iPad Pro vs Maestro

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I have a Maestro on order, but was curious if the iOS app is as good as the maestro? If so is it better to get the iPad Pro where I can possibly use other tools on as well, or get the Maestro?  I like the idea of knobs and buttons but I have lived without them so far just fine.  The thing I like about the Maestro is its SmartSDR which I like, but being a Mac guy don't like using in a VM.  

So if you had the choice, Maestro or iPad Pro (with the iOS app), which would you choose and why?
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Andrew Holman

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Posted 2 years ago

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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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Andrew,

Its an interesting question but its kind of like Do I buy a home security system or a new camera. They have some features in common but different beasts completely. If ham radio is your 70% focus and general tablet usage is the remainder, get the Maestro. You can do things with the Maestro that you cannot easily do with the iPad Pro. If your priorities are flipped, get the iPad Pro. If your interests are more even, look at a Surface Pro 4!

I have more complicated needs for a remote device, so while I own the iPad application (non-Pro I must enviously admit) its something I play with when in the living room and not using my laptop. Otherwise, I use my laptop first and if that doesn't suit me, then the Maestro.
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Jd Dupuy

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Get both and decide yourself! You'll be happier in the end!
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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I wonder how many of the iPad application owners also have a Maestro (like I do!)?
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Jay -- N0FB, Elmer

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Rick Hadley - W0FG

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I have both

For traveling the iPad Pro is easily the winner. You can do some much more with just an Pro. SmartSDR for iOS is a superb app. Plus the Pro,weighs less and is not as bulky to schlep on planes. Also much easier to explain to TSA and foreign Security idiots.

For Home use, especially for Contesting the Maestro comes into its own. It's just so much faster and gives u so much quicker access to essential functions you need to make that last winning Q. The Maestro can also be faster for chasing DX albeit using a mouse and multiple slices on a big screen is still my preferred DX pileup tool.

Bottom line: If you are a serious Contester you absolutely NEED a Maestro.

If you fly a lot a Pro is what you should,have

But as I said, I have both.
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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While not a contester, I rather enjoy the convenience of having it running while working on the computer; I can just reach over, tap on a signal to tune it in without having to maximize SSDR and change focus away from what I am working on to do the same thing.
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Bob Hinkle

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Yep, I agree.... Maestro has a short learning curve, but becomes pretty essential pretty soon.,.. especially in a contest or DXing....
 KK8ZZ  Bob
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Rick - W5FCX

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Do you use VPN to connect abroad via the iPad?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Being that I M currently on the Costa Brava Spain. Most definitely using VPN.
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Andrew Holman

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Thanks for the replies so far. I am not a hard core contester, but I do participate in contests.  I mostly want something so I don't have to run as many apps on my computer, do a little remote access from other places in the house etc.  

I thought about getting a Surface Pro too, but I am not sure I can use an all Windows computer being a hardcore mac person. I think the big thing is I like SmartSDR, but hate windows, so I am trying to find that happy medium. Right now I cannot control my Hex or Amp remotely.  (The amp auto senses, but don't want to leave it on all the time, and its 220 so not sure there is a internet plug for that).  But I digress.....


What are the sorts of things you cannot do on an iPad Pro that you can do on a Maestro?
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Neal - K3NC, Elmer

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Run SmartSDR
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Jim Gilliam

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Why not consider the Surface pro? It has all the features of the IOS plus you can load in Windows programs like Mathcad, etc.? SmartSDR has more features than the IOS program, but I admit that couid change as IOS develops with time.
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Andrew Holman

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Which Surface Pro? 4 128GB? I am assuming I can hook up my 27" HDMI monitor, Flex Control, USB Keyboard / Mouse?

The nice thing about the flex is I can use it for logging my SKCC stuff, downside is I like MacLoggerDX :)
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Cliff Batson

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Andrew,

I am running SmartSDR on a Surface Pro 3 and it's pretty awesome. I have the SP3 connected to an external monitor.  SmartSDR is running on my large monitor and I use the SP3 display for Ham Radio Deluxe logging.

BTW, I am typing this on a Mac.  I use both and they each have their pros and cons.  I was running Windows on my Mac using VMWare Fusion but I prefered to stop doing that and just get the Surface Pro 3 and use a Windows machine for my ham hobby.  The SP3 is so portable that I can easily take it into the field to work Digital.

Oh, I also have the SmartSDR iPad app and it works great.  As a software developer, I'm impressed that they have implemented so many features this early into the lifecycle of that app.

Cliff (N4CCB)
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Ria - N2RJ, Elmer

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The biggest difference for me is that only one panadapter is visible at a time with the iPad/iPhone. Maestro allows 2, SmartSDR obviously allows any number that the radio can provide. 

With Maestro this one device is only useful for your Flex radio, and nothing else. With the iPad you can run other stuff on it. 

iOS app is $50 versus the Maestro. It also integrates a basic DX cluster in the app. One license is also good for all your devices (iPhone, iPad). 

iOS app has built in VPN support, Maestro needs an external VPN device connected via wifi or ethernet. 

