Posted June 6, 2010 by Stephan Earl in Reviews

AC-7 Pro Control Surface for iPad

WAIT!  This app has been redeveloped and is now the AC-7 Core.  See my post on the AC-7 Core HERE.


Here’s a great app I recently got for my iPad called AC-7 Pro from Saitara Software.  This app and another one called Touch OSC (which I’ll discuss in future posts) I believe will revolutionize the usefuleness and of multi-touch tablets for musicians.  This app costs $9.99 from the apple store and is comparable to hardware control surfaces costing over $1,000.

This app was fairly easy for me to setup and has some good features.  I want to point out that as of this posting the version 1.01 of this app is not as functional on my Windows based Cubase system using the Mackie Control protocol as it is on Logic or other or DAWs using a Mac.
Features that worked well on my Windows Vista 64 Cubase 5 system include:

– Faders – These work well considering it’s a wireless based control. Latensy was only slightly noticable but not a show stopper at all.
– Level Meters
– Record, Solo, Mute buttons
– Write, Read Automation
– Channel Select
– Bank and track buttons
– Jog Wheel
– Transport buttons: Play, Record, Stop, Rewind

Features that didn’t work on my system as of version 1.01 include:

– Time Display
– Track Names – Instead on names, with my system they were listed as track numbers. Mac users shouldn’t have an issue with this.
– Multi-function Buttons – a couple may work, but not necessarily as they are labled.
– Assign Buttons

I’m hoping these issues with my PC Cubase system will go away once Saitara Software releases an update with a Cubase specific mode instead of the Mackie Control.

Installation wasn’t difficult as long as you’re somewhat familiar with wireless networks.  Here are the installation instructions for setup in a Windows based Cubase system:

– Download and install DS MIDI WiFi  “DSMI Server for Windows”.
– Download and install a MIDI loopback driver.  MIDI YOKE NT 1.75 There are others, but this worked well for me.
– Run the DSMI server application and select “In From MIDI Yoke: 1” as Input…. “Out to MIDI Yoke: 2” as output.
– Minimize DS MIDI WiFi
– Start AC-7 Pro App on your iPad
– Open Cubase, go to “Devices” > “Device Setup”
– Click the plus button on the top left and select “Mackie Control”
– For MIDI Input select “In From MIDI Yoke 2”
– For MIDI output select “In From MIDI Yoke 1”

That’s it you’re ready to control your DAW wirelesssly from your iPad. While AC-7 Pro in it’s current version won’t replace my M-Audio Project Mix I/O control surface, it did replace my TranzPort wireless DAW controller that I used for controlling Cubase from the control booth.  It’s also way cool for controlling your DAW from your sofa when you have friends over.

Stephan Earl

Composing, recording and producing music in the home studio environment for over 25 years, musician and author Stephan Earl now enjoys sharing his home studio setup experience with other home studio recording musicians via HomeMusicProduction.com.