Nano Studio for On-the-road Producing on iPad


I thought I’d make a note of my recent experience using Nano Studio while on the road.

At the beginning of the month I found myself holed up in a cabin in the Colorado mountains after crashing out on my snowboard and busting a rib.  I probably brought it on myself as I was complaining about how I was going to be able to keep up my target music production and have 2 weeks snowboarding.

So, there I was, with only an iPad on hand.  So I gave Nano Studio a whirl and was very pleasantly surprised by how versatile it is.  And it only costs $15 (that’s 4 coffees in Sydney).  An extra 5.49 gets you the additional 8 instruments for a total of 16.

Each instrument slot can be filled with either a 4×4 pad instrument (TRG-16), or a synth (Eden Synth).  Both of these can use samples, which come with the app, or you can load your own in via a computer interface or even just record your only on the fly.  The Eden synth can also use oscillator based synthesis or a mix. There’s no audio sequencing per se, but you can get quite creative using the TRG-16 and recording long phrases into each pad.  In my track below, the shaker was a modified salt cellar and the high percussion was an empty paper towel roll.

There’s a pile of effects you can add at various different points in the routing, and a serious amount of automation that can be recorded and sequenced.

I’m not going to do the functionality justice in this post, check it out here for the full blurb.

My results are the track Snow’din below.  I extracted wav stems to Cubase just for doing a mixdown (although the master straight from Nano Studio was pretty good).  I also extracted the midi parts to see how that worked (it’s seamless) for future reference, as I think I will be using this tool more in the future as a sketch pad, then extracting to Cubase or Ableton when back in the studio.