Nano Studio on iPad review, NOW Supporting iPad Native.

UPDATED REVIEW: July 24 2013

Its been an awfully long time sense I updated this review. Sorry about that.
As you may already know, Nano Studio now supports Audiobus! Hooray! Its a fantastic addition to one of the most recognized mini DAWs for iOS. The way Audiobus works with Nano takes some getting used to, but it works well. Nano is still probably one of the very best for those starting out, or even pros. Its so versatile and uncomplicated that anyone can get a long way with this. The Eden synth is a classic, and easily worth the price on its own. This has always been a winner, and looks like that will continue.

Original Review:

Updated 12-10-2011

I’m so excited to see Nano Studio get updated to support iPad native. The interface is crisp and clean, and they made better use of screen space with much improved positioning of features, functions, etc.
Everything is just as great as ever, but now it just looks better, and that feels good while working with the app. Thankfully, a lot of careful thought went into the updade keeping the original feel with the same friendly, intuitive work space, now with sharper visual presentation and layout. Stability is just as reliable as ever, and everything I’ve raved about in the past remains just as fantaststic.
Nano Studio has surpassed the competition, and somehow manages to do everything right.
Clearly this is the leader for iOS studio apps when it comes to creating electronic music. This has been well worth the wait.

Read on for my original review below.

This app kicks the competition to the curb, even with 2 less tracks than the typically seen 8 track apps.  I have all the serious DAWs that iOS offers, such as; Multitrack DAW, Music Studio, Studio HD, Meteor, BeatMaker1&2, GarageBand (reviews for those coming soon), etc. Not one of those can do all that Nano Studio can.  At $14.99 for the basic 6 track version, it’s the best I’ve seen.

One reviewer at  iTunes  wrote that it’s missing some TRG (trigger pad banks) tracks, but that is not true.  The basic version has a huge amount of trigger pads you can use.  I would not hesitate to get this basic version.  If you are a serious musician, I would also spring for the upgrade for an extra $5.

Upgrade:
For just $5 more, I upgraded with the 16 tracks for instruments.   It’s unreal! This is more than enough for most serious artists. Seriously, Nano Studio with the 16 track upgrade has just taken over as my favored work station. No reason any serious musician would find anything troubling at all.  It never crashes, it’s stereo, it’s high quality, it has great FX, excellent mixing capabilities, wave editor, etc… it does everything I need. Forget most everything, including BeatMaker 2. None of them can keep up with Nano. They all have good points, but they all fail to deliver a one stop work station.

That said, I use NS on my iPad 1 (and 3rd generation iPod) despite no native support, and it’s the most reliable and deepest of all the iOS work stations.
The Eden synths are fantastic. It has two strong, robust mono and polyphonic synthesizers, with amazing presets full of rich variety. It is full of tweaking abilities with envelope, oscillators, mods, filters, waveforms,  and patching. It even has X,Y pads to add textures in real time.
You can chain and insert FX, or global, each track can be mixed with the on board mixer, and everything can be automated including pans, fades etc. Don’t forget a highly optimized waveform editor to play with your imported files. AND a full mix down facility, and exporting via general pasteboard. I think I got it all? If I missed a detail, rest assured, Nano Studio didn’t.

As  a recording artist who uses iPad exclusively for all my music, I need reliability, stability, quality, and freedom. Nano Studio gives me all of that and more.
The basic version, though very capable alone, it didn’t quite suit my needs. But now, it’s over the top. Spend the $20 total (with the $5 in app purchase for 16 tracks) and you’ll not need any other work station or so called studio type app. I can’t wait for it to get gussied up with native iPad support, and maybe even a better user interface taking advantage of added screen space?  Still, even scaled up on the iPad there is no compromise in any of the audio quality or functions–maybe just a little fuzzy in the graphics., but no big deal.
Not only can you count on Nano Studio to do everything you need ie, pasting files from other apps to one of the Eden synths, or TRG pads, sampling, audio sampling, and re-sampling too.
With Nano Studio you don’t need a computer anymore except for storing files or as a back up. The iPad and Nano Studio together have all but made music making on a PC or Mac obsolete.
It’s just getting better.

This app is to iOS devices what Logic Pro is to Mac Pros. Not the same, just equally impressive all things considered. Get it.

