As I posted yesterday, Steinberg have their excellent iPad DAW/sequencer on a limited time sale. If you are quick, therefore, you can pick up a copy at around 40% off the usual price; it is currently listed for UK£22.99.
Cubasis is, for my money, the best ‘all round’ DAW/sequencer we currently have under iOS and, while I’ll be happy to have my view changed as and when Auria Pro arrives, Cubasis offers a slick interface and a well focused feature set that lets you get on with the core tasks of recording and mixing audio/MIDI music productions.
As I also wondered yesterday, there is a reason for the sale; the app has received an update that appeared on the App Store earlier today. The app now stands at v.1.9.5. There are a number of new features introduced in this release. The app is now fully 64-bit compatible for iPads that offer 64-bit hardware (and that ought to mean you can squeeze more performance out of the app on such hardware). In addition, the Audiobus SDK has been updated and their is a new demo song included for you to try out (titled ‘Smear’).
However, the demo song is not just ear candy… it is included to introduce the most significant new feature; the new MiniSampler instrument. This joins the sample-based Micro Sonic (with its decent selection of preset sounds) and the mini-synth Micrologue, so you now get three virtual instruments included within Cubasis.
The difference with MiniSampler is that you can build your own instruments either from samples you import into Cubasis (for example, via iTunes File Sharing or some other route) or you can record sounds directly into Cubasis itself. When you create a new instrument, samples can be dragged and dropped from those in the Cubasis’ Mediabay or recorded directly… and you also get a core set of sample editing tools for trimming or normalising or adding fades in/out.
While you don’t get multiple sample layers, you can use multiple samples and map these across whatever range of keys you wish. So, if you want to build an instrument based upon a single sample then that’s fine (and takes seconds) or, if you want to load multiple samples and assign each to just a few keys (or even a single key), then you can create some pretty realistic instruments and avoid the usual stretching/pitch-shifting artefacts.
Having given this whole process a bit of a run through this morning, it seems to work very well and, as with other elements of the Cubasis design, Steinberg have again opted for a very sensible balance between features (enough, but not too many) to keep things streamlined and workable on the iPad format…. but there is still enough flexibility to make things interesting.
The new MiniSampler comes with a small selection of preset instruments – mainly pianos – and a good collection of drum kits. The idea is, of course, that you can build your own instruments quickly from scratch and, if my own experience is typical, providing you don’t want to get too nerdy about it (one sample per key), this is something that can be done pretty quickly even if you record the samples yourself into Cubasis. Anyway, this is a great addition to the app and, as a freebie included in the update for existing users, is very welcome.
Incidentally, by the time you read this, there should also be a new version of the Cubasis Project Importer extension for Cubase available for download via the Steinberg website. I posted a workshop piece about using this importer a few weeks ago… If you do use Cubase on the desktop then it provides a great way of working on ideas within Cubasis before finishing things off in Cubase. And, if you use the new MiniSampler presets (but not your own instruments), on import into Cubase, you will get suitable presets from Halion Sonic SE and Groove Agent.
There are also a bunch of the usual under-the-hood fixes and tweaks in the new release, all of which will be welcome to regular users.
I purchased Cubasis on the first day it was launched at the full price and, as I’ve also been a Cubase user for many years on the desktop, Cubasis is pretty much my go-to DAW/sequencer on my iPad. Perfect? – no, not yet, but it is very good indeed and I’d have no hesitation in recommending it even at the full price. This latest update is another nice very step forwards…. I’m already wondering what Steinberg might have in store for v.2.0 when it eventually appears :-)
Anyway, if you have pondered Cubasis but not yet taken the plunge, the sale pricing is most certainly ‘limited time’ – just a couple of days I think – so if you have been looking to buy into one of the leading music tech brands for some time, get in there quick :-)