Finally put together the last piece of equipment needed for the iPad-based home studio setup, and tested it on a loooooooong overdue Kirrivath track. By “long overdue” I mean it’s a couple of decades since it was written.
Major components of the setup include:
- iPad running Audiobus, Audioshare, Audiocopy, and Auria
- A great mic – in this case, by Apex
- Focusrite Scarlett*
- Lightning USB3 CCK (with or without Charging port)
- USB Y-cable
- USB 2-port Splitter
- Mobile Battery Pack
- Powered USB Hub
- Closed-back headphones for tracking – mine are an older set by Audio-Technica
You’ll notice immediately that the Focusrite Scarlett is not an iOS device. However, just like in this tutorial on how to hack using the Focusrite 2i2 with an iPad, it’s completely hackable. That means I can use it with the computer directly, or with the iPad. The Scarlett Solo is actually mentioned in the tutorial so I felt safe to buy it.
The iPad is preferable due to lack of fan hiss. My computer is old and wasn’t put together to be completely silent.
For this track, I created the backing instrumentals using Reaper DAW and many VSTs. Did a mixdown then imported the audio into Auria via Audioshare and Audiocopy. Plugged the phones into the monitor out on the Scarlett, and recorded a few tests. Took a bit to get the routing correct – Auria didn’t want to give me mono tracks when I clicked “new track” to make a new recording attempt.
The Blanket Fort Studio worked very well, along with the directional mic it dampened excess vibrations and gave a very clean audio signal.
The Tin Whistle was recorded with my old SM58, and that turned out to be a little hissy. Fortunately, EQ got rid of that. Will definitely use the Apex in the future! On first using the Apex I was concerned about a mechanical hum, however after turning down the input by a lot compared to the SM58 the signal was loud enough and MUCH cleaner.
I still need to pick up an XLR cable, used an XLR to 1/4″ and unfortunately that meant I had to use the second input on the Focusrite. So next time I’ll be able to test the actual mic input. So far, amazing though.
Lady of Blossoming is a song written specifically for May Day. The chord structure was stolen from the 14th century and I did my own thing with it. On the original version of the instrumental, I listened nonstop for 3 days because it was so catchy, then the lyrics just came through. I’ve performed it live many times over the decades. It’s nice to finally be close to doing it justice in a recording!
The song is a reminder of fun in times past of a more mediaeval era, or maybe a modern Renaissance Faire with feasting and dancing.
Looking forward to many more higher-quality demos for Kirrivath, Chagall Sierra, and Wingspell this year! YAY!