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Meteor Multitrack Recorder, Not Really Multitrack Recording

Meteor Multitrack Recorder was updated with support for even more tracks, but unfortunately you will not be able to record into any of them simultaneously. Reader Kevin (DC) wrote to me earlier this week explaining that he was unable to actually use the multiple inputs on his Alesis iO4 in Meteor.

Initially I thought he must be doing something wrong, so I asked Alex from iDesignSound to test this out on his iO4. He had the same results. Kevin also thought he must be doing something wrong, so he emailed 4 Pockets for support. I will not publish the entirety of that exchange, but 4Pockets did confirm that Meteor Multitrack Recorder cannot record multiple tracks simultaneously. Furthermore, 4Pockets concludes the support email with:

"We have mainly focused on features that are useful for a one man band and would rather users use professional equipment for recording live multi-track sessions."

- Paul, 4Pockets Audio

4Pockets is informing customers that their $20 app, with over $50 worth of In-App Purchases, is not suitable for professional recording of live multi-track sessions. Unfortunately they are not informing them of this upfront.

If you're in the market for a multitrack recorder and make the erroneous conclusion that an app named Meteor Multitrack Recorder might fit the bill, upon visiting their iTunes page there is nothing there to disabuse you of this notion. In fact they continue to give customers the false impression. As of this writing the iTunes description is as follows:

Meteor is a digital multi-track recorder DAW designed specifically for the iPad. The program features up to 24 tracks of high quality Stereo, Mono and MIDI audio, a built in mixer and multi-effects processor. Meteor is ideally suited for creating musical compositions, and also a great tool for journalists and business people who need to splice and piece together voice notes, narration or dictation. Compositions once mixed can be exported to standard file formats for use on your desktop PC or MAC.

Meteor includes a fully featured sound editor allowing recordings and Stereo Sounds from other Apps to be trimmed or spliced together. You can apply various effects to your recordings either directly, as part of the recording process or in real time during playback. Editor features include cut, copy, paste, fade in/out. clear, reverse, gain, normalize, remove DC offset, time stretch and pitch shift. Effects include digital delay, chorus / flanger, reverb, graphic equalizer, noise gate, tremelo, tone boost and distortion.

The Mixer and effect levels can be fully automated using definable controller tracks. An integrated metronome with count-in helps you record your masterpiece, and If 12 tracks isn't enough there is a full stereo mixdown facility.

The MIDI Editor available through In-App purchase allows full editing of MIDI Note and Controllers as well as Scrubbing, Step Recordings and In-Place Editing of MIDI Parts.

When an app calls itself a Multitrack Recorder, and begins the iTunes description with "Meteor is a digital multi-track recorder DAW" I can see how customers might be deceived. I spoke with Paul from 4Pockets about this and he seemed entirely untroubled by potentially misleading customers. I do not share his disinterest. Despite his assurance that they are not being deliberately deceptive, he clearly isn't going out of his way to amend the iTunes description to avoid any further confusion.

Therefore, fuck these guys. Deceptive names and marketing are a part of the game, but they're making no attempt to give consumers a sporting chance. I would think twice about purchasing any of their apps, if this is the sort of developer they want to be.

Reader Comments 32

unfortunately I bought meteor in a last-ditch attempt to find an all in one DAW that I liked, and was sorely, sorely disappointed. I don't need multi-track recording so it wasn't that, it's the midi editor- one of the clunkiest, most frustrating to use editors I've tried (which must be most of them, by now). ignores any advances made by other apps in touch screen piano-roll editing, and generally is an unpleasant experience. You want song writing to be fun, and this is not it

March 13, 2013  | person_outline RMG

This was a very interesting and thought-provoking post, Tim!

You make a lot of really good points, and it is indeed troubling that 4pockets seemed to be so disinterested in the issue. However, I can also relate a little bit to their point (which doesn't necessarily make it right) that they intended to cater to the "one man band" user, which I would guess is the vast majority of iPad music app users out there.

I know Multitrack DAW was released before Meteor, and that app had no way to do multi-track recording as there was no hardware available to get the inputs into the app when it came out! I don't remember reading about any disgruntled customers who bought the app only to find out they couldn't miraculously record 8 separate microphones simultaneously in 2010. I know I wasn't upset, because I am the afore-mentioned one man band. :)

I imagine at the time of Meteor's development, there wasn't really any hardware available to get more than a stereo input into the iPad, but the landscape has changed dramatically in a very short time. This equipment is relatively plentiful now, and Auria has upped the ante significantly with its amazing feat of 24 (?) track simultaneous recording on an iPad. Surely we all remember when this was teased originally-- it was astounding and most likely vaporware! They proved many of us wrong.

