Mobile music production (a rant)

I really would like to use mobile music stuff, but there’s a few things which I really hate:

  1. The focus on iOS… I mean, I’m a political person, too… and I refuse to buy from a company (Apple) which demands total control over the HARDWARE (!) I own
  2. On iOS: no multiple instances of those “plugins” they have now (which is plainly ridiculous, are you kidding me?)
  3. On Android: no real low latency audio, except on a few devices
  4. On Windows RT: no music software
  5. When it comes to the available music software on Android…

a) Either ridiculously crippled
b) or massively incomplete
c) or specialized in one area and rather good in it, but unable to do more in a single application
d) or based on a great idea but limited to the point of unusability


  • One application has an impressive keyboard and good synthesizers, but no way to use the fx properly for more than exporting tracks stem by stem (no aux ways, only one fx routing… seriously?)
  • Another application has very good synthesizers, but a horrible keyboard (C -> C or C -> E only, depending on the setting), so recording MIDI on the touch screen is horrible :frowning:
  • Another application has a very good mixer, but is so horribly crashy…

Stupid question: why in the world are you expecting a fully featured DAW on a mobile device? They just don’t have the horsepower to do anything decent.

Get a mobile recording rig setup including an audio interface capable of recording 4 or 8 tracks simultaneously, get some decent mics, record the raw audio with that, and finally do the processing on a “real computer.”

A few years ago I had an Akai/iPhone synthstation 25. I could never get it to work professionally with my gear it was a waste of money. The Akai alone was fine but with the iPhone apps a big NO NO… I now stay away from such toys. Including the iRig mic. I currently have an iPhone 5 with many synth apps but I consider them toys and rarely use them… Also the iPhone 5 doesn’t fit in the Akai so I sold it as well as the iRig which also didn’t work. That’s been my experience. Keep toys with toys and pro gear with pro gear…

One option is to go with the full-spec laptop (presumably bought pre-purposed from ADK, music-XP, etc) to use with the flagship sequencer you are familiar with (Cubase 7.5.20, etc.). With that, anything you can do at home you can do on the road hardware/software-wise (UAD-type cards excepted, you’d need to buy a Satellite or something in those circumstances).

Otherwise, tracking remotely, without all the bells and whistles we’re used to in the studio, is the way to go, saving all the rest when you bring your tracks back to the mother ship DAW.

If an iPad is a non-starter for you, Cubase has the Cubasis line, reported good for Android tablets, and I’ve read good reviews about a similar program called Auria. There are also the various hard disk recording options (the Zoom R8 or R24 have gotten nice reviews in SOS, I’m sure there are good quality devices up and down the food chain as well).

My variation on this theme was to buy a laptop that got good scores running “LatencyMon”, optimized it for Windows 7, and loaded a Cubase AI version on it (came with some Steinberg hardware I bought; and, look Mom, no dongle!). I’ll use it just for tracking, then bring the audio files back to my main DAW at home. I suppose if I wanted to I could do some rudimentary mixing on it, or at least use it as a template for mixing ideas (it has HSSE, apparently), but that would just be lagniappe.

Hope this helps!

I’m happy to post that iMachines from Native instruments is the first iphone app that works professionally for me.
Maybe I will try loopmash next.

My flypack uses an old white macbook and I can record 16 channels at a gig, well I used to when I didn’t mind schleping the gear out of the studio. Not a trade for me anymore though!

im in a band and we record our gigs all the time, mainly with a digital video recorder just to see how it sounds .i will import the audio into cubase and try balance the tones. on a couple of occasions weve also brought along one of those small audio digital stereo recorders along with the video recorder and recorded the sound from a different part of the room and because it was also digital meant i could line both audio recordings up in cubase and they would be in perfect sync,now i could mix one signal with the other which gave me a couple more mixing options . which then led me onto thinking if all the band members had a small digital recorder and put them next to their own piece of gear (guitar ,bass drums pa,whatever) while doing a gig.drums might need a couple .and then import all the different pieces of audio into cubase and line them all up, the results could be interesting, i havent tried it yet.... but id like to .cheap and easy multi track recording.

Loopmash on iphone 5 is amazing :smiley:

I’m guessing a Surface Pro 3 would work, expensive though (although probably not much more than an Iphone 6)…

Would not surprise me if they do this to us on purpose.

Do you have anything intelligent to contribute to this topic?

You can definitely have your cake and eat it too, with a Windows hybrid. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be the Surface Pro 3. So many cheaper alternatives, many more coming soon with the new Core M CPU (Broadwell architecture), promising i3-level performance (or i5 from 3-4 years ago) with super-low consumption and no need for a fan. These devices will be as thin as an iPad but way way more powerful and capable (true tablet computers, unlike the iPad/Android tablets.) Most likely they will be offered at same price as an entry-level iPad Air.

BTW, even an 8" Dell Venue Pro can run standard DAW software. Unlike any iThing, Android, Chromebook etc.

To me the size difference between an iPad and a Laptop is not a big enough deal if you need to do serious remote recording.
I do have Cubasis, an iPad and a UR44 which work great.
But for more than heading to the beach to write some tunes I use a Sony i7 laptop and a 4 space rack with 16 mic pres (including A/D D/A), a headphone amp and an RME Digiface with the HDSPe card in the Sony.
With this rig I can track 16 sources at once (24 with one more 8 banger), multiple headphone mixes, edit, effect, rough mix . . all without breaking a sweat. It fits in 1 laptop bag and a 4 space rack.
All the project DATA goes on an external SSD (USB3) so back in the studio it’s just “plug in”.
If I don’t need the I/O I can size WAY down with just the UR44 and the Laptop. Still powerful.

As I said - to me at this point the slightly smaller size of an iPad is not worth the power trade off from a laptop.


I enjoy making on the iPad Air. Cubasis is good enough. It is not Cubase but it doesn’t need to be for me.
What is great about the iOS music scene are the large number of very good sounding synths and effects available for pennies on the dollar cost of the desktop scene.

Yeah, but if you already have a DAW, synths and effects on your desktop/laptop, why buy an inferior platform with and inferior DAW and inferior plugs? Just to be faithful to Apple? It’s like buying a new phone with 2012 specs… :wink: Unbelievable what they can get away with…

Stopped updating Cubase at 5. Never bought the expensive synths. But on the iPad I can sit, lean, in my easy chair and enjoy my hobby. Far from an Apple fan boy, the iPad is my first device from that company. Kept up with NI Guitar rig for a couple of updates. The sims like ToneStack, Bias and Flying Haggis are far superior at literally a tenth the cost.


Aloha Robin, and tanx for the link.

Looks killer!!!

Tho’ I have not heard/read the term ‘Lightpipe’ for quite awhile. :slight_smile: :slight_smile:
Brings up old memories. :sunglasses:


Most of those in this topic will be looking for balanced analog I/O i would reckon… Nice specs. Great for FOH folks who want to offer live recording on the side…

That’s a cool product but not for sale in the Netherlands apparently.
edit: yes it is, but only at a few select shops which don’t show pricing.