Entries in Live (12)
If you are anywhere near Plymouth in the UK next weekend you might want to check out the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival, specifically the piTrio (Plymouth iPad Trio).
Put together by Alexis Kirke, a Composer, Poet, Critic and Writer (amongst many other things), the piTrio will be performing a three part audio/visual piece inline with the Festival's theme of Explore, Dream and Discover.
You are invited not only to join the audience but also to bring your own iOS device along and become part of the performance:
...come to the Roland Levinsky Foyer at Plymouth University at 2:15pm on Saturday 11th Feb. All welcome! Bring your iPad or iPhone and technical help will be available so you can put music software on your iPhone / iPad and join in with Alexis Kirke, Oliver Quinland and Jules Burt (the Plymouth iPad Trio - www.pitrio.com). We'll be done by 3:30pm. No musical skills required and all ages can join in. For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org Part of the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival 2012.
Check out the video below from Alexis about some of the apps being used in the performance and the thoughts behind it:
The video above is a short sample from Jenny Soep, 'documentary artist and illustrator'.
Jenny has made a name for herself in the art/live performance world for her fluid and dynamic style in capturing live music and performances. She has also been artist-in-residence at several events and festivals, as well as her artwork being used in promotional materials and publications.
Enter the iPad
We took an interest in Jenny's work because, more recently, she has been using an iPad to record some of her drawings (using the Brushes app) as in the video above.
Even more interesting is Jenny's brave move to use the iPad's display out mode and project on a large screen her drawing as she does it, live in front of the gathered audience.
We think this gives Jenny's work a unique energy as she reacts to the music, atmosphere and audience around her. It also serves to inform the audience about the creative process as it happens.
Jenny In Action
But does a Bluetooth foot switch really cut it when performing live in front of a big audience?
The BT-105's makers AirTurn sat down with classical violinist Giora Schmidt who was planning to use the device with his iPad during a special performance of the highly technical Piano Sonata by Franz Liszt, transcribed for solo violin.
It is a 35 minute piece with no natural breaks that requires 35 turns of the score's pages. That's where the BT-105 comes in, partnered with an iPad and one of the compatible apps.
In the video below they talk about Giora's decision to use the BT-105 and the iPad instead of the traditional 'paper score with a friend turning the pages' method, how things have gone wrong trying to turn the pages mid-performance on your own (always a heart stopping moment in front of a live audience) and, briefly, attitudes towards technology in the Classical music scene.
The full story and a video of Giora's actual 35 minute performance can be seen on the AirTurn website, it is very impressive.
We hadn't heard of the quirky indie band moe. until we saw this video, but they look like they have a lot of fun on stage - and they like iPads!
Their story is a fun one too and we enjoyed reading about their 20 year / multi-album history over on their site.
This live version of the band's song "Crab Eyes", was played entirely with iPads using mostly GarageBand. There's even a great guitar solo with some fine vibrato bends around the 3:20 mark. Enjoy:
Ok, let's get straight to the point: If you don't already have a MIDI input device for your iPad/iPhone, if you want one and can afford it, go and order the iRig MIDI right now!
We can't think of any major reason why you wouldn't. But if you want to know a bit more about iRig MIDI, why we think you need it and IK Multimedia's new SampleTank for iOS software, be sure to watch the video below and then read on for the inside scoop...
iRig MIDI Hardware
In the box, as well as the iRig MIDI, you get:
- 2 x 5.2' standard MIDI cables - DIN to 1/8" jacks
- 1 x very short USB to Micro USB charging cable
- Quick Start guide
The iRig MIDI has 3 MIDI ports: In, Out and Thru with two Red LEDs which reasurringly light up to indicate throughput in and out.
Setup is very straight forward. We had no trouble at all using our M-Audio Oxygen 8 test keyboard controller with any of the CoreMIDI compatible apps we had installed on our iPad.
We tested the iRig MIDI with a fairly simple setup but the Thru port also allows some more complex setups and a few alternative use cases are detailed on IK's site.
The only real problem we had was the ridiculously short USB charging cable. This cable connects your standard iPad/iPhone charger to the iRig MIDI and charges your iOS Device while in use, which is handy and very useful.
In the end we used a 4-gang extension cable and had this sat on the desk, which took up precious work space and got in the way a bit, but it's not the end of the world and the extra sockets were handy.
Update: We heard from IK Multimedia after posting this review and apparently they wanted to include a longer cable, but doing so would not meet Apple's power rating requirements to charge the iPad and so they had to go with a cable of this length to get approval. Still, as they pointed out, at least you do have the option of charging the iPad with iRig MIDI and they supply the cable in the box.
