Wowza – this is quite the prices savings if you have been waiting to pick up a ROLI Seaboard Block…
This is a GREAT time to jump in and grab these amazing instruments that have totally changed the options we have available to us for very a expressive experience! They DO take a bit of getting used to but wow!
Now… there is another side to this story. If you have been following the news at ROLI you will know that they have just released new software and hardware. I’ve been trying to get a straight answer from the folks at ROLI about the differences in old hardware and the new. But apparently I don’t have the right connections – BUT I did find the answer straight from Marcus on their tech support forums. THIS is the answer I was hoping for! Bless you Roli! I love a company that has the ability to update my instrument through firmware!
Check out the short version below and then if you want the full read click here
Performing live with your iPad is quite an amazing journey these days as we now have a plethora of apps and hardware to choose from.
There are no excuses accepted for NOT using your iOS device to perform with! From simply using it to display your sheet music to running AUM to control six different apps all connected to your MIDI keyboard to simply using one app and the interactive glass surface of your iPad to perform solo or along with a band…. its a whole new world. This weekend and Christmas time will be the best chances you have to grab some apps and hardware at prices you won’t see the rest of the year!
Here are some ideas of what you can use….
Start with AUM from Kymatica. This is the essential app currently for combining several apps, several controllers and being able to mix it all in real time.
AUM allows us to work with whatever apps we would like alongside whatever hardware we want to integrate. It will give us the possibility to mute, solo, and control volume of each app.
MIDI learn is easy to setup to your hardware in order to control the volume, mute and solo for each app as well.
This app is Ableton Link enabled talks to AUv3 apps, has InterApp Audio and AudioBus connections as well.
You can also use effects on each mixer channel. So If I have Korg Module on the first channel I can have a piano sound pulled up in Module and then add in an effects app to sweeten up the reverb along with putting a compressor on the channel as well. After setting up each app with it’s own mixer channel I can then route what ever hardware I have to whichever app. So my Launchkey can control Korg Module as well as being the external controller I use to adjust volume, mute and solo for each app. Then my main MIDI controller keyboard can then be connected to all the channels allowing me to use heavy layered sounds or to simply hit the solo button on any app I’d like to use by itself. I can also have my QuNexus keyboard setup to be the only hardware that is connected to the app that is running an arpeggiator for that one tune.
The possibilities are endless! and Exciting!
Here are some great apps to start plugging into those Mixer slots in AUM:
I would be very remiss is I did not start with Apples GarageBand – Free and outstanding. GarageBand stands out as a great way to record and create music but also as a an instrument to perform with. GarageBand has some wonderful sounds inside of the app as well as some very innovative ways in which to perform. There are the Smart Instruments which allow for easy and quick ways to get some sounds rolling without even knowing technical details, like music theory, of how it is happening! Smart Strings, Guitar, Bass, and Piano. The drummers inside of GarageBand are so very fun as well. GarageBand also contains one of the most loved synth apps ever created for iPad – Alchemy. Of course it is no longer available on the App Store as a stand alone app because Apple wrapped it up inside of GarageBand. Once you find the synth instrument look for Alchemy and you will find 8 variations of each sound that you can morph between. It is pretty cool, this level of interaction and control of the sounds coming from your iPad!
Korg Module ($20 currently) is an astonishing collection of sounds all wrapped up in one app. Some of the best piano sounds are available as part of your original purchase. If you want to step up your collection of piano sounds purchasing the Ivory Piano or Ivory American D will only set you back $10 currently. The Orchestral Dreams sounds pack is another $10 that contains some of the best string sounds I’ve played. Especially coming from an iPad/iPhone. The Dreamy Synths or Triton collections will give you even more synth pads and synth sounds to perform with.
Korg iM1 ($15 currently) is essentially a Korg M1 synth stuffed into your iOS device! I was so mad in the early 90’s when the Korg M1 I had access to use in college got stolen! Now I can relive those days and once again have access to the outstanding sounds from that keyboard!
Reason Compact is a free synth that currently is $5 to unlock the full potential of. All the sound sets inside are $1 and they are all worth it! This synth is simply inspiring and so much fun to play! Go ahead… download the free version but again… for $5 it is worth it to unlock the full version! I’m not even a Reason person but this synth…. it will be used often on Sunday morning worship team!
XeQuence Main Screen
XeQuence Keyboard Option
If you need a sequencer that is straight forward and powerful then Xequence | The MIDI Workstation is your app for only $4 it is a no brainer. This app produces no sound on its own but is the sequencer you use to push MIDI info out to other apps. It also offers a playing surface of it’s own allowing you to use it as a performance tool that controls other apps by simply playing. Or you can use that builtin keyboard to record your parts with freeing you to not have to carry an external keyboard!
If you want a more powerful DAW that you can use to play backing tracks alongside sequenced accompaniments then Cubasis is half price currently and $25 nets you the top choice for many iOS musicians.
Want a keyboard on your iPad screen to perform with? KB-1 by Kai Aras is a $5 new app that gives you five unique layouts to use as the performance surface. This will be a standard must have app for anyone to use if they want to use the iPad screen to perform from.
SynthMaster One – Powerful Wavetable Synth is currently $10 and is practically the same app as the company makes for the desktop computer. An app full of 500 sounds sure to fit any style and genre. This app also supports micro-tuning so exploring those sounds are easy with SynthMaster One. Just make sure to buy SynthMaster One and not SynthMaster Player.
