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iPad choices and questions


MAJUSCULE

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Looking at finally getting a tablet. Apologies if I've missed a recent thread or only done half-baked research...

 

Primary use would be chart reading.

 

Other potential uses include chart writing (maybe with a stylus?), VSTs, and whatever other fun stuff.

 

I'd like to keep my budget low, but I'm realizing I'll probably have to spend somewhere between $600-800 CDN to get something worthwhile.

 

Looking at iPads, there's the new iPad Pro 10.5" and the last generation iPad 9.7". Specs seem comparable on the website, but my Apple employee friend says Apple processors don't compare well or something and that there'd be a fair difference if I were to run VSTs. He's a kool-aid drinker for sure, so I take it with a grain of salt, but if spending the extra couple hundred will bring it to another level and help pay for itself, why not, right? That's what we have credit cards for.

 

I'm also open to anyone suggesting an Android tablet or something, but you may have to make a case for it. I guess Apple has me wrapped around their little finger.

 

Any advice or experiences reading charts, writing charts, running VSTs, or otherwise? Thanks in advance.

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For chart reading, any model works fine, whether Apple or Android. The big variable is your eyesight (keeping in mind how much you want to be able to see without scrolling, and how far away it will have to be placed) because that will determine what size screen you'll want.

 

For stylus writing, at least in the Apple world, you want a model compatible with an Apple Pencil, which limits you to an iPad Pro (any model) or iPad 6th Generation.

 

VSTs per se don't run on iPads... you'd have to look at a Windows tablet like a Surface Pro. But plenty of music apps run on iPad... just technically they aren't VSTs, which are a specific type of software instrument that runs in a VST host (which does not exist on iPad).

 

Anyway, running these music apps (VA-style synths, rompler-style sample playback apps, etc.) is much more demanding than running chart readers. It essentially eliminates Android from contention, and it's where more capable iPads do better than lesser, especially if you want to run multiple apps at once (where another big variable is the amount of RAM, which is a spec Apple doesn't publish, so you have to track that info down separately).

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Last gen will have a 3.5mm headphone jack, new one won't... Just sayin...

 

Have had a fair bit of time with iPads for various reasons. Doing actual audio synth/record/edit on them is a realm of amazing potential married to a reality of horribly inconsistent realization. (E.g. iPad goes to lock screen, entire recording session is lost type fails.) If you want something that just works reliably you want a laptop. For chart reading, a cheap older iPad will do fine.

 

There is truth to the claim Apple has made significant strides on processor performance. But I'm not sure it's going to make a qualitative difference in use for virtual instruments due to limitations in the software and environment for running them. If I were pushing up against the performance limits of the prev gen iPad, I expect I'd have already moved to a laptop or a 2018 Mac Mini for other reasons. E.g. getting large quantities of audio on and off the iPad is still quite a pain.

 

-Z-

 

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I got the new iPad Pro 12.9 because I'm old and a technology geek. If you can see the 9.7" well enough for charts, at $329 ($250 on sale even now through Amazon, Target, and some other places) it's a great value. The fact that the 2018 9.7" iPad can use an Apple Pencil makes it significantly better for music and yes, it does still have the headphone jack.

 

At twice the price, the 11" iPad Pro 2018 is more than twice as capable, but offers power that is put to use by very few applications at present. My choice of the 12.9 was primarily for my eyesight and reading music, while my choice to get one of the new iPad Pros was a nod to the eternal hope that Apple will put out Logic and MainStage for the iPad someday soon.

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Most important - don't get the basic model with lower storage space, because you can't add more after purchase. I bought new a couple of 2017 (generation 5) iPads on Black Friday sale with 128 GB of storage for just under $300 each. LOTS faster than the older Mini 2 that I've been using, which has 32GB. I have one complete rig built up for "quickie" type events (like a couple of songs with the choir) with an iRig Keys pro, connectors, and iPad that is extremely portable and does what I want with various IOS apps such as Korg Module, iFretless Bass, Moog, and SampleTank that give me a pretty complete palette of sounds. Also used sometimes as an added "sound module" along with one of the full size keyboards.

Carry or plug into amplification - done. Get in and out fast as a horn player.

The iPad Pro in larger size would be better if I was reading charts with it, but that usually is not the case.

If you want to use it for music, Apple's system is a lot better than Android for handling MIDI stuff.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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I bought new a couple of 2017 (generation 5) iPads on Black Friday sale with 128 GB of storage for just under $300 each. LOTS faster than the older Mini 2 that I've been using, which has 32GB.

The speed difference is from the newer processor, not from the difference between 32 and 128 GB.

 

I'd say 32 GB is enough if it's just for charts and some synth apps. If you're going to start running sample-based apps and/or audio-based DAW stuff, space can go more quickly, and then 32 can start looking awfully skimpy. Loaded up with some optional sounds, my Sampletank is over 5 GB. Colossus grand is huge if you want that. Neo Soul Keys is almost 4 GB. Other stuff that can get to the gigabyte+ range include Korg Module/Gadget, iSymphonic, M3000, Beathawk, and some of the other pianos.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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No implication that the speed difference had anything to do with the amount of storage area. Processor and also has a larger amount of actual RAM for the processor.

