iPad3 ♥ MixPre-D ♥ Auria
After much deliberation, I’m finally up and running with my iPad 3 / Sound Devices MixPre-D sound recording combo! I only got about half an hour this evening to quickly give it a test run but I’ll share the resulting recordings with you as a rough demo:
My deliberation was due to originally wanting to use the Sound Devices USBPre2 but this setup was beginning to seem rather convoluted due to the USB Battery that would have been required. I worked out the setup in the diagram below but I’m not 100% convinced it would have actually worked:
The ‘Dr. Bott’ Buss is (as I understand from what I’ve learnt from trawling the internet) simply a device to add into the chain in order to trick the iPad into not thinking the USBPre2 is too much of a power draw (which it isn’t) and rejecting it. The Denecke is simply for taking the strain of the phantom power away from the iPad so that it’s battery would last longer.
I tweeted this picture a while ago and, after a few ideas and thoughts from others – namely Shaun Farley – Sound Devices themselves chipped in, suggesting I simplify things by using the MixPre-D which has it’s own built-in battery power supply. Why didn’t I think of that?! (Don’t answer that).
So now the only addition to the chain is simply the camera connection kit which enables the MixPre-D to link up with the iPad.
Initial tests have given promising results I think; good, clean sound like I’m used to hearing through the 744T. I’ll do a more thorough variety of recordings over the next few weeks but tonight, unfortunately, I didn’t have a good stereo pair of mics to use recording some room tones, etc. so I’ve stuck with a quick voice record using my U87 and then some exterior train and siren sounds captured using my MKH40. See what you think.
As for the actual operation of the setup, Auria is great! If I can get everything packed up appropriately in some kind of bag with the iPad on top then I think I’m on to a winner. As far as I’m aware, Auria is the first app to enable 96kHz recording on the iPad, which was my original stimulus for trying to achieve this recording setup. Large meter display; a DAW at your fingertips; export AAFs to Dropbox – it’s hard to find fault really. However, a couple of tiny bugs that I’ve come across so far:
- Listening through the headphones, I had to ‘reset’ this by unplugging and replugging the headphone jack a couple of times. Once this was when I booted up Auria but wasn’t able to monitor the input until I replugged the headphone jack and then it kicked straight in. The other time was when I was recording and tugged on the headphone cable too much and it seemed to upset the audio output from the iPad and introduce digital glitching noises until I replugged the headphone jack at which point the glitching stopped straight away (and wasn’t on the recording). This is another reason to make sure that whatever bag I can get hold of to hold all this setup together has to protect all the USB connections and the headphone jack from any strain or knocks. By the way, in my view, the most vulnerable connection to protect is the camera connection kit into the iPad (though I didn’t have any problems with it this evening); the USB connection into the MixPre-D feels really solid to me.
- A tiny detail which may perhaps be through my own error: I did some editing in Auria before exporting the session to Dropbox and, strangely, the crossfades I did were carried through into Pro Tools but not the rest of the fades. Will keep an eye on this next time.
- As far as I can tell so far, the settings in the iPad dictate the sampling rate of the recording and the MixPre-D follows suit. However, when I connected the two devices and opened a 96kHz session in Auria, the MixPre-D continued to say it was set at the default setting of 48 kHz which was a bit unsettling. However, judging by the final AAF that I opened in Pro Tools, the recordings are indeed 96kHz and 24 bit so surely the MixPre-D did tow the line with the iPad otherwise the recordings would have glitched?
So, after only a quick play this evening, those are my initial impressions. I’ll keep you posted with any discoveries or bugs that I come across over the coming weeks, and Sound Collectors’ Club members can expect to see a lot more demos coming their way in the form of new contributions to various themes. For starters, I’m planning to take this setup along to record church bells with Raoul in September. Better get a move on with finding that bag……..