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Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby bluessinger45 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:21 pm

Looking for something to playback midifiles off the Ipad

To elaborate i am creating a live guitar/vox and backing tracks act.

Back in the day i used the Alesis Datadisk, then Viscount RD800 before moving to Sony minidisk for either smf or audio playback.

Minidisk was great but when my last pc dies it took out all my DAW files and Sony sonic Stage install.

Therefore i am pressing my iPad 2 into service as part of my remit is immediacy and simplicity as far as a live set up is concerned.

currently i have downloaded the Sweet Midi iPad file player that seems pretty good .

I have also added several additional soundfonts files which "beef" up the sound especially General user GS SoftSynth version 1.44

Anybody else using a similar set up ?

The only downside is that i can't see a way of creating an mp3 version of these tracks which though useful isn't essential, though i guess "recording" the iPad output to another device in real time would be possible.

Nb i also downloaded Musk midi music player and paid £1.49 but sadly this was very poor (glitchy and looks terrible)
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby Wonks » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:06 pm

Surely just playing back mp3 backing tracks would be a lot easier and more reliable? Or is the issue that you currently only have the backing tracks in a MIDI format?
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby bluessinger45 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:32 pm

I like to tinker with the midifiles. I started doing sequencing in the late 1980's with the alesis mmt 8.
I never sing anything in the original key so also will need to key change most things and remove the bits I want to play.
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:54 pm

Wonks wrote:Surely just playing back mp3 backing tracks would be a lot easier and more reliable? Or is the issue that you currently only have the backing tracks in a MIDI format?

+1

I don't see the point of running live MIDI, with all of the potential horrors that could bring, when an audio file would do the job - and would present a simpler back-up solution (e.g. your phone).

Of course, tinker with them before you render them to an audio file, but do that back at home - not on a stage!
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby bluessinger45 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:10 pm

Interesting point Elf ! maybe I'm approaching this the wrong way then?
maybe I need to sort out the files (ie keys , mix) on the Ipad , then finalise them to mp3?
The only slight pain would be real time recording I guess.
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby The Elf » Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:36 pm

I wouldn't want to do any of that on an iPad. I believe it would be easier on a computer - and you will have a larger choice of instruments from which to render the MIDI parts.

I've done this sort of thing in the past and rendered different versions/keys of backing for the performer to choose from later.
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:57 pm

V useful, iPad and elsewhere:

[url=MultitrackStudio for iPad - Audio/MIDI Multitrack Recording Software [url=http://www.multitrackstudio.com/ipad.php]Multitrack]http://www.multitrackstudio.com/ipad.php]Multitrack[/url] Studio for iPad [/url]
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:00 pm

http://www.multitrackstudio.com/ipad.php

Links gone mammaries skyward again.

edit: oops, maybe not.
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:28 am

Audio files are the way to go. I use an iPad for backing tracks and my preferred App is SoundCue. It gives you 5 pages, each containing 25 locations for tracks. Hit the button for the track and playback begins, the next track doesn't start until you tell it to.

I have the set list in order plus a few spares for the end. I can skip a track if needed or change the running order mid set.

My backing tracks are a mixture of Midi and audio files which I prepare myself. I prepare them using Cubase on my PC and export the tracks as .wav files with all the backing panned hard right (I'm working in mono) and the count in / cues panned hard left. The right hand goes to the front of house and right + left to the foldback.

We've gigged this system for a few years now and it has been very reliable. That said, we're auditioning a drummer this Sunday as we're thinking of changing back to being a 'conventional' band. We have a 'provisional' yes that the drummer is available and we had to cancel an earlier audition when he got stuck in the floods. I'm already starting to miss the iPad's reliability.
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby bluessinger45 » Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:59 pm

Good info there - thanks. I'm going the other way. from live band to backing tracks. as I get older I find myself less tolerant of others foibles !!
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:13 pm

Until about three years ago I would never have dreamed about working with baking tracks but we were finding it increasingly difficult to get all five members of the band together in one place. In particular the two that needed the most practice (drummer and rhythm guitarist) were the two who were least available due to a combination of shift work and other interests.

