Audiobus: Use your music apps together.

What is Audiobus?Audiobus is an award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you use your other music apps together. Chain effects on your favourite synth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app like GarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface output for each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive a synth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDI keyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear. And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.

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Audiobus is the app that makes the rest of your setup better.

Weighted master keyboard with quality build.

Have been looking at getting a piano weighted 88 key controller to finally learn a bit of actual playing technique.

Needs:
1. Needs to have audio and midi through usb to connect with my iPad with just a usb cable.
2. Needs to be compliant and not need a driver, so it works with an iPad.
3. Needs to have the ability to play at least four different midi zones to play over the usb midi.
4. Needs to be able to save the midi zones.
5. Onboard sounds are not a must, but they don’t bother me if they are there.
6. Needs to have a solid a quality build - proper in build power supply and no wall wart. Metal build preferred. Good quality keys.

Any model suggestions? I have found one so far: the Yamaha YC88, but that has recently risen from about £2400 (street) to £3200 plus. I know some older stock is still available at a decent price, but won’t be by the time I’ve got to the end of this year when I have some money.

Any other models people can think of? My problem is I keep getting sidetracked by other ‘stuff’ and the prices of decent gear keeps rising lol

Comments

  • I'd suggest that you'd do better with a separate MIDI controller and an audio interface, than requiring a controller with built-in audio. A small USB hub can connect them. And they may be bus-powered, so no power supply concerns. Also, you pay a lot more for sound generation capability if you really don't need it.

    Makers like Kawai (VPC1), studiologic (SL88 Grand), Roland (A-88 Mk II), and Kurtzweil (KM88) have fully-weighted MIDI controllers for a lot less than a YC88.

    If you use a host like AUM, you can implement flexible keyboard splits on your iPad using an app or a script, so you don't need those features on the controller.

  • @uncledave said:
    I'd suggest that you'd do better with a separate MIDI controller and an audio interface, than requiring a controller with built-in audio. A small USB hub can connect them. And they may be bus-powered, so no power supply concerns. Also, you pay a lot more for sound generation capability if you really don't need it.

    Makers like Kawai (VPC1), studiologic (SL88 Grand), Roland (A-88 Mk II), and Kurtzweil (KM88) have fully-weighted MIDI controllers for a lot less than a YC88.

    If you use a host like AUM, you can implement flexible keyboard splits on your iPad using an app or a script, so you don't need those features on the controller.

    Thanks. Not keen on the Studiologic, but both the Kawai and the Roland look interesting. The Roland may not be really the build quality I was after, but it does look very decent and can be had for a really good price.

  • edited May 14

    I have the Studiologic SL Studio. It ticks all your boxes apart from the wall-wart PSU but it can also be bus powered via USB. It will connect directly to your iPad if you use a CCK or get a Bluetooth MIDI transmitter.
    Very inexpensive and also very portable (easily carried in one hand/over one shoulder in a decent gig bag).

  • I'm pretty sure there are no Kawai keyboards with USB audio - not sure about Roland.

  • @TimRussell said:
    I have the Studiologic SL Studio. It ticks all your boxes apart from the wall-wart PSU but it can also be bus powered via USB. It will connect directly to your iPad if you use a CCK or get a Bluetooth MIDI transmitter.
    Very inexpensive and also very portable (easily carried in one hand/over one shoulder in a decent gig bag).

    I think all these units use wall warts. Seems only the really expensive keyboards have built in power supply’s these days, even with most synths. I really wanted to avoid CCKs, audio interfaces, Bluetooth transmitters etc, but I may have to use them as even with them the cost differences are vast!

  • @Reuben said:
    I'm pretty sure there are no Kawai keyboards with USB audio - not sure about Roland.

    Yep, I don’t think the Kawai have usb audio or midi. I think the Roland might be only usb midi only, but I may have to rethink my needs due to the cost differences.

  • heshes
    edited May 15

    @Fruitbat1919 said:
    Have been looking at getting a piano weighted 88 key controller to finally learn a bit of actual playing technique.

    Needs:
    1. Needs to have audio and midi through usb to connect with my iPad with just a usb cable.
    2. Needs to be compliant and not need a driver, so it works with an iPad.
    3. Needs to have the ability to play at least four different midi zones to play over the usb midi.
    4. Needs to be able to save the midi zones.
    5. Onboard sounds are not a must, but they don’t bother me if they are there.
    6. Needs to have a solid a quality build - proper in build power supply and no wall wart. Metal build preferred. Good quality keys.