Main point - If one is going to buy a device, buy something that likely will not only fit the need of the moment but also handle a future expansion of need. I have two iPads with 32GB (and iPhone even lower at 16). On the new one, I still have a huge amount of space available, and it cost me (on the sale) about $50 more than the 32GB version.

I went through this buying low stuff when I first started buying powered speakers - learned the lesson: the cheapest usually winds up costing more than the step up.

Each of my devices also has a bunch of stuff that is non-musical, but desired (like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, a number of different clouds, ebook reading software, some health and medical stuff, social media stuff. Don't want to buy separate device just for them.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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Other potential uses include chart writing (maybe with a stylus?)...

When it comes to charts my preference is for paper-and-pencil with the entire chart presented on a single (e.g., 8.5 x 11) sheet. I tried Set List Maker but for a lot of instances I could not get the entire chart to fit on a single page, nor accommodate the (often quirky) supplemental cues I write on paper. Consequently I find the iPad + iPencil combination appealing. I was impressed with the degree of precision I could dial in such as line thickness, background/line colors, and being able to cleanly erase mistakes. Seems a lot of this flexibility is dependent on the writing software; I auditioned a few a found one I liked but forget the name of it. A concern was how to then organize the charts so I could quickly access or re-arrange them to present in sequential order of a set list (e.g., like Set List Maker!). Never found a solution for this issue although my research ended when I found the iPencil would not work on my (older) iPad. :(

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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A concern was how to then organize the charts so I could quickly access or re-arrange them to present in sequential order of a set list (e.g., like Set List Maker!). Never found a solution for this issue

I would think you could save the chart as a PDF (or worst case, a screenshot) and then import it into SLM.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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For me, there is a hard line between a desktop and any computer you carry around. I'm not willing to dive into the Matrix that deeply, so an iPad would really be there only as a synth module. Nothing about it has impressed me for the deeper sequencing I'm used to, nor does the form factor seem practical enough for that anyway. $600-800 can land you a varied pile of other useful things. The Korg Module is a solid tool, but the edges are too subjectively "shaved-off" for me after using Logic, Alchemy and Legacy Korgs for so long.

 

I appreciate the near-sci-fi power an iPad does offer. Being able to apply a soft VCS3, Oberheim or Nave in so small a space is big GAS waiting to happen, from one angle. I'm also sold on a pad as a good place for set lists, scrolling scores and editors. It'll simply have to advance a few more notches for me to divide my musical attention between two platforms. Its much like the choice between a ROMpler with good B-3 sounds and 9 drawbars vs. a serious, all-out clonewheel. Sooner or later, your grey areas come into focus and you roll with it.

Likewise, obsolescence WILL happen. That seems to occur about every 5-8 years with a desktop and about TWO with iPads. So, am I a Luddite or a savvy shopper? Same to you! :bang::D

 

Lab Mode splits between contemplative work and furious experiments.
Both of which require you to stay the hell away from everyone else.
This is a feature, not a bug.
Kraftwerk’s studio lab, Kling Klang,
 didn’t even have a working phone in it.
       ~ Warren Ellis

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Last gen will have a 3.5mm headphone jack, new one won't... Just sayin...

 

Have had a fair bit of time with iPads for various reasons. Doing actual audio synth/record/edit on them is a realm of amazing potential married to a reality of horribly inconsistent realization. (E.g. iPad goes to lock screen, entire recording session is lost type fails.) If you want something that just works reliably you want a laptop. For chart reading, a cheap older iPad will do fine.

 

There is truth to the claim Apple has made significant strides on processor performance. But I'm not sure it's going to make a qualitative difference in use for virtual instruments due to limitations in the software and environment for running them. If I were pushing up against the performance limits of the prev gen iPad, I expect I'd have already moved to a laptop or a 2018 Mac Mini for other reasons. E.g. getting large quantities of audio on and off the iPad is still quite a pain.

 

-Z-

 

Yeah, losing alot of work because of a gotcha in the software or OS is pretty frustrating, but at least with how Ive used my ipad, mostly running instrument apps, that hasnt come up. I would like to do more of what youve done though, running audio editors for example.

 

Due to limitation in the software and environment.... Would you please elaborate?

 

Do you mainly try using the cloud for tranfering large files? I just came across a CNET article about a new hub for the latest IPad Pro that uses USB C instead of Lightning.

Heres an excerpt from the article:

 

It takes as much advantage of the USB-C port as Apple allows, letting you plug in 3.5mm audio devices, HDMI monitors and TVs, regular and micro SD memory cards, your charger and other USB-C devices, and accessories like Ethernet adapters that use the old-style rectangular USB-A connector that's been a fixture on laptops for decades. Hyper Drive USB-C drive for latest IPad Pro

 

First an OS update that places a Files folder in iOS, and now a USB-C port!

