Samplitude Pro X2 was recently on sale for a ridiculously low price so I decided to grab a second copy. My studio DAW has Samplitude tied to a dongle for historical reasons so it was nice to get a dongle-free license for mobile use.
So… I’m wondering if Samplitude would be usable on a Windows tablet? I don’t like using a computer for songwriting and demoing, there is enough mousing and typing during the day already. Could a tablet provide a more organic and fun experience somewhat like a 4-track cassette portastudio back in the day?
Inspired by surfaceproaudio.com I decided to try it. I’ve installed Samplitude Pro X2 and ASIO4ALL on a Thinkpad Helix tablet and I’m in the middle of figuring out the workflow and settings that make this possible. Touch only – no keyboard and no mouse! This is a work in progress but so far things look very promising!
To maximize the space for manipulating audio, I have removed all the visual elements that are not absolutely essential. The Windows 8.1 task bar I’ve moved to the left side of the screen to free some vertical space. The onscreen keyboard is accessible from the task bar all the time. Naming tracks and saving files still requires some typing. I’m trying to fit the frequently used actions on a single toolbar so I’ve removed the toolbar at the bottom. Samplitude has a Big Toolbar option which makes the icons just the right size for touch.
The toolbars can be customized to contain exactly the buttons you need. There is a default palette of commonly used toolbar actions. In addition, any action that can be found in the menus can be added to the toolbar with the custom button. This kind of customization is essential for usability in any software.
The arrangement (VIP) window supports touch gestures. I can scroll the timeline, pinch-zoom, marquee-select objects, select a range, move the play cursor – all without buttons.
There are some essential actions still missing from my toolbar. I can select and split objects but have no way to delete or mute them… doh! I guess I’ll remove the zoom and navigation buttons to make room for those.