Still, I don't own Auria because I don't have a need for MTR on the iPad, and like 4pockets says, I'd always use my computer DAW and associated hardware for this kind of task, it's just a fact. I would guess the number of Meteor customers is quite small who actually would use an iPad set-up resembling that Auria promo video where a band recorded in a barn so maybe that's why they don't seem so concerned.

Full disclosure, I don't own any 4pockets apps, either. But I do believe that the definition of MTR on the iPad has changed, and they should really in good conscience amend the app's description pointing out this limitation to aid those who might be shopping for the best choice for their particular needs against similarly priced / featured apps which do indeed offer MTR functionality.

TL;DR: stop being such a lazy fuck and just read it, it takes like 3 minutes, sheesh! :))

March 13, 2013  | person_outline gatearray

Here are a couple other quotes from Paul:

"Your not doing anything wrong as such it's just Meteor only allows you to record a single track at a time. This is due mainly to design and the complication of Meteor handling Midi also."

"To be honest most of the older multi-track recorders including Garage Band only allow a single track of recording."

Hmm. What about the newer ones like Cubasis, MultiTrack DAW, BeatMaker 2, and Auria?

March 13, 2013  | person_outline DC

Mountain, molehill...

This just doesn't seem like that big of a deal to me. But! I don't think adding 'record a stereo track and mix up to 24' would distract from thier iTunes description. Totally normal for so many standalone personal hardware daws.

March 13, 2013  | person_outline Will

<<< Meteor is a digital multi-track recorder DAW designed specifically for the iPad. >>>

Is it?

Or is it really "a single track recorder with multi track editing and mixing capabilities".

Perhaps they should remove the word "recorder" and change the description to "Meteor is a digital multi-track DAW designed specifically for the iPad."

March 13, 2013  | person_outline Simon

The reviews in the App Store are chock full of disgruntled users bemoaning the lack of this feature.
Oh, wait a minute, no they aren't. Perhaps you should leave one that does. :P

March 13, 2013  | person_outline Paul

It's posts like this that bring me back to this site!

March 13, 2013  | person_outline robert

Bad bad Tim. What a fucking mouth you have. I do find your review honest and entertaining and getting the best iOS DAW for your money is important, an issue i have spent much time on researching.. But damn Tim, fuck me, your one funny fucker. Don't ever stop.

P.S. Please don't really fuck me!!!

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Duke

It seems to me like most apps are made out to be a lot more than they really are (of course, some are worse than others). They all claim their app will do everything up to and including wipe your ass after you go to the toilet, but I't doesn't seem like a bad idea to reword the description.

I own Meteor. I don't use it (for various reasons), but I've been disappointed with every "multi track" app I've purchased so far, for one reason or another, and I've purchased most of them.. Maybe I'm too spoiled by Pro Tools and Sonar. Auria is the last one I'm going to try, and then I'm giving up and going back to my laptop.

I also own another app from 4 pockets called Synergy, and I've had a lot of fun with it. 4 pockets was very responsive and helpeful when I had an issue, and they even included my suggestion in it's recent update. It's been a good experience for me, at least, and I was not mislead by either app's description.

Hey 4 pockets! if you read this, why don't you go ahead and edit that description? It won't stop anyone from purchasing Meteor, but negative press sure will. A lot of people rely on Tim, and they don't buy an app when he recomends that they shouldn't. They do that because he has consistantly saved us from wasting money, and that is a powerful thing.

I'm going to stop now before everyone starts thinking that I'm wiping Tim's ass. (for the record, I only wipe my own, now that my kids are out of diapers)

March 14, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

I use Meteor as my main DAW now (the only one I havent tired is Auria). I must admit I have to agree with Tim to some extent, the iTunes discription is clearly misleading. If I was looking for a DAW with multitrack recording then I would naturally think this was a contender.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline AlexK

"Therefore, fuck these guys." Is the blog line of the YEAR. So much win.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Hogo

Paul wrote: <<< The reviews in the App Store are chock full of disgruntled users bemoaning the lack of this feature.
Oh, wait a minute, no they aren't. Perhaps you should leave one that does. :P >>>

Being honest with your customers shouldn't depend on whether people have caught you out and made complaints.

The removal of one word, "recorder", changes a dishonest description to an honest one.

Don't you want to be honest with Apple and their customers?

