There are a number of apps already available that enable you to control our DAWS from an iOS device. Hollin Jones checks out DAW Remote as a controller for Logic Pro and Ableton Live
As great as Apple’s iOS devices are, for most musicians they have still not replaced Mac computers as serious music-making tools. Notepads and experimental environments? Sure! But not fully fledged production environments, or at least not yet. What they are exceptionally good at however is controlling DAWs running on your Mac, thanks to some clever third party apps that leverage the power of wi-fi and CoreMIDI to let you get hands-on with your system from across the room. It’s an ideal situation where your powerful Mac does the heavy lifting but you can control recording, playback and other things using a small, handheld device. It’s an amazing development for anyone recording on their own, since it means that you can be sitting at your keyboard or your drum kit, or across the room holding your guitar, and control recording without having to keep walking back and forth to your Mac. Since it works over wi-fi, you don’t even have to be in the same room! DAW Remote is a great, inexpensive app for iOS that makes it easy to control Logic, Pro Tools and Live, though as I don’t have Pro Tools I’ll show you the other two!
Download and install the app and then on your Mac, go into the Audio MIDI Setup utility and open the MIDI section. Double-click on the Network icon and then in the resulting window, under My Sessions click the plus button to create a new network MIDI session. Assign the session a sensible name by double-clicking in its name field and changing it.
If for some reason you are worried about security you can choose to restrict participants to only devices in your directory using the option at the bottom left of the window, say if you are in a public space. Otherwise, fire up the DAW Remote app on your iOS device and it should prompt you to connect to the Mac. In the MIDI network setup on your Mac you should see the device appear as a participant.
Now open your DAW. I’ll start with Live, and open the MIDI preferences. Under the Control Surfaces section, select a Mackie Control and then in the Input and Output menus, select the DAW Remote Session you named in the first step.
Close the preferences window and go back to the iOS app. You will find that it now controls Live’s Transport and you can switch between Session and Arrangement views as well as selecting different tracks and controlling their volume, pan and more remotely.
If you have Automatic Installation active in Logic, it may already have picked up the remote. If not, go to Preferences > Control Surfaces > Setup and choose to add a Mackie Logic Control. Again in the Input and Output assignment menus in the Control Surfaces setup dialogue, make sure you choose the network session set up earlier. You will now find that the iOS app controls your Logic session!