This issue aside though, the iRig MIDI worked flawlessly with our MIDI Keyboard and apps like GarageBand, Addictive Synth, Animoog and NLog Pro, all recognising the Pitch Bend and Modulation wheels without any further setup (as you would expect with Core MIDI) and there are over 100 apps that are compatible with iRig MIDI listed on IK Multimedia's site.
The iRig MIDI is highly recommended by iPad Creative. For us, it certainly lives up to the promise. Go and get one.
SampleTank for iOS by IK Multimedia
If you want to start using multiple MIDI Channels or layering with your iRig MIDI, then you will probably need to use IK Multimedia's own SampleTank app, which comes in a Free version (available now from the app store) with a limited sample set initially.
In-app purchases can be made for different sample packs as you need them. The range of options for upgrades and add-ins is a bit complex to be honest, but it does give you the chance to add what you want if not everything suits your musical or playing styles.
The best value seems to be the upgrade to SampleTank for $9.99 (£6.99). Upgrading to the whole lot will set you back around £30 ($39.99) though, making it a more considered purchase for many of us.
All the samples are taken from IK's well respected desktop version of SampleTank which has been used in many professional and commercial projects.
The app has been designed for live use and its design allows you to switch between one of the four instrument banks, play over riff loops and/or presets using a midi controller and the onscreen keyboard simultaneously.
The samples sound really good for the most part, just take a few minutes and give them a listen in the video demo below.
The main features of SampleTank for iOS are:
- 4-part multi-timbral live sound module
- Over 900 MB on-board sound library with over 400 instruments in 16 categories
- Huge selection of melodic and rhythmic patterns for accompaniment or groove creation
- Instruments are processed using 20 different insert FX with up to 4 simultaneous inserts per part
- Master reverb effect with individual sends
The full set of samples takes the app up to just under 1GB, which meant a bit of app juggling on our 16GB iPad. This gives you a great range of sounds with a nice batch of Presets to get you started. The presets cover a good selection of styles from Pop through Reggae to Rock and a few Thrashy ones. There are also 3 pages of empty Presets for you to save your own customised versions.
We were especially impressed by the quality of the samples in the Woodwind sections such as the Sax samples and also the Piano and Keyboards sounded great.
A Few Issues
As impressed as we were with the sounds in SampleTank for iOS, we thought we should mention the two issues we had:
- We know the app was designed with live performance in mind, but we really missed a recording function. (Update: IK Multimedia have said that a recording feature is on the wish-list but there is no timescale as yet)
- The app is currently not Universal, so on the iPad we have to use it in 2x mode. It isn't the ugliest app at 2x we've seen on the iPad, but the text and keys do look pretty fuzzy and the lack of clarity gets annoying after a while, especially for those of us that rarely use iPhone apps on the iPad precisely because of this. But, an iPad version is on the way according to IK and hopefully it won't be long. (Update: IK Multimedia have confirmed to us an iPad version "is on the way and it WILL be Universal", plus it will be a Free upgrade for those who have already paid for SampleTank for iOS)
These issues are not deal breakers, and we know that both of them can/will be addressed in future updates.
Because SampleTank for iOS is initially a free download and includes a selection of IK Multimedia's professional sound samples we would definitely recommend you download the app and have a look.
Because of the onscreen keyboard you don't need to have an external controller, so SampleTank for iOS stands alone.
Combined with iRig MIDI and an external controller though we think IK Multimedia have provided live performers with a fantastic way to incorporate their iPad and favourite Core MIDI compatible app into their setup.
We heard from IK Multimedia after posting our review, with a bit more information on the reason that such a short charging cable is included (Apple's power requirements), on the upcoming Universal SampleTank iPad app and the wish-list recording feature.
We have added these notes in Italics at the pertinent points as we were happy to clarify the text.
When Akai Professional brought out the SynthStation25 with integrated iPod Touch/iPhone dock we were desperately scouring the Internet for hacks that would allow a dock extender to work with our iPads but most reports were that the full functionality was not going to work this way.
But worry no more, Akai have just announced at NAMM 2011 the iPad version with a larger keyboard to match, the SynthStation49 (with 49 velocity-sensitive keys as opposed to the 25 keys of the smaller version).
The SynthStation49 is iOS CoreMIDI compatible so should act as an interface to pretty much any App using MIDI but it also has an onboard USB connection so that you can hook it up to your computer / DAW and control that too.
We think this might just be what live gigging musicians have been waiting for to use some of the awesome iPad apps in a real context.
The iPad is charged when docked and can be adjusted to different viewing angles so it looks like they have put a lot of thought into the iPad integration.
