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Got an iPad? Got a DAW? You’ll want an iPad DAW control app!

Got an iPad? Got a DAW? You’ll want an iPad DAW control app!

Rather than giving and receiving a lot of little presents that end up getting lost/eaten by the dog/accidentally buried in soft peat for three years for Christmas this year, we conferred with the relatives and everyone chipped in for an iPad, which leads me to the wonderful world of iPad DAW control!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I really do see the potential. There are just a lot of things that I wish it did that it doesn’t.

Or that is actually does do and I just don’t know how.

iPad DAW controller in the hybrid studioFor example, I’d like to be able to just plug it into my computer and drag files across onto my desktop, I don’t want to have to sync, or use iTunes to get at my files; a nice drag and drop directory structure would be great.

But there we are, maybe when I spend some time with it, I’ll uncover fabulous ways to do the things I want, or find wonderful things that make me forget about what I wanted to do in the first place, we’ll see…

What I have been impressed with though, is an app – I think that’s the term – called V-Control.

V-Control Free review

I’m a big fan of hardware DAW control surfaces. I just find it much easier to mix by moving faders up and down with my fingers, rather than using the mouse. However, if you have an iPad, there are plenty of apps around that get you at least part of the way there…

Available in two versions – one free and one for $49.99, the Neyrinck V-Control Free app is an incredibly useful way of adding some useful functionality to your studio, without spending a penny (if you already own an iPad of course).

Getting it set up was pretty straightforward. It did require installing a small program on my laptop, which, once I told OS X’s Gatekeeper that it was okay, was up and running without a problem. After that, I launched the V-Control app, it saw my computer straight away, I chose Live as the DAW I wanted to control, went into Live’s MIDI/Sync preferences, V-Control was there, I selected the Mackie Control protocol for it, enabled ‘Remote’ in the MIDI inputs and outputs and it worked.

The scribble strips above the 8 faders on my iPad showed the track names in Live, the faders were at the correct levels, the transport controls all worked fine, as did the pan, mute and solo controls. I could step through tracks one at a time or in banks of 8, move multiple faders simultaneously, all from the comfort of standing in the hall of sitting on the stairs.

Yes, this may all sound fairly trivial, but don’t underestimate the usefulness of such controllability.

V-Control Free iPad DAW control appRemember the old mixing trick of standing the other side of the door to hear how things sound? Too much kick drum? Not enough vox? Well, with your remote capability, you can stand outside, listen, adjust your mix, rewind and play the same part again, all from your conservatory, landing or dining room.

Or maybe your vocal booth is the other side of the room to your recording setup. Much handier to be in the booth, at your mic, adjusting the monitor mix and hitting record from right there…

Anyway, I’m sold. Or at least as sold as you have to be when something was free.

For recording automation and fine-tuning mixes, I still find a flying fader device -such as the Presonus Faderport or Mackie MCU – more tactile and accurate, but the price and convenience of an app make it a no-brainer if you already have the tablet…

The V-Control Pro version offers significantly more functionality, but it is quite expensive for an app. That said, it’s considerably cheaper than buying a bespoke hardware control surface!

AC-7 Core HD

Impressed by my first tentative steps into the multi-touch DAW-control world, I thought I could possibly splash out £2.99 on another DAW control app, AC-7 Core HD. Again, this offers banks of eight faders, transport controls and jog wheel. Unlike V-Control though, it does not require you to install any bespoke wi-fi applications on the host computer (on a Mac at least, I haven’t tested it on a Windows PC), as you just connect it through the wireless MIDI settings.

As you don’t then need to fire up another application, you should be good to go as soon as your DAW is fired up, is that worth £2.99? That’s up to you… Again, like V-Control, this uses the MackieControl protocol and should be quite a straightforward set up in your software of choice.

Liine Lemur and other iPad DAW control apps

If you’ve been around music tech for a few years, you may have come across the Lemur controller. This was a multitouch device that was released a few years before the iPad and that offered an interface that could be designed from scratch by the user to give them what ever controls they wanted.

Unfortunately, it was quite (!) pricey, and didn’t hang around once the iPad was released. Fortunately though, the code was puchased by Liine, who have released a version of Lemur for the iPad. If you want to go beyond DAW control and move into, well, whatever direction you want to go, Lemur may be the app for you!

The Liine Lemur usually sells for £34.99, but is £17.49 until the 19th January as part of the Liine sale.

Lemur iPad DAW Control App

There are a number of alternatives you might also want to take a look at, such as DAW Control (£2.99), DAW Remote HD (£10.49), or IpTouch (£4.99) if you use Logic.

One thing I will say, for all the things that annoy me about the iPad, it is handy to have around for just these sorts of things. Oh, and while you’re at it, help kickstart an acid revival with Rebirth


Red Dog Music is the UK’s friendliest musical instrument and pro-audio dealer. Between our 5000 square foot Edinburgh shop filled with an incredible range of products, and our London showroom in Clapham specialising in high-end instruments, dj and pro-audio, Red Dog Music has you covered from north to south and from performance to playback.

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Red Dog Music

Dawsons Music is delighted to announce that the Red Dog Music brand is now part of the Dawsons family. This is an exciting opportunity to bring both communities together and create a stronger, wider network of people passionate about music gear. We both share a common heritage to support musicians throughout the UK and Dawsons want to support Red Dog Music customers in their continued musical journey.

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