Pro Audio Field Recorder App for iPhone
Many iPhone apps offer the basic ability to record an audio source but lack the professional options that are found in traditional field recorders. However, with the release of the “FiRe” app by Audiofile Engineering, professional field recording is now a possibility on the iPhone.
This program alone will make the iPhone an irresistible purchase for those looking for the convenience of capturing pro-quality field recordings without having to carry (let alone buy) a separate device.
Remote Control iPhone Apps for DAWs and MIDI
The second type of pro audio iPhone app focuses on remote controlling digital audio workstations (DAWs) or other hardware devices via the iPhone. Some examples are “ProRemote” (for Pro Tools, Logic and Live users) and “Cubase iC” (for users of Steinberg’s Cubase 5).
These apps allow the user to control the various virtual knobs, buttons and faders in each DAW. The Cubase app is available for free but those wanting “ProRemote” will have pay a hefty $99.99 for the full app or $35.99 for the “Lite” version.
Another remote control app worthy of mention is “TouchOSC” by Hexler. This app provides a stunning interface from which to control parameters on both software and hardware devices that implement the Open Sound Control protocol.
Portable DAWs on the iPhone
“FourTrack”, “GigBaby” and “BeatMaker” are all examples of another type of pro audio iPhone app. This category is a little more difficult to define but nonetheless exciting for music producers and gigging musicians.
In a sense, these apps are very simple digital audio workstations that use the iPhone’s built-in audio interface. They are software emulations of hardware devices such as 4-track recorders, drum machines, samplers and sequencers. Depending on the app, users may record or program multi-track song ideas and export them to a computer for deeper editing. iSample 2 is another example of this type of app.
Disadvantages to Using the iPhone for Pro Audio
With the amazing potential of these new apps, it is quite easy to overlook some of the inherent flaws of treating the iPhone as a professional audio device. Although relatively minor, there are two that are worth mentioning.
With most other MIDI controllers, the user can fumble around for a particular button or knob without having to look at the device. The iPhone’s slick screen negates this option for the user.
Secondly, operating an iPhone app more often than not requires the use of both hands – one to cradle the iPhone and the other to physically use the touch-screen interface. This is not ideal for the multitasking that commonly occurs in studio sessions.
Some audiophiles will also contest the quality of the iPhone’s analog-to-digital converters. Notwithstanding these points, the iPhone is quickly becoming a powerful tool for the professional musician, engineer and producer.
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