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, WaveMachineLabs plugged (doh!) the one obvious missing ingredient back in October when they added support for Audio Units (AU) plugins. The latest update – v.2.09 – arrived on the App Store late yesterday and this brings the usual round of minor fixes and tweaks (mostly invisible to the user but resulting in smoother workflow all around).
However, the update also brings some new sample pack IAPs and, the highlight of the update, an implementation of FabFilter’s Pro-R reverb plugin. OK, so you might need to put your coffee down before I say that the plugin is priced at US$39.99, but this is a professional standard reverb plugin and is about three times this price on the desktop…. Another example where you can debate the very different pricing structures of these two, related, music technology worlds. Anyway, if the iOS plugin is even close to the performance of the desktop on, then it will be very good indeed!
It’s great to see WaveMachine Labs continuing to refine their uber-DAW/sequencer for iOS and, while the arrival of AU support was a massive step forward, the ‘native’ IAP plugins offered by the likes of FabFilter within Auria are some of the best available for iOS, matching their desktop equivalents. It might not be the cheapest iOS music app that you will ever buy – it is currently priced at UK£48.99/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.