Focusrite has already proven that they know their business so far, with many amazing audio interfaces. But how does their iTrack Solo perform?
In terms of build quality, this interface feels quite premium. The aluminum unibody case isn’t just sturdy but will look nice on your desk as well.
There are 2 inputs on the front. An XLR for the mic, with its respective gain knob, and one for the instrument with a gain knob as well. Apart from that, the front stays pretty simple. Just a big monitor volume knob, a headphone output, and a direct monitor switch.
A neat feature Focusrite included are the LED halos around the gain knobs. The color of these halos tells you if the signal is clipping, and whether the levels are too high.
The back sports USB 2.0 and Device link connectors alongside stereo line outputs.
If you need a simple yet effective audio interface to use with your iPad, the Focusrite iTrack Solo is a great option, especially when considering it costs around $100.
If you have any experience with music and instruments, Roland should be a familiar name by now. Their Duo- Capture EX is their take on mobile audio interfaces.
At first glance, this interface looks very sleek, but durable as well. The build quality is on point, and will definitely make this device last you a long time.
With two combined inputs, having both XLR and standard instrument option, you are free to simultaneously record two instruments, an instrument and vocals, or with two microphones. As this feature gives you a lot more freedom, we’re not sure why this isn’t a standard when it comes to audio interfaces.
Two phantom- powered VS preamps are a great addition, especially if you use condenser microphones in your setup. The front, though relatively minimalistic, gives you a headphone output as well as sensitivity and output controls.
Besides standard stereo output, the Duo- Capture offers both MIDI input and output option as well.
For less than $200, the Roland Duo- Capture EX is a good investment, with musicians who use MIDI devices besides mics and instruments on mind.
Marketed as the first professional stereo audio interface for iPads, the Apogee Duet takes a slightly different approach than the other models we’ve mentioned so far.
While the device itself may boast a smaller form factor, it can certainly take up numerous different input sources.
The whole idea is to have a single input to which you can connect a cable that offers multiple connectors. It supports standard instrument cable jacks as well as XLR for connecting microphones.
The input/ output count goes up to four, with 2 combined XLR/ instrument inputs, and 2 standard speaker outputs.
The interface on the device is made up of an OLED screen which delivers visual feedback of the levels of the instruments you’re recording. All of the controls are combined in a single multi- function knob on the top, so in order to adjust different parameters, you simply tap a button to cycle through them and turn the knob to set the level.
If you don’t mind the adapter cable setup and the around $600 price tag, definitely consider the Apogee Duet.
Switching things up from a relatively expensive option to a very budget- friendly one, the Tascam iXZ is an awesome alternative for connecting your instruments to your iPad, and for less than $50.
When designing the iXZ, Tascam wanted to save as much space as possible. The result was the interface being very slim, with only the input fraction of the device having a slight bulge.
Other than that, the iXZ does feel kind of cheap. But hey, it doesn’t have to look good in order to perform good, right?
A simple switch allows you to toggle between the instrument and XLR input, and a similar switch turns the phantom power on and off. The volume wheel is the same kind you would find on the old cd and cassette tape players.
Performance- wise, it was surprisingly good. The outside looks definitely don’t reflect the audio quality.
So, if you’re looking for a pocket- sized audio interface with a low price and slightly above average performance, the iXZ by Tascam is the way to go.
There are not so many truly modular synths for iOS yet. And while all the iPad-sound-designers are waiting for Reaktor, Softube Modular it is really nice to see a new app that was inspired by one of the latest semi-modular synths – Make Noise 0-coast. It is not accurate emulation but rather taking the concept of 0-coast and taking this concept further.
And it is a great app to get into west-coast style modular synthesis – , FM, low pass gate – things that you don’t find on your normal VA synth…
Comparing to 0-coast – Ripplemaker adds nice sequencer (available at the standalone app, not AU), noise section (0-coast has only one random s&h output that is hardwired to tempo), LFO and delay.
AU works as an instrument, as it is thing I wish it would operate as an effect as well for some nice FM synthesis or taking advantage of LPG of Ripplemaker.
It is a really nice app for those who just start with modular synthesis and advanced crazy modular heads 🙂
Bram Bos – developer of series of great iOS apps inc. Ruismaker shared a new video with his new app: RippleMaker.
As Bram explains:
It’s a pre-wired modular (like e.g. the 0-coast) with internally normalized connections. Why? Because this makes it easy to jump in without having a clue about west-coast synthesis. Shit will work without patching a single wire into it
Then you can go wild plugging cables in willy-nilly and see what happens. It’s much more free-form than east-coast modulars (like the Model 15). You can turn the slope into an LFO, or loop it so it becomes a pseudo oscillator. Or you can route the output of the Lopass Gate into the Oscillator’s FM for screeching chaos, Use the LFOs for triggering envelopes while modulating its rate with random noise, etc. etc.
Audio and control voltages run @ 4x oversampling speeds, so you can abuse anything as an audio signal or vice versa and it’s all at a min. of 176KHz sampling rates.
Audiobus 3 has arrived bringing great new features:
A totally new way to set up MIDI connections between compatible apps. All IAA instruments that are compatible with Audiobus will be usable as MIDI destinations. MIDI controllers will need to update to the newest SDK and support Audiobus 3’s MIDI system. We’re launching with a few of the best MIDI controller apps for that. And of course MIDI filters are a whole new category of apps, of which there will be a handful when we launch, made by Johannes Dörr, the creator of midiFlow
Support for Audio Unit Extensions.
A basic input mixer to adjust volumes of all sound generators
Apps with the new Audiobus 3 SDK will launch into the background. All MIDI controllers and filters with the new Audiobus MIDI system will support this. Combined with Audio Unit Extensions and the new Audiobus MIDI system this turns Audiobus 3 into a really amazing place to set up your whole workflow, save it as an Audiobus preset and then restore it later on.
Support for split view and slide-over on compatible devices so that you can adjust the volume without having to switch apps – just slide in the side panel and use the Audiobus mixer in that. It’s handy.
Wolfgang Palm’s Phonem VST synth was successfully ported for the iPad. Apart that the voice-synth itself is cool and powerful it also has all the main features you can expect from the modern iOS music app: Inter-App Audio, Audio Unit support, Audiobus with state-saving etc.
Phonem synth iOS Audio Unit extension allows you to use multiple instances of the app in the compatible host (Cubasis, GarageBand).
The app requires you to spend some time playing with it to start making sound that make sense. But the synth comes with useful library of 500+ presets – covering basic and advanced sounds.