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iOS music users - how's it working for you?
#3025493 01/24/20 11:07 AM
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We were recently gifted a new iPad. It's a 2018 model, and was quite an upgrade from our old one, which was dying.

I'm considering getting the apple camera connection kit to use the new iPad (or my phone) for additional sounds when just using my Electro. Anyone who uses iOS devices for additional sounds - how do you find it? Is it a reliable source of additional sounds?

And for those who use the camera connection kit, is that reliable? I've read some reviews that say they're flimsy and aren't fit for live use.

There's also the question about MIDI, and how it would actually pair with my Electro 4. Any garageband (particularly alchemy users) want to chime in with how it might work? The electro sucks as a controller, but I wonder how friendly the iOS version of garageband is in assigning stuff, if even possible.


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025496 01/24/20 12:37 PM
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Here’s what I love about using the iPad for music: it’s much more immediate and inexpensive to make great sounds.

If all you’re using it for is extra sounds for the Electro (like synths, perhaps?) I think you’ll be in great shape. There are some fantastic synthesizer apps from big names like Moog and Korg that cost under $20. Even though my MacBook has become the heart of my software instrument rig, I continue to use the iPad as a sound source because everything I’ve heard that sounds as good as Moog Model D costs over $100. I think I got it for $15. There are lots of terrific options for electric pianos and various other samples too, though Nord has a lot of that pretty well covered (Neo Soul Keys lets you customize those vintage keyboards much more than Nord does, though).

Here’s what I dislike about using the iPad for music: It’s not intended to be used that way, and Apple doesn’t care that people use it that way. Every advancement for making music on the platform is due to the Herculean effort of DIY developers, and at this point there are some truly impressive ones. Apps like Keystage can take the iPad close to the kind of setlist-based, complex routing and splitting that Mainstage is capable of. But MIDI compatibility and different app formats make the usability of various apps in one place challenging. And iOS doesn’t allow for the creation of aggregate audio devices for more complex output routing, which probably won’t be an issue for you, but wasn’t enough for the way I was trying to route synths and electric pianos to different outputs. Needed my MacBook for that.

And if you’re using it for heavy lifting like, say, piano sounds for solo performance, it can’t do the same work as a laptop... not yet anyway.

I have a 2017 iPad mini, so yours will probably have a little more RAM than mine, which will mean better performance. And the camera connection kit (or something comparable; I have a great dongle that has USB-A, headphone out, and Lightning so I can connect it to a keyboard or interface over USB and still charge it) isn’t so expensive that you’d feel bad if you try it and it’s not for you. If you don’t want to use it for music, you can still use it to connect to a printer or something more “practical.”

Personally, the day my iPad closes the gap on what my MacBook can do, it’s a no brainer — I’d much prefer to just use the iPad. Just be careful with those apps... there are a lot of cool, fun music apps, and they’re cheap. Before you know it, you’ve spent a lot more money than you planned!

EDIT:
I didn’t address your question about the Electro’s compatibility or ease of use. I also have a 4 and it does indeed suck as a controller; this weekend I can hook it up to my iPad and see how easy it is to make it work.

Last edited by samuelblupowitz; 01/24/20 12:41 PM. Reason: Additional info

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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025501 01/24/20 01:20 PM
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Thanks for the in depth reply Samuel, I think I’m gonna get a camera connection kit and try out some free apps to see if I gel with the iOS workflow. We’re also looking to upgrade my 2011 MacBook to a SSD, which should give me back access to Mainstage and Logic.

Speaking of free apps, I just downloaded AudioKit SynthOne. Holy crap. This is deep for a free synth. If I can get this playing with my Electro I’ll be a happy man.


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025504 01/24/20 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nadroj
Thanks for the in depth reply Samuel, I think I’m gonna get a camera connection kit and try out some free apps to see if I gel with the iOS workflow. We’re also looking to upgrade my 2011 MacBook to a SSD, which should give me back access to Mainstage and Logic.

