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I currently own an Ipad Air 2. I use this for webbing. I’ve had it since the Air2 first came out. I use it daily. It’s time to replace it because the battery charge life is very short these days. I’ve seen battery replacement kits, but I figure it’s time to upgrade. A bigger screen would be nice, too.

I’ve yet to decide on the 11” 2nd gen or the 12.9” 4th gen(I believe these are the most current 2020 models). I have to see them in person, side by side. I don’t want something too big, as something more compact and lighter has its advantages. I’m guessing the 12.9 may be a bit too large for my liking.

I don’t need a powerful laptop. Mainly, I just visit sites online, view YouTube vids, basic stuff like that. I’m not a gamer and I don’t run, and probably never will run software programs which require a powerful laptop.

EXCEPT, I want to be able to experiment with quality VSTs on my Kawai CA79.

So, is an IPad Pro sufficient for running the better VSTs? Does the lack the of various USB ports, headphone jacks and such on the Pros a problem for running VST. Or, would I need a MacBook with its various USB ports to run the better VSTs? I don’t want a Windows laptop, For some reason I’m an Apple fan.

I want to run the VSTs through a Kawai CA79 AND use the 79s onboard speaker system. Can the Pros do this well?

Thanks,
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VST is a specific plugin format that’s not supported on iOS. But I guess you mean virtual instruments. Even so, the ones that are available for desktop OS are not available for iOS. Some have lightweight variants on iOS though, such as Synthogy Ivory pianos.

Short answer: no, you have to use a desktop OS to benefit the full potential of the best virtual pianos.


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You would need a USB-C hub or an external USB audio interface as the Kawai CA79 doesn't include one, unlike higher-end Yamaha digitals. You'll get GarageBand for free and others like Korg Module Pro (with add-ons) are available for purchase.

One of the more popular virtual instrument hosts, Pianoteq (judging by extensive use in the many piano recitals on PW, not the discussion threads), is the most likely candidate to show up on the iPad at some point in the future, although the business model for that remains unclear.

Either way, there will be no joy in constantly plugging and unplugging your iPad to your piano and you will be better off with a dedicated computer like a Mac mini or even a Raspberry Pi 400 + USB audio interface can work brilliantly.

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Most virtual pianos are currently not available on Ipads.
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/ravenscroft-275-piano/id966586407

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To embellish the previous answers, there are ios software pianos, synths and organs that are decent. The pianos are not in the same league as the PC based big boys, but for musical exploration or a change of sound might be good enough. For piano check out Korg module, Ravenscroft, SampleTek, IGrand, GarageBand at least, although usually not free.

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Originally Posted by navindra
One of the more popular virtual instrument hosts, Pianoteq (judging by extensive use in the many piano recitals on PW, not the discussion threads), is the most likely candidate to show up on the iPad at some point in the future, although the business model for that remains unclear.

AFAIK, this has been requested a lot throughout the century but there's been an overly complete silence on the topic from Modartt. Which is a bit odd IMO, because many people would love to have such a lightweight (in terms of storage) piano on their iPad. Even I could actually purchase it to have a usable piano for gigs on the go. The Apple CPU-s are very fast and since Pianoteq is mostly about computations, I wouldn't be surprised if it works better on an iPad than on the average PC. I believe they will have to build for the new M1 CPU sooner or later, and since that's the same ARM64 architecture as on the iPad, it would be trivial to support iOS too.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by navindra
One of the more popular virtual instrument hosts, Pianoteq (judging by extensive use in the many piano recitals on PW, not the discussion threads), is the most likely candidate to show up on the iPad at some point in the future, although the business model for that remains unclear.

AFAIK, this has been requested a lot throughout the century but there's been an overly complete silence on the topic from Modartt. Which is a bit odd IMO, because many people would love to have such a lightweight (in terms of storage) piano on their iPad. Even I could actually purchase it to have a usable piano for gigs on the go. The Apple CPU-s are very fast and since Pianoteq is mostly about computations, I wouldn't be surprised if it works better on an iPad than on the average PC. I believe they will have to build for the new M1 CPU sooner or later, and since that's the same ARM64 architecture as on the iPad, it would be trivial to support iOS too.

No, not trivial unfortunately... I talked to a Mac developer and the ARM versions of their software only run on Mac, they are made to run on both Intel and Apple Silicon but will not run on iPad, they would need to rewrite the app to make it available on iPad, while on Mac they just need to recompile, which is much easier and faster. Now iPads could easily run MacOS now, and therefore also thee Mac version of apps, but that's not going to happen, because Apple does not want to... Then there is the Apple cut on the App store, that they don't have on Mac...


