Drum Session Full Review

I’ve had some time to work with Drum Session in a few environments. This app really sounds great, far better than anything else I’ve tried. I’ve used it with Cubasis, Auria Pro and the newcomer Audio Evolution which I’m really liking. I have primarily used inter-app audio thus far.

There are some things I’ve found in these last few months both positive and negative. Since the samples in Drum Session are top notch, most of my experience is positive. I’ve been keeping an eye on Derricks FaceBook page. He’s posted some images of the reworked UI and ta video clip upcoming iPhone version of Drum Session.

Inter app audio has not been solid, however I think this likely has nothing to do with the Drum Session app. It works the best with Cubasis but crashes with Auria Pro and Audio Evolution Mobile. There’s also a few instances of buggy behavior. More than likely these would be feature requests.

Changing the Drum Kit and saving does not save the changed kit or the loop, see video below:

The video is lacking because I’m holding my iPhone sorry about that. Note the loop settings and the different Drum kit was not saved to the file although, the kit and loop were present when toggling from song to song. It’s only when you close out the Drum Session app that the changes disappear.

These would be features I would think everyone would use and would be a part of the original release. For all I know this could just be my iPad. Derek Buddemeyer the developer for Drum Session has been really good about stopping in once in a while. Maybe he can comment on these feature requests.

Below is a screen shout of the new Drum Session UI / UIX that I believe will be in the next software release:

ss2

This looks fantastic! Very easy to read and much more so the look and feel of a traditional DAW. I am waiting patiently for the next release, I believe this release will be a big step forward for Drum Session.

As I had eluded to previously I was using inter app audio for most of the work I’ve done so far with Drum Session. IMHO inter app audio still has a ways to go but I’m grateful it’s being developed. I’ve moved everything over for the track I am working on into the DAW with Audio Share. I really like Audio Evolution Pro as a DAW but it’s still very new to iOS. Inter app audio  is not very tight on  Audio Evolution Pro or Auria Pro. It’s solid on Cubasis but I find the Cubasis UI difficult to work with.

I give Drum Session a Solid 4.5 stars. There’s a few things that need improvement, but at the end of the day for me it’s all about how good it sounds.

Drum Session sounds GREAT!

I must admit I have not had the time to dive deep into drum Session, but I’ve put some good solid 2 hours into going through the UI and mostly listening. I just took a new position that I am so ecstatic to have, it’s a perfect fit for me. In my defense, the hours I’m spending at the day gig are long. Usually, I would be all over a great app like Drum Session.

Since today the first update rolled out of the iTunes store, I felt compelled to write about Drum Session before I updated. This is not a review just yet… Here’s what I know thus far:

It sounds fantastic!
It’s very simple to use
The MIDI piano roll portion of the UI is very solid.

The piano roll was updated in the Version 1.0.3 release today, but I’m still running the original version. I think it’s solid! I haven’t updated the app yet to V 1.0.3, I wanted to finish this blog before I had scrum release blues opinions.

What really stands out:

  • There is a plethora of drum kits in Drum Session. This is great because most of the samples are mixed with different reverb and compression levels. However most have a reasonably dry mix for each kit. That is really a feature I like A LOT!
  • Drum Session sounds so much better that any app I have heard since launching my iOS music creation experiment in March of this year. This is the KILLER Drum app I have been waiting for.
  • There’s a lot of choice for $24.99. It’s scalable for the price, It’s scalable for sound, It’s scalable for custom beat creating when you can compare to other apps available. That’s a huge value add for me.

The only feature request I have for you Derick Buddemyer if you read this is the font color in the UI. I’m not sure if this is because I am using the 12.9” screen of the iPad pro, but the dark font color against the dark grey background is difficult to see on the top buttons and the black piano keys of the UI. That’s the only feature enhancement I can suggest.

After 2 hours, I love this app and I think many others will too!

Choosing a A2D / D2A converter For iPad Pro

Choosing a A2D / D2A converter has been an interesting process. At first I wasn’t thinking anything other than Apogee. The thing is I wanted to use in some small capacity my Yamaha HS80M monitors. The Apogee One and Duet are not good solutions to use monitors with. They both have 1 output for headphones, that’s it. The thought of using a 1/8″ stereo to TRS or XLR seemed like a really bad idea to me. I started to look around at other solutions with absolutely no expectations.

