In reviewing Auria Pro when it was launched back in December 2015, I was hugely impressed with the ambition shown by WaveMachine Labs. In terms of the specification and feature list, this is perhaps the first iOS DAW/sequencer that crosses over into the capabilities of a fully-fledged desktop recording package…. No, perhaps not the top-end Logic Pro or Cubase Pro or the like, but certainly a feature set that matches the lower/middle ground of the desktop DAW/sequencer marketplace. Oh, and it runs on an iPad…. Auria Pro is a remarkable achievement….
Of course, with a piece of software quite so ambitious, it would be surprising if it didn’t also require some pretty hefty lifting gear to exploit all that potential…. and that certainly seems to be the case. If you want to run a DAW/sequencer that matches a desktop software environment then you need hardware that matches a desktop environment… and not all iPads perhaps meet that criteria (even, perhaps, the latest models in terms of available RAM/storage space). That said, provided you are aware of your hardware’s limitations and design a workflow accordingly, you can create some staggeringly sophisticated projects within Auria Pro….
While the spec of Auria Pro is undoubtedly the most comprehensive of any iOS DAW/sequencer, it does still have one missing ingredient; support for the (relatively) new Audio Units (AU) plugin format. Rim from WaveMachine Labs has been indicating that it was coming though… and, today, in v.2.0.6, it has arrived. Yay!
In fact, v.2.06 includes various bug fixes (always welcome), some tweaks for iOS10 support (also welcome) and a new ‘global MIDI keyboard’ as well as the highlight AU support feature. Other than seeing that there is a new ‘keyboard’ icon located top-left of the screen (and which pops up the new global MIDI keyboard option), I’ve not explored exactly how this operates as yet (although I assume it provides a universal virtual MIDI keyboard that you could use with any plugin synth or drum machine app you happen to be using within Auria Pro?)….
However, I have experimented with a few AU plugins…. and while I’ve most certainly not had time as yet to do any extensive testing or pushed my system close to its limit, so far at least, the AU experience within Auria Pro has been a pretty positive one. I tried both audio effects and virtual instruments via the AU route and managed to get all the usual suspect – iSEM, NS1, RP-1, 6144, Korvpressor, etc. – all working without any issues. The only observation I’d make, is that for some plugins, I wasn’t able to access the preset system. This is something I’ve experienced with other AU hosts in the past but the issue may well lies with the plugin itself rather than the AU implementation in Auria Pro; presets worked fine with some apps.
It’s great to see WaveMachine Labs refining the performance of their uber-DAW/sequencer for iOS and the arrival of AU support is a massive step forward for both the app but, frankly, also for the AU format itself. This is the last of the really big DAW/sequencer apps to add AU to its list of features…. here’s hoping this provides additional encouragement other iOS music app developers to bring AU support to their own apps.
The original Auria was a complete game changer when it first launched on the App Store and Auria Pro is another huge step forward… and, with AU, it has moved forwards again. Yes, to get the best from the software, you will want to be using the best iOS hardware you can get your hands on but, that qualification notes, Auria Pro is very impressive. It might not be the cheapest iOS music app that you will ever buy – it is currently priced at UK£39.99/US$49.99 – but, in terms of features, this is as close to a desktop DAW/sequencer as iOS currently gets. Deep and demanding perhaps… but also hugely powerful.