Using an iPad in the Music Industry Part 2: In the Studio and on the Road, an engineer’s guide.


Hey all, Graham Tobias here again with today’s dose of Using an iPad in the Music Industry.  Yesterday’s Part 1 was about how musicians can utilize the iPad. Today it’s all about the engineers.

As a sound engineer I am often seen lugging around all sorts of equipment to gigs. I work both in the studio and live, and I almost always bring a laptop with me to every job. With the laptop generally comes a power supply, a bus powered M Box audio interface and a reference microphone at the very minimum. This allows me to use expensive real time analysis software to generate live frequency spectrum graphs of the sound in the room. It’s a lot of gear just to get a visual representation of what my ears are already telling me.

Enter the iPad and AudioTools by Studio Six Digital . For $20 users have access to a seriously powerful selection of tools. Now, instead of bringing a laptop, interface, microphone and power supply to work, all I need is my iPad. Among its many features, AudioTools provides a really useful RTA app that uses the built in microphone on the iPad. It’s not lab-accurate, but it is very helpful and does everything I need with so much less equipment.  Another feature in AudioTools is an SPL (sound pressure level) meter. Traditionally every engineer at some point in their career will make a pilgrimage to radio shack to spend $50 on a digital SPL meter. This tradition has ended, and I’m glad.

more after the jump-

When working in the studio, sometimes I feel like I need to be in two rooms at once, in the live room with the musicians, coaching and listening to the instruments, and also in the control room running the session. There have been some well received and well made remote controls for recording studios that hit the market a few years ago. The iPad is quickly making them all obsolete. For very little money, engineers can have a wireless comprehensive digital audio workstation control interface right on an iPad. ProRemote from Far Out Labs turns the iPad into a powerful tactile control for Pro Tools and Logic. Touted as being 4 Mackie Control Universal Pros in an app, Far Out Labs claims their app can replace over $5000 worth of equipment and run wirelessly with moving touch screen faders, buttons and knobs. Very cool.

Often times, when mixing live shows, there are a number of documents to keep track of: riders, stage plots, input lists, contacts, etc… I have found that Evernote is a powerful app for keeping track of literally anything you can think of.  It’s cloud based, keeps all of your info everywhere, and interfaces with everything.  Also, very importantly, it can be pitch black at shows, and without a flashlight you can’t read paper.  The iPad is backlit and you can read it in any environment.

Thanks so much for checking out Part 2 of my iPad series! Check back tomorrow to learn about how you can use the iPad to help tackle social media and market your band! Feel free to shoot any questions to gtobias@theorchard.com .

Written and compiled by Graham Tobias

For More Information:
http://www.evernote.com
http://www.studiosixdigital.com/audiotools.html
http://www.folabs.com/proremote.html

2 Comments

Ken Seiler

Thanks so much for this, i really found it all useful! I was having a little difficulty finding some good apps for the studio so i’m really happy i found this! thanks so much!

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