We hope that Akai have addressed the latency issues that some were reporting with the SynthStation25 but we are sure we will hear about that soon enough!
You can read more details and a full description of the features on the SynthStation49 webpage, but here are the main ones from the announcement:
- Portable, velocity-sensitive keyboard with pitch and modulation wheels
- Nine velocity-sensitive MPC-style drum pads which light when triggered
- Dedicated transport control buttons including Play, Pause and Record
- Play MIDI keyboard and drum pad performances into an iPad via CoreMIDI or AkaiConnect apps
- Built-in, adjustable dock charges your iPad while positioning the screen at the perfect angle
- USB port for connecting to a Mac or PC, receiving power and controlling MIDI music software
- Professional ¼" stereo outputs with volume control to connect mixers, speakers and recording equipment
- Headphone output to practice and compose in private
If this is just what you have been looking for or you have any thoughts about SynthStation49 let us know in the comments.
This year's CES has understandably had a lot of focus on tablet devices and of course our favourite, iPad. Whilst not iPad exclusive, IK Multimedia have announced the new iRig Mic hardware for iOS devices and VocaLive software which is basically an AmpliTube for vocalists and audio recordings.
The samples, especially the chorus effects, sound amazing and if the samples provided are anything like those for Amplitube, the real thing will sound very similar (depending on your musical talents).
A big advantage is that the vocal processors will be available through AmpliTube in-app purchase, so if you have already spent out on the Recorder in AmpliTube, you can add just the vocal effects and record everything in that app.
Think about that, no need for another recording app with Audio Copy/Paste, you can record a whole song in one app! Things just got a bit more interesting in the audio effects/simulation app race.
The iRig Mic isn't out yet, it is slated for a Spring 2011 launch, but you can pre-order it now at $59.99 (~£42) with new VocaLive app plus AmpliTube Free included.
Here is the iPad in action with IK Multimedia's new iRig Mic, VocaLive app and some talented musicians. Be sure to let us know what you think of it in the comments below:
This app released yesterday, just in time for the party season, looks like a ton of fun. djay for iPad by algoriddim is a realistic simulation of a DJ mixing desk with full and instant access to your iPad's music library, no messy importing or file transfers to worry about.
The Digital Advantage
Despite being a simulation of a turntable, this app has some clear advantages over the real world/analog mixing desks, with features such as each track having a visible waveform displayed above the virtual turntable. As you will see from the video below this is an excellent aid to DJs who are mixing tracks live and scratching.
Auto beat matching enables another key feature 'Auto-cut Scratching' which "automatically applies the rhythmic pattern of the currently playing song to your scratches in real-time". Add to this AIFF export of performances which can be recorded within the app, plus AirPlay compatability and this app becomes really appealing to Digital DJs.
There is even an 'Automix' mode so you can leave the app to mix together tracks on your party playlists. Combined with iOS 4 multitasking and a VGA out capable app for visualizations (we are still trying to find a non-Jailbreak one of those) you could run your whole party from your iPad. Just awesome!
If you want to use this app properly with pre-cueing then you can get a fully compatible audio splitter (not your bog standard one-into-two headphone splitter) that works with a number of DJ apps. This allows you to monitor one deck and cue up a song independently of the main mix, something professional DJs do all the time in live performances. The splitter is linked to from algoriddim's site and is available on eBay from a European company called Yumatron for £10.96 plus p&p.
algoriddim are not new to this type of app, having received rave reviews for their Mac desktop version of djay in the past and their experience and programming skills really shine through in this iPad version with its host of other features.
This is perhaps reflected in the pricing for the app at $19.99 (£11.99) but even so, it has very high ratings in the app store already (mostly 4 or 5 stars).
The video below from editorskeys on YouTube shows the amazing, realistic sounding mixes that can be made with this app if you know what you are doing. Whilst watching this we had to keep reminding ourselves this was done on an iPad, brilliant stuff!
If you have tried djay for iPad and would like to let us know what you think, please leave us a comment below.
It might seem a strange move for IK Multimedia who are primarily a software company to create an iPad specific accessory, but they have just announced iKlip, "a universal microphone stand adapter for iPad". It is available for pre-order now and will be out in December.
The iKlip attaches to your microphone stand and holds the iPad in either portrait or horizontal format. It is also adjustable to multiple angles so should suit any setup.
Here is a description from the website:
As a Guitar or Bass player you can now use iPad on stage with AmpliTube iRig as your guitar amp and effects unit, with controls accessible right in front of you on your mic stand. Or if you use tablature and scoring apps, use iKlip to put the iPad within easy viewing range for learning and performing.