Speaking of free apps, I just downloaded AudioKit SynthOne. Holy crap. This is deep for a free synth. If I can get this playing with my Electro I’ll be a happy man.


Just be careful of which camera connection you get. There is the plain USB-A socket into the lightning connector (I use a Mini 5) that just does the connection and that's it. No charging capability.

I posted this in the B3X thread, and this has been wonderful:

[Linked Image from pic20.picturetrail.com]

[Linked Image from pic20.picturetrail.com]

This will definitely charge up your iPad and allow you to interface anything involving USB midi.

B3X is resource hungry, but to date it hasn't even hiccuped in normal playing and gigs.

I'm using it with an Electro 4D 61, and while not the best controller, it does work well enough.

Jake


1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025506 01/24/20 02:33 PM
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Samuel raised a lot of good points!

My iPad is a 2018 too, and because it has lightening I much prefer the Korg PlugKey – you probably know the advantages.

I control my iPad stuff with a Mojo61 lower manual which effectively turns the Mojo into a multitimbral instrument with a better AP and I dare say better EP too (check my sig) and I use AUM for a mixer/host which is very stable and visually elegant. You might find in your case that you only need one or two apps to round out your Electro (the organ is FINE especially if you have a Ventilator, the pianos are FINE, the clav is FINE but the EPs are showing their age). Synth One is awesome. You might like the Moog Model D too, but it’s got an old school vibe you might find limiting.

For an all around fill-in-the-gaps app I’d recommend Korg Module Pro, although it’s not that much of a leap from what you have on your Electro already. The only issue is you might find the app’s inherent latency to be a distraction, although it’s not a big deal for me until I use it with Bluetooth – which effectively doubles the lag. I have zero latency issues using Bluetooth with AUM or AU3s within it. Anyway, I wouldn’t go there if I were you, yet or if ever... but I’d definitely recommend the Korg PlugKey over a camera connection kit.




Last edited by drawback; 01/24/20 02:48 PM.

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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025526 01/24/20 04:45 PM
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As usual, Samuel jumped in with really good advice. No big surprise there. Thank you to the others who have contributed as well.

Just so y'all know, iOS is one of the main topics over at the Music Lab forum, where we're starting to build up a knowledge base for all things computer-related in music. I have been doing a ton of music on iOS since the very beginning, and have released an entire album composed and tracked and mixed and mastered entirely on a less-powerful iPad than the one you now own. So if you have more questions (and Sam doesn't beat me to it), just ask! grin




Last edited by Dr Mike Metlay; 01/24/20 04:50 PM.

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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025529 01/24/20 04:51 PM
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Oh, one thing worth mentioning here: always, always, ALWAYS buy Apple-brand adapters and connection kits for your iOS devices. Cables from third parties are just fine, but anyone who saves ten bucks by getting an off-brand adapter has no right to complain when it doesn't work reliably. I will be talking about this more in the ML.


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025532 01/24/20 04:53 PM
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Will be sure to jump on the Music Lab forum! Encouraging to hear that you've done so much with the iPad Mike!

Regarding the plugkey; for sitting at home with headphones, using the Nord and iPad sounds together, I was thinking of taking the audio from the iPad's headphone out into the Nord's input to listen to both sources from the headphone out. If I get the Plugkey, will I get a clean audio signal if I take the headphone out of the plugkey into the Nord's input and then listen to both through the Nord's headphone out?


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025559 01/24/20 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by nadroj
Will be sure to jump on the Music Lab forum! Encouraging to hear that you've done so much with the iPad Mike!

Regarding the plugkey; for sitting at home with headphones, using the Nord and iPad sounds together, I was thinking of taking the audio from the iPad's headphone out into the Nord's input to listen to both sources from the headphone out. If I get the Plugkey, will I get a clean audio signal if I take the headphone out of the plugkey into the Nord's input and then listen to both through the Nord's headphone out?


I don’t know if your NE4 input has a way to adjust volume in or what it sends out of the headphone jack, but yes, the signal coming off the PlugKey’s headphone out is clean, and it has its own volume knob.


