Anyone gigging w/iPad as a keyboard instrument?

Hello all. After my last band folded I got kinda bummed and "withdrew" from all things musical. I sold my old Muse Receptor and moved on with my life. After being away from all this stuff for like 4 years I recently got contacted by an old bandmate and I am getting the itch again.

Before my last band collapsed, I was using (in addition to my vocal gear as singing is my primary thing) an M-Audio Axiom Pro and a Roland AX-7 driving an early Muse Receptor. I have since sold off my Receptor but still have the Axiom and the Keytar.

For some time back then I was toying with the idea of an iPad-based rig. I just totalled up all the music app purchases I made back then and it shocked me so I figure with that investment, I owe it to myself (with a potential venture in the works) to revisit this.

iMIDIPATCHBAY seems to be the thing that was missing from the equation back in the day: a way to tie the apps into a cohesive setup with a controller.

So who out there is using iPads in a live keyboarrd rig setting and what has your experience been like? Receommendations? Pitfalls? etc.

Thanks!

Mike

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Comments

  • Hi Mike,

    I used to use my mac with mainstage and loads of expensive plugins and string samples. Now I only use an ipad pro 12" live and play live every week. I use AUM to host my apps (iSymphony Orchestra for strings, Galileo for Hammond, Korg iM1 Synth, PPG Phonem, and Neo Soul for Rhodes). I use Midi designer as my midi controller, I use Midiflow as a midi anything modifier (routing volume pedals to expression, change velocity curve of Neo Soul, transpose up an octave Galileo, key range on iM1 etc etc) and finally Korg Plugkey hardware for audio out of the lightning socket, not the built in headphone socket. Not had a problem yet. Also now using the split screen feature of midi designer and a 12" screen - in landscape mode, I have my midi controller on the left, and lyrics/chords using 'ONSONG' on the right. Amazing sounds.

  • I will add to @rhaley Midiband, iRealPro+Xmure combo and Bsmk16 for arranging approach. Also korg module, synthmaster,, sensual sax, iMini, iPolysix and garageband alchemy.
    If you need audio loops backing tracks then blocswave+launchpad combo and LooptunesHD for use it with your axiom instead needing a launch controller.
    Midi wrench, audioshare and AB(3 soon) as tools.
    For live looping Group The Loop for arranging songs with structure or Loopy masterpiece when it arrive.

  • I play in a wedding band (so strictly covers). My setup still consists mainly of hardware devices but my iPad is hooked up to my main keyboard via midi which allows additional sounds and easy layering options. I use a lot of what was mentioned above: Korg module with the Triton IAP is my main app, I use this with the setlist feature to quickly switch sounds, iSymphonic, Magellan, Noisepad for beats/samples, Beathawk, and a few others for fun. I have imidipatchbay but I am not currently using it.
    I tried running a rig strictly with controller keyboard and iPad but had crashing and noise issues. More simple setups will work best with consideration to CPU. Overall I was not able to compromise the reliability of hardware since I am playing first dances and moments that cannot be relived! I know other guys run strictly iOS rigs without issue but my peace of mind is best kept in tact with a combination of hardware/software.
    Current setup:
    Korg Microkorg XL+
    Roland RD 64 connected to iPad via ik multimedia irig 2
    Yamaha MG06x mixer

  • i play live with casio px5 sound, and use ipad as an expander for some sounds. imidipatchbay is very good to manage app (i think also midiflow is similar). but one very important thing to know is that if you want to change preset automatically from imidipatchbay or similar the sound app that you use have to support bank/prog change to change preset. and unfortunately not all the apps support this (a 50% maybe). for example, from what I know, no arturia app support progam change, so the only way to change preset is in his own panel, and it isn't conmfortable.
    read this https://forum.audiob.us/discussion/3894/bank-select-via-midi-ios-synths

    i primarly use galileo for hammond, im1 and sampletank for general sounds, sunrizer or drc for synth, ibs 16 for string soundfont.

  • Wow thanks guys. This seems to be the most active forum around for this kind of usage.

    Ya hrestov, I may have pulled the trigger prematurely on iMIDIPATCHBAY: its a great little app, but I didnt do my homework: it seems to be that there has been very little progress in the past 4 years with iOS synths responding to MIDI patch change. I would have thought things would be in a lot better shape at this point.

    I like the idea of using the lightning connector for audio. I will have to look into that further.

    I am very glad to finally find some folks who are actually doing this live!

  • More info on where I am at. I currently have an iPad 2 and an iRig MIDI adapter but if I can prove it can be the basis of a workable setup I will be in the market for an iPad Air 2 and I will likely go with the Yamaha bluetooth MIDI adapter, at least for the keytar.

