Music app review – Auria by WaveMachine Labs

What’s in store?

There are already some tempting additional plug-ins within the Auria Store.

While the current feature list is impressive enough for an iPad-based DAW, if you want to add more – particularly in terms of effects options – there is already the Auria Store with some very tempting in-app purchases. Aside from some sample projects (free) and a small number of additional IR files for use with the convolution reverb, there are six additional plug-ins available (as shown in the screenshot). I can easily imagine those who purchase Auria and find themselves getting serious use out of it wanting to add these to their system. For guitar players such as myself, OverLoud’s THM guitar amp sim plug-in is an obvious example. With ten amps and a varied combination of cabs, virtual mics, some 13 virtual pedals and 8 rack-based effects, this looks very well featured. To be able to lay down your electric guitar tracks entirely within Auria is an appealing prospect.

Wavemachine Labs own Drumagog 5 plug-in – a drum sound replacement tool – is also available and I suspect the list of additional plug-ins within the Auria Store will grow quite rapidly once the Auria user base becomes established and plug-in developers can see a market in porting across to iOS.

Eeek! A video window – music to picture scoring on an iPad anyone?

These effect plug-ins are not, however, the end of what is in the store. I must admit, I did a bit of a double take when I saw the single entry in the ‘add-on’ category – a video import option. Yep, for a few extra quid ($/€), you can add a video window to Auria. As someone who has worked with scoring to picture for a number of years, the prospect of being able to do that on something like an iPad, frankly, beggars belief. Video can be imported via iTunes File Sharing and the playback options support different SMPTE frame rates. Video playback can be switched between a small window or fullscreen. Once you have your score finished, you can also export a video with your new audio in place. To see this functionality available on an iPad is astonishing.

In summary

If you have stuck with me so far then you will have gathered that I’m more than a little impressed with Auria. WaveMachine Labs have attempted something very ambitious here – the key features of a pro audio-only DAW in an iPad app – and in almost every regard, it is difficult not to be very impressed with just how well they have delivered on that ambition.

That’s not to say it is perfect. While the app performed flawlessly for me during testing, early adopters on the WaveMachine Labs forums have reported occasional glitches. What is perhaps surprising is that most of these, frankly, seem to be of a relatively minor nature and the responses from the company appear overwhelmingly positive and encouraging in terms of dealing with these issues and offering their users support.

So, where are we at here? In an iOS context, quite simply, Auria has just raised the bar in terms of what is possible for recording music in a mobile environment. For serious musicians wanting to get the best out of their iPads, Auria is a game changer. In app terms, it is expensive but, in terms of the features it offers, at the current price (£34.99 and the equivalent $/€ price) it is an absolute bargain.

Auria is brilliant, amazing and jaw dropping as it stands – recording junkies should just buy it and enjoy. I’m already smiling at the prospect of where WaveMachine Labs might take us with future updates.

 

for readers in North America
for readers in Europe

 

Updates

The v.1.0.6 update to Auria (released 24th Jan 2013) brings a significant new feature; support for Audiobus. Having given it a quick spin and tried linking a few apps as Audiobus inputs into Auria, it seems to work pretty smoothly. As I’ve commented elsewhere, I think protocols like that provided by Audiobus that allow you to seamlessly link your various music apps are a critical element in delivering on the obvious potential of the iOS platform for recording musicians. To see what is probably the leading iOS DAW get on board with Audiobus is, therefore, excellent news and a big step forward. The only downside is that, as Auria is already placing a pretty hefty load on the iPad’s processing resources, running Audiobus and other apps alongside it can eventually produce some serious CPU usage. WaveMachineLabs explain this in more detail in the updated PDF manual and the convolution reverb is not available when using the app via Audiobus in order to avoid latency issues. This can, of course, easily be worked around by making more use of track freezing and, to access the convolution reverb, launching Auria without Audiobus for your final mixing stage. Other elements in this update include a new ‘in app’ spring reverb option from PSP and various bug fixes.

 

18th April 2013; WaveMachine Labs have released v.1.08 of Auria. Aside fro various bug fixes, this release adds a new in app purchase options – FXpansion’s envelope shaper plug-in – plus a few other editing features such as ‘mute region’ and a join function. If you are happy with an audio-only working environment, Auria is still the DAW to beat – very details and sophisticated functionality.

 

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    Comments

    1. Boele Gerkes says:

      Great review! It sums up all the goodies and more and I agree 100% with the verdict: “Auria is brilliant, amazing and jaw dropping as it stands”!

      Worth mentioning is dat the retune plugin is not only good for vocals. If you like to make new sounds, just throw something through it: be it drums, guitar or synthesized sounds: you can mess up the input and come to new great samples quite easily with it :-)

      To me outgoing MIDI clock is the biggest missing feature. With that you can sync instruments/FXs outside the iPad and record it in Auria at the same time if wanted. Hopefully this will be added in a near-future update.

      • Thanks for the kind words. Yep, the ability to sync via MIDI clock would be good. Here is hoping that WaveMachine Labs can keep up a good pace of development.

    2. I have the iPad 2, 32 gig. I have 7 gigs free space left. Since I have cubase 5 on my PC, I know the intense CPU drainage that can happen. So I’m wondering if 7 gigs are enough. Something tells me it’s not and it almost seems that a dedicated iPad would be the way to go. It would be very cool to record certain things on the iPad and transfer back and forth to cubase. Any thoughts?

      • I did my testing for the review on a 3rd gen iPad with about 12 gigs of free space. I then downloaded the three free ‘demo’ projects (all with a decent number of tracks/effects included) and created a couple more of my own. I still had plenty of free space available and the iPad didn’t seem to be struggling at all. The only things that really seemed to push the limits were the convolution reverb and the ReTune plug-in, both of which added quite a chunk to the CPU load as displayed in Auria’s performance meters. So, I’m not sure you would need a dedicated iPad – but certainly you would need to plan enough space if you wanted to work on multiple projects without the need to shift them back and forth to a desktop computer just for the purpose of making space. Incidentally, the demo projects – all of which were fully developed pieces – were c. 250MB downloads that then uncompressed to about twice their original size. This might give you a rough guide as to the space required for an ‘average’ project.

        I have not had a chance yet to fully test the ability to transfer back and forth between Auria and something like Cubase but, as and when I do, I’ll add a comment here.

        Hope this helps?

        John

    3. Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch as I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

    4. I`m really excited bout this app. Only have one question: does it work well with irig pre?

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