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Audio Production from the Field
To the tablets
You can bypass the laptop-with-DAW altogether and go with an iPad; not surprisingly, more and more accessories and applications are showing up for it.
Alesis offers the iO Dock. This docking station allows you to use an iPad (model 1 or 2) as a recorder/playback device. The dock itself includes two XLR/TRS combination inputs with phantom power available, and individual gain trims. Each of the two inputs can be switched to DI mode. It has MIDI i/o, a composite video output and USB connector. It is Core MIDI-compliant and according to Alesis, works with virtually all audio and video apps.
Mackie makes a combination docking station/mixer known as the DL1608. It's a 16-input mixer, with 16 mic preamps with Cirrus A/D converters. It has six aux sends; four-band EQ, gating, and compression on all in the inputs; and a 31-band graphic EQ with a compressor/limiter function on all outputs. It will also support up to 10 other iPads for monitor mixing; in other words, musicians can bring their own iPad to derive their own headphone mix, sent between units on an ad hoc network. Again, it's claimed that this will work in conjuction with any iPad application.
It's easy enough to find applications at the Apple site. However there is one from Auria that I'd like to introduce to you. With Auria, you can playback 48 mono or stereo tracks back simultaneously (24-bit word, 44.1kHz sample) and you can record up to 24 simultaneously through any supported USB interface. (Those include the Presonus Audiobox 1818VSL and Focusrite Scarlett 18i6. According to its website: "Auria supports both standard two-channel USB audio interfaces and multichannel USB audio interfaces. To use a multichannel interface with Auria, it must be USB Class 2.0 compliant. Not all USB2 audio interfaces support Class 2.0. Apple's Core Audio must recognize the interface without the need for a driver.") You can add up to four plug-ins per input channel; and there are eight subgroups, each of which can accept four plug-ins. You can generate output files as WAV or MP3, or you can export an AAF session right in to Pro Tools and other well-known DAWs.
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