As a vocalist you can now have the perfect companion for song showcase performances: create and share set lists with your band members, complete with scoring, lyrics and notes. Everything you’d use on stage with your iPad is now within your reach.
Got a DJ, sequencer or instrument app? iKlip puts your iPad right where you need it since it can also be mounted on tabletop stands, making it the perfect DJ or virtual instrument player performance companion.
It certainly meets a need and aims to put your iPad right where you want it, especially if you are using it to play or record live music or in a practice session.
We can't wait to try this out and see how sturdy and secure it really is.
Check out some of the other images below and also the iKlip webpage where there are more images and detailed description.
We want to know what you think of this new iPad accessory. Would you trust it in a gig? Are you going to get one? Let us know in the comments.
Have you ever sat through a seminar, convention or training session making frequent and frantic notes, only to find you can't read what you have written weeks later when you review them? Or have you scribbled down something really cryptic that was obviously meaningful at the time, but is a complete mystery to you now? Then you may well be interested in Live Notes the latest release from Hong Kong based developers Humble Gaming.
Live Notes is a Voice Recorder, of which there are many on the app store, but this one combines voice recording with synchronised note taking to create a very useful app. With this app you can find a handwritten note or sketch on your iPad from any event you have recorded and, by clicking on it, hear the audio that was being recorded at the exact moment you made that note or sketch, giving you the context around it.
Hopefully this will help your memory of what you were trying to convey by your seemingly random scribblings on your iPad (especially if you have used your finger to scribble with and not a stylus).
You can also flag certain moments in the audio recording as you go along, or even at a later time, so that your key points are easily accessible later. It is a very interesting app, and we wish we had this available to us on numerous occasions in the past when we have looked at our notes and wondered whether we were even in the right room for all the sense they made.
Here is a rundown of Live Note's features from the app store:
- Flag important moments during or after your Voice Recordings to play back from that particular point
- User Friendly interface inspired by professional productivity application “Pages”
- Easy to use tools, begin recording in a single click
- Thumbnails for Notes and ability to flip through them on the front screen
- Use the iPad's Keyboard to type notes in different fonts
- Highlight text with different colors
- Drawing Lines with Variable Width and Color options
- Free Hand mode for Handwritten Notes and Multi Colored Pens
- 4 Different Paper Styles
- Drawing Shapes in Multi Colors
- Choose your own Size/Thickness for your Pencil, Highlighter, Eraser, Lines, and Outline to the shapes
- Email your notes as a PDF
- Save your Voice Recording on your computer through iTunes
- Landscape or Portrait Option Available
- Eliminate or delete anything you have drawn or written within a note with a single tap
Creative Potential and Learning Styles
We like Live Notes because of the potential it offers to Creatives for making notes that mean something. Imagine recording a client meeting (after first letting them know they are being recorded, of course) and taking notes at the same time. Rather than rely on your interpretation of some sketch or note made at that meeting, you can hear exactly what was being said at the moment you made your scribblings. There have been hardware/software solutions to do this before, but it is so much better to do this on your iPad that you are going to be taking everywhere with you anyway!
This is in addition to the other uses in College lectures, seminars, training sessions, etc., helping you to remember the topic(s) discussed in more accurate detail, aiding your recall and learning. As anyone who has studied learning even a little will be able to tell you, there are different types of learner, each type having a preference towards some sort of stimulation of the senses, and the more of those you can hit in one go, the better your chance of retaining and recalling that information.
In this case, Live Notes is going to obviously help the Audio/Visual learners, but there might be a bit of Kinesthetic thrown in if you are sketching something out maybe, we think most people will benefit from using this app though.
Live Notes is available now on the app store for £3.49 ($5.99), and for the functionality it offers, we think that is a fair price. If you do get it, let us know in the comments below what you think of Live Notes and how you have used it.
Just in case you do not already know about this, if you are in the UK and have an iPad, you have been especially taken care of over at TVCatchup. This site allows UK users to watch slightly delayed versions of many free-to-air TV channels, including BBC1-4, ITV1-4, Channel 4, More 4, CBeebies, Film 4 and so on.
But what we especially like is the iPad optimised service which looks fantastic onscreen, and turns your iPad with wi-fi access into a proper little portable TV. Go and check it out now, before the match starts!
We have been playing with Groovemaker on the iPhone for a while now, it has been great fun and we have really enjoyed it. The interface on the iPhone is well thought out and responsive, but there are times when the smaller screen area of the iPhone makes it necessary to leave the main screen to access other functions of the app. That's why were really excited to hear about the release of Groovemaker for the iPad.