    Below is a list of apps I have already acquired:

    • Alchemy
    • AniMoog
    • Audiobus
    • Beatmaker 2
    • Bismark bs16i
    • CoreSynth HD
    • DM1
    • Figure
    • Gadget
    • Galileo
    • GarageBand
    • iElectribe
    • iGrand Piano Free
    • iMaschine
    • iMIDIPATCHBAY
    • iMini
    • iMPC
    • iMS-20
    • iPoly6
    • iPro DJ Sampler
    • iRig MIDI Recorder
    • iVoxel
    • Live FX - DJ Effects Free
    • MIDI Designer Lite 2
    • MIDI Monitor
    • MIDI Studio
    • Music Tool LE
    • NanoStudio
    • Neo Soul Keys
    • NoisePad
    • Novation LaunchKey
    • Novation LaunchPad
    • OnSong
    • ReBirth
    • SampleTank
    • Sound Prism
    • SSSSynth
    • Stringmaster
    • Sunrizer
    • Sylo Synthesizer
    • SynthStation
    • TableTop
    • Thor
    • Traktor DJ
    • Tuner+
    • Turnado
    • Virtual Guitar Free
    • VJAY
    • Voice Synth Free
  • I use my iPad Air 2 as a live keys rig. I have found it to be very stable! Some details:

    • I use AUM to host all of my apps/effects
    • I use SampleTank for pianos (an occasionally other misc sounds)
    • I use iGrand as a secondary piano
    • I use Poison 202 for pads & leads
    • I send my pad to a bus and run it through Crystalline to give it some nice shimmer (which i can fade in/out as desired)
    • My favorite delay is RP-1
    • I'm trying to use AU for as much as possible.
    • I use an iRig BlueBoard for a quick way to mute sounds and toggle delays on and off
    • I use the faders on my Novation LaunchKey to mix my AUM channels and the knobs to adjust parameters such as low pass filters
    • I use a bunch of additional apps depending on the set
  • @hrestov said:

    Haha, good you posted that, I was just about to. :)

  • Thanks guys!

    I just acquired a new iPad, and have a Yamaha BT-01 on order. Not much for accessories for this yet... I have to wait until the 10th to even get the apple case for this. #canadianproblems

    Anyone have a recommendation on a universal ipad mic stand holder?

  • With the rotation bug? Live use is impossible.

  • well, I will be using it locked in landscape exclusively, but what is this rotation bug? I didnt see this yet, nor on my iPad 2 running an older iOS.

  • So I have run into a couple issues/limitations with iMIDIPatchBay trying to use it in this fashion:

    Setlists: a great feature, in theory, however in practice, not so much:
    - You cannot backup your setlists to dropbox like you can the patches (not a dealbreaker but it really should be an option)
    - The patch numbers for setlist songs change when you re-order them, making external MIDI PC pretty much DOA. I would have to switch patches using iMIDIPatchBay. Am I missing something here?

    Multiple Masters: After wasting $14 CAD on unlocking the multiple masters IAP I discovered its essentially useless (to me). While you can have multiple master keyboards running on different MIDI channels, the app essentially sums it the inputs: I cannot route a MIDI master input channel to a particular instrument slot. This is an issue because on my physical MIDI controllers (Axiom, Ax7) I want to be able to quickly switch tones during a performance. For example, on my AX-7 each patch has an Upper and lower which I can layer or split or simply flip between. While I could transmit on the same channel and transpose the octaves and do essentially an iMIDIPatchBay split to do the two sounds, this is cumbersome - I then have to do an octave transpose in iMIDIPatchBay as well to compensate.

    I am beginning to think that there is no single app that allows me to do what I want.

  • Another update - my bluetooth MIDI adapter arrived. Yamaha MD-BT01

    I plugged it in and had to use iM1 to get the bluetooth MIDI up and running on the iPad. The signal however was very unreliable. Worked fine on my Axiom tho just not on the AX7. Maybe USB/AC powered VS battery powered?

    Anyways, I ran the Yamaha app and updated the firmware and all was good. Range was decent as well.

  • edited May 2017

    I have a very simple live setup - iPad 2 running iM1 hooked up to an M-Audio Keystation 61. I need an easy way to change sound patches during a song. Suggestions?

    Thanks!

  • @egdnola said:
    I have a very simple live setup - iPad 2 running iM1 hooked up to an M-Audio Keystation 61. I need an easy way to change sound patches during a song. Suggestions?

    Thanks!

    iM1 accepts MIDI program changes so you could use your keyboard to change patches. I don't think your keyboard sends PC out of the box so you may have to use Midiflow or Midibridge to convert the message - you could for example use the bottom key on your keyboard to change to the next patch.

    Korg doesn't seem to list the details for changing banks but I found some useful info here: https://support.korguser.net/hc/en-us/community/posts/202943530-How-to-midi-control-iM1-programs-

  • @egdnola said:
    I have a very simple live setup - iPad 2 running iM1 hooked up to an M-Audio Keystation 61. I need an easy way to change sound patches during a song. Suggestions?

    Thanks!

    iM1 is multitimbral, so I would fill up the slots with the different sounds from the song, one in each slot, and each slot has its own midi channel. Then change midi channels on the keystation to change sounds. That setup has the nice side effect of the tail of a sound not getting cut off when you switch to another sound.

