Top iPad Apps for a Sound/Audio Engineer or Musician

I have been busy with my toy, an iPad 2, looking around and trying various apps. I must say the sheer number of apps and possibilities is overwhelming. I tend to find something new and surprising about the iPad’s capabilities every day. As a sound engineer I first went looking for apps that I could benefit from at work.
There are lots of them; I tried most of what I could for free. Paid for a couple whose concepts or reviews blew me away. I must admit that I am not much of an app “shopper” I like the free ones, who doesn’t. I am going to go take you through some of the apps that I took me by surprise when I realized I could do without them anymore. And few that totally impressed me when it comes to innovation. So here we go,
  1. AudioTools by StudioSixDigital Price 19.99

    AudioTools by StudioSixDigital

    This is one of those apps that I suddenly can’t do without. This is one app every sound engineer must think of investing in if you have own an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. It costs USD 19.99 for the basic pack the will keep you going for while and does most of what you would expect a portable device to accomplish. The abilities of this app will leave you awestruck. They have even managed to port Smaart onto mobile devices, this comes as an in app purchase for USD 49.99. My colleague has it on an iPhone it works.Now before I get into more in app purchase option available lets go through the basic AudioTools package that you get for the USD 19.99
    a. SPL Meter
    b. RTA
    c. Delay Finder
    d. Generator
    e. Line Level Tests
    f. Audio Scope
    g. Recorder
    h. File transfer of results via wifi to PC/Mac
    i. Audio Calculators What I find myself using most as a Live Sound Engineer are the RTA, Delay Finder and SPL Meter. I have actually stopped carrying my laptop around to run Smaart at familiar venues. This app does most of what the laptop did for me.
    The RTA is nice when you want to “ring out” the monitors and some minor eq on the FOH. It is not as accurate as a laptop running an RTA or a standalone RTA unit but you get used to it and its flaws and you can get some pretty good results. I leave it running during my shows so I can make quick adjustments to monitors incase they start misbehaving.
    The Delay finder is a great tool. This is one of the main reasons I actually look at buying this app. I usually end up using delay speakers at my setups and this turns out to be an inevitable tool. It’s a breeze setting up delay speakers using this app. No more measurements of distance and calculations. I get my alignment spot on.
    SPL meter is again not the most accurate reading you will get but pretty close. And you just need to get used to it. I use it when doing gigs at churches and other venues where I need to keep it quieter than the usual rock concert levels. It helps me keep a check.
    I also use the Audio Calculator at times and it has proven quiet handy in many situations.
    About the in app purchases. The options are many and one better than the other, you could end up spending quiet a bit on the upgrades. I have spent only on one upgrade so far, bought the Speaker polarity tester ($2.99) for times when I have to mix on others systems just to make sure things are right. I wont go and repeat all the features available, you can quickly head over to StudioSixDigitals website with all the description. There are some nice demo videos of the app and various in app upgrades on youtube.

  2. SoundHound Free

    Sound Hound

    Most of you would have come across this app already. This app has the capability to actually stop you from killing yourself with that “what is this song, who do I ask” and before-you-know-it-the-song-gets-over.Shazam is also a similar app, so see what works for you.

  3. Flipboard Free

    Flipboard

    No exaggerating but this is the best thing that happened to the iPad. I am absolutely hooked on to this. Its an amazing idea put to work. This app is like RSS but only brings all the stories and makes it look like a magazine. It comes with most tech websites already added to it but you can add your own websites to it and also social sites like Facebook, twitter, 500px, etc. You have to check this one out.

  4. Pocket (Formerly Read It Now) Free

    Pocket

    Perfect companion for Flipboard and safari. It lets you read your articles even when you are not connected to the internet. Quiet a simple idea but really useful.

  5. Dropbox Free

    Dropbox

    Syncs a folder on all your computer and mobile devices so have access to these files no matter what device you are on. Favorite the files that you need access to when you are offline, making a file favorite saves a copy to your device.

  6. Fing Free

    Fling – on the iPhone in this pic

    Fling is great networking tool. It populates all the devices on your network with IP addresses and MAC addresses. Use full when trying to check your network at venues or trying to connect to your amps and other devices for control/diagnostics.

  7. Keeper Free

    Keeper

    A password vault for people who have trouble keeping track of passwords.

  8. TeamViewer Free

    Teamviewer

    Get access to your computer from anywhere. This is what I use for remote access to my laptop which I don’t carry around anymore.

  9. Evernote Free

    Evernote

    Note pad application that syncs between all your computer and mobile devices automatically. Enter notes on any device and it automatically syncs it with other device.

  10. Idea Flip (Formerly Idea Sketch) Free

    IdeaSketch

    Free mind map for iPad.

  11. GarageBand $4.99

    Garageband

    This Multitrack DAW for the iPad is well worth every penny. Lets you use virtual instruments which are quite good and also allows you to plug in a guitar or vocal mic using interfaces from IK Multimedia and Apogee.

  12. SL Remote Free

    SL Remote

    Let you control a Presonus Studio Live console connected to a computer on network wirelessly. Very handy when doing stage mix, you can walk up to the stage and do your mix while listening to it. Can be used on multiple iPhone’s allowing artist to have control over their mixes. Poor man’s My-Mix.

  13. M7CL StageMix Free

    M7CL Stage Mix

    Does exactly what the name suggests, let you wirelessly control your Yamaha M7CL, good for setting up monitor mixes.

  14. LS9 StageMix Free

    LS9 StageMix

    You would have understood by now, similar to the above two but for Yamaha LS9

  15. ViSiRemote Free

    ViSi Remote for Soundcraft Vi and Si Series

    Lets you control Soundcraft Vi and Si Series boards wireless. Very hand again when doing monitor mixes or when your console is not placed in the sweet spot, usually the case with pub gigs.

  16. DisplayLink Free DisplayPad $2.99 (DisplayLink has been taken off the store)

    DisplayPad

    Similar in function to AirDisplay but free! Lets you extend your laptop/desktop’s monitor, adds a second monitor for you. Very handy when working with daw’s or when you need to spread things out on your screen. Works over wifi after you install a DisplayLink DisplayPad software on your computer.

  17. iTeleport VNC $24.99

    iTeleport VNC

    VNC client app, perfect for use with consoles like Digidesign Venue. Tried few free ones, they dont give you as accurate, if they give at all, mouse gestures to control the console. A bit steep but those using the Venue Consoles regularly must consider this app

That is all for now. I will try and continue to update if I come across any more apps that I can’t do without. I had many apps before I bought AudioTools by Studio Six Digital. Now they are all under one app. The other apps are things I found interesting. Do post comments if you have apps that I and other readers might like.

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38 thoughts on “Top iPad Apps for a Sound/Audio Engineer or Musician

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  3. Jeff Dharmaraj says:

    You’ll need a VNC Client for ‘obvious’ reasons! 🙂

    Nice list!!! Also, try calibrating the Audio Tools package. Folks have had better results after that. Let me know if it works – I’ll probably purchase the app real soon.

    • Rahul Samuel says:

      Great suggestion! Will add a VNC Client to the list. I have tried calibrating AudioTools, doenst make a very noticeable difference. The app by itself is great, I would surely recommend buying it. Once you get it, check out their in-app purchases, some absolutely worth buying.

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