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5 comments

  1. I have had this discussion with smite before,well,I at least sent him an email about it. Although smite considers himself a "real" musician,I have to chime in here and ask to what does that term imply. I have had similar arguments with many artists and some consider anything less then traditional instruments not "real". What I am saying is that smite is a "real" ambient artist. Where as I myself am a "real" guitar player. To me nano studio is a great app. But I find that the Eden synth is geared for electro music. On the other hand. I don't think GB is a total one stop shop but if I was to want to record my "real" guitar and vocals I would have to chose garage band. I can respect the opinions of others but I also take perspective in everything I say. Me and my style of music takes a complete and different approach to smites "real" techno music. I do use many of the same apps as he does and I find that each app has it's own speciality. Like when I use nano,and xenon I tend to create techno songs,when I go into GB I tend to lay down more "traditional" music. I find that GB and electric guitar go great together. The cheesy loops that come with GB are just that. Those loops are the things that make iOS DAW toys. Sure it is fun and easy to create quick songs using pre made loops but to me "real" music has to be created with "real" instruments. If you make every song using loops then you are just arranging,editing,putting puzzles together. Let me say again this is very fun and can lead to great songs. But to be a "real" musician can only be summed up by the eyes and ears of the single person making such tracks. What I deem "real" worthy and what you deem "real" worthy might be totally different,are we wrong? Who knows. Just before you totally write off one app such as GB please take a moment and think about what exactly the purpose of the app is for. Is Garage BAnd called Garage Band techno loops edition? Not really. Is my experience of playing in "real" garage bands any more "real" then your experience with loop music? I played in many "garage bands" back in the day and they consisted of guitar,vocals,bass,drums,nano studio can cover the half of that list but not the other. No one app right now can claim perfection. No one pc software can claim total perfection. We use vst from other companies and use different tools from every where to get the job done. Before I go an hijack you whole post I just wanted to say this stuff from one "real" musician to another…sit back,take it all in,use what works for you,if the app doesnt fit your style then it's ok to write it off and move on. To try and compare apps in your personal setting might work and I suppose that's what you are doing. Just remember that your side of the coin is not the only one. I guess you just met your total opposite. I have spoken with smite on many occasions (soundcloud) for any one wondering. I read all of his reviews on app store. I just find that sometimes I may not live in his bubble and the air out here breaths a little different. Thanks. Keep up the work and hope all is well. Freesoulvw

  2. That's actually a really fair argument. I respect you POV. I suppose I have been a bit hard on Garage Band iPad. But don't take my use of words like "Serious"or "real" quite so seriously. I personally dont use loops, I compose everything myself note for note, beat by beat. I think maybe I gave the wrong impression somewhere? I much prefer to compose and craft every tiny piece of all of my music in great detail. I still like to play with loops now and then just for fun, but not for my work. I get far more satisfaction from crafting every single note in my music. That's just how I feel.However I think anyone composing or creating music are real musicians, or even loopers for that matter are "real" and they are often very "serious". who am I to tell them they aren't "real"? My gripes with GB for iPad are really just that it lacks certain functionality that makes it difficult for me personally to take it seriously. It's presented as a fully functional studio type app, but fails on many levels to really deliver some of the most basic tools one would need or expect. Such as you cannot import your own audio files. No time signatures, or basic fade editing, or automation. These are things that many apps DO offer and I expected GB iPad to do the same. It limits freedom, and to me (mind you I'm well aware this is just my opinion) real music comes from freedom of creativity. GB iPad puts us in a box and tells us we can make music on it's terms only. That bothers me. But clearly that's not everyone's opinion. Fine. I'm not worried about that. I respect those opinions. But I will stand my ground on things that I feel are important, just as I'd expect anyone else to do the same. In short, no freedom, no go. To me GB is like a guitar with 4 strings. Whatever the case, it's a bad fit for me. But keep in mind, I make no claim to be anything other than an electronic music composer. Everything I focus on is centered on that area which I choose to explore, that also suits my needs, expectations etc. So when I say something is great or horrid it's entirely based on my needs , and expectations for what I do. Electronic music. If we confuse my objectives with being universal then we are making a mistake and missing my point. I might suggest if my Personal opinion doesn't jive with anyone's (and really whose does at all times?) for whatever reason to just focus in on the facts such as quality, functionality, and capabilities, and then judge for yourself if those things meet your needs. That's really the target I am aiming for. I really don't care though what the purists think. I mean those who insist if it's not a real instrument it's not real music. Those folks are a little too naive for my attention span. They may as well argue religion. If it sounds good, and was crafted by someone using a Violin, iPad, PC, Guitar, DJ Loops, or rubber bands, and who was enjoying themselves then no one has any right to tell that person they are not "real". I certainly never would. How could I? Music is a beautiful, universally understood art form that I believe is about freedom, and expression. Not rules, or edicts. That said, I want to thank you for this post, most sincerely. I don't know everything, and I love to engage in dialog on these things. So please always share what you wish. I expect and desire to learn from anyone I can. Unless they choose to be combative, I haven't the time for those folks. Thanks again my friend, I value your input and am very pleased to hear your thoughts. If I ever offended you I do sincerely apologize. Keep talking. Keep jamming, and don't forget to send me updates on your music.

  3. With all the respect – REAL ARTIST ( go n poke ye eye out ) – can use REAL SAMPLES – and so on and on and oooonn ….. for every DIGITAL MUSIC ENTHUSIAST – NANOSTUDIO IS THE BEST MUSIC APP OUT THERE – – P – E – R – I – O – D – –

  4. Yes. Real anyone can do real anything. This old misunderstood debate was a snapshot of a moment in time. Everything changes, and so do opinions. Especially mine. Back when this post and comments came up, I was errantly jumping on board with thinking composing everything was that best way. Since then I've changed. I went from all samples at first to all composing next (see above comments) to where I am today. Which is a happy middle. I like to compose, and I like to use samples. A nice mix of both. No one has the right to tell anyone what's real or not to others. It's a personal thing, and it's a growing experience. So everyone creating music whether it's strictly samples, compositions, or anywhere in between are real. No one can argue that away from them. Real artists can use Real samples or anything they wish.

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