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025567 01/24/20 06:33 PM
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I'd suggest an alternative to the Korg PlugKey. It's a nice piece, but has a notable shortcoming... it has no MIDI Out. So if you want to use the iPad app to invoke your patches regardless of whether you're using iPad sounds, Nord sounds, or a combination, it won't work, because the Korg cannot send Program Change out to your Nord (or any other external device). That reduces the functionality of, for example, the KeyStage app that was also mentioned earlier. Secondarily, because the Korg PlugKey is hardwired to be a lightning device, it is less flexible for other uses you might have for it in the future, compared to a USB device which you could also use on other devices (i.e. Macbook, WIndows tablet, newer iPad with USB-C).

For a similar device, I like the Alesis Control Hub (in conjunction with the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter mentioned above), which gives you the same benefits as the PlugKey but adds the MIDI Out, can be connected to any USB host, and also has two separate volume controls for mains and phones, which lets you turn down your feed to the house while you check your sound with headphones. Trade-off is it's a bit pricier and larger.


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025572 01/24/20 07:14 PM
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That’s solid advice. thu


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025697 01/25/20 04:01 PM
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I've been using Nanostudio 2 to put together a song. So far I've found it to be the easiest to use of the workstation apps (NS2, Cubasis, Garageband, Gadget, etc.). The built-in Obsidian synth sounds great. The sequencer supports tempo and time signature maps, with tempo ramps.

AUM is a mixer app hosts AUv3 and IAA apps and has MIDI routing capability. It's must-have. It's popular because it's easy to use. It will let you record a session into an audio file - not meant to replace a full-powered DAW but very convenient if you're just exploring ideas and want to capture something.

miRack is a relative new app that started as a port of VCV Rack to IOS. It's a virtual Eurorack modular.

Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025721 01/25/20 05:20 PM
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I've been down the iOS/laptop route a few times - each time trying to convince myself I can deal with the cables, and the "awkwardness" of it all. And each time I have drifted back to fully hardware. I have never been one to see the logic in running an iOS/Laptop system AND a hardware setup. For me it's either/or. iOS is a very tempting beast and it DOES sound good and DOES offer a plethora of decent apps, but, and this is probably just me, I just never seemed to be able to find much spontaneity in it..most things always seemed to need some sort of setup procedure connecting this to that ensuring that talks to this....yes a lot of this can be organised beforehand, but then it's not "in the moment" anymore. You need, imo, to have a lot of forethought and knowledge of where you are going and what you want BEFORE you actually get there hahaha! These are things I do not find with harware where it is a rather simple thing (depending on keyboard of course!) to noodle away and just be, well, creative. That's my 2c - aficionado's will no doubt argue in favour and that's fine. OP asked for experiences of folks with it. That is just mine. I am not ragging on anyone who loves iOS/laptop and can adapt to it.


The trouble with doing the job correctly first time, is no-one will ever know just how difficult it was.
Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025747 01/25/20 07:06 PM
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Thanks Miden, good input.

Realistically, this is mostly so that I can play music at home. Just now my Electro/MODX sit atop my digital Yamaha piano slab. There’s only space for one keyboard on top. I hate that I have to choose between playing the warm sounds and organ of the Electro OR the synth sounds on the MODX. I can’t do both without a keyboard swap. We have no room to set both up at the same time. Hooking the iPad to the electro would allow me to play around with synth stuff, pads, leads etc without having to switch keyboards. Pitch bend will be an issue but I can work it out.

I don’t see myself implementing the iPad into a live rig yet. The MODX alone covers 1-2 out of 3 of my regular gigs, and the Electro covers my main gig fine. The extra sounds of the iPad would be nice, but to be perfectly frank we’ve been selling out most of our shows, and adding an additional layer or two to our sound isn’t going to bring any more folk along. Besides, if I implement the iPad into that rig it just means I need to purchase more cables and schlep them along.

