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Being a musician in the digital age requires access to quality audio gear on the go.
Obviously, this can be tough since you can’t drag your whole studio around with you…or can you?
Today’s iPads are more advanced than ever, and you can even use an iPad Pro as a portable digital audio workstation (DAW).
DAW software lets you turn your iPad into a mini-studio environment where you can record, edit, mix and share your music with others.
If you’ve always wanted to produce on the go, below are our picks for some of the best DAW software for iPad Pro.
Best For iPad Pro – Apple GarageBand
- Easy and intuitive design taken straight from macOS GarageBand
- Works seamlessly with iPad since it is an Apple product
- Record, produce and mix using powerful built-in tools
Image Line FL Studio
- Loop-based design for easy beat making
- Optimized for low CPU usage
- Innovative touch controls for recording virtual instruments
- Timeline recording and editing with full mixer
- Interfaces with recording hardware through connector
- Access to Waves plugins and Steinberg classic machines
Akai iMPC Pro 2
- Touch controls let you play out beats and more
- Utilize up to 64 tracks with four pad banks of 16 pads each
- Includes 1,400+ sounds to get you started
WaveMachine Labs Auria Pro
- MIDI sequencer and piano roll editor
- Unlimited tracks
- Includes FabFilter and Twin 2 synths
Best Overall DAW For iPad Pro
GarageBand from Apple wins this competition in my mind simply because it was designed by Apple for iOS.
Even though GarageBand for iPad is a slightly scaled down version of the Mac software, it still provides everything you could ever need to make music away from home, capture high-quality recordings and handle basic mixing functions.
I also recommend GarageBand as the best DAW software for iPad Pro because it’s so easy to transition from GarageBand on MacOS.
If you’ve used GarageBand on your Mac, then you’ll pick up GarageBand on your iPad with ease. The controls are a bit simplified on the iPad version, but you still get the same great recording and mixing experience.
Choosing The Best DAW Software For iPad Pro
If you are limited to using an iPad for you music production efforts, there are still some great options out there. Below are our top picks of the best DAW software for iPad Pro and music production:
Best DAW For iPad Pro – Apple GarageBand
- Works perfectly with iPad due to Apple design
- Great for simple recording and editing jobs
- Lacks in-depth controls
- Occasional issues loading AU plugins
GarageBand is one of the best tools you can use on a Mac when you’re just getting into digital recording and production.
I think Apple saw the success of GarageBand and decided that its functionality would fit right in on a mobile platform.
GarageBand for iOS offers virtually all of the same powerful recording and editing features found in the Mac version, and the fact that GarageBand was designed by Apple for use exclusively with Apple products means that GarageBand works without so much as a hiccup on an iPad Pro.
Among other things, I feel like the ability to record, edit and mix using an intuitive interface and powerful included effects, all of which makes GarageBand the best iPad Pro DAW.
Image Line FL Studio
- Projects easily transfer to desktop experience
- Step sequencer and piano roll are second to none
- May take a while to learn
- Not the most robust recording software
FL Studio is one of the most unique DAWs on the market. While it does include audio recording capabilities, the real power behind this innovative DAW is it’s loop-based approach to making music.
Whether you use the step sequencer or you import or record samples, FL Studio for iOS lets you make music fast and efficiently.
I personally think FL Studio is the best DAW software for iPad Pro if you’re looking for a tool that’s focused on the production side of things.
I can sit on a bus, in my office or in bed and still make amazing tracks on my iPad Pro using FL Studio.
The nice thing is that, aside from the included effects and integrated virtual mixer, I can also transfer my projects from the iPad to my studio computer if I want to keep working on something in a bigger space later.
- Intuitive touch controls
- Workflow is solid
- Resource intensive
- Can take a while to learn
Much like its older brother, Cubase, Cubasis delivers a serious punch for recording, editing and mixing on iPad Pro.
One thing I really like about using Cubasis is that it offers me a traditional DAW experience through its timeline recording and editing.
Sometimes, I don’t feel like working at my studio computer, and Cubasis has enough tools and features to let me get work done from my iPad Pro just as if I were behind my console.
Cubasis functions in various modes for different needs. If you want to jam and just have fun tinkering with ideas, you can use Cubasis’ touch controls to punch up samples and play virtual instruments.
When I’m ready to record, I can use the iPad’s built-in mic or hook up any number of compatible interfaces. Editing is a breeze when using Cubasis because of the aforementioned timeline scheme, and Cubasis also provides plenty of effects to shape my sound.
Akai iMPC Pro 2
- Intuitive workflow
- Plenty of sounds to choose from
- Has been known to suffer from glitches
- Mixer can be a bit confusing
Back in the day, Akai made history with its famous pad controllers, many of which shaped the sound of the 1970s and 1980s.
In those days, it was a technical marvel to be able to physically play a digital instrument, and Akai’s pad controllers took off like a rocket.
Today, Akai continues its tradition of innovation by incorporating this same technology into its iMPC Pro 2 DAW for iPad and iPad Pro.
iMPC Pro 2 features convenient sampling tools, touch control pads and a timeline view that lets me organize everything perfectly on an iPad Pro screen.
Whether I want to play some beats live and jam with other musicians or I need to record some beats and sample-based melodies while away from home, I can always count on iMPC Pro 2 to be the best DAW for iPad Pro when it comes to versatility.
WaveMachine Labs Auria Pro
- Includes FabFilter and other synths
- Real-time audio warping
- Touchscreen functionality isn’t perfect
- Distortion can come across as weak
Known most notably for its Drumagog plugin, WaveMachine Labs has quite a bit of experience in designing digital audio tools.
The brand’s Auria Pro DAW carries on WaveMachine Labs’ same commitment to innovative and musician-focused design.
Auria Pro features powerful MIDI sequencing tools that let me make music quickly, and I can edit MIDI using the piano roll and the included time signature and tempo controls.
When it comes to the technical stuff, Auria Pro provides six aux sends, the ability to bounce tracks in place and transient slicing for better sound.
Also, Auria Pro lets you send files to an external hard drive for secure backup and protection.
Final thoughts on Choosing The Best DAW Software For iPad Pro
Any of the iPad Pro DAW options in our list are going to provide convenience and power. Which one you use really comes down to your personal taste.
Some DAW software for iPad Pro, like FL Studio, takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you’ve found your favorite, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without the ability to make music from your mobile device.
Music With Flavor Staff
Helping You Taste Success In Music