Posts Tagged ‘ipad’

Hardware setup for Looping on the iPad

February 7, 2012

If you’ve read some my other posts you’ll know that I am into music to one degree or another (and if you haven’t, well, now you do!).  For some time I’ve been thinking about getting a loop pedal just to muck around with. I really know nothing about using loopers or looping and the like to make music, but some of the stuff you hear on t’internets is pretty good (and some isn’t!) so I thought it’d be fun to have a play with it. Trouble is, the pedal I was looking at was three hundred bucks and even a ‘basic’ pedal was into the hundred and fifty range. At lot just for something to ‘play’ with.

So then I thought (as I am wont to do from time to time, doesn’t happen a lot!). Wait, I’ve got an iPad (and an iPod as it happens), there must be an app for that! So, I did a quick search and of course there is (several in fact) but it seems the one of the best of the bunch is one called Loopy which can read about at  loopyapp.com. At $7.99 plus tax it’s a deal compared to hundreds fora pedal, and probably will get updated more frequently too. The trouble with a pedal is that once you’ve bought it, that’s pretty much it. At least software can be upgraded pretty easily. What also swayed me was the fact that pretty much every pedal I considered seemed to have ‘some’ sort of issue. Whether those issues would be of a concern to me or not really, I have no idea but it seemed daft to spend a couple of hundred of bucks to find out when a much cheaper and (it seems) just a good an alternative exists.

I also just happen to have all the bits I need to hook up the iPad to my sound system. So the point of this post is just to describe how I connected my iPad with the Loopy app into my system. In a later post I’ll (hopefully) go over the Loopy app itself. Even though I’ve only just started with it, it’s a lot of fun.

Hardware Connections

This diagram shows how I’ve connected up the iPad to my system:

The output from the mixer goes to the PA so I haven’t show that, hopefully it’s bloody obvious! Basically I am using the effects send from the mixer to send the input sounds to the UCA222 and then on to the iPad via the USB connection, where it is recorded by the Loopy app. I can control the volume of send for each input channel using each channel’s effects send controls on the mixer. Originally I had the output from the iPAd going (via the UCA222) to the effects return but I was getting some buzzing so I put the returns into regular inputs and just turned down the effects send on that channel so it’s not causing a feedback loop and that seems to work fine.

My Microphone plugs into my keyboard (s70xs) so I can control it from there, add some reverb etc; if I need to. I could plug it directly into the mixer but I usually have it setup this way anyway. I can also plug another instrument/keyboard into the mixer if I want and use the effects send in the same way to loop input from that instrument whilst still being able to play the instrument over the loops when Loopy is not recording.

Downsides

The camera connection kit (really just a usb adapter) is not really that ‘solid” when connected to the iPad. It’s fine for a home studio situation where it does not get moved around much once it is connected but I think that for a live gig situation, you’d want something like the Alesis IO dock for a more secure connection to the iPad.

The UCA222 interface is powered by the iPad. This means that it is drawing from the iPad’s battery which is going to shorten the length of time you can use the iPad, although so far, it does not seem to have had too big an impact on battery life.. Since the camera connection kit is plugged into the iPad, there’s now way to charge it whilst using the connection kit. Another reason to use something like the Alesis IO dock which, I assume (I don’t actually know) can power the iPad whilst also providing the necessary connectivity.

Lot of wires! Yup, there are a lot of wires. I’m not sure if something like the IO dock would reduce the number of wires or not, it might I guess.

To Do

I usually record anything I am playing onto a usb drive plugged into the keyboard, which, since my mic is also plugged in there, also captures my delicate vocal tones (maybe not such a good thing!). Obviously that’s not going to work now since it would miss the looped output from the iPad so I need some way to record my creations when using the setup. So far I am looking at utilizing another UCA222 to  send the monitor outputs from the mixer to my computer or laptop where I can record it.

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iPad. Destroyer of typing skills…

November 7, 2011

So I’ve been an iPad owner for a little while now and one thing I have noticed is how poorly I type on the thing. Almost back to one finger poking at the (virtual) keys.

On a real keyboard I type quite well, using multiple fingers but on the iPad it’s like I’ve never typed before. Maybe it’s the flat screen or the awkward angle or the fact I’m holding it with one hand (although sometimes it’s just lying on my lap so that’s not a good excuse).

Whatever it is, I foresee a time in the future when typing is a lost skill and we are all reduced to stabbing with one finger at whatever the interface of the future is.

iPad mount for Standtasic

October 15, 2011

One of the problems I have playing keys in the band (apart from being a crappy player LOL) is that because I can’t remember my name half the time, much less music, I use sheet music which means that I have to carry a ton of music with me and a music stand.
That’s why I got the iPad, go electronic! It works great and I am not carrying around heavy books of music. The problem though is that I still need a music stand to put the iPad on and if the stand gets knocked over, so does the iPad.
So I needed a solution.
There are a couple of iPad holders out there and after some though I went with the Xclip from crisKenna.com, mainly because I figured I could engineer a mount for it the easiest.

So, I started out with one of these, an On Stage microphone adapter, model MY 500:

The Xclip mounts to a standard microphone adapter so I removed the center piece and one of the thumbscrews then, after some thought and a little measurement, I beat the crap out of it with a big hammer, drilled a couple of holes in the top of one of the Standtastic legs and butchered an old On Stage keyboard 2nd tier for a large thumbscrew. OK, it was a BIT more scientific than that, but not by much!
I used a 6 inch gooseneck to lift the Xclip above the keyboard, that keeps the metal bits of the mount as short as possible and therefore less likely to flex.

It still needs a lick of paint but you can get the general idea from these pics:

It’s a little bit fiddly attaching it to the stand and it’s not really practical to leave it on there when the stand is broken down because of the way the stand folds up but I can live with that. It fits into my gear bag and means I have one less thing to carry.

Plus, unless anyone actually takes a look at what’s on the screen, they will never know I am using a substitute music stand, it’s just looks like another piece of the gear.

iTunes :(

October 13, 2011

Looks like iOS 5 is out so now it’s time to update the iPad OS, you know, the one I JUST BOUGHT! Trouble is it has to be done through iTunes and and I hate that software. I cannot understand it AT ALL. I have no idea what it’s going to do half the time, I can’t find stuff in it and I am terrified it’s going to delete all my music if I plug my iPod in. At least there’s not much on the iPad yet. Still, I am ‘uneasy’ about the whole process.

iPad User Manual…

October 11, 2011

Gotta love the minimalist look and feel…

 

Psssttt…

March 2, 2011

Wanna a buy a slightly used, one year old iPad, real cheap?

Apple just brought out the iPad  2 (no marks there for innovative naming), faster, better and well, faster and better (or so they would have us believe).

So, did you rush out to buy the first generation iPad a little while ago? Sucker!

Me, I’ll wait for the iPad 3 (or 4 or whatever) or a decent Android powered tablet (because Micro$oft has wasted enough of my time trying to fix their ‘operating systems’) or maybe I’ll just stick with being a Luddite when it comes to pads and tablets. Cool, yes but who ‘really’ needs one? Not me!

I have to wonder at some people…

April 6, 2010

Why would you pay $700 for something you can get for $499?

Apple Store:

eBay Auction:

Get your iPad Now…

January 28, 2010

My solution: