iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

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Tarekith
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iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by Tarekith » Wed May 14, 2014 9:31 pm

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As a full-time mastering engineer who likes to make music on an iPad in my spare time, it’s no surprise I have an interest in the recent flux of mastering related iOS apps coming out these days. Add to that how many people I see on various forums lately asking which of the options is better, and I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at a few of the more popular mastering apps and see how they compare. I’ll be looking at the following apps in this review:

- Audio Mastering by iMusicAlbum $12.99

- Final Touch by Positive Grid, Inc. $12.99

- Auria with Fabfilter in app purchases $49.00 + IAP’s

This isn’t a full review of each app, those are already online if you want to learn more about the specifics of how each of them work. Rather, I wanted to see what things (good and bad) stood out in each app, and how they directly compare to each other in terms of functionality and sound quality. For this comparison I am listening to each app with my iPad Air connected to a Lynx Hilo DAC via the Apple Camera Connection Kit, an Emotiva XPA-2 amplifier, and finally my Tyler Acoustic D2x monitors. Custom room treatments by GIK Acoustics USA.

I’m using a few songs I wrote entirely on the iPad for testing purposes, in a variety of genres. Most have a good bit of low frequency information useful for testing dynamics processors, and they were made on the iPad and thus keep with the iOS theme. Audio Mastering and Final Touch both can function as Audiobus and Inter-App Audio effects, as well as load files via Audioshare, Audio Copy, etc. Auria is a dedicated DAW in it’s own right, and functions as an IAA host, as well as Audiobus Output. For all three apps I used iTunes file-sharing to import my songs however, and it was quick and painless in each case.

Because Audio Mastering and Final Touch both are similar all-in-one mastering solutions (ala Ozone on the desktop), I’m going to focus on the comparing them first, then discuss how the Auria method of iOS mastering differs. Let’s get to it then…

Being all in one solutions, Audio Mastering and Final Touch both share a lot of features, though more differences than I expected too. Both allow you to insert various mastering related processors into your signal chain, though in Audio Mastering’s case, the order of effects is fixed. It still largely makes sense except for putting the reverb in front of the compressor, but then again I personally have never understood the need for a reverb in 99.999% of all mastering. Regardless, point for Final Touch for allowing your to freely change the order of processors, as well as for having two EQs available.

Navigating in both apps is basically through tabs for each type of processor, with navigating done via dedicated transport buttons and a waveform you can scroll with your finger. Final Touch has the waveform visible at all times, while there’s a dedicated tab you need to go to in Audio Mastering in order to change the playback position precisely. Almost another point for Final Touch, but it has this weird fade-in it does each time the playhead is moved or playback begins. Makes it difficult when you’re trying to narrow in on a problematic transient I found.

One big difference in the apps is that aside from just audio processing, Audio Mastering can also apply user defined fade-in and fade-outs, convert file types before saving, as well as loop portions of the waveform if needed. So for more detailed and precise audio problem-solving, I find that Audio Mastering has the lead here.

Alright alright, but how do they sound is all anyone wants to know, right?

Continue reading: http://tarekith.com/ios-mastering-apps-comparison/

(sneaky, I know) 8)

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by MikeDee » Fri May 16, 2014 11:13 am

Thanks for the review Tarekith. I had already purchased Final Touch and decided to take another look at Audio Mastering. Glad I did...the price was reduced temporarily to $5.99...how could I resist?? :D

Best regards,

Mike

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by Tarekith » Fri May 16, 2014 11:19 am

Yeah, I waited until it was $5.99 too :)

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by Jus » Fri May 16, 2014 12:14 pm

Hi are there any benefits in buying Mastering App compared to Final Touch
Cheers

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by CSwinn » Fri May 16, 2014 1:35 pm

Have you read the article? That's exactly the topic discussed.

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by Tarekith » Fri May 16, 2014 1:51 pm

LOL, wouldn't want to make people actually read something would we? :)

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by Jus » Fri May 16, 2014 1:55 pm

CSwinn wrote:Have you read the article? That's exactly the topic discussed.
Erm no lol that's helps doh 8)

Which do you prefer out the two ?

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by CSwinn » Fri May 16, 2014 2:01 pm

I don't have Final Touch, but they each go on sale quite regularly. Honestly after the reading the article though, I think the best thing to do would be to buy both and form your own opinion on which works best for you. If you can grab them on sale, it's still way cheaper than the cost of getting a single song mastered by most pros.

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by Jus » Fri May 16, 2014 2:09 pm

CSwinn wrote:I don't have Final Touch, but they each go on sale quite regularly. Honestly after the reading the article though, I think the best thing to do would be to buy both and form your own opinion on which works best for you. If you can grab them on sale, it's still way cheaper than the cost of getting a single song mastered by most pros.

Cool 8) cswinn cheers That's what i always tell myself when buying music apps :mrgreen:
Wey cheaper etc then buying a keyboard , software :roll: which is why I'm an app junky and brought both (mastering app tonight btw as still on offer ) from this thread 8)

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by CSwinn » Fri May 16, 2014 2:15 pm

I'm the same way, anything to justify this addiction! I think you'll have a lot of fun playing wih both apps, final touch looks pretty awesome. I'm sure I'll grab it sooner than later myself.

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by jsol » Fri May 16, 2014 7:06 pm

Fantastic review. I purchased the Final Touch when it was on sale for 9.99. I thought it was ok however, I'm not really a mastering pro. I really like fab filter L. I feel comfortable using it. I mainly bought the final touch to try the stereo widener but didn't like the earlier version issues with file transfers. It more or a hassle. For now I will stick to Fabilter. Question for the thread starter, I recently obtained pro MB. It was suggested by someone to widen my stereo field. Would MB Pro widen my stereo perception or would I need to add a transparent single band compressor before the MB pro and limiter pro?

Cheers,

JSol.

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by Tarekith » Fri May 16, 2014 7:50 pm

Pro-MB can function in MS mode, so you could use it for stereo widening I guess, probably not the best way to do it though. I think Final Touch would be a lot easier and probably better sounding, especially if you've never used ProMB before.

FWIW, in probably 80% of the tracks I get! I'm trying to undo some form of stereo widening to some extent. Just don't go overboard, wide is nice, but you need to keep it solid in the center too.

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by jsol » Fri May 16, 2014 8:02 pm

Cool, thanks for the response! What is MS mode? Wow. Final touch has better widening I just didn't want to be transferring files back forth for little adjustments because I'm afraid of audio file quality loss. Lastly, can widening be achieved by the mix by good stereo placement and panning alone? Do you stereo widen your tracks everytime? And would you use the stereo widener in final touch just for that specific effect, is it worth it and what would prompt you or tell you that you need to use it? Will your ears tell you?

Thanks!

JSol.

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by Tarekith » Fri May 16, 2014 8:20 pm

I have never once used a stereo widener in any of my tracks. For the stuff I do for clients, maybe 5-10% of the tracks need to go a few tenths of a dB wider. Otherwise I'm usually doing the opposite and boost the mid channel a bit to give things a more solid feeling. So many of today's samples and effects already have a.p really wide sound scape, I don't find the need very often to try and artificially create that.

MS stands for Mid Side processing, a way of splitting the signal so you can processing only the mono information separately from the stereo information and vice versa. It's an alternative to working in left right mode like most audio gear is set up, but extremely powerful too.

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Re: iOS Mastering App comparison (inc. Auria)

Post by jsol » Fri May 16, 2014 8:33 pm

Wow! Thanks so much. You are awesome!! I appreciate your help and your article is really really thorough.

You have answered all my questions! :lol:

Sincerely,

JSol.

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