    Any model suggestions? I have found one so far: the Yamaha YC88, but that has recently risen from about £2400 (street) to £3200 plus. I know some older stock is still available at a decent price, but won’t be by the time I’ve got to the end of this year when I have some money.

    Any other models people can think of? My problem is I keep getting sidetracked by other ‘stuff’ and the prices of decent gear keeps rising lol

    I have a Roland FP-10 that works great for me. PHA-4 keybed feels quite good and is same as in some more expensive Roland units. There are quite a few sub $1k keyboards (Roland, Kawai, Korg) that have keybeds fine for "learning a bit of playing technique". Diminishing returns as you pay more. You get more sounds and, to some extent, better sounds, from more expensive units. But iOS VST's are going to be better than those, in any case. (You do get some ease of use having lots of sounds on a keyboard itself, but if your going to be mostly combining with iPad I'd say that's maybe not so relevant, or cuts the other way. It actually makes things more complicated if you want to combine on-board sounds with iPad sounds.)

    I would suggest that your USB Audio requirement is not very important. But I'm not clear about why you want it. Is it because you want to send audio to the iPad, or audio from the iPad to the keyboard? If you're connecting to iPad via midi you'll get sounds feeding midi to iPad plugins that will be better than the sounds on the keyboard itself, for pretty much any keyboard you can name. USB Audio can be used in the other direction, to send audio from iPad to keyboard, but be clear about why you would want this before making it a requirement. Feeding bluetooth audio into keyboard is fine for many use cases.

    Also, your requirements 3 and 4 about "four different midi zones" is also unnecessary IMO. You can set up whatever zones you want in software one the iPad itself; no need to have it on keyboard (unless you're using onboard sounds, which I've already suggested you can skip).

    I don't understand your number "5. Onboard sounds are not a must." Makes no sense in combination with your "1. Needs to have audio . . . through usb." I don't think there are any keyboards that don't have onboard sounds that do have USB audio.

  • heshes
    edited May 15

    @Fruitbat1919 said:

    @Reuben said:
    I'm pretty sure there are no Kawai keyboards with USB audio - not sure about Roland.

    Yep, I don’t think the Kawai have usb audio or midi. I think the Roland might be only usb midi only, but I may have to rethink my needs due to the cost differences.

    I can't think of any digital piano keyboard sold now, or even in last few years, that doesn't have USB midi. Not sure, maybe Korg D1. But a simple $20-30 cable converts 5-pin midi to USB midi.

    Roland FP-30x is decent inexpensive unit that has USB audio. Entry level Yamahas have USB audio and midi. I believe entry level Kawai ES-120 also does (edit: nope, only Bluetooth audio, no USB audio). etc.

  • I have a Roland FP-10 that works great for me. PHA-4 keybed feels quite good and is same as in some more expensive Roland units. There are quite a few sub $1k keyboards (Roland, Kawai, Korg) that have keybeds fine for "learning a bit of playing technique". Diminishing returns as you pay more. You get more sounds and, to some extent, better sounds, from more expensive units. But iOS VST's are going to be better than those, in any case. (You do get some ease of use having lots of sounds on a keyboard itself, but if your going to be mostly combining with iPad I'd say that's maybe not so relevant, or cuts the other way. It actually makes things more complicated if you want to combine on-board sounds with iPad sounds.)

    I would suggest that your USB Audio requirement is not very important. But I'm not clear about why you want it. Is it because you want to send audio to the iPad, or audio from the iPad to the keyboard? If you're connecting to iPad via midi you'll get sounds feeding midi to iPad plugins that will be better than the sounds on the keyboard itself, for pretty much any keyboard you can name. USB Audio can be used in the other direction, to send audio from iPad to keyboard, but be clear about why you would want this before making it a requirement. Feeding bluetooth audio into keyboard is fine for many use cases.

    Also, your requirements 3 and 4 about "four different midi zones" is also unnecessary IMO. You can set up whatever zones you want in software one the iPad itself; no need to have it on keyboard (unless you're using onboard sounds, which I've already suggested you can skip).

    I don't understand your number "5. Onboard sounds are not a must." Makes no sense in combination with your "1. Needs to have audio . . . through usb." I don't think there are any keyboards that don't have onboard sounds that do have USB audio.