 

 

The main reasons many of us have looked to iPads is the cheaper cost (obviously not the latest ipad pros with a lot of memory), lower cost of apps, and easier to setup and use than laptops. The down sides are many, but for someone that doesnt need the flexibility and power a laptop offers, an ipad is compelling. And the latest processors promise near laptop levels of performance.

 

But getting an iPad Pro, even just their 11model with 64GB memory, runs $800. Add in a must have Hyper Drive Hub like I talked about for $100, a must have keyboard for $50-$150, and its upwards of $1,000, which could buy a sweet used i7 laptop with 16GB and 500 GB SSD (based on CL searches), for that much or less. The only saving grace is waiting 12-18 months and picking up one of these USB-C equipped iPads used, saving probably $200-$300 bucks.

 

Numa Piano X73 /// Kawai ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000 /// Yamaha EW425

Yamaha Melodica and Alto Recorder

QSC K8.2 // JBL Eon One Compact // Soundcore Motion Boom Plus 

Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB

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Or perhaps the next gen of regular iPads will get the USB-C connector as well.

Numa Piano X73 /// Kawai ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000 /// Yamaha EW425

Yamaha Melodica and Alto Recorder

QSC K8.2 // JBL Eon One Compact // Soundcore Motion Boom Plus 

Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB

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Looking at finally getting a tablet. Apologies if I've missed a recent thread or only done half-baked research...

 

Primary use would be chart reading.

 

Other potential uses include chart writing (maybe with a stylus?), VSTs, and whatever other fun stuff.

 

For writing lead sheets, iReal Pro is decent. Never missed having a stylus for that.

 

Notion can also be used but you have to jump through some hoops to get melody and chords to play at the same time. It was one of the first apps updated to support Apple Pencil, but I haven't gotten far enough w/ Notion to benefit from the Pencil.

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Last gen will have a 3.5mm headphone jack, new one won't... Just sayin...

...

I just came across a CNET article about a new hub for the latest IPad Pro that uses USB C instead of Lightning.

Heres an excerpt from the article:

 

It takes as much advantage of the USB-C port as Apple allows, letting you plug in 3.5mm audio devices, HDMI monitors and TVs, regular and micro SD memory cards, your charger and other USB-C devices, and accessories like Ethernet adapters that use the old-style rectangular USB-A connector that's been a fixture on laptops for decades. Hyper Drive USB-C drive for latest IPad Pro

 

Ha. Just this afternoon I placed an order for that Sanho Hyperdrive mega-dongle, before I saw your post. Had tried to play the Yonac Galileo 2 iPad app through some computer speakers and didn't want to drag out an actual audio interface. I do wish Apple had left in the headphone jack. So much easier for casual situations.

 

FYI, the Hyperdrive dongle is still going for $59 on Kickstarter. Supposed to ship sometime in January.

 

Overall, I do think an iPad will ultimately be far easier to use in a live situation than a laptop. Touch interface better/more natural than trying to be super-precise with a mouse cursor and fiddling with little interface elements. It will take us a while to get there, though. That's one reason I hope Apple comes out with Logic Touch and MainStage Touch soon, to show the way with how to do a live music UI properly. I think audio apps need to break away from the skeumorphism we've seen so far and try other approaches.

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A concern was how to then organize the charts so I could quickly access or re-arrange them to present in sequential order of a set list (e.g., like Set List Maker!). Never found a solution for this issue

I would think you could save the chart as a PDF (or worst case, a screenshot) and then import it into SLM.

Thanks Scott! :thu:

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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Due to limitation in the software and environment...

 

Would you please elaborate?

 

It's a large number of things all of which indicate a very important big thing...

 

I'll skip ranting on details and just say:

 

iPads have been around for coming up on nine years. Apple has made huge strides in the hardware capabilities and they've been very active on the software side. A number of innovative startups and a few established software vendors have put out apps for doing creative work on the iPad. For audio, iOS inherited a very good technical substrate from its Mac OS origins.

 

Yet still, this far down the road, an iPad is more interesting in theory than in practice for doing real stuff. Even relatively simple workflows are fraught with compromise and it is clear the ecosystem around the platform is not acting to make it as strong for creative tools as it needs to be. How long do we let it ride on hope for the future?

 

-Z-

 

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I have been using an Ipad for a couple of years for reading charts and lyrics. I use IgigBook, which has most of the real books indexed (you have to buy the books separately) and also allows you to add your own pdf files. There were a couple of charts that I had manually writtten, I scanned them into pdf files and have been using them in my set lists for the solo act that I'm supporting in the band. Coupled with a tablet clip that screws on to a mic stand or a Spider Pro, it's a much better (and more conspicuous) alternative for music stands and paper.

 

As for soft synths, it's at most a sketchpad for me, although I've used the Animoog for a couple of live songs when it first came out. If you don't want to carry a laptop and keyboards, you can hook a keyboard controller to an Ipad and use Garage Band to record ideas, but it's not much better than a Macbook Air with the same controller.

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