Changing Tech, one app at a time…

This post is full of boring tech stuff.  But hey, I am here again!

Those of you who have been following me for a while (and are still following me despite my rather infrequent updates on this blog, thank you very much) know that I am all about composing and recording on the go.  I even have a somewhat full set up of pop filters, back screens and portable USB apparatuses I can pop into my bag and set up for a decent songwriting and recording session if and when time and space permits.  Up until now I had done much of my portable recording setup using various Android devices.  Yes, I know iOS is more amenable to musicians, but, sincerely, cost and flexibility were an issue for me, in the beginning.  And I really, really, loved my Acer Nexus 7.  I still have it, but it has only 16GB, and for the projects I wanted to accomplish without being chained to my desktop, it was just not enough.  So I THOUGHT I would be upgrading by getting a Lenovo Yoga 3 8″ with expandable memory and LTE data options. It has the same processor speed as my Nexus 7, but it has a higher res camera. I got it on sale at their website. 
So much for my impulse buy. 
The thing is slow as molasses, the installed OS is buggy as all hell, and if I make the mistake of moving too many apps to the extra SD card (how many is too many is a mystery that may never be solved), all of the apps start uninstalling themselves, as what happened a couple of times in the middle of my German class.  The panic of losing notes, or the ability to take them, was not really something I needed to experience at that time.
In the interim, I was lucky enough to inherit an iPhone 4 from my husband, after his workplace upgraded their staff to an iPhone 6.  I started exploring music and recording apps in the ITunes store.  I was pleasantly surprised at what I found, to say the least.  I also found some options to turn songs I had recorded on my phone into videos, without having to sync and resync my phone using ITunes.  But the big game changer, for me, was discovering AudioBus.  For those using the iOS platform for music creation, this app is a no brainer, but for someone like me, who has had constantly do rendering of wave files from one app to another on Android, and with no ability to have virtual instruments on Android talk to one another without wires going in and out of her tablet or phone, AudioBus is a godsend.  And it has forced me to start looking more and more at iOS for my creative activities, rather than sticking with Android.
There are three, and only three, music apps on Android that would cause me to stick with it, and two of them have versions on iOS: Audio Evolution Mobile, Caustic and Chordbot.  I have to wean myself off of Chordbot, as I have gotten too reliant on that program for many of my songwriting and arranging activities, and have gotten used to not putting MIDI notes in myself.  Caustic is still workable, and it’s great to use, but it hasn’t been updated in ages, and if I want to use individual tracks in a DAW so as I can sing lyrics on them, or work with other types of instruments, I still have to solo and export, which takes a lot of time.  As for the one that isn’t, Audio Evolution is the closet thing you can get to an actual DAW on an Android, and that is just the basic version.  For a total of maybe €20+, you can get all of the other bells and whistles provided by the developer, such as USB support, soundfont support, extra effects, and it’s STILL cheaper than, and sounds as good or better than, anything recorded in Cubasis. 🙂 
This last weekend, I inherited my husband’s iPhone 6 (at least for a while, I think), as he needed a bigger phone for his work.  Testing all the things it can do with music creation and recording has made me fall further and further in love with the iOS.  Not to mention, the power of the iPhone 6 is such that I finally have a unit that will tolerate the intensity of my Samson GoMic without screaming “YOU’RE KILLING ME!!!!!!!”.  I even have a little hat for it to use as a pop screen.



So, at this point, I am at a cross roads.  I don’t want to completely disown my Android devices, but I am leaning further and further toward purchasing an IPad, or at least an IPad mini, and going full tilt into iOS world for EVERYTHING.  In the meantime, while I am working out this decision, I am switching most, if not all, of my music making, and some of my video, activities over to my iPhone, and leaving TWO music apps, as well as some video, and writing apps, on my tablet.  I may even ditch my Lenovo Yoga and go back to my Nexus, since, despite the space, the processing power is much, much higher.
I’ll be trying out my new composing and recording rig when my husband and I visit the US over the Christmas holidays this year.  I am also planning a weeklong sabbatical to Eastern Europe in February as part of this year’s RPM Challenge and February Album-Writing Month, so if I can make this work, I will be able to travel/sightsee in the morning, write in the afternoon, do some scratch vocals in the evening, and maybe hole myself up somewhere in Austria when this is over and try to finish up, or finish up as much as I can.  At the every least, I hope for a releasable EP when all is said and done. 
I am also in the process of going over my previous songs for possible rerecording and releasing on BandCamp, and possibly CDBaby if they do well.  I have all these accounts set up.  They are currently laying fallow.
But all that is for another blog entry.