud.com/bytebrain/dont-tear-me-up

A second song will follow tomorrow, SoundCloud is having some problems "Transcoding" my upload...

Feel free to give some input on the recording quality, but be gentle when commenting on my musical skills - I am an amateur.. :-)

December 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan J.

Hi Jan J - we were going to suggest SoundCloud as the best way to share your tracks.

You know what, we think this is great, especially for an iPad only track. The percussion sounds a lot better than a shoebox should! The vocals carry well considering you didn't use an external mic. You have done a good job mixing the track and it builds really well, quite a lot like the original does.

You should be very pleased with this! Do you mind if we share the link on Twitter and Facebook? ( we haven't got that many followers so don't worry:-) )

If anyone else is reading this and you want to share your tracks, please post a link here or send the track to us directly at our SoundCloud account and we will post the link for you. Let's see what you guys can do!

December 14, 2010 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

Thx for the positive feedback :-)
Sure, you can share it.
I have another track on SoundCloud, but there seems to have some issues on the site, the file is on hold "transcoding". Will provide the link when available.
I must say I'm very impressed with the possibilities for creating music on idevices, and it's only going to get better with new software and with iPad 2 on the horizon the future looks very bright for creative people.

December 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan J

Jan J.,

That is the best all iPad track I've heard yet (anywhere). Great job! If more people posted tracks like that, there'd be no more excuses for the rest of us.


December 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

Thank you Anthony! Nice with some good feedback. :-)

If the Creative team here is gonna share my tracks on twitter, maybe I should get a Twitter account too.. Never got round to it.

This site is really great, haven't seen any other like it, and it's amazing to see what people can get out of the iPad!

December 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan J

I gave up on waiting for SoundCloud, it still hasn't finished "Transcoding" my second track.
Using Dropbox instead, so here is a link to my second track:


This time the a cover of the well known song "Gentle on my Mind" by John Hartford.
It's made entirely on the ipad, using only the built in mic.
3 acoustic guitars
A tambourine
A shoebox
2 dishwashing brushes... :-)
No pc or mac was involved in the making of this..

Made with my friend Peter, who is also singing.

Forgot to give credit to my friend Joe, he played a big part in the previous track I uploadet.

Just in case SoundCloud is giving grief with that, here's a link to that song using DropBox:


I'm sorry, but I can't figure out how to make clickable links here...

December 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan J.

For those that are interested my twitter name is JanHjelm. Still new to the twitter thing, so any suggestions for a good Twitter client will be appreciated.. Using Twitterific now, but can't get it to push messages to me, and any attempt to change the pic on my avatar results in an error...

December 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan J

First of all, thanks for your blog - I think the iPad has wonderful potential as a content creation device (I love it as a consumption device, too), and it's inspiring and educational to see the different ways people have used it.

I've just started doing some recording with the iPad using a method similar to what JanJ describes above - while, ideally, we would have the ability to run background audio through multitasking and patch one app's output into the input of another, the AudioCopy/Paste functionality works well. While it's not going to win a Grammy, the fact that you can record something with virtually-played drums, bass, horns, Rhodes, and violin on a train ride is flat-out amazing.

Recording/DAW App developers - If you're listening and if it's technologically possible within iOS, PLEASE implement some type of cross-app patching so that we can get audio straight into a DAW without going through the copy/paste step. I think that really is, from an audio recording standpoint, the ultimate feature, and whoever successfully implements it will have a huge step up in the audio recording process.

Instrument App Developers - If you make a synth, looper or virtual instrument app, please add a rudimentary recording function that allows the user to quickly (1 or 2 steps) add a backiing track to your app and then record what the user plays over it, with the ability to quickly and easily export the newly played track. While this is possible in apps like ThumbJam, it's a little kludgy.

It really does feel like there is a built-up mass of potential among the component pieces of software (e.g., apps such as ThumbJam, Filtatron, Morphwiz, MultiTrack DAW, InstantDrummer, AmpKit, etc. provide a fantastic feature set for comparatively little money), and better workflow/multi-app integration will really put music recording on the iPad over the top.

Thanks for listening and thanks again for the effort you put into your blog.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Mike, you have some interesting points and some good suggestions. I'm too, are tired of buying pretty good instrument simulation apps, just to find out that there is no record function in them. There's a lot of good apps out there that could use that.
I'm not sure, but I think maybe that Apple have some limitations in play that currently makes it impossible.

As to the point about cross app patching, I don't think we will see that anytime soon due to technological limitations. The iPad is just not powerful enough. It would need a much faster processor, and most of all a lot more memory. The small amount of memory on the iPad is the only thing I really don't like about the iPad, and it's a strange decision from Apple to chose 256 MB of ram and then give the iPhone 512 MB..
I believe that is the main reason my Internet browser crashes so often as it does.

I agree that this is a great blog. Keep up the good work guys.

December 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan J

Mike / Jan - Thank you both for your comments we appreciate the feedback it is very encouraging!

It seems to be a limitation on third party apps that they cannot access the audio hooks within iOS simultaneously, so we may never see the functionality we really want on the iPad.

There seem to be two audio copy/paste standards as well in iOS apps so frustratingly one app's audio may not be copyable to another without using iTunes sync first.

Developers are doing amazing things with the limited resources they have got and we are looking forward to iPad 2 (hopefully extra hardware resources) and possibly iOS 5 improving the situation.

December 18, 2010 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

Thanks for your video. I agree that for straightforward guitar recording and even some simple keys apps that the iPad can replace a Windows Laptop. If you are using a DAW for more sophisticated purposes (multi-VSTs, etc) or god forbid need 135GB for the complete install of Komplete (no pun intended), then the iPad doesn't cut it.

I have found that many of the apps out there for iOS satisfy my needs for making soundscapes and with MIDI support now, even synth, piano works with the keyboard connectivity option. If we ever see the ability to attach and access multi-terabyte drives, we may be in for a real treat. By the way, in the for what's it's worth category, there is an app called Desktop that allows you to access Windows machines using RDP or VNC to get at and run your DAWs and Adobe Flash based websites from the iPad.

Peace - Arp

December 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArpegiator

I have an app similar to Desktop called Teamviewer. I can't imagine doing much in my desktop DAW with it though, as it's a bit difficult controlling the mouse via touch, but it's nice to have the option. :-)

I've read about several apps that works as a remote directly for specific DAW's, mostly for mixing purposes I believe. Can't remember which DAW's though, although the one I use isn't among them.
I think there's one for Pro Logic..
That's a neat idea.

December 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJan J

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.