Working with backing meant that the remaining three could carry on but it also threw up some challenges.

Aside from perceptions about not being a 'real' band the backing is totally rigid. That's both good and bad. It never forgets what it should be playing and it always comes in at the right tempo. If you have a break for a few weeks then it doesn't get rusty.

Downside - if the singer misses her cue then it doesn't adapt (if I can't get her back on track then it's like watching a train wreck in slow motion - you know that the backing is going to go into the chorus half way through her next verse). If somebody loses the beat then they're on their own. You really need to be on your game to get it all to gel, no prisoners are taken.

Upside - the backing is available whenever I am, its never late for rehearsal (unless I am), it doesn't take a cut of the meager takings and I can use it to practice at home. What we hadn't thought about was how much the small pubs, where we do most of our playing, appreciated not having a drummer for volume reasons. Myself and the bass player don't have a backline, I'm straight into the PA from a POD HD500. Not having a drummer also means less space plus having the ability to add some keyboards to the backing opens up further possibilities.
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby bluessinger45 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:00 pm

Haha Music Wolf, you took me back to 20 years ago when the band I was in at the time had a do or die meeting. I advocated replacing the bass player with a sequencer and he wanted to replace me (the keyboardist at that time) with a sequencer. The band went to a 3 piece shortly after.
My 1st midifile player was an Atari ST with some sort of Dongle add on - highly suspect !
In the current band the gtr/vox has the Pod HD500 and it sounds good. He's still clinging on to backline. The bass player has Pod HD500 bass version - he's managed to make it sound awful but hey ho !
We run a few clicks but seem to manage ok although were 1 beat out on Nik Kershaw song which was interesting (audience failed to notice)
We have a real drummer so maybe that makes it less obvious.
Bands have inherent problems so you are doing well if you can keep it together and fun with the three of you.
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby mick.n » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:19 pm

Music Wolf wrote:Until about three years ago I would never have dreamed about working with baking tracks but we were finding it increasingly difficult to get all five members of the band together in one place. In particular the two that needed the most practice (drummer and rhythm guitarist) were the two who were least available due to a combination of shift work and other interests.

Working with backing meant that the remaining three could carry on but it also threw up some challenges.

Aside from perceptions about not being a 'real' band the backing is totally rigid. That's both good and bad. It never forgets what it should be playing and it always comes in at the right tempo. If you have a break for a few weeks then it doesn't get rusty.

Downside - if the singer misses her cue then it doesn't adapt (if I can't get her back on track then it's like watching a train wreck in slow motion - you know that the backing is going to go into the chorus half way through her next verse). If somebody loses the beat then they're on their own. You really need to be on your game to get it all to gel, no prisoners are taken.

Upside - the backing is available whenever I am, its never late for rehearsal (unless I am), it doesn't take a cut of the meager takings and I can use it to practice at home. What we hadn't thought about was how much the small pubs, where we do most of our playing, appreciated not having a drummer for volume reasons. Myself and the bass player don't have a backline, I'm straight into the PA from a POD HD500. Not having a drummer also means less space plus having the ability to add some keyboards to the backing opens up further possibilities.

+100 to all the above. We were originally a 6 piece band but whittled it down to 4 now (sometimes go out as a trio too).

As a 6 piece, getting everyone in the same place at the same time was at times frustrating. I was originally the keys player, but since using backing tracks i play more guitar than keys.

I used the Viscount RD70 data filer untill the drive packed up...then bought a Viscount RD800 with the flash memory option untill 18 or so months ago. Now use my Ipad with the "Backtracks" app.

When using Midi for the tracks, i used to carry around 3 synths & 3 or 4 tone generators..... all "played" from the Viscount. It proved very reliable with only the minor hiccup.

