Thursday, February 3, 2011

iPad Live

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I had a show this past weekend in Minneapolis with my band Ruby Isle. We just released a cover to cover electronic remake of Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction which you can download here. Alot of it was actually done on the iPad using Nanostudio. We had to pull it from iTunes thanks to some legal bullshit so we are giving it away.

Anyway, back to the story, I am in Georgia and I fly up to Minneapolis all the time to play shows. In the past I have taken several different keyboards in addition to some midi gear for my performance. Every time I have flown up there something has been broken in transit. Last time it was a brand new Korg R3 that was amazing but now no longer works as the knob stems were all pushed in and the board broke. I packed everything in a very secure kevlar reinforced suitcase but when homeland security inevitably opened my bags to examine everything they ignored my careful packing and ended up damaging my gear. Not to mention this system required me to check a bag and pay additional fees.

Blurrycam of the setup. I forgot to take
pictures. Luckily Mallman didn't.
This time I decided I was going to drastically cut down on my gear load and eliminate the potential for damage and the need to check a bag. The key to the plan was, of course, my iPad. My setup for this show consisted of my iPad, the Line 6 Midi Mobilizer a Roland SPD-6 drum pad and an Electroharmonix Iron Lung Vocoder pedal. Anyone who has seen any of my bands knows I am vocoder obsessed and this was a crucial part of the setup. the entire rig fit in a little 14" x 14" kevlar reinforced roller bag I got for free when I bought the big useless one I mentioned earlier.

I have several requirements for any setup I use live in Ruby Isle.
  1. It must have a keyboard - I used the soft keys on Nanostudio and Bebot for this.
  2. I need drum pads that trigger samples of my design - The SPD-6 was used for this with the Line 6 Midi Mobilizer to trigger samples in Nanostudio.
  3. I am so happy I
    didn't have to bring a keyboard!
  4. It must have a vocoder with pre-programmed loops for the carrier so I don't have to worry about actually playing the parts live. This allows me to jump up and down and breakdance and do all the normal stuff that makes a good live show. - This was the fun part. I split the signal from the ipad into left and right channels. One went to the room and carried all they keyboards and samples I was playing. The other channel went into the vocoder as the carrier. Since Nanostudio now has channel panning in the mixer I was able to pan each signal to the appropriate channel. It worked like a charm!!!
Things went great, the buttons on the TRG-16 of Nanostudio were great to trigger samples. When the keys were set to medium I was able to play every part I needed to with the double keyboard. Bebot was great for solos when the custom key function was used. Basically, it was a total success. My next goal is to figure out a good way to set the gear up. There are a lot of cables in this setup and it got pretty messy.