IK Multimedia have taken advantage of the extra screen space available on the iPad to open up the user experience and make more of the interface and app functionality available to the user on the same screen. The main controller view that forms the basis of the iPhone app is now top and centre of the iPad interface (the area inside the yellow rectangle on the picture below) and is called the 'central control zone'. It is literally like having the iPhone placed on the iPad screen with the other screens unfolded out around it. It really is a lovely looking interace.
If you have used the iPhone app then much of the interface will be familiar to you already. The extended controls in the iPad version, give easier access to the Solo, Mute and Lock buttons for each of the 8 tracks, along with volume control sliders including integrated VU meters and Pan controls. Another new control tweak is the up and down buttons for each track which scrolls through the available loops, but you can still access a list of all the loops via the Loops button in the central control zone as in the iPhone interface.
Sequence tempo is also easier to access now without needing to press and hold the Tempo button. Although none of the interface interaction on the iPhone was overly annoying, in fact we think IK Multimedia did a fantastic job, as we have already mentioned, it is much nicer to see all the controls laid out on the iPad screen and access them quickly without having to remember where things are hiding.
This is not a sampler program, you rely on the pre-loaded loops to build your sequences, but even the free version comes with 120 loops pre-installed and also a free song called Juice (a song is really a bunch of loops that can be used and remixed together, almost infinitely). You can get another free song when you register the product too.
These songs are a great way to get started, and in seconds you will be creating sequences that can be saved or exported (more on that in a minute). The instant creation of music is what impresses us about this app. There are four buttons to the right of the central control zone labelled A-D and these give you different random mixes of the current song using the built-in loops which can give a very different feel. Button A gives you a 'Mild' version, B is 'Perc' for a Percussion only version (useful for taking things down to the basics for a sequence), C is 'Inst' or Instrumental, focussing the sound on the instrument samples, but the most fun one is D 'Random' which gives a completely random mix of your track, with great results sometimes that are useful starting points for creatively using the loops.
Even with no previous experience, you can dive straight in and start making 'grooves', which is really quite satisfying. Just don't start doing this having promised to follow the other-half up to bed 'in a minute', because half an hour, or longer, can quickly disappear once you start experimenting with different loops and getting into mixing different sequences together, it can be addictive.
Mute, solo and grouping
Being able to group tracks together simply by sliding across them, using numbers 1-8 in the central control zone, is great for muting, soloing, or changing the volume of all of these tracks at once. This lets you, for example, solo just the drum loop and bass for a bit, which you can record as a sequence by pressing the Groove Snap button, then bring the rest of the groove crashing back in by releasing the solo button if you are playing 'live'. It really is great fun to play with.
Sequencer and Song Export
Up to 15 of these groove snaps can be saved, then you can move to the Sequence function to build your final mix with a simple drag and drop interface. Grooves can be previewed before you add them, and used repeatedly so that a complete song with different sections can be built up, which becomes your final mix. This mix can then be exported, via Wi-fi, to your computer as a full quality 44khz 16bit WAV file.
The export works via a browser interface, the app tells you the IP address to enter into your browser address bar, e.g. 192.xxx.x.xx etc., and then you can listen to your mix and/or save the audio file by right-clicking on it. It works quickly and very easily and the quality is really good.
In just a few seconds our mix was on our Mac and opened up right away in iTunes. From here we could convert the file to an AAC version. Interestingly this reduced our 10.4MB 1 minute audio file down to 986KB file with no real noticeable loss in quality.
As we have already said, the Groovemaker app is great fun to use and pretty much anyone can get down to creating mixes and acting out DJ fantasies as soon as it is started.
The interface is very straightforward to use, even the creation of the sequence with drag and drop grooves makes production of the final mix a breeze. All this relative simplicity however belies a very powerful tool for music creation.
If you need to create a soundtrack for one of your movies, chilled, manic, or somewhere in-between, Groovemaker can do this for you. If you want to play DJ at a party, Groovemaker is there. Or even if you just want to get the kids interested in putting loops together and making their own creations, Groovemaker will enable you to do it, and you can get started for Free, so you have nothing to lose, except the hours that may disappear as you get embroiled in groove making.
Groovemaker is supplied in several paid versions too. With the Free version you get 1 song and 120 loops, but there are also House, Hip-Hop and D'n'B packs at £5.99 ($9.99) each. These paid-for packs include 4 songs (plus another track on registration) and 315 loops, flavoured appropriately for the category you have chosen.
We think you will like this app. If you do, let us know in the comments. Check out the videos below for actual footage of the Groovemaker app in action. There are quite a few more on the Groovemaker channel at YouTube.