Guys, my DAW research is making me learn quite a lot, but most of it I can’t say coherently yet and/or I don’t want to go into a lot of depth on at this time. Sufficed to say when it comes to the lappy I have gotten what I needed to know out of the first trial program and moved on to the second. No comment beyond that at this time. I’ll come back for a proper write up on PC programs at a later date.
Today, I’m going to talk to you about android apps. I am a big fan of doing things on my tablet or phone. I’m one of THOSE people. lol. No, seriously, I love my lappy. For efficiency, sometimes a good old desktop and traditional keyboard are just plain your best bet, but add a bluetooth keyboard to my galaxy note 12 and my mobility and versatility are increased exponentially. Unfortunately, while I’m definitely a PC person rather than a Mac person, there are still some things Mac is more on point on, and music creation apps are definitely on that list. I can run off a list of programs that people rave about that, as an android user, I just don’t have access to.
That said, I did mention I was going to check out Stagelight by Open Labs as a possible on-the-go option for multi-track recording, and that sent me down a very small rabbit hole.
So, first, let me give you my feelings about Stagelight. The low down and dirty of it is ‘nope. not for me.’ The thing about Stagelight is that if you’re interested in creating loops, going full digital, and using very little actual instrumentation, it’s probably pretty cool. But, while it is technically capable of multi-track recording, I found this process cumbersome. There’s also a built in metronome that suddenly appears once you remove the drums, and it is not at all obvious how to make that go away. (I do admit that I didn’t look very hard, since the program wasn’t vibing for my needs anyway.) I found the record button often had to be stabbed several times before it finally responded to my fingers.
Watching a tutorial on the program just reinforced my idea that what I wanted to do was an aside – not what the program was actually designed for. So, Stagelight is not for me. But, that sent me on a hunt for what might be, and – much to my surprise – I found it in a matter of minutes: Audio Evolution.
This is an android-based DAW for mobile devices that has a base price set at $6.99 (though there are in-app purchases.). At a glance, you’ve got all of your bare bones in place – multi-track capability, check. Easy sliding, cropping and moving around, check. Volume adjusters, pan, a few basic effects. For seven bucks, you can literally have a multi-track recorder in your pocket at all times, which I think is a steal for having the ability to lay out an idea on the fly. It saves the files as .wav.
But, here’s where things get cool: for another $6.50 for an add-on, it works with a small audio interface . Now, I can’t see myself using this on my phone, but on my tablet? Absolutely. You do have to bear in mind that some audio interfaces draw a lot of power, but with a USB adapter, my Solo connects just fine here. I’m having trouble figuring out how to record in mono. The program always wants to record in stereo, but you can split the stereo track into two mono tracks and delete the blank one after the fact, so even if I don’t figure out why it won’t let me record that way straight up, it still does the trick on a budget of about $14 USD. I haven’t played with it too extensively, but I played with the demo version enough to know it was worth the cost to me and purchased it for my phone and my tablet, and the interface upgrade on the tablet. I will go without the latter on the phone, which has speakers good enough that I can work with it just fine as is for roughing things up. My tablet, on the other hand, as much as I love it, has terrible audio, so in that case, the add-on is necessary. So, I ended up blowing about $20 or so on android apps tonight. It may not be a super fancy PC-based DAW, but it will get the job done, and on a budget that won’t bring tears to your eyes.
I’ll be continuing to work through the trial versions of PC based programs. After all, I imagine the audio interface is probably a battery hog on a tablet, but it seems to have quite a decent bit of bang for the buck so far.