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Simon

As I read somewhere, lying is now a lifestyle choice. What's particularly troubling in this instance is 4Pocket Paul's unruffled response to being called on what is an obvious misrepresentation. This kind of disingenuous behavior is no longer uncommon in all areas of life-not just marketing.
The only effective response here is boycotting his product.
And speaking of bullshit, how about that AURIA, huh? Talk about not performing as advertised. It doesn't come close to being able to handle the load they claim. Maybe folks with iPad 4's are getting better results than my iPad 3, but why is that OK? Auria launched before iPad 4 was even expected. The customer reviews on the app download page are bizarrely split between those who share my pain and wildly enthusiastic believers who consistently and suspiciously admonish those who complain. "Hey, whadaya want for $50?" unironically asks one five-starry-eyed drooler. I want it to fucking work as advertised, Mr. Sockpuppet.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Jared

That was my post about the App Store reviews. I'm not Paul from 4pockets and have no affiliation with him other than being a satisfied user of Meteor who did not misunderstand the description before purchasing the app.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Paul

"That was my post about the App Store reviews. I'm not Paul from 4pockets and have no affiliation with him other than being a satisfied user of Meteor who did not misunderstand the description before purchasing the app."

Hey Paul, I am politely suggesting that there's a logical fallacy in your statement inasmuch as you think it relates to this discussion.
If you think you understood that the app does not record simultanous tracks, regardless of what is stated in the description, then, if the app performs well otherwise, you are happy. Yes.
But, based on the discussion here, it is clear that 4Pockets uses language that strongly implies that Meteor records tracks simultaneously, and therefore you did not really understand the description the way someone looking for a genuine multitrack recorder would. That person, for whom the misleading description is very significant, would feel burned, and doubly so because he/she can't get a refund to buy what they were really after.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Jared

Just being devil's advocate here (again), but does the description state that Meteor records multiple tracks SIMULTANEOUSLY? If not, then the claim that anyone looking for this functionality would feel burned just isn't true. When I purchased it, I was not confused by the description, and I don't recall reading that the recording of multiple tracks was simultaneous. Since I already have that kind of DAW on my laptop in my studio, I wasn't looking for something like that, and I wasn't expecting Meteor to do it. I was specifically looking for something to use as a song sketchpad, to record one track at a time, and I thought Meteor would work for that. As I stated in an earlier post, I decided after trying it out that it wasn't going to work for me. That's why I get apps on sale or when they are free.

Here's a tip. Send the developer an inquiry before you buy, if you are not able to discern the app's functionality from the description. It's also a good way to test their responsiveness, in case you run into technical issues.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

I am a native speaker of English. It is clear that I understood what the app does from the language used in the description. I made my choice based on that understanding. I am not disputing that someone who reached the wrong conclusion would be upset at paying for functionality they didn't get, or that other wording could make the limitation more obvious. I am only disputing the assertion that the developer is lying. I am also observing that the app store reviews are a sensible place for such a disgruntled customer to point out the limitation, and pointing out that this has not been done by hoards of purchasers 'fooled' by the dev's 'misleading' description. Bottom line, I understood the description and got what I expected, as did the vast majority. Sorry if you made the wrong assumption, but it happens. Just like people thinking I was Paul from 4pockets.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline Paul

Yep. Just re-read it. I don't see the word simultaneous anywhere. It says it will record multiple tracks and, interstingly, it does.

I still think the description should be changed though. Not everyone is going to take the description litterally.

March 14, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

Interstingly? Where is that stupid auto-correct when I actually need it. Now everyone is sure to know I'm an idiot!

March 15, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

'Interstingly' is the manner in which a person jumps around when they have a hornet trapped in their underpants.

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Paul

Zenlizard-"Just being devil's advocate here (again), but does the description state that Meteor records multiple tracks SIMULTANEOUSLY? If not, then the claim that anyone looking for this functionality would feel burned just isn't true."

A point understood and well stated, but, to be fair, the entire discussion started with Tim pointing out that SIMULTANEOUSLY is strongly implied, not that 4Pocket used the S-word itself. It's the core point of Tim's post and the central issue being discussed.
Honestly, I may not have noticed the discrepancy myself because I'm not looking for that particular functionality, and I'm relatively new to a lot of the terminology.
Maybe I should have explained that to poor Paul-not-from-4Pocket who is without a doubt a "native speaker of English" and who was deeply offended by what I thought was a comment carefully worded not to offend.
Your tip is a good one-I've contacted developers twice about apps that were being hammered in reviews for crashing. The results were gratifying for everyone. I'd like to add that contacting a developer about a disappointing purchased app is a good idea, too, rather than spitefully hurling the mighty one-star of death. Give the developer a chance.

