Chicago based, WaveMachine Labs, has finally taken the wraps off its much anticipated Digital Audio Workstation, which has been built from the ground up for the iPad, and it’s called Auria.
This is not only new turf for this software developer, who is well known for its Drumagog drum replacement plug-in, but the Auria app sets a new benchmark as far serious audio recording capabilities on an iPad.
I’ve had a chance to play with Auria for a few weeks now, and wanted to give some quick thoughts on my experiences with it.
Anyone who has been following the development of Auria since it was first unveiled at NAMM will know, one of the big drawcards is the app’s familiar looking, professional interface, especially for those that are accustomed to working with multitrack DAW software, plus the impressive VST effects plug-in support, and playback of up to 48 mono/stereo tracks, of which 24 can be recorded simultaneously provided you have an interface that offers this. These sorts of features have simply not been thought possible on an iPad, up until now.
I don’t’ actually own a USB audio interface that offers a couple of dozen Ins and Outs unfortunately, so I’ve been testing Auria out with my trusty PreSonus AudioBox 2/2, however the app works perfectly on this audio interface. WaveMachine Labs has a growing list of supported interfaces that have been tried and tested, so it’s worth checking the support area of their site to see if your hardware has been tested already. It’s worth noting that most USB interfaces will required a powered USB hub, as the iPad simply doesn’t have enough juice to feed most audio interfaces.
Rather than in an in-depth review, what follows is my hands on experience with the sample recordings I’ve done to date, as well as playing around with the demo multitrack recording that WaveMachine Labs made available for beta testers in the weeks lead up the launch.
I’ve had a couple of decades of experience in the broadcasting and music industry, working daily with various analogue/digital mixing boards, racks of outboard effects, and most of software DAWs on the market, dating back to the pioneering days of Pro Tools, when it was referred to as Sound Designer!
While several multitrack apps have already been released for the iPad, one of the most exciting things I recall when I first saw screenshots of Auria, was the familiar looking interface, together with a feature set that matched, and in some cases, exceeded the capabilities of some computer based audio recording and mixing software. Before even laying so much as a finger on the app, I felt like I wouldn’t be faced with the usual week or two of having to learn a completely new interface from scratch.
And I was right. Upon loading up Auria for the first time, the default screen is a familiar looking analogue in-line mixing board, featuring volume faders with VU metering, pan controls, aux sends, solo and mute buttons, plus a handful of other software buttons and the typical group transport controls found on most other DAWs.
The other main view in Auria, like in other DAWs, is the editing view which is where the individual tracks of recorded audio appear as visual waveforms, which can be manipulated in a variety of familiar ways. As mentioned, Auria supports playback of up to 48 tracks of stereo audio at any one time, however this track count is halved if you using the iPad 1. I’ve only tried out files with up to 20 tracks so far, and have had no issues at all.
As well as firing up a few of the sample songs, I’ve also tested out importing some existing multitrack sessions I’ve recorded previously in Pro Tools, and this process works flawlessly. In fact, it’s simply a case of saving the session in AAF format, zipping it into one file, and pulling it into Auria through iTunes.
With a selected multitrack session loaded up, in the edit window, pinching and zooming with two fingers anywhere on the screen allows you to quickly go from a full view of the entire session, right down into a close up view of a single tracks of audio. It’s highly intuitive to use, and while there is a touch of lag with some of the busier sessions, it doesn’t affect the over operation.
The editing process will also feel familiar to anyone that has done any non-linear editing with software.
You simply double tap on a piece audio to mark it, then proceed to drag over an area to highlight it. From there, the usual cut, copy, split, move, separate and lock regions can be selected from the edit dropdown menu. The beginning and end of audio regions can also have a ‘fade time’ easily created by dragging out the amount of face time required. Different fade types can also be selected.
With an area of audio selected, it’s also possible to apply some processing, such as gain, normalising, and even reverse.
While this will feel very familiar to anyone used to DAW software, I also had someone who isn’t experienced try out the interface and they found it easy to come to terms with.
Another area I quickly wanted to touch on in this quick look, is possibly one of Auria’s strongest points, and that is the VST plugin support, which is a first for any audio/music app on iOS.
WaveMachine Labs has been working with developers such as PSPaudioware, Fabfilter, Overloud, and others to produce versions of their plugins that will work within Auria.
The app ships with a vintage-inspired channel strip created by PSPaudioware, which is features an Expander, Equalizer, and Compressor on every single channel of audio, plus there is a mastering processing available for subgroups and main stereo output.
It also includes a convolution reverb, stereo chorus and delay, classicVerb and a pitch processor.
From within the app, however, you also can head to the online Auria Store, where a growing number of 3rd party plugins can be purchased and downloaded directly into the app. WaveMachine Labs has already launched an Auria friendly version of Drumagog 5, and Overloud has the virtual guitar amp THM available, plus there are several plugins from PSP Audioware and FabFilter.
I haven’t had the chance to explore all of these in great detail, but I hope to report on this in a more detailed review in the future.
So this write up is really only intended to cover the key essential features of Auria, and it’s the finer details, open ended support, and professional touches that really make this unique app the complete package that it is.
If you’ve been using Auria already please share your thoughts below.Auria
Developer: WaveMachine Labs, Inc.