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I have virtually all virtual pianos on iPads and I can tell you this: the only 2 worth having are Synthogy Ivory and, to a lesser extent, Ravenscroft, the others are not worth it.
Ravenscroft is a standalone app and it's slightly worse than the desktop apps in terms of sound but close enough that it's not an issue. The big issue for me is that the minimum latency is 256 sample, which is too much to my ears, so for me it's a deal breaker.

Synthogy offers both Ivory II German and American via the Korg Module They sound exactly like the desktop versions, but the samples as half as long. Is it a deal breaker? Not for me. Might be for some...
You may want to try it on you ipad air 2.
By the way the ipad pro won't give you much more. Ipad air 2 can already run almost at max spec Ivory (64 sample and 112 voices) without glitches, so Ipad pro will not give you much more there...

All other virtual pianos are not available on iPad, so try Ivory ,if you like it as your only piano, fine, otherwise, forget this idea....


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We need to wait for Pianoteq on ios, until then I think there is nothing especially good there frown

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Yes, until we can get Pianoteq on iOS, the Ivory Pianos in KORG Module are my iOS favorites. They're not the best sounding VSTS, but they are usable and most importantly KORG Module is a very, very stable app. Another plus, it runs on old iOS devices. I'm using a couple of iPhone sixes as my mobile studio. But the app still runs fine on my iPad Air 1.

Also being able to also run the Lumbeat drum machines and iReal Pro as backing tracks on the same tiny iPhone as KORG Module is a treat.


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[quote=Digitalguy]I have virtually all virtual pianos on iPads and I can tell you this: the only 2 worth having are Synthogy Ivory and, to a lesser extent, Ravenscroft, the others are not worth it. /quote]
I'm wondering if you've tried Colossus Piano?

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Thanks all. Those are pretty much the answers I was expecting..... IOS isn’t the answer for good VSTs.

Darn! I really need to upgrade my iPad soon and I was hoping the Pro could be the cure all for me. Apparently not.

I appreciate the info. Thanks,
Muskie.

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Yeah, iPad doesn't run ANY of the VSTs, strictly speaking. If you want to see what a new iPad could give you, it runs the same pianos your current iPad does. If you like the way they sound, then a more powerful iPad might give you better performance (whether in terms of loading time, latency, polyphony, ability to multitask), but the sound will be the same, the new iPads aren't running different apps from other recent models.

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Muskellunge, the comments above are pretty correct, tho I don’t have any latency issues with the iOS pianos I use. There is a 13 gb piano on iPad which some feel is the most detailed. You can download the free Colossus app and listen to demos with it, or search on YouTube Colossus iOS. There are several interesting ones, but the brown grand at $50 is considered the most detailed. I use Ravenscroft and the Module American D. If you get the DDMF 6614 EQ (inexpensivej and Kleverb reverb, you can dial in a very decent sound. I find them about equivalent to the Kawai EX and Shigeru grand which I have on my ES8

iOS is not VST quality... yet, but compared to dp sounds, quite comparable. The overall deficit, IMO is a muddy bass, but the midi and highs are quite good, with a bit of tweaking. I, too, think your Air would be sufficient, but the 12.9 Pro2 used would be great and has the headphone jack, which the newer ones do not.


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The iPad Pros are powerful enough to run the most challenging software instruments. The question is, which of those instruments are currently available on iOS?

The transition to having full-powered iOS versions of software instruments is no longer a CPU or storage issue. I believe the two issues remaining are one of legacy code base and business model/strategy. iOS is supported by the JUCE framework, which is quite common for audio apps, but a lot of C++ code is out there that will still need to be updated. I would think audio applications, needing to be "close to the metal" for reducing latency as much as possible, may be some of the more difficult software to transition over and also pose some difficulties using Apple's Rosetta 2 framework. Still, I don't think the technical challenges are all that difficult to overcome for software still in active development.

That said, I believe the bigger issue is the software companies' pricing strategies. Computer software has typically sold at a relatively high price, with iOS software sold at a significantly (orders of magnitude) lower price. How companies bridge this gap with software that is equally capable is a difficult issue. How to enter the iOS world without alienating their existing PC user base is another concern. A third concern is how to handle customers who want to own the software on multiple platforms.

The likely and obvious answer is to have significantly higher iOS software prices, perhaps slightly discounted in recognition of access to the immense iOS user base. IK Multimedia, for example, makes one of the most-preferred Hammond B-3 organ and Leslie speaker emulations on the market, Hammond B-3X. The computer version retails for $300, but is currently on sale for $180. The iOS version of the software, which is fully feature-compatible with the same sound, is currently available for $130 but was initially available for $100 and occasionally drops to a sale price of $80. This is one app that potentially is even better in the iOS version than the PC version, as the touch interface is better suited for use on stage. The iOS version is still cheaper than the computer version, but is priced significantly higher than most iOS software.

