Saturday, November 29, 2014

Black Friday update

So I was doing pretty well with iPad Black Friday sales until I caved and bought another sample library - iSymphonic Orchestra. I was looking hard at Korg Module but ran into another issue - my 64 GB iPad Air was full! This leads to a pet peeve of mine which is how music apps store their files on the iPad. At some point, almost every app stores large uncompressed WAV files.

On my desktop, my DAW of choice is Logic X and I do almost all of my work with MIDI files - tiny encoded numbers, rather than raw WAV or AIFF files. Since I don't record my voice, nor plug in a guitar, nor use older "gear", everything in my song files is usually simple MIDI files that are played by the plug-ins. Occasionally I resort to jazz loops for drums but otherwise, I almost never need to resort to raw audio files. Even my trumpets and sax files are MIDI tracks played via the Akai EWI and played through the excellent SampleModeling plugins.

MIDI is in all ways...better! Easy to transpose - simple to edit, change the time in and almost anything else. I can cover up a lack of performing talent with constructive post-production editing! Audio files, on the other hand are difficult to loop - hard to cut up and edit - sound weird when transposed or sped up or slowed down. Not only is most of my music MIDI, but its mainly virtual inside the computer or via USB cables. I don't have a single MIDI cable. 

Conversely, on my iPad, I often use Auria or MultiTrack DAW which work on only audio files. Lots of very large, uncompressed audio. On top of that, Auria will periodically store "snapshots" with copies of those large uncompressed audio files! This eats up space quickly and its a pain to manage/migrate and move these files to dropbox or to delete unused ones. 

MIDI on the iPad is still in its infancy it seems. In self-contained apps like Garageband or Gadget, tracks are stored internally as MIDI but its hard to get them out. The gold standard for MIDI is currently Cubasis, but even there, if you are using many IAA instruments, the memory quickly fills or bogs down until you have to freeze tracks - which, again, leads to more audio files. 

Back to iSymphonic - I haven't played with it yet but the advantage will be having one app that can handle 16 MIDI connections (I hope!). I plan on trying it with Cubasis and driving the MIDI via Noatikl. I anticipate lots of crashes, but we'll see!

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