    Then make a separate "program" or whatever they call it (the preset with a saved group of sounds in the slots), for each song.

    If you need to layer two sounds, then put them on the same channel, and they will both play.

  • @Processaurus said:

    @egdnola said:
    I have a very simple live setup - iPad 2 running iM1 hooked up to an M-Audio Keystation 61. I need an easy way to change sound patches during a song. Suggestions?

    Thanks!

    iM1 is multitimbral, so I would fill up the slots with the different sounds from the song, one in each slot, and each slot has its own midi channel. Then change midi channels on the keystation to change sounds. That setup has the nice side effect of the tail of a sound not getting cut off when you switch to another sound.

    Then make a separate "program" or whatever they call it (the preset with a saved group of sounds in the slots), for each song.

    If you need to layer two sounds, then put them on the same channel, and they will both play.

    this is why I love Im1 ...as bonus all the IAP's also got transferred to Korg Gadget ...although Korg says otherwise

  • edited May 2017

    Update

    First show this past weekend - light usage this time; I am gradually working keys into the setlist as vocals is my primary duty.

    My config:

    Hardware
    Roland AX7 Controller
    Yamaha MD-BT01 Bluetooth Adapter
    iPad 2017 32GB

    Middleware
    OnSong for lyrics and notes - I have it setup to send MIDI PC info to the relevant channel based on what song is selected

    Synths
    Korg iM1
    Animoog
    Poison-202
    Sunrizer
    Magellan

    Post-mortem
    Worked well enough, though it still feels a bit clunky. I would like to figure out a way to further streamline things.

    While Animoog responds to PC msgs it has a couple issues that make me think I will ditch it:

    1) It is not as stable as I would like. For the second time using it now in a show/rehearsal situation, it was non-responsive. I will likely get in the habit of shutting down and restarting all synth apps pre-show.
    2) It is locked to a specific DEVICE transmitting AND a specific channel. This means I cannot get it to respond to performance data from the AX7 (over the bluetooth adapter) while simultaneously listening for PC changes from OnSong. This may be an issue going forward.

    As a related aside, except for Animoog which behaves as above, the synths are getting sent PC info twice: once from the AX7 when I change patches (no way to disable this AFAIK) and once from OnSong. I think I would like to streamline this to reduce any chance for weirdness.

    I am strongly considering introducing MIDIFlow into the setup and route everything through it. I do wish more apps recognized and responded to PC msgs :/

  • @MonzoPro said:
    With the rotation bug? Live use is impossible.

    Nothing is impossible. :)

  • That's more like it :)

  • edited May 2017

    It only needs a photoshopped apple logo over the shit to be perfect but I'm lazy tuesday afternoon :V

  • Im using my iPad pro 12.9 inch with CCK and Sledge 2.0 black edition in church on top of the organ

  • Your mysterious and still-not-explained-"rotation bug" has not an issue btw.

  • @hrestov,

    I see you're using iMIDIPatchbay and Galileo. I'm trying to incorporate Galileo into my setup (that already uses iMIDIPatchbay for program changes, splits, etc. with two keyboards and a rack module).

    I can't get Galileo to respond to MIDI in messages (from iMIDIPatchbay) unless I set it to receive on channel 1. For example, if I set Galileo to receive on channel 4 and iMIDIPatchbay to send on channel 4 (with Galileo assigned to Extern x in iMIDIPatchbay), Galileo does not respond.

    Also, I can't get Galileo to respond to program changes sent from iMIDIPatchbay, even using channel 1. I'm using MSB=5, LSB=O, Program=5, to try selecting the "Red Light" preset.

    If you've been able to accomplish either thing I'm trying to do, please let me know if there's something I'm missing. Thanks!

  • @rhaley : That was GOLD right there!

  • Ah, I have sadly ditched iMidiPatchbay as it does not really meet my needs. I am using OnSong song changes to send MIDI program change data now. I also found Galileo a bit unwieldy for live use.

    I in my live setup I am using OnSong which pushes out PC messages to: iM1, Animoog, and Poison-202. I am soon looking to incorporate SampleTank (for acoustic bass sounds unless someone can make a better suggestion).

    I also want to add IMonoPoly but there is no info on what the LSB/MSB info should be for that synth even tho t supposedly responds to PC.

    I was able to reproduce your issue tho. Not sure what is going on there :/

  • Hello, nice forum. My first post here.
    I'm using Puc+ as an bluetooth interface with my iphone to use Neo soul keys and others...
    Anyone using this interface ? you can check it at amazon, i have some important gigs to me soon and i'm wondering if this is a safe interface to use in live concerts

  • I use my ipad as my main keyboard rig weekly. I have a few rules though: I only use AU hosted in AUM of course. Ravenscroft, Zeeon, Neosoul keys, isymphonic, ns1 and TONS of effects to shape my sounds. Save BEFORE you disconnect your midi controller, and connect again before opening preset, and all your midi mapping will be saved. Easy, no hassle, stable keyboard rig.

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