If modular sound is your thing, and honestly… who can resist it, Moog apps are on sale now as well. AniMoog is one of the first apps to iPad that gave us fabulous modular sounds along with new and exciting interactions with those sounds. AniMoog allows for far more control of the sound then simply pressing a key on and off. Moog’s keyboard allows for you to get exciting sounds as you run your finger up and down the keys – that will alter anything from the filter to the effects. In fact, I do believe, Moog was the first to give us a keyboard that was DIFFERENT then the simple piano sort of looking thing.
Need electronic wurli’s and such then NeoSoul Keys Studio from Gospel Musician is only $10 this weekend
GuitarCapo+ is $2 currently and if you want an app for guitar sounds this one will more then for the bill!
Audio Mastering $7 currently is the app you want to use if you are working with creating mixdowns of your performances. It takes your recording to a new level – literally!
Of course if you do not have an app for your digital sheet music then OnSong $15, which is half price, is the choice if your are reading chord charts. OnSong is powerfully connected for anyone doing Praise and Worship. It’s dead simple integration with Planning Center, and other services, makes it a snap to download chord charts for the upcoming services. You can control you projector and lights with OnSong even! This app also works with your PDF sheetMusic of course.
If you want to be able to go even a step further and use music XML files along with PDF’s and even video then Newzik might be your beat choice. You can pull in an entire score as an XML file and then quickly view that notation in whatever size you want and even select which lines you want to see. So I can see my entire band score or just the flute part for instance.
Don’t forget the hardware that can help make your life easier onstage…
AirTurn is running an amazing sale currently. They have iPad holders, stands that fold and store inside your backpack and best of all… pedals to control your page turning and you can even program the foot pedal buttons to control your metronome, lights and so much more! I just ordered the 6 button version of their foot pedal and can’t wait to put it to use. The guys that run AirTurn are stand up dudes! (And I’d assume some dudettes are employed there as well)
Bluetooth MIDI hardware has changed our reliance on having to hardwire our external controllers to our iOS devices. ROLI is at the top of the game giving us new and exciting ways to perform. Their SongMaker kit has a SeaBoard Block along with a LightPad M Block and a control pad as well. Their are two versions out. I’m not really sure what he difference between the two other then I know the one has tight integration with GarageBand. They also just released better integration with Apples LogicProX. Check their YouTube. Of course ROLI is also running some great Black Friday sales currently. If you’ve never experienced their 5D Touch I would highly suggest visiting an Apple Store and trying it out! I don’t think I’d be able to use their 49 key or bigger keyboard to replace my normal MIDI keyboard to play lead keys with. But for building songs inside of Cubasis or to play backup keys the SeaBoard Blocks are a lot of fun!
As you look at this list of possibilities pick one thing and just get going on it! Start small and grow from there. IF you ever have any questions leave comments below and I’ll try to help point you in the correct direction!
So this weekend we went camping. While my wife enjoyed her time floating on her tube with her nieces in the lake, watching the little kids play on the big blow up lake toys…. I enjoyed a bit of toying around making music. It’s a ton of fun making music by the campfire sitting at the picnic table.
I used my ROLI SeaBoard Blocks and Roli’s Noise app. I am not comfortable with the whole loop based recording scene so I made myself use it.
I love the expressiveness and response you get from both the Blocks – the keyboard looking one and the new square Block. I like the touch and the feel of the little square Block but the lights need to be brighter!
Once done I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to share my creativity…. the Noise app doesn’t play well with others. No way to create a song besides tapping individual loops and “performing” the whole song live. I can not preset a sequence of the loops and then export and audio file. I could export all the loops into another app as individual recordings but I wanted one final mixdown of “The Song”. I couldn’t even use Noise in conjunction with another app to accomplish this. I ended up using the headphone out jack and my handheld recorder. That meant I had to wait until I got home to do anything else with the final recording because iOS doesn’t let you import audio from an SD card!
At home I opened the card on my laptop, imported the file, then AirDropped it back to the iPad. It felt like cheating… APPLE – you need to fix this issue!
Then I used Wizbel to dump some photos and effects on top of the audio. The photos are all from our summer trips. I wish I could put more photos in. The song is kind of long so the exporting from Wizbel takes a LONG time! In fact I typed all of this post up to here, on my iPhone while waiting for the export and it STILL was only part way done as you can see below….
In the Noise App you get a ton of different sounds that are created for the Blocks. You only get to use four per project though so that’s a bit of a bummer.
The other issue ROLI needs to fix is there is no way to edit your mistakes after recording. I KNOW the MIDI is there so how hard can it be ROLI to simply add a piano roll editor?
But… hey that fits my motto… play, create, share. Too many people worry about getting EVERY single detail right. Too clinical and too much time. I want to explore and I want to be realistic about what my students would end up doing too. Get them creating and then encourage them to share. Even if the final song is a “bit rough around the edges”.
I did discover that the Noise app is synced between your devices! So when I opened my iPhone up I had to download a sound or two before my project would open but there it was! Allowing me to work with either my iPad OR my iPhone! Nice touch ROLI!
So anyways… the final version of the song is both on my YouTube as well as on my SoundCloud. (Or it WILL BE once Wizibel gets done exporting!)
Here’s where the export process is at now….
Don’t expect to use this app in a classroom setting at the end of a class period. That should be understood for the processing of any video file though! Video takes awhile! I’m even using the first gen iPadPro 12.? Inch iPad so it’s a pretty decent processor!
So let’s talk about sharing your content…. did I mention that this entire blog post is being created and shared from my iPhone…. for free? Your students can do the same! Of course the final recording and video are NOT get hosted here on WordPress but instead I am using YouTube and SoundCloud for those items. So if you are not willing to mash up a few services then you would have to pay.