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Jared

Until they vote me into infallibility, dissenting opinions will always be welcomed here! In fact I'm glad to see both sides being discussed, in a reasonably healthy way.

Jared, you keep assuming that you know what I'm thinking and feeling, how much I understand, and now the current state of my bank balance. You know nothing about me, so knock that off, it isn't helping your case. I can assure you that I am not offended by anything you have written and have not posted anything that would indicate as such. I have had to clarify certain points due to your aforementioned assumptions about my comprehension of both the description and this discussion. You seem unwilling to engage with my points, instead resorting to commenting on me, or my comprehension of English. These are not good debating tactics and they do nothing to weaken my position, or strengthen yours.

Do you disagree that people should state an app's shortcomings in the App Store reviews?

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Paul

Paul: You know nothing about me, so knock that off, it isn't helping your case.

Hey Paul,
I'm sincerely sorry, and I will knock it off. I don't know anything about you except that you are a serious, thoughtful guy with a funny side, or a funny guy with a serious, thoughtful side. I'm basing the funny on your diabolical scenario with Doug taking the fall for P of 4Pockets. Further thought made me think that that's a pretty good plot for a mystery novel, actually.
As far as the reviews, I think the reviews can be very useful. But often folks immediately shoot a one-star from the hip when checking with the developer would be more productive, both for the developer and customer. My experience taking this approach has been very positive. It's a case to case judgment call. Cheers

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Jared

Thanks Jared, i appreciate it.

I have read a recommendation to focus more on 2 to 4 star reviews, as these are more likely to have considered, rational opinions than 5 or 1 star ones. Not a bad suggestion, really.

March 15, 2013  | person_outline Paul

Group hug time?

I have the app. Very disappointing. Not for any other reason than it is clumsy and unfriendly. Like an asperger's wasp.

March 15, 2013  | person_outline ISM

>> Not for any other reason than it is clumsy and unfriendly. Like an asperger's wasp.<<

Where did you get the idea that aspergers = clumsy? If I were the kind of person who got offended, I would be really offended right now. Since I'm not that kind of person... carry on. Oops! I just dropped my iPad. Ouch! and jammed my finger picking it back up. Hmmn, you may have a point.

Oh, and wasps are only unfriendly to anyone who exhales carbon dioxide, so... just remember that.

March 15, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

Sir. You have gone to far. I put it to you that you are indeed a wasp! I always wondered what wasps did in winter and now I know. Accessing blogs on the Internet, gathering information on mankind ready for the wasp final solution. The end of mankind as we know it.

Having read that back, It might be bed time. Or medication time. Or both. :)

March 15, 2013  | person_outline ISM

Note that MultiTrack DAW can record multiple tracks simultaneously yet the word "simultaneous" does not appear in the app's description.

To those that are defending Meteor, do you honestly think a piece of software that can only record one track at a time should call itself a DAW?

March 16, 2013  | person_outline DC

>>To those that are defending Meteor, do you honestly think a piece of software that can only record one track at a time should call itself a DAW?<<

Hmmn... D=Digital. so far, so good. A=Audio. No problem there. W=Workstation. Check. I'd say that things like TableTop and iPolysix even qualify, technically speaking. I can only speak for myself, but I'm not defending Meteor specifically – It's the larger point of honest dealings that interests me. I actually much prefer MultiTrack DAW between the two (I deleted Meteor a week after purchase), but I've heard more than a few people say that MT DAW isn't a proper DAW either, because it doesn't have a mixing console, automation envelopes, MIDI implementation, or about six other features that they expect a DAW to have, yet no one is saying "fornicate you" to Harmonic Dog. I just don't happen to think that the feature in question is implied, simply because "DAW" or even "multitrack" is used in the description. I once owned a recording device that was a cassette 4 track, which was called a multi-tracker, although it only allowed one track to be recorded at a time, so clearly 4 pockets is not alone nor the first to commit this apparently unforgivable act.

March 17, 2013  | person_outline ZenLizard

Meteor doesn't call itself anything, it's not self aware, as they haven't quite cracked that one yet. As to what anyone else calls it, I don't really care, because it's doing the job I bought it for and giving me much joy in the process. Just have fun with whatever you're using instead of a DAW (they're all missing some essential feature or another) and make some music.

March 17, 2013  | person_outline Paul

4pockets, I found a bug. There seems to be lens flares present in the gfx.

March 17, 2013  | person_outline ChrisG

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