I’ll likely try it one night, and if it works, great. Just now I’m having fun with SynthOne, and will probably treat myself to Moog Model D on payday next week grin

Regarding the plug key, can you take a mono out from it? I really don’t want to start bringing a mini mixer to gigs again, and we’re a 10 piece band so I can imagine the face of most sound techs if I rock up to the club and say that I need 4 channels of keyboards. Are there any small MIDI/Audio interfaces with an audio in?

Last edited by nadroj; 01/25/20 07:19 PM.

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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025754 01/25/20 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by nadroj

I’ll likely try it one night, and if it works, great. Just now I’m having fun with SynthOne, and will probably treat myself to Moog Model D on payday next week grin

Regarding the plug key, can you take a mono out from it? I really don’t want to start bringing a mini mixer to gigs again, and we’re a 10 piece band so I can imagine the face of most sound techs if I rock up to the club and ask for 2 x stereo DIs. Are there any small MIDI/Audio interfaces with an audio in?


This is Sweetwater's selection:
https://www.sweetwater.com/c1058--iPad_iPhone_Interfaces

MIDI interfaces are in a separate category.

Regarding Moog apps, I like Model 15. Cheaper than the real thing, which has a 5-figure price, 4-voice polyphonic, and has a nice Animoog-like alternative keyboard in addition to the regular one. Virtual modulars with virtual patch cables can be a mess to work with on iPad but the Moog team did a very good job making it usable.

Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
GovernorSilver #3025760 01/25/20 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by GovernorSilver
Originally Posted by nadroj

I’ll likely try it one night, and if it works, great. Just now I’m having fun with SynthOne, and will probably treat myself to Moog Model D on payday next week grin

Regarding the plug key, can you take a mono out from it? I really don’t want to start bringing a mini mixer to gigs again, and we’re a 10 piece band so I can imagine the face of most sound techs if I rock up to the club and ask for 2 x stereo DIs. Are there any small MIDI/Audio interfaces with an audio in?


This is Sweetwater's selection:
https://www.sweetwater.com/c1058--iPad_iPhone_Interfaces

MIDI interfaces are in a separate category.



Bloody hell, that’s a lot of options. Wish we had Sweetwater in the UK! Thanks for the link, will have a good browse.


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3025763 01/25/20 08:07 PM
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Yeah Sweetwater are pretty cool...although Europe does have Thomann's wink haha out here we do not really have much in the way of a Sweetwater or Thomann - population is just too small I'd reckon.


The trouble with doing the job correctly first time, is no-one will ever know just how difficult it was.
Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3026426 01/28/20 10:41 PM
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Okay, okay. I’m totally smitten by iOS synths. Didn’t get the Moog one as I prefer lush soundscapes. One day maybe. Between alchemy, SynthOne and the D1 I just bought I’m in synth heaven. Still need to connect it to the electro though. Torn between PlugKey and USB-3 camera connection kit.

USB connection kit is cheaper, which my wife will find easier to say yes to, seeing as she’s no idea why I’m wanting this stuff. Couple of questions;

1) Say I get the camera connection kit and want to use the iPad live, layered with the Electro sounds. Say I don’t want to use 4 channels at a gig. If I took a 1/8 inch jack from the iPad into the Nord Electro, then took a Y-Splitter TRS cable from the headphone out to a stereo DI box/mixer (2 channels) would that work? Sadly on the Electro 4 the stereo in only comes out of the headphone out.
2) Regarding the Korg PlugKey, would the outputs work as stereo or mono/mono? If I only wanted to take one channel out of the plug key for example, would that sum the iPad sounds to mono or just send the left channel?


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3026440 01/29/20 12:14 AM
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Others may (and likely will) prove me wrong, but AUM has a stereo to mono plugin, so unless your individual apps have settings for this, I think the best solution would be to run your synth apps simultaneously through AUM’s mix bus and set stereo to mono there. The PlugKey has no user-control other than the headphone volume knob. Have you checked out the Alesis? Maybe it will.


