Are We Spoiled?

We have so many amazing applications at our disposal, for crazy low prices. So why do people complain so much about iOS ad ons that are just as good as their desktop counterparts?
Ill use Auria as an example since it has the largest selection of ad ons and plugins currently available with iOS DAWs.
For the moment lets suspend our personal feelings of the app itself and focus on the relative costs for perspective.
Auria itself is $50 and comes with 32-64 bit audio processing, a stellar convolution reverb, a sophisticated standard EQ, Automation, FX, and numerous pro grade features. All working very well, for a lot of people including for me. Far from perfect but all things considered, not a bad value.
Considering its limitations, largely because of the iPads limited CPU and system resources, its pretty damned capable and priced appropriately.
If you want a comparable DAW on your desktop or laptop you will pay not only more for the hardware, but also a bunch more for the software.
FL Studio Producer is about $199.99 for example with similar standard features. Obviously there are differences, but the relative point here is about what you get for your dollar.
Other PC DAWs can cost more, hundreds more.
Now consider the plugins.
Auria has many FabFilter plugins just as good as the same ones for PCs.
FabFilter Pro Q for example is about $190.00 for PCs and $30 for Auria users. Yet are practically identical.
Somehow I still see people complain that $30 is way too expensive. WHAT?
Folks have their reasons for complaining about prices in great variety. None that I’ve heard have sounded the least bit relevant, or slightly reasonable, and in fact strike me as nothing more than unrealistic, and spoiled.
There are several ad ons and plugins to compare that show the very same price differences for pretty much all the equally available quality plugins. In every case the iOS option is drastically less costly.
Why so many silly complaints then?
Some say it doesn’t work, or they can’t get it to work. That also strikes me as strange since I have no problems with it at all.
I have no special super human powers, so I assume its operator error on their part. It works fine.
Before you start listing all your reasons for why you don’t like Auria or its plugins, remember this really isn’t about why you like it or don’t. If you’re going to go on about why PCs are better, again thats not on topic here, and why would you care anyway? I have no illusions of the disparity of power between iPad and PCs. iPad gets the job done just fine for those who wish to take the alternate route despite known limitations. This is about the costs. This is about the question “Are We Spoiled”?
Looking at the brief (yes I am aware its a general comparison) comparisons it seems clear to me that the complaints about the cost of iOS plugin options are ridiculous at the very best.
Just having a quality convolution reverb with a vast I.R. Library included (not including the additional I.R. libraries purchasable for tiny sums) is worth the $50 that Auria costs alone. GASP! How can I say that?
Well, a convolution reverb sounding just as good on PC will run you around $250! Some cost way more than that even.
So yes, $50 for the whole package (that again works fine for me on my iPad4, once I figured out all the silly settings necessary) convolution reverb included.
What the hell more do you want? Are we spoiled or what?
We’re only just getting started with iOS seeing DAWs supporting high quality options, tools, and plugins. So as we see more in the future are we still going to be complaining about the low prices being way too high?
I really hope not. Its not unrealistic to be concerned that some developers may choose to not go ahead with their product because the users are unwilling to accept the low cost of their product, much less any ad ons they might offer.
That’s a nightmare scenario, and I don’t sit up nights worried about it, but there is some reason to be concerned.
If developers see a community of users still complaining about even low prices, they might not make our dream iDAWs (or whatever app) because of that spoiled cacophony going on and on about nonsensical price expectations.
I’m not point the finger, though it kind of looks that way, but I am just as guilty as the next guy or gal. Or I was. I get it. I understand we have been spoiled by the super low costs of super cool apps for years. All the while we were still complaining or demanding more.
So as we get to the point now that “more” is becoming realized, so are the options, and slightly increased prices. All of the iOS app prices while maybe being higher than we started with are still very low.
You can’t have more, and get it for less. Its not a fair position to take.
Isn’t it time we start appreciating the progress instead of looking for things to complain about?
Its OK to not like something because it doesn’t fit in with your way of doing things, but lets try to not bash things that many folks find to be an excellent value and have no trouble working with. Lets try to not get bent out of shape when something costs a little more than we’re used to while offering us the “more” we demanded, and still for much less than its PC counterpart.
Bad for you is not the end all be all qualifier of a bad app on the whole. Sure there are “bad” apps, and apps that are priced inappropriately, but what’s the point of ridiculing them to death again and again? There are no rewards or points scored for complaining, especially about low prices. It just ends up making a lot of people look very spoiled. Who wants that?
Maybe we can all look a little harder at the bright side? See more of the positives. Be champions for this new thing and have some patience. It’ll all get there sooner than later.
However if its all really that terrible to you, then why are you torturing yourself? Go back to your PC or whatever made you happy before. Not everything is for everyone, but everyone can be a little more positive and grateful for what they have. Why not?

