Recording Music on an iPad

Can you really record a song on your iPad that can pass the audio quality test? Yes you can! Technology has made leaps and bounds in a matter of years and what used to take a full-fledged recording studio can now be done on your iPad with the help of a few apps and gadgets to connect your mic or guitar to the recording source. Case in point- the music of Vendera&Stith.

I finally started releasing music, which you an hear at SoundCloud.com/vssounds. These songs are a joint venture with my songwriting partner, Scott Stith. However, our busy schedules don’t allow for us to write/rehearse with a full band or spend hours in a studio, so we needed a simpler solution. Since I am always trying to find innovative and cost-effective ways to produce music, so I can pass what I learn onto my students as part of a class for my school, the Vendera Vocal Academy, I decided to seek the cheapest and easiest route to record music…and it worked.

With a little research, trial and error, I put together a portable home studio that is so “portable” that  I can pack it up in a matter of minutes and take my studio with me anywhere. By the time I collected all the pieces for my studio, I spent less than what it would cost to professionally mix and master one song. The best part;  the recording process became so much easier too. I had my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) right in front of me with no noise interference, which is typically present in a home studio (noise from the fan on your PC) when recording by one’s self. Instead of blabbing on and on about my studio, let me list the components:

*iPad

*DAW- Meteor Multitrack app (4 Pockets Audio)

*Microphone-Studio Projects CS1  (newer model labeled CS3)

*Preamp-Studio Projects VTB1

*IK Multimedia iRig Pro-Audio interface (Audio Interface-mic to iPad connector)

*IK Multimedia iKlip- iPad holder

*IK Multimedia-iRig Powerbridge ( iPad charging bridge between iRig Pro and lightning connector)

*Editors Keys Portable Vocal Booth Pro

*Headphones

*Various cables

*Various apps

Excluding my iPad, I have less than $1000.00 in my setup. Now, to be fair, it probably exceeds 1k, but that is only because I am an app junkie, and have bought hundreds of dollars worth of apps for everything music related. Apps like Drums XD, IK Multimedia VocaLive, Sampletank, and Amplitube, iFretless Bass, TC Helicon Voice Rack FX, Final Touch Audio Mastering app, etc. complete the ENTIRE  recording, mixing, and mastering suite and would literally allow me to finish a song from recording to mixing to mastering if I so desired…However, I am NOT an engineer. That is where our producer,  Mr. Dallan Beck comes in. We record guitar and vocals on our iPads, send to Dallan, and he mixes on his Pro Toosl rig. So, to be totally honest, Scott (who uses an IK Multimedia iRig HD) records all his guitars, both clean and distorted (via the Amplitube  app) onto his iPad and I record vocals with my $250.00 mic and $199.00 preamp onto my iPad. We both MIDI record drums, bass, strings, and piano via our iPads and Dallan does the rest, including some strings, drums, and bass rewrites as needed.

This process has been very enlightening. I am so thrilled with recording vocals in this way, I may never enter a studio again. As well, having my iPad directly in front of my, mounted to my Vocal Booth Pro stand, where i can reach out, hit record, even delete a file in a matter of seconds, if I’m not happy with the take, is ten times easier than the old way of home recording onto a desktop computer. It is much simpler and faster than using a DAW like Studio One, Reaper, etc. While, I have nothing but respect for these DAWs, I can honestly say Meteor is the DAW for me. Scott and I work closely with 4 Pockets Audio (creator of Meteor) and have requested upgrades to bring this DAW closer to DAWS made for PC and Mac. they have accommodated us with every single request. FYI- for those of you worried about latency, Scott and I both run an iPad Air and latency has not been an issue except when we’ve pushed beyond 32 tracks. That also only occurred when we both used iPad Minis. Still, the latency was small, far less than when working on a desktop PC.

BTW-If you’ve seen any of my Singer Spotlights, you’ll notice my portable vocal booth stand and iKlip right behind me. Yes, I record right where I film all my videos, especially my Vendera Vocal Academy lessons.

“So, Jaime, how does the audio quality really stack up against a standard DAW recording?”

Take a listen to https://soundcloud.com/vssounds/casual-suicide. This is the latest song from Vendera&Stith with 100% vocals and guitars recorded via iPad. (Psssttt-YES I sang EVERY single lead and harmony vocal part on the song…No harmonizers or pitch shifters were used.) Our first song, https://soundcloud.com/vssounds/lisa-wave, WAS recorded in Dallan’s studio in Nashville. Scott and I drove down so Dallan could help us set up our iPads. Since we were there, we decided to record a song. We did however use my Studio Projects mic for vocals and a Blue Bluebird for the acoustic guitar, just so i could prove to my students that you don’t need expensive mics for huge sounds.

So check out these two tunes, and if you like the music of Vendera&Stith, head to iTunes or Amazon, or whatever music outlet you use to buy our songs…We promise to keep putting out more tunes-via our iPads;)

In ending, if you think you need a big studio, a $6000.00 microphone, and a Mac with a huge mixing console, think again. You CAN record music via your iPad. And if you just want to record your guitar and vocals and have an engineer mix and master your song for you, shoot me an email at Jaime@JaimeVendera.com and I’ll hook you up with my buddy, Dallan Beck.

Now, get to recording those tunes and I’ll see you in my next blog.

Rock on,

Jaime Vendera