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Pro Contracting Apps for Your iPhone

Mar 24, 2010 12:00 PM, By George Petersen


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Sooner or later, you gotta start regarding Apple's iPhone/iPod Touch as a serious platform. To date, there have been more than 2 billion downloads from the online iPhone App Store, which carries more than 85,000 apps with something to suit nearly every interest.

Eventually we all show up at some gig where the client announces the need to record an event—at the last minute of course. Here, an iPhone recording app supporting fairly high-resolution stereo capture (at least 44.1kHz WAV files) can save the day. Among these are Audiofile Engineering's FiRe ($9.99), BIAS' iProRecorder ($4.99) and McDSP's Retro Recorder ($2.99).

It's been a slow process, but iPhone applications created specifically for contracting and pro audio are starting to appear.

Let's get serious

This month, Apple's iTunes store will begin offering a (free!) app for monitoring wireless mic and in-ear playback systems for AKG's DMS 700, WMS 4000/4500, and IVM 4 products. Simply connect AKG's HiQnet HUB 4000Q to a generic wireless router and using an iPhone, users can browse through the entire wireless system within the device list, monitor each device and its parameters, or use the RF monitor for checking the radio frequency connection of each wireless device—from anywhere in the venue within Wi-Fi range. It's a great start. Now we could use some iPhone-capable monitoring of amplifiers (temperature, levels, etc.). That would be a real time-saver.

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A relatively new company with a large offering of iPhone apps for pro audio is Boulder, Colo.-based Studio Six Digital. You may not be aware of the name, but company principal Andrew Smith was the founder of TerraSonde, known for its acclaimed series of Audio Toolbox multifunction audio test sets.

Studio Six Digital's AudioTools has a base price of $19.99 (in the U.S. iTunes store, varies overseas due to Apple's pricing tiers) and delivers a powerhouse suite of audio and acoustics apps to your iPhone. Coming soon are the optional iAudioInterface (a high-quality I/O accessory for iPhone and iPod Touch) and the iProMic (a pro-level dock microphone for iPhone and iPod touch), which expand the capabilities of the systems with more flexibility and accuracy.

The base AudioTools system includes the SPL Meter (with an increased range to work with the iAudioInterface), RTA (offering both octave and 1/3-octave spectral analysis), level/frequency of the iAudioInterface line input (also works with any dock input audio source), Audio Scope dual-trace audio band oscilloscope, and a signal generator (sine and square waves, and white and pink noise). It also has the ability to monitor the mic input in the headphones.

AudioTools comes standard with a number of useful utilities, such as audio-related calculators, File Export to upload calculation results to any PC or Mac via Wi-Fi, and calibration of all inputs and outputs. In-app purchasing (upgrades) include FFT analysis, SPL Pro, SPL Graphic, SPL Traffic Light (monitor live sound level), ETC (Energy Time Curve), Speaker Polarity, THD+N, speaker distortion, impedance, and impulse response.

Off in the future

AudioTools offers a lot, but the big news comes later this year. Studio Six Digital has entered an agreement with Rational Acoustics to develop an iPhone/iPod touch app based on the popular SMAART acoustic test and measurement software. The feature set is still being finalized, however, it will at least include the basic transfer function with both magnitude and phase response plots and the spectrograph feature.

So with some 85,000 selections to pick from, we're finally getting some serious apps to make your life easier. That is, if you have an iPhone. But with a fast-expanding world of cool software apps, you might consider getting an iPhone—even if you never call anyone.



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