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8 comments

  1. Most of us iOS music app users do see the bright side of this new and wonderful thing that is going on. You can see it in the reviews of these marvelous apps. The unfair complaining and whining reviews are for the most part rather comical.

  2. I think the real argument is the portability and touch interface of an iOS device as opposed to a more stationary unit (laptops included). If the former has the most appeal then trade-offs are made in terms of app pricing and functionality. That seems reasonable to me.

    That stated, after 2 years of using an iPad 2 for music creation, instead of upgrading to a newer iPad I’m considering a Mac Mini. And, that is where I think one can make a different argument. For example, how does Auria on iOS compare with the Mac version of Garageband? Or, how does Auria compare with the free open source Audacity? For $600 I can get a MAC, use my HDTV as a display and get a bit more bang for the buck. Yes, I’ll have to purchase a keyboard but, if we’re honest, touch keys do have their limitations.

    My iPad has opened up a whole new world for me in terms of music as a hobby. It has also left me wanting more.

  3. The big move, I think, will be much more comprehensive interchangeability of iOS and OS. If there is one Nerve Center, CPU, Brain, what-the-fork-ever device that can handle all of it in a modular way with all the peripherals, I am in. I love working with iOS apps, so much so that I have nearly abandoned my Logic setup in a very well equipped project studio.

    The big issues are Apple not always willing or able to get it together to make the future now (that happens all over, I know), CPU still not cutting it as far as handling Audio Plug-in support. The iOS music community is getting a little spoiled, as the author suggests, when not being appreciative enough of how good they have it when they can spend two sh’&tty dollars and get a synth, for example, they would have had to pay over a grand for to get equivalent power 10-15 years ago.

    Another big thing is, for me, is the lack of universal agreement, support, everything associated with Audio bit rates, sampling rates etc in Audiobus. I like how Apple always seems to know what works best for us, but we also have a right to know some of the most basic nuts and bolts in the Audio chain when working in iOS. Musicians should not accept crap audio as a trade-off for working in the platform. I still have no idea whether there is any point in running Multitrack DAW in 24 bit if all the stuff streaming in through Audiobus negates the whole purpose of creating those huge files. Does Loopy “HD” record at 24 bit, for example? I would like to know that stuff, even if all CD or mastered material gets dithered down to 16 bits in the end. There is a bloody good reason Neil Young wants higher resolution commercially available discs as standard! SOUND QUALITY! I would still like to know what is happening in that department, and set up my projects accordingly. I would like it if developers were always very clear about what kind of audio their apps are creating. I do know that the most reliable source of audio quality will always be ears, but post audio specs. They can useful, ya’ know…

    iOS music production is a great, great great thing, but NOTHING people pay for should ever be considered being above constructive criticism. I genuinely appreciate what you, Mr. Smite Matter, are sharing with this fantastic, new frontier community, and your articles are terrifically insightful and positive, but do not be too hard on those of us who fell the need to provide a little tough love to developers who could truly benefit from it in the long run. It isn’t always so much as dwelling on the negative, but shining a little useful light onto some of the details that can make a more productive user experience…

    1. Constructive criticism is not in question here, and is always appropriate. Legitimate constructive criticism is not at all part of what I was writing about nor having any relationship to some spoiled behaviors. Its the unrealistic and spoiled squawkings about the super low prices that I am speaking to.

      1. Good point and further clarification David. I still have one of those expensive Korg synthesizers from the 1990’s. It cost me over 3000 dollars. I only use it now as a midi controller to play Alchemy, Nave, Thor, Sunriser etc. To me it’s like I got all my IOS Synths for almost free and they are superior to my 3000 dollar Korg. Someone commented on the AD 480 reverb app. They said they had a reverb unit like that in the 1980’s. It cost 50 thousand.

      2. Exactly. That’s what I am talking about. Even today regarding synths and soft-synths we are getting in some cases equally capable iOS versions for pennies on the PC dollars. Constructive criticism about legitimate functionality has absolutely nothing to do with my article.

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