Other companies have yet to make their music apps available at the "high" iOS prices of over $50, but it would seem likely that this will have to happen before the best music software is available for iOS. This is a bit of a "which comes first, the chicken or the egg" situation, but the transition is starting. I believe companies still can move quickly and get a bit of a first-mover advantage in establishing themselves as the instrument of choice in their category, but it will have to be soon as the M1 Macs are here and getting incredibly positive reviews. The legacy Mac software will (relatively) soon be moving to the M1 Macs, and once there, why not have it on iOS as well?

I'd think every software instrument company would like to be first to the iOS market with their instrument, as by being the first "full-strength" piano application, for example, you would expect Pianoteq or the iOS version of Garritan CFX to be bought by a large chunk of the potential user base as they are eager for something class leading to become available on iOS. Once there are four or five really full-quality iOS pianos available on iOS, there will of course be more competition and fewer initial "easy" sales...

Lastly, I don't expect to see much progress made on the Android front for music software. Paid software piracy on Android is rampant, and for that reason (plus the huge variety of physical devices with different hardware and software configurations), I don't expect to see expensive software move to Android for a long time.

I have made the case on the Pianoteq forum in the past that selling Pianoteq Stage with a single piano for $50 would be successful in my opinion, with additional instruments and upgrades to Standard and Pro versions as In-App Purchases for appropriate fees. Modartt's owners and developers are active on their forum; the most recent "Pianoteq on iOS" thread (there have been many) is here: https://forum.modartt.com/viewtopic.php?id=7704

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Tried to edit my last post, but the available time to edit is really short here- a couple of minutes?

I wanted to point out that the Modartt employee involved in that Pianoteq thread stated (in the 10th post) they are working on a universal version of Pianoteq for the M1 Macs:

"julien wrote:
The current version runs fine on Apple Silicon, thanks to rosetta 2 which works very well. We will publish a x86_64/arm64 universal binary version of Pianoteq very soon."

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Very good analysis, Tom Fort, I think progress is being made. GospelMusicians, for example, recently released its desktop FMTines version exactly on their PureSynthPlatinum app (19gb).
Also AudioModeling has released decent versions of some of their SWAM instruments ON GeoShred and will unveil AUv3 standalones in a few months.

Notably, StaffPad offers the highest quality acoustics available for iOS, but, unfortunately, they do not port outside the closed environment to DAWs or AUM. Similarly, FX apps keep improving.


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Originally Posted by Tom Fort
The iPad Pros are powerful enough to run the most challenging software instruments.
Memory management is different. Piano VSTs typically stream from storage, and that capability seems to be more limited in iOS. I believe the only piano app that streams off storage is Colossus, I don't know what they're doing that no one else seems to be able to do, though there is a trade-off as load time (or changing instruments) takes quite a while.

ETA: An obvious example of how memory is handled differently: Mac apps almost never crash... if they need more memory, they can just keep swapping stuff in and out of RAM, you basically can't run out unless your disk is full. But when an iOS app runs out of memory, it simply aborts, even if you have plenty of free storage space. This different memory management is at least one reason that things that can work fine on a Mac may not be feasible (yet?) on an iPad.

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Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by Tom Fort
The iPad Pros are powerful enough to run the most challenging software instruments.
Memory management is different. Piano VSTs typically stream from storage, and that capability seems to be more limited in iOS.

So no problem at all for running Pianoteq on Ipads (when it will be IOS compatible), 0 samples in PTQ so no memory streaming.

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Thanks, I have been advocating for Modartt to develop Pianoteq for iOS for quite some time, and other Modartt owner/employees have occasionally commented over the years indicating that they are not actively opposed to the concept.

I have NeoSoul Keys Studio (1, not 2) and Ravenscroft Piano for iOS, and would put both on the "current best on iOS, but not as good as the category leaders for the pc) stage at this point.

StaffPad is a fascinating case study, as I believe they committed early to the Surface, and then were trapped with that decision by a marketing/exclusivity arrangement with Microsoft once the iPad gained Pencil support (purely personal opinion, no insider info). Dorico is trouncing the field in notation software on pcs, and I have been similarly poking them to develop for iOS. They have said on their forum that they are open to it, but have also met with StaffPad developers and I see some kind of interoperability coming to fruition before a "Dorico Lite" for iOS is available:
https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=133059

AudioModeling makes some great instruments; I have resisted buying any but was tempted by the recent sales.

I really think the floodgates for the best audio software being available on iOS are about to open. Logic 10.6 runs on Apple Silicon, and Logic Remote has been available for iOS for a while. Surely Logic and MainStage for iPad OS is around the corner?

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