Auria – a true ‘Pro’ DAW on your iPad.
Auria by WaveMachine Labs has been reviewed in depth by a number of pro bloggers and reviewers before so i wondered what i might be able to add for us users, looking at this incredible piece of software, that doesn’t repeat whats been written before – it wasn’t easy, but…
Auria is a pro level multitrack recorder capable of up to 48 tracks at up to 96khz (24bit) on iPad4 (24 track on iPad2).
So much has been said about the quality of the app and FX and believe me it is the dogs bollocks as far as anything released on iOS so far, both the sound quality and manipulability (if thats a valid word) really do knock everything else well down the list! The in-app purchases may seem pricey for iOS standards, but this IS a pro quality app and as such, the prices are cheap in comparison to PC/MAC based features.
Down to the nitty gritty and setting up for a session, when initially running up Auria the time stamp is given as actual time. If like me you’re more used to bars/beats, hit the transport position (top right) for the transport controls dropdown. This gives you the basic controls you’ve been looking for and its good to familiarise yourself. Tempo is found under the Menu>Settings option.
All of these are very handy to know once you’re flying!
Set the positioner snap (# type symbol dropdown), metronome and count-in. If importing loops and samples, the count-in and metronome may not be so important.
One key feature of Auria is everything is carried out in one of two windows, mixer and edit (waveform tracks) view, making location and manipulation a total breeze.
If using either audiobus or external recording via usb interface, set loop mode on and use the locator button (top menu button bar, arrow pointing at vertical line) to set the in/out points for where you wish to record.
Audiobus recording takes a little time to get used to, but before long it hangs together quite sweetly. Use the ‘Input Matrix’ (from the main menu), select Audiobus input on the track you require for inputs 1 & 2 only, arm the recording on the track and you’re ready.
ACP works superbly, as with virtually all apps, being called from the ‘Edit’ dropdown. Select your file, set its track and position and even how many copies/loops you require and hit ok. Job done.
Once you get your recording completed, editing and moving the sections around is an equally simple process. Edit if the section outline is blue (tap once) and move if red (second tap). For something so complex, things have been made pretty simple. Editing options are exactly what you might need, all the basics are there and all recordable, including the additional manipulation of all the usual mixer functions, fades as well as your main channel strip effects (expander, EQ and compressor) parameters.
Dealing with the effects, the simplest way i’ve found to use them is to initially rely on the various default settings to get the basic effect and then tune it furter from there. Certainly this seems the best way until you have a better understanding of the parameters action. Or you are a pro and already know.
Now we start hitting the niggly problem for lower spec iPad users, memory issues. I’m running on iPad2 so regularly see the low memory warning popup regularly. Most of the time this can be ignored, but it can cause crashes.
Track freezing is an ideal way to cease the constant processing required for each track you’re working with, once you are satisfied with where it is then freeze it, freeing up resources for what you are currently working on. You can unfreeze anytime, all with a single touch of a button.
One hint i found to clear extra memory space is to clear the ‘other’ data that shows in the usage bar on itunes (this has been reported up to 16GB of space unusable). It contains iOS amongst other things so 1-2 GB is expected, but extra space can be cleared by the following… http://osxdaily.com/2011/10/18/itunes-other-capacity-taking-up-tons-of-space-fix/
When running Auria, keep your other app usage to a minimum, especially if also using audiobus. Use just the apps you need, forget twitter/email/facebook whilst doing this, you need the space for the important work you’re doing.
If you follow this advice you’ll have a far better chance to complete your work with only a few minor issues and not lose your changes. Or get an iPad4 (not an opton for most)!
Once the tune is ready to go, mixdown the song and export in the same process to either Soundcloud or your Dropbox or even return it back into Auria as a single track (bouncing). You even have the option of selecting the bitrate at either 16, 24 or 32 bit resolution giving you true pro quality masters.
There are a lot more features here i haven’t touched on, but the idea here is covering the basics and showing how simple it is, not the big scary beast that the specs lead you to believe.
Ignore the price, this app is worth the money its costing. The sound quality and effects are unbelievable but on iPad2 the memory issue can really grind you down if you let them.
The procedures and processes carried out on this app are far simpler than the technical specs hint at, work flow is straightforward once you get to grips with where things are in the menu’s, but even that is not a challenge.
Personally, my use for Auria is as a mastering tool, creating my tracks elsewhere with sequencers of one brand or another, and then importing the track here for final mastering, not for the soundcloud demo’s i put up, but for the final stage before i might hopefully release my own EP etc some day.
This really is a fantastic iDAW app. The best. Hands down. The only question in my mind for people is are they ready to take their productions to a pro level, if so then the money is extremely well spent.
The developer is shit hot on updating the app with fixes and deveopments, and the support/forum is espcially useful and very active for hint, tips and assistance.
Check the WaveMachine Labs website HERE
For one of the best and in depth set of reviews on all aspects of Auria, see Smite Matter’s set if app and IAP reviews HERE
Enjoy and keep going with that music making!