I used a little Google Foo skills and found a few interfaces that were decent solutions for the iPad Pro, but they could not come close to that Apogee converter and pre-amp reputation.  As I looked around I found a Few I really liked:

The Line 6 Sonic Port VX looks amazing, but hooking up the monitors long term isn’t going to be feasible. I like this unit so much I may purchase it and use it only for recording. The reviews I’ve read on the Microphone are solid.

The focusrite iTrack solo looks pretty cool too, but I would rather not use RCA as the monitor outputs.

The iConnectiyity looked like the one, but the reviews indicated the app and Drivers needed work everywhere I checked.

That left the PreSounus Audio Box iTwo! I think this is the interface I want, it has everything I’m looking for.

  • Separate 1/4″ TRS outputs.
  • One big Volume Knob.
  • Two inputs that can be used at the same time. 2 mics on a guitar amp at the same time!
  • An additional headphone output that is 1/4″ stereo.

I’ve used PreSonus interfaces before, I owned an AudioBox previously that I thought sounded plausible.  I have recorded through a few FireStudio’s I thought were cool sounding. Since this is an iPad Pro, I don’t think I necessary need to go Apogee to get what I am looking for. I need functionality, but I don’t need 4 inputs at $1399 from the Apogee Quartet. I certainly don’t need that huge price tag either.

If anyone has any input I would love you to comment!

Until next time, stay thirsty my friends!

 

The first track in a new DAW – iPad Pro 12.9 Review

In the past when adopting a new DAW, that first track was always the real learning curve. I am amazed at how much functionality from Logic Pro (X) is in Garageband 2.2 for iPad. I have my first scratch track put together. Musically it’s really bad, but I learned a lot creating it. I really dove deep into the MIDI arranging aspect, I have to say I am quite impressed.

What Garageband for iPad has from big Brother Logic X:

  • Drummer – This is the full Drummer from Logic X. Darcy is just as funky as she is in Logic.

 

  • Sampler – No it’s not the EXS 24, but having a bona-fide sampler in a Garageband environment is pretty amazing.
  • Full MIDI editing just like in Logic X.
  • Automation – Yes really, the automation is the fully robust exact method Logic Pro Uses.

Check out this video of the automation on an iPhone:

If you’re a Logic Pro X user, you know that feature is the real deal that resides in Logic Pro.

In creating my first project, I found myself finding many portions that I’ve previously mentioned of the UI to Mirror Logic X. I could not find a screen shot of the new Garageband iPad MIDI editor online, so I took one directly from my iPad pro. You can see, it’s the same MIDI UI in Logic X:

Garageband for iPad MIDI UI interface

Garageband for iPad MIDI UI interface

 

The thing I’m enjoying obviously is the Logic Pro UI elements, but with the added touch capabilities. It makes the learning curve so much less difficult! It’s been 10 awesome days since I brought the iPad Pro home, I am very seriously impressed. Not just with the iPad itself, but with how powerful the new 2.x version of Garageband for iOS truly is. This DAW is no toy! I’ve had it on my iPhone’s for years, in the past it was a novelty IMHO only useful for electronic music. However I can clearly see that this is the future of DAW, not just as a controller but as serious hardware.

The sounds of the virtual instruments are solid. There’s a few that don’t meet Logic X’s standards, but the bulk are the same great sounding sampled technology Apple’s Logic Pro is known for. The 4 speakers are bloody amazing! Rather watching NetFlix or arranging MIDI, audio it is really something that really blows me away. The sound quality absolutely stomps the latest Mac Book Pro by a far margin.

When I was watching the Key Note on 9/09/2015 I thought “wow who would pay this much for an iPad and not just buy a MacBook Air?” One thing I can say now is Processing Power, this iPad has MAD PROCESSING POWER! According to Apple iPad Pro is faster than 80 percent of the portable PCs shipped in the last 16 months. I’m certainly a believer….

Until Next Time…… Stay Thirsty my Friends!