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3026442 01/29/20 12:18 AM
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I would think you could also pan one app hard left and another app hard right to effectively get a pair of mono outs.


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
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Originally Posted by AnotherScott
I would think you could also pan one app hard left and another app hard right to effectively get a pair of mono outs.

That does work per se Scott, bit a lot of the effects with these apps don't seem to be pannable.


The trouble with doing the job correctly first time, is no-one will ever know just how difficult it was.
Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3026455 01/29/20 01:25 AM
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Yeah, and lots of apps probably don't have panning controls, so putting them into AUM or one of the other multi-app control environments might be necessary anyway.


Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our new video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out!
Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3034744 03/23/20 10:16 PM
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Update: Got the camera connection kit. Using AudioKit Synth One & D1, Alchemy and Moog Model D. Assigned all the parameters I wanted to the electro. Pitch/mod can be done if the iPad is on the keyboard, takes a bit of getting used to but I’m pretty fluent with it now.

My Nord Electro has suddenly become a Moog Model D and a Digital/VA synth. Layering the sounds with my favourite Nord upright pianos is a dream. Started recording ideas and stuff into GarageBand and my creative juices are flowing again. This is freaking great. Thanks everyone for your input.


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3034757 03/23/20 11:38 PM
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B-3X app is way better than Electro organ and is $99 until end of March (at least here in the US). Will it bring more people into the club? Probably not. Will you get $100 worth of selfish enjoyment out of it versus the Electro? I'm guessing yes.


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3034811 03/24/20 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by nadroj
Update: Got the camera connection kit. Using AudioKit Synth One & D1, Alchemy and Moog Model D. Assigned all the parameters I wanted to the electro. Pitch/mod can be done if the iPad is on the keyboard, takes a bit of getting used to but I’m pretty fluent with it now.

My Nord Electro has suddenly become a Moog Model D and a Digital/VA synth. Layering the sounds with my favourite Nord upright pianos is a dream. Started recording ideas and stuff into GarageBand and my creative juices are flowing again. This is freaking great. Thanks everyone for your input.
Isn't it great when technology helps with creativity and inspiration? Glad you're having success!


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
Adan #3034824 03/24/20 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Adan
B-3X app is way better than Electro organ and is $99 until end of March (at least here in the US). Will it bring more people into the club? Probably not. Will you get $100 worth of selfish enjoyment out of it versus the Electro? I'm guessing yes.

Best of both worlds. I added a 2nd tier to my stand and bought an M-Audio Oxygen 61 to drive B3X and kept my NE4D underneath. I always enjoyed the Nord organ, but now I’m bringing a Hammond on gigs...............

Jake


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Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
Adan #3034826 03/24/20 02:36 PM
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Can't see myself dropping £100 on an app, when the Nord clonewheel is good enough for my needs for now.

Saying that, would there be a way for me to configure whether or not the app uses the high trigger point function of the Nord?


Nord E4 SW73
Yamaha MODX7
Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3034827 03/24/20 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by nadroj
Can't see myself dropping £100 on an app, when the Nord clonewheel is good enough for my needs for now.

Saying that, would there be a way for me to configure whether or not the app uses the high trigger point function of the Nord?

Everyone needs to spend their money wisely, especially now.

That's my main complaint about playing the B-3X app from my Mojo 61 is that it's not high trigger. I feel the B-3X edges the Mojo in sound quality, but having high trigger keeps the Mojo in the fight for playing time.

If the Electro isn't sending high trigger notes for your other apps, then there's no reason to think it would for B-3X. The Nord doesn't know the difference.


Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Roland VR09, Yamaha P121
Traveling: Yamaha MX49, Reface CP and CS
Home: Vintage Vibe 64
Re: iOS music users - how's it working for you?
nadroj #3034917 03/24/20 10:34 PM
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Using the plugkey but sometimes get distorted output through it. Audio jack sounds fine.

Any suggestions?


Kurzweil PC3X, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator

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