I’ve written a few Blog posts now about recording your guitar on the iPhone. Much of this information is of course easily transferable to the iPad. Now that I’ve experienced the iPad though I have to share how much easier it is.
Whoever said size doesn’t count is a liar.
I am of course referring to the fact that StudioTrack by Sonoma Wire Works allows you to mix eight tracks where their app for the iPhone (FourTrack) only allows for four tracks. I also found StudioTrack easier to use. It may be that I’ve had some time in FourTrack and it may be that the larger interface allows for a more intuitive layout of features such as the timeline settings. It may be both of those things.
I believe it’s both of those things.
Whatever the case, the fact that Positive Grid decided to host a video competition for their JamUp apps gave me the incentive to do a few things.
I’ll list them for convenience.
- Shoot a video with the iPhone
- Work with JamUp Pro, JamUp Plug, InstantDrummer and StudioTrack on the iPad
- Put together something close to the resemblance of a song
- Share the results in video and audio
I prefer to start by setting up the StudioTrack app first. And the first thing you should do is set the BPM you’ll be using in all of the apps. Changing the BPM after the fact didn’t work too well for me. So, once StudioTrack is ready to import, it’s time to create something worth exporting. I always count on JamUp Pro to make me sound better than I am for that part.
JamUp Pro works as well in an iPad as it does in an iPhone. It is of course easier to hit those buttons and dials with my clumsy man-fingers on the iPad. The routine for recording and exporting is pretty much the same as it was when I wrote my iPhone review of JamUp Pro. So no need for screenshots in this article as the only difference is the size of everything. I will however share with you the preset I created for my metal tones in the song I created. More about that track later.
So once I’d recorded my six guitar tracks (two using an existing JamUp Pro clean sound and four using my own metal preset) and pasted them into StudioTrack it was time to create the drum track using InstantDrummer.
I’ll be honest and say that InstantDrummer does work on the iPad but it’s essentially an iPhone app sitting inside an iPad. I can live with that. An iPad specific version would be cooler though.
The trick to laying out a multi-part song in StudioTrack is to use your timeline in Beats or Bars and not Seconds. That worked best for me anyhow. Especially when using JamUp Pro to lay down your guitar tracks.
I’ve always wanted to say “lay down your guitar tracks!”
One of the things I’ve always thought JamUp Pro did better than any other amplifier/effect emulator app was cut your recordings into bars. Add to that the lead-in you get with each recording and this app is a clear winner in this regard.
Anyhow, it took me a while to get the guitar parts right (as you can see in the screenshots below based on the numbers assigned to each track in my song).
Tracks 1 and 2 are the clean guitar tracks at the beginning of the song. I record each part twice and assign one to the left speaker and the other to the right speaker. Tracks 9 and 13 are the main metal guitar parts (also split between the left and right speakers). They come in just before the end of the 16th bar. The drum tracks comes in at that same time and are assigned to tracks 10 and 11. The drum tracks are automatically split between left and right speaker when they are imported. The last two tracks are for the mini-riffs that come in towards the end of the song (because I can’t solo).
I applied some EQ effects to the final guitar parts to make them seem slightly different to the other guitar parts they overlay. They use the same JamUp Pro metal preset though.
Once I was happy with the sound of the entire track, I went to the Mix Tools to export the song.
As you can see from the Mix Tools menu below, you can mix the song down (combine all tracks to the one audio file), copy it for further inputting to another app, bounce (blend all tracks freeing up space to include more tracks in StudioTrack), paste items from the clipboard or share the tracks over wifi. I chose to Mixdown.
You can mix the song down or Wifi share the previous version of the track (if one was created). I used the Wifi to send the audio track to my PC as I was using that machine to put together my video for the Positive Grid competition. And there you have it. Full circle.
What was the video? How did the audio sound? Both of those questions and no others can be answered by viewing the video I uploaded to YouTube or by listening to the track I shared on SoundCloud. But let me save you at least one trip. Please enjoy the audio track in its embedded glory below (I won’t embed the video because it contains colour).