Personally, I have no need for a Maestro and I find it limiting. But there are hams who like switches and knobs and it's perfect for them. 
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WV9L

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Also, with ipad and iphone you can use an RDP app like splashtop to remote into the PC at the shack and run digi modes, without the latency you will experience if running the laptop remotely. JT65 is impossible from remote due to latency. So, remoting into the pc local to the rig is the only way to go.

As Ria said, the logging and spotter feature in the app is. Very convenient as well. I simply send the logbook to my icloud drive, then upload the adif from there to qrz logbook (via safari), then it pushes to my LOTW account. I never use my pc, except remotely via ipad for digi modes. Ive never even plugged a mic into the rig. Im 100% remote.
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Andrew Holman

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Now you have me all thinking that, holding off on the Maestro for now. Getting a Surface Pro 4 and a bigger 4K TV as a monitor - 50").  Then seeing how that goes. I have had the Flex for almost a year and haven't had the need for a knob. 
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Mike W1BFA in Maine

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I have the Maestro as well as the Ipad app.  Even though I had the measurements the Maestro is a little bigger and more imposing than I had expected it to be when I unpacked it..  If you plan on traveling with it keep that in mind.  In my operating habits I think it will see more use once it can be used as a control surface in conjunction with SSDR on the PC so you can do logging and play with digital modes etc..  The Ipad app is a remarkable piece of programming and gets used as a discrete listening device here while watching TV etc.  I have yet to have a QSO on it.  It's nice to be able to do other activities with the device while not doing radio.  I just found out it can be used in conjunction with SSDR as a control device.  I sometimes just use it for the PTT..  My thoughts are that if you already have a later Ipad kicking around you have to get the SSDR.  No question.  If you like the portability and smooth easy operation the next step is the Maestro. I think Flex has some more tricks up their sleeve for that gadget also.  Would love to have a Surface and play in all arenas..  blue tooth mouse and keyboard and headset..  no end to it!   Mike
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Cal Spreitzer

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I've had both the Maestro and a iPad Air Mini 4.  The iPad to me is so much easier to use!   I travel allot and the Flex SSDR iOS app works far better than I could ever have expected!   I've had a few issues with the Maestro and I really didn't care for hauling it around on an airplane along with a mic and spare battery so I sold it.  I now run the iPad exclusively and do not miss the Maestro at all!  The iPad fits nicely in my backpack and have not had any issues with a VPN connection back to my home network (using Softether).  I've got nothing but glowing audio reports with everyone I've talked with via remote!  They all say they could not tell I'm running remote through the built in mic in the iPad!    The last four weeks I've been on the road traveling and have been able to check into several of my regular Nets each night!  Folks are really amazed at how my remote system works!    

Cal/N3CAL
(Edited)
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Joe - KC2TN

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I have both Maestro and an iPad Air.

I had the Maestro for a while before the iOS version was released, so I used it a lot. Both around the house and remote via a RaspPi VPN Connection. It worked great but was a little cumbersome to carry around on the road.

Now with the iOS app I find I'm NOT taking the Maestro on the road very often, only if I'm going to do a demo of sorts. I find the iOS app on my iPhone and iPad much more convenient and transportable. And the iOS VPN works great with a decent connection and less hardware to carry around.

I still use the maestro around the house and do like tuning with it rather than the iOS app. The tuning knob is Sooooo Smoothe!

I've not decided if I'm going to keep the Maestro, but for now I'm still enjoying both in different situations.

Joe - KC2TN
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Andrew Holman

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I'm guessing not since I bought it from you and is now in my shack....LOL. I have both the surface pro 4 and now the maestro. I like the maestro so far in the shack. But I can see me using the tablet when I want to go spend time with the wife and work some jt65 / psk31 from the lazy boy.
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Joe - KC2TN

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LOL! See what happens over the course of a few months!
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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I have SmartSDR for iOS running on an iPad Air and a iPhone 6plus, have a Maestro for each radio, and a touchscreen ToughBook for non-shack use.

I can't really envision contesting with the iPad/iPhone yet very much enjoy them to catch a casual QSO on the go.

I've been keeping a Maestro running VPN connected to my home shack from my office desk. It is therapeutic to be able to work DX and rag chew here and there during the day.

Often I will drag the Maestro and ToughBook combination outside for al fresco operations.

I enjoy the flexibility and would like to point out that any difference in capabilities now is likely to change rapidly over time.

Did I mention that I will run the home radio from my iMac using DogparkSDR too?

Or that I have SmartSDR for Windiws running on a disposable-inexpensive WinBook?

Simply spoiled for options, each with much to recommend!

73

Steve
K9ZW
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I would have loved a QRP transceiver inside of the Maestro. Make it a stand alone radio as well as a controller for the series 6000 radios.
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Bob Hinkle

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Can't wait for the Maestro Mini Mobile with appropriate mounting bracket...!!   de KK8ZZ
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Andrew Holman

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Just as an update to this post for those who come here in the future. I do have a Surface Pro 4, which I enjoy when not sitting at the desk, but having the maestro now in front of me and just using the computer for browsing, logging and watching football (hi hi) is so much nicer and letting the maestro do the dirty work. I haven't used it in a contest yet as I just got it. I do like having both solutions. I have already used the surface pro to sit out in my chair and work digital modes while watching television. I have even taken it on vacation with me and VPN'd back to the house from Florida. But I can see the maestro being here for a long time as well. So far so good.