Short article originally written for TC HELICON about one of their music app`s
Sip Coffee While Creating Music
You can record ambiance, edit, loop and create new songs over your coffee – says Nuno Miguel Garcia
Just the other day I was having dinner in a small restaurant in a tourist area of Lisbon.
At the table on my left was a young German couple, and, on my right hand side, a group of Italians.
What caught my attention were not any actual words but the blend of languages against the backdrop restaurant ambiance– the clatter of plates, the “swishing” sound of waiters weaving between tables, the satisfied groans and grunts of all of the diners – it was an audio-feast!
So, I started recording this with my iPhone app using the internal microphone and immediately created some loops.
Needless to say, I wore headphones as I sipped on my after dinner coffee!
I used natural percussive sounds to create a drum track and randomly looped some of the samples at a very low pitch to make drone and pad effects.
I ended up with a new bank of samples and a couple of new pattens to edit later and use in a new production.
New Gear, New Possibilities
Today’s market is flooded with recording alternatives.
In field recordings the use of iOS devices brings some advantages, the internal microphone is always available and is tied directly into sophisticated apps – such as Voice Jam.
However, the internal mic has too small a diaphragm – which makes it not good to capture loud sources or robust bass energy but it does respond well to sharp transients and extended overtones, the ultra-responsiveness is precise due to the lighter-mass diaphragm.
For professional sound recording an external microphone should be used, but even with the internal microphone you can cover a lot of simple recording needs and you can easily jam with a looping app or record a simple acoustic guitar session.
If you’re looking for a great external mic for an iPad, you may want to try out the Apogee Mic or the Mic 96k that records at 24-bit/96kHz and both come with lightning, 30-pin and USB cables included, with street price £146.41 and £178.51 for the 96k version, the IK Multimedia iRig Mic for £34.45 that connects via the analog jack and thus allows to keep the iPad charging. You can also chose an external USB interface and use an iPad camera kit connector to connect it to the iPad, in this case you can use any microphone you want.
Editing on the Fly
Its possible to edit sounds on the iPad in hundreds of different ways, it all depends on the app you chose, from simple sample editing tools, midi and audio sequencing to complete recording solutions with external multitrack audio interface.
A great place to get started is with a looping App such as VoiceJam – what you can do is record 6 individual loops, you can control each loop volume and apply different effects, in the end you can export the loops individually or as a performance recording.
Later you can edit and mix them in a DAW, on your computer or in your iPad where you have among others, apps like Garage Band, Cubasis or Nanostudio.