Browsing around online and trying to figure out which app to buy can be difficult. So many developers offer app demos and they provide a cool glimpse into the workings of the app. This is great for customers and developers alike.
If you are a developer you probably would love a way to showcase your app online. Online demos are the wave of the future and that is exactly what Sound Stage helps you create. Is Sound Stage the perfect solution? You will have to read on to find out!
Getting Started with Sound Stage is not as straightforward as one would think, it requires a lot of moving parts. Aside from purchasing the app from the Mac App Store and installing it, it would be in your best interest to get the iOS SDK from Apple. While New Leaders, the developers, maintains that the SDK is not “required”, Sound Stage would be next to useless without it.
So to install the SDK you will need Xcode. Xcode was included in all versions of OS X from Snow Leopard 10.6 and back. In 10.7 Lion, Apple removed it and it is available in the Mac App Store as a download. The latest Xcode, when downloaded from the Mac App Store, includes the latest iOS SDK. If you have a previous version of Xcode installed, you may need to download the latest SDK to get started.
While being pretty much forced to have the iOS SDK and Xcode installed may seem like a hassle, most who use Sound Stage would already have them installed anyway. Using the SDK, Xcode, and the iOS Simulator in combination with Sound Stage delivers the best results.
The main objective of Sound Stage is for you to have the capability to record demos for your iOS apps. However, Sound Stage has a few extra features that will incentivize the process and make it a little more fun!
Quite possibly my favorite feature is backdrops. A backdrop allows you to add a background of your choosing to accompany your app demo. So you can choose patterns, logos, or photos that might match the look and feel of your app.
To further add to the quality of your finished product, you can easily add a voice over or a soundtrack. It is really easy to drop in the audio. The only bad part about the audio feature is the lack of control. I cannot control microphone levels or soundtrack levels. Sound Stage just goes on whatever the computer sound defaults are, this is really inconvenient.
It is very nice that Sound Stage includes a direct YouTube upload feature within the app. This way you can just finish and upload to your possible audience within minutes, all within one app.
There is quite a bit to be said about Sound Stage when it comes to performance. Wow, it is just a plain resource hog. It will severely bog down your system, especially when processing. The longer you are recording, the more it slows down your computer. The slowdown is instantaneous when you press record, and is very noticeable. I have used many other screen recording apps that were recording the whole screen, not just a small iPhone simulator screen, and I almost couldn’t even tell they were running. You can’t blame it on the HD recording either.
As proved by the picture below, Sound Stage used 90% of my computer’s resources just to export an 18 second clip. Astonishing! Just imagine the agony of rendering something longer than 18 second’s worth. I did not have to imagine it, as I experienced it first hand. The computer was jammed and almost un-usable. This is a 2011 model iMac that Sound Stage is being used on and it still does not help.
There are many little quirks and problems with Sound Stage that affects its usability. The first of which is the pre-requisite of having Xcode and iOS SDK installed. This could add several hours to your install time. Sound Stage also does not support retina display iPhones. So when you are creating a retina app for the iPhone and try to record a demo in Sound Stage, you will get a zoomed in interface where items are obscured (see below) and it is ridiculous.
Along with no retina support there is also no iPad support. So you simply lose out if you have an iPad app that you want to show off. There are also no built in editing features. If you want to perform editing, you must go and use yet another product. If that were not enough just try to use Sound Stage in landscape, you can’t!
Along with those big usability aspects you must also consider that it produces files that are absolutely too large. An eighteen second video was 100mb and a one minute video was 340mb. It could easily get into the gigabytes when recording several minutes worth of video. As a result of such large video sizes you might run into problems when uploading to YouTube or on your own website. It creates a problem when it takes the video an unusually long time to load. As a final gripe, the processing time gets very excessive for even short video times.
My experience with Sound Stage was rather disappointing. The interface is very minimalist and there really is not much to talk about. Sound Stage has severe performance issues that could literally leave your computer frozen and slowed to a crawl. Sound Stage also requires additional software that you may or may not have. Sound Stage also lacks support for the iPad, Retina display, and landscape view. There are many issues and gripes I have with Sound Stage and without an update, I just cannot recommend it unless you fall into their very limited use case.
Do you have an opinion you would like to share? Do you know of a better app? Well I would love to hear from you in the comments below, let us know what you think!