Since using the Ipad i can get away with carrying only one synth....quicker set up & much easier onn the back ;)

As mentioned earlier in the topic, it's much easier to tweak a midi file than an audio track, so tweak your midi track untill its how you want it before making your audio track. ;)
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby bluessinger45 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:35 pm

Thanks Mick.N,
Just out of interest , what was your process to get the midifiles converted ?
Did you mixdown the midis and record in realtime to wav , then export to mp3 in Sonar, Cubase whatever?
Or is there a more efficient way of doing?
As an oldie , I feel I could be missing a trick !
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby mick.n » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:02 pm

bluessinger45 wrote:Thanks Mick.N,
Just out of interest , what was your process to get the midifiles converted ?
Did you mixdown the midis and record in realtime to wav , then export to mp3 in Sonar, Cubase whatever?
Or is there a more efficient way of doing?
As an oldie , I feel I could be missing a trick !

The way i did it could be considered as a bit long winded....but i wanted it to be right 1st time..... considering there was around 40-50 songs i had spent ages programming in Cubase.

I connected all my synths & modules to my submixer that i use onstage, this had its main L&R outs into my audio interface......then i recorded each midi track separately to Cubase as a stereo audio file.

When i say separately, i mean Kick drum on its own track, Snare on its own track, toms, hats, cymbals, etc.... each on its own audio track.

Same with the bassline, synth parts, etc.

Took a lot of time, but i wanted the flexibility of being able to tweak each track in Cubase, if required.

When i was happy all was ok, i dithered\ exported the song as a stereo WAV file, which was then ready to import into the Ipad.

Hope this helps a little.......from a fellow oldie. ;)
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby bluessinger45 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:51 pm

Mick.N
Thanks for the heads up. I thought that would be the case.
Just thought I would confirm it.
So the iPad plays the wavs not MP3's?
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:55 pm

The iPad can play WAV or MP3. The delivery format of the audio file is not really so important. I would mix to a WAV and convert to MP3 (if required) before sending it to the iPad. If you have a WAV file tucked away you can always go back and re-convert it to any format you like later.
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby Music Wolf » Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:21 pm

[quote="bluessinger45]
Bands have inherent problems so you are doing well if you can keep it together and fun with the three of you. [/quote]

We're heading the other way. On Sunday we are having a trial with a real drummer and, whilst we're looking forward to it, I have real reservations about whether it will work. I've met the guy and he's a nice bloke and a good drummer but it's a question of probabilities. If each band member is available 3 weekends out of every 4 then you can get together as a 3 piece every other weekend. 4 people and you are down to one week in every three which is the point where people start to lose i"]erest.
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby bluessinger45 » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:03 am

Hello again,
feel zonked today - had mid week gig last night!
and we managed to pipe into the in-house PA.
As for your reservations, I agree that you need to find out what peoples objectives are when you join or form a band.
In my experience, unless you establish this before recruitment then you will always be chasing your tail.
Although it's mercenary , the most successful acts I have been in has been where the "driver" has been money. When band members need the money they turn up , suppress "egos" , and seem to work as a team much better to solve logistics issues.
Just my experience over the last 20 odd years on the pubs and clubs..
Before that , I was in original bands trying to "make it" and that brought a completely different set of problems which I spent years solving before one day having the "eureka" moment that I was being played like a cello by some band members ( a most valuable experience)
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Re: Midifile players on the Ipad for Live use

Postby OneWorld » Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:02 pm

We have a chap on the MIR Space Station at the moment. There was another some years ago, who before his space career was something to do with music and he spoke of the difficulties of trying to manage one - all in the same place at the same time doing the same thing, without falling out, getting out their heads, having tantrums etc etc etc

During the interview, when they were talking about getting into space, all the difficulties and such. The interviewer mentioned all the seemingly unsurmontable challenges. The spaceman said yes, it is incredibly difficult but then went on to say "Not half as bad as running a pop group though, and the classical musicians were even worse!"

But anyway, back to the midi file player. I have used tech as opposed to a live player in the past, and used an iPad (but playing mp3) it always turns up on time, doesn't run off with the backing singer, never gets intoxicated by whatever infusion is going about at the time etc etc etc, however, you guessed it, there's a 'but' about to ride into town - it doesn't know decent jokes! Yes I suppose I am preaching to the converted here, you cannot beat live, and best of luck in your venture, after all, it's all about the music, not the personalities - if a chimp could play bass, drums, guitar, keys etc I'd watch it
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