In defense of the iPad

John Walden, for Sound on Sound:

Of course, instead of an iPad, today’s aspiring music technology junkies could buy a computer-based system. Whatever route you take, there is still a bunch of other ‘stuff’ (mics, headphones, speakers, software) you have to acquire alongside the computing platform itself and I’d absolutely agree that the laptop (or desktop) system is likely to be more powerful than the iPad. That said, I love my mobile iPad-based music workstation and, despite its more modest grunt, it’s still a capable device for crunching zeros and ones.

However, price and power aside, lots of today’s aspiring musicians have bought into mobile devices for other reasons. For them, and for their overall IT needs, it is simply their computing platform of choice. The fact that it can do music technology is, for many, a bonus, but one they can happily exploit with relatively low additional costs for software.

The last part is tricky for schools.  For many aspiring musicians “the fact that it can do music technology” is simply not enough.  They want to “do music technology” the way the pros do, and that’s with “computer-based systems” (probably meaning laptop or desktop computers – technically stomp boxes are computer-based systems).

But yeah – when you sit back and think about it it’s pretty amazing that you can just plug a guitar into your phone and lay down tracks.  The world is crazy.

 

Apple legitimizes Audiobus, throws Jack under the bus

One day after Jack was announced, Audiobus was officially canonized with its inclusion in GarageBand.  No coincidence that Jack was to be released on iOS and Android, possibly leveling the playing field.  I’d wager this will persuade the team behind Jack to focus less on iOS than Android – a third party (especially a niche like Audiobus) supported in GarageBand is a strong statement of preference by Apple.

It seems that Apple is then going to use Audiobus as the Rewire for iOS.  Smart move, and a big leap from where things were a year ago.  Once it’s in GarageBand, you can be assured it will be supported for some time (Apple similarly adopted Audiocopy last year along this same logic).

The simple interface exponentially increases the iPad’s value as a music creation tool by letting you do all the recording and sequencing on a single device without complex file imports, as well as enabling apps to talk to each other. For example, you could now record a synth track in Korg’s iMS-20, filter it through the Amplitude amp modeler, and record the results as a track in GarageBand.

Via The Verge

 

Traktor for iPad

Native Instruments is getting serious about iOS.  Apps like this are why Android tablets are still very much behind iOS ones.

Some juicy details:

  • Traktor recognizes class-compliant USB audio interfaces, so a separate cue/mains mix is possible in stereo (lots of DJ apps hack this by making you pathetically use a headphone splitter).
  • It recognizes transients, and makes them playable sampler-style hits that can be played while the song is going on.  Very cool – and something that is much harder to do on a full computer.

Also this:

Traktor DJ also does something DJ apps haven’t done before: it builds a recommendation engine into the app itself. That seems to me to be inevitable in the Spotify and Last.fm age. While it may make some DJs cringe, the software itself now uses tempo, key, and even timbre metadata to work out what music will match well with what you’re playing.

Huh?  We’ll see if that one works out in real life.

Anyway, read the full post over at Create Digital Music.

Auria – 24 simultaneous track recording on iPad

Now we’re getting somewhere. Auria, a 48 track audio-only DAW, has been released on the App Store. This is the first audio recording app I’ve seen that really grabs ahold of the potential on iOS devices.

From the article, some great things are ahead too:

Since Auria supports a special iOS version of VST plug-ins, we’re in talks with several plug-in vendors at the moment. You’re likely to see more great plug-ins becoming available in the near future. MIDI support is also something on our list for a future version, along with virtual instrument plug-ins.

The old guard had better watch their back – these little companies are going to steal the spotlight before too long.

► Translation from PR-speak to English of Avid’s divestment press release

Note: the news reports and press release don’t really paint a truly accurate picture of what’s happening at Avid right now.  Here’s my attempt:

Today Avid® (NASDAQ: AVID) initiated a series of strategic actions to focus the company on its Media Enterprise and Post & Professional customers and to drive improved operating performance. As part of these actions, the company is divesting its consumer businesses. With these changes, Avid will concentrate on core markets where its deep domain expertise, track record of technical innovation, and strong brand offer the greatest opportunity for success.

 We have no idea how to address the coming explosion of consumer products like the iPad, so we’re giving up.

“The changes we are announcing today make Avid a more focused and agile company,” said Gary Greenfield, CEO of Avid. “By streamlining and simplifying operations, we expect to deliver improved financial performance and partner more closely with our enterprise and professional customers. Our objective remains to provide these customers with the innovative solutions that allow them to create the most listened to, most watched and most loved media in the world. I’m excited about our future prospects.”

Our consumer base isn’t growing fast enough to support our business, so we’re sticking to the old suckers who have bought our stuff for years, regardless of quality or price.

Avid has agreed to sell its consumer audio and video product lines. The company’s consumer audio products are being sold to inMusic, the parent company of Akai Professional, Alesis and Numark, among others. Headquartered in Cumberland, Rhode Island, inMusic’s brands are best known for producing innovative products for music production, performance and DJing. The products involved in this transaction include M-Audio brand keyboards, controllers, interfaces, speakers and digital DJ equipment and other product lines. Avid will continue to develop and sell its industry-leading Pro Tools® line of software and hardware, as well as associated I/O devices including Mbox and Fast Track.

 Again, we have no idea what to do with this cool-kid hipster stuff like “DJ scratch tables” and “keyboards” and “newer software”.

Separately, the company’s consumer video editing line is being sold to Corel Corporation, a consumer software company headquartered in Ottawa, Canada. The products involved in this transaction include Avid Studio, Pinnacle Studio, and the Avid Studio App for the Apple iPad®, as well as other legacy video capture products.

 We’re not really well known for our video software or anything, so let’s sell that off too.  It’s not like pro software ever learns from what’s happening in consumer-land anyway.

The divested product lines contributed approximately $91 million of Avid’s 2011 revenue of $677 million. As part of the transactions, certain employees of Avid will transfer to each acquiring company. Avid estimates that the proceeds from these transactions will be approximately $17 million, subject to closing inventory adjustment, with a portion held in escrow.  Both transactions are expected to close today, July 2, 2012.

It’s not a “layoff”, it’s just a change of scenery!

Avid also plans to reduce the number of its employees as it streamlines operations, with approximately 20% of its permanent employee base impacted by the divestitures and headcount reduction plans.  The company currently expects to incur a restructuring charge of approximately $19 to $23 million related to these actions and other associated measures.

 We’re actually going to lose around 17% of our revenue by doing this, but don’t worry – the pro market will stay the same forever so it’s OK.

The company’s cash balance on March 31, 2012 was $49.7 million. The proceeds from the sale of these product lines should offset most of the restructuring charges paid in 2012.

We have around six months before we run out of money.
 Good luck to Avid, even those who don’t use your products don’t want you to die.  We need competition in the consumer markets more than ever.