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AC-7 Core DAW Control Surface Review

ac7 core review

The revolution of touch screen devices which have flooded the market, in the later half of the last decade these devices have re-invented the user experience for technology. None so much as the Apple iPad. With billions of apps available, I will be focusing on just one today, the AC-7 Core DAW control surface by Saitara Software, which retails on the Apple App Store for the price of $4.99 or £2.99.

Having a hardware control surface is always a great addition to a studios work flow. Devices such as the iPad have created another user base who want to get the functionality of a piece of hardware for a fraction of the price. App developers have exploited this and there has been a massive influx of app design and integration with the Pro-Audio market and I thought I would try the AC-7 Core, to see how it shapes up!

First impressions are welcoming, the user interface is neat and intuitive and the creators down at Saitara Software have managed to fit a great deal of controls onto a 9.7 inch screen the app offers most features you would expect from a hardware control surface. 8 channel faders (you can flip between banks of 8), each with solo/mute/record/pan controls. The AC-7 Core also features a set of automation controls as well as scrub wheel, useful for navigating through a mix. The app also has most general DAW controls such as pause/play and also options to set a plugin for an insert or instrument for a track. Lastly it has a mode switch that can flip between presets for most available DAW’s, for this review I have connected and set my mode to Logic 9.

Now, here is where the app starts to fall apart, connectivity. Sometimes there is and sometimes there isn't! You have to connect the app (in my case on a Mac) through the audio/midi settings inside System Preferences. There are many tutorials and instructions on the web that tell you how to do this. Its not hard at all, its just patchy. I have had issues with the app not seeing my mac and vice versa. Then between Logic and the app, the latency is staggering at times, not all the time, but you cant trust it. I wont integrate anything into my work flow that has the potential to be counter productive. I know what your thinking, its down to my wifi where I am, not the case. I have used it both on wifi from my router and through a wifi network hosted from my Mac on a 60mb/s connection. Both set ups have had the latency issues.

In an other app discussion, the functions of the standalone virtual 'buttons' do, on the other hand work, and they work well... The scrub wheel is smooth, when not encountering latency, and the buttons were responsive and they all mapped perfectly to the Logic controls. This is not a seriously ‘bad’ product at all. I want it to work, I think the concept of a iPad control surface is a brilliant use of combined software and hardware.

Currently it's only £2.99, but there is such competition with always 20 other apps you can switch to if you find yourself doubting your purchase, all of which are of a similar price bracket. Lets hope we see more from Saitara Software as I want to be impressed. The Pro Audio Web Blog gives the AC-7 Core 2 Stars.

Chris Pavey

Chris Pavey - 9th March 2013

US RRP: $4.49 | UK RRP: £2.99

Editors Rating:

Four Star Award