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.

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Things I’ve learned about iPad DAW in the last 30 days

In the last month I’ve been in the wood shed daily working with the new iPad, the Presonus interface and new apps. I’m having so much fun! I really think the challenge of the learning curve is something I needed and truly enjoy. Challenges for me like most people are great in life especially, musical challenges. Doing what you love and workig diligently at it.

Most of what I’m going to share is about are the apps I’ve purchased:

  • Bias FX
  • Bias Amp
  • Bias JamUp Pro
  • Bias Final Touch
  • IK Multimedia SampleTank for iOS
  • DrumPerfict Pro

Positive Grid’s Guitar Plugins are IMHO the best you can purchase for the Macintosh platform. Although I usually mic up Guitar amplifiersin the PC realm, I use Bias Peak with Logic and Pro Tools to re-amp and layer. Bias Amp sounds just as good to my ears as it does on the Mac. I am blown away by this app on the iPad. Bias FX and the amps in JamUp Pro are just as great on the iPad.

Final Touch was something that was somewhat of an impulse buy because it was on sale. I’m quite happy with this mastering suite and grateful I picked it up. I’ve loosely mastered two demos with it so far, the tracks really came to life nicely. On labor day I paid a whopping $4.99 for the app on sale, Positive Grid has amazing holiday sales. The Memorial day sale prices are still current, GO BUY THEM!

 

  • Bias FX- Normal Price $29.99 Now  $9.99
  • Bias Amp Normal Price $19.99 Now $4.99
  • Bias JamUp Pro Normal Price $19.99 Now  $4.99
  • Bias Final Touch Normal Price $29.99 Now $4.99

 

I’ve always thought SampleTank had great sound samples, the Neil Peart Drums are awesome. I’ve had the free version of SampleTank for iOS on my iPhone for years, I knew the sounds were solid. Since it’s on sale for $15.99 for fathers day I pulled the trigger. It has great organ and electric piano samples, I’m happy I purchased it.

DrumPerfict Pro is touted as the Superior Drummer 2 / BFD for iPad. I can tell you it is no such thing. Firstly, the drums samples are horrible, I mean really bad. I can’t believe this has the positive reviews it has. Drummer inside of garage band sounds light years better that DrumPerfict Pro.

Second, the user interface is a train wreck. It’s a mishmash of screens that have no rhyme or reason other than the grid screen. How could you screw up a grid UI yes? After thinking it over I am going to ask Marinus J.G. van de Molengraft for a refund. While I applaud his efforts to bring a product like Superior Drummer to iOS, he falls miles short.

Lastly, I just ordered an iRig keys 37 that should arrive at the end of the week. I’m pretty excited about that. I have some really nice samples but no vehicle to bring the sounds to life.

 

 

 

 

Dream Jam – a Garageband for iOS, Iphone and iPad review Part V

As we come to an end to this series I can without a doubt say Garageband for iOS can be a serious tool for composers. The way you can create MIDI by touch is exactly like piano roll in the Pro Tools, Logic 9, Garageband, Cubase, Sonar etc. With the fantastic sounding on-board virtual instruments that are sound wise identical to Logic 9 and Garageband for OS X along with the deep editing capability, the only limitation I can see is how many tracks the memory will allow. I can do a CD on an 8 tracks that will sound great on any DAW. This is a VIABLE TOOL and not just a toy. For $5 it’s worth having for anyone who likes music to just goof off with as well :)

With Garageband’s on-board sequencing by genre algorithms you can sketch songs out then tweak them with ease on the computer or phone. I can clearly see how a fully loaded ipad and some of the Apogee gear for D to A conversion (what makes real world sounds like a car door slamming turn into binary numbers for a computer to sample and playback) which is top quality stuff in the pro recording world you could create, in at least part, instrumentation that could go on any finished CD or record with a pro sound.

Check out the four screen shots below, the piano rolls are all very similar on the high-end pro audio DAW’s:

The final tweaks came mostly with the arrangement of the strings and the mix. I didn’t have a chance to use Komplete 8 Ultimate on this project because it arrived in the beginning stages, I don’t install anything in the middle of a project. I’ve learned that it’s not only a very big mistake but also a good motivator to finish up what you have going in your work flow. Being limited to the strings samples that come with on the EXS24 compared to what NI has was difficult, but again I know better than to start walking down that road. I stuck with the EXS24 strings and changed the arrangement most noticeably some unison runs from every instrument on the track.

I added a 3 and 4 part harmony of guitars at the end in harmony with the violin counter melody and an additional rhythm guitar track in the first 2 verses and choruses care of my Egnater Tour Master and my Singleton Crossroads. I used a mic that is now my go to guitar mic, the audix i5 made right here in the pacific north-west. I haven’t used an Sure SM 57 on a snare or a guitar cabinet since I tried the Audix i5, they are amazing microphones USA made and built like a tank for under $100 bucks. I highly recommend them for guitar players and drummers.

EDIT: I also changed out the EXS24 sampler piano part for the luscious Alecia Keys Virtual instrument by Native Instruments that came with Komplete Ultimate 8, it sounds fantastic! It was right at the end and I had a decent mix so I thought WTH, I’ll install the new software. It worked out great on this end for sure. I’m impressed with how much NI has got their shite (that’s a technical term :) )together in the last few years with their service staff and the products they put out. IK multimedia, they’re a freaking toy company IMO and will never buy anything from them unless it’s really cheap on some kind of special buy out etc. It’s good to see NI move away from that and embrace real music crafting again.

This is it, the final track of the series. I did not have the time to Master this track so keep that in mind, it’s only a mix. Of course it’s not what I wish I was presenting here but I think everyone feels the same way about endlessly tweaking knobs to perfection. If you only had more time to mix it again it could have been better. In fact Trey Parker says that very quote in the documentary 6 days to south park. (http://www.thetalkingbox.com/2012/03/creating-south-park.html) or see the movie :p It’s so true, for myself anyway. I would like to revisit this someday with a vocal, anyone who want’s to give it a go hit me up.

Dream Jam for iOS Final Mix:

All the tracks from this article