    Thanks and fair questions.

    My initial idea about having onboard sounds, was so that my wife could just switch it on and play if she wanted to without having to mess about with the iPad. I could also use the iPad with my other hardware while my wife played on the piano. I haven’t quite thought that through though, as then inbuilt speakers would really be needed so that my wife wouldn’t have to mess about with the monitor speakers etc. Another reason I was hoping to avoid an audio interface for the iPad if she did want a backing track to play along to: The Yamaha YC88 is simply plug in iPad via one cable (which could be left in place for her to connect the iPad to) and everything else could be saved to one of the program slots - very simple (except no inbuilt speakers.

    The above was my initial thought for having usb audio, as the iPad audio is fed back to the YC88 and my wife could just use the piano to play over the backing. I suppose the alternative is a saved setup in an iOS host that does something similar. I’m just trying to avoid any unnecessary complications.

    In essence, I’m after something that can accomplish the uses of a family piano, and a home studio midi controller that still looks decent (it will be in the living room) and is simple yet has scope for any other uses I want to through at it.

    The midi zones was again a convenience thing, as I could save a few most used zone layouts to point at AUM or EG Node saves I have. I know it can be done on apps so I’m splitting the notes of one midi channel to create zones in app, but that seems somehow more complex to me to do with different iOS hosts - maybe I’m wrong as I don’t have the experience doing it yet.

    I can definitely see the advantages of just a simple home keyboard, yet to fulfil all my use cases, seems I’m then stuck with extra attachments and the possibility of more complexity? Saving half the cost is appealing though!

  • @hes said:

    @Fruitbat1919 said:

    @Reuben said:
    I'm pretty sure there are no Kawai keyboards with USB audio - not sure about Roland.

    Yep, I don’t think the Kawai have usb audio or midi. I think the Roland might be only usb midi only, but I may have to rethink my needs due to the cost differences.

    I can't think of any digital piano keyboard sold now, or even in last few years, that doesn't have USB midi. Not sure, maybe Korg D1. But a simple $20-30 cable converts 5-pin midi to USB midi.

    Roland FP-30x is decent inexpensive unit that has USB audio. Entry level Yamahas have USB audio and midi. I believe entry level Kawai ES-120 also does (edit: nope, only Bluetooth audio, no USB audio). etc.

    As of my last reply to another comment, the cheaper home keyboard option has some benefits and possibly some more complexity for my needs (which I have gone into more detail on the last comment I made.

  • Thank you for everyone’s comment and ideas. I am probably over complicating the matter, but my brain is like that and I have been putting off buying anything for years now lol. The minute I get close to buying something, I get side tracked and go off and buy something else.

  • heshes
    edited May 15

    @Fruitbat1919 said:
    Thank you for everyone’s comment and ideas. I am probably over complicating the matter, but my brain is like that and I have been putting off buying anything for years now lol. The minute I get close to buying something, I get side tracked and go off and buy something else.

    RE: backing track audio on keyboard, that is one of the use cases that Bluetooth audio is actually best for. Bluetooth audio latency in that case makes zero difference, and you dispense with cables.

    I would say that one of the simpler digital pianos is going to look better in a room; the more expensive and complicated ones have so many knobs, buttons, switches that they look like a command control center. Simpler more modest keyboards are more elegant.

    RE: layers, midi zones, etc. I would say the interface for setting things like this on keyboards often isn't great. Much more flexibility and clarity about what you're doing it if you do it in an iOS host.

    I would vote for Roland FP-30x, which ticks most of your boxes and is a good buy ($700 USD) to boot. USB Audio and midi, Bluetooth audio and midi, good keybed, elegant look.

  • edited May 15

    If you want onboard sounds and speakers something like the Casio PX S-1000 would be good. 88 hammer action keys, compact and simple design. Very good onboard sounds. Also has Bluetooth MIDI.
    Often available used for <£400 so if you don’t like it you can sell it and not lose any money.

  • @TimRussell said:
    If you want onboard sounds and speakers something like the Casio PX S-1000 would be good. 88 hammer action keys, compact and simple design. Very good onboard sounds. Also has Bluetooth MIDI.
    Often available used for <£400 so if you don’t like it you can sell it and not lose any money.

    Casio also as a pretty cool app to learn to play piano.

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