Switching Teams


I am an avid SPC music sketchpad user but otherwise find the Android really lacking in the music production apps department! The openness of the system makes for inconsistent support and there is a huge latency issue. And no midi!

If I have adequate setup time i will bring my laptop with Abelton Live and a controller, but for tight gigs such as Sonic Circuit’s open mic night i will use a rig consisting of a droid tablet triggering loops via the SPC app and an iPod touch played via the Fingerist for “live” keys. However I wanted a mobile alternative for DJ gigs and found the droid DJ apps didn’t quite deliver. So I finally broke down and got an iPad, albeit a refurb first generation so I appear to be an early adopter rather than a cheapskate. I now use the iPad with iRig MIX, an inexpensive mixer for iPad and iPhone.  You can either mix two devices, or use a magic cable that splits the left and right signal to use the iRig like a mixing controller between two virtual decks. I was disappointed and a little surprised that iRig’s DJ app is only for iPhone but it does run fine in x2 mode on the iPad (UPDATE: iPad version now available). Also the iRig is app neutral so other apps such as DJay can be used with it instead. Here is a photo of me at this year’ Capital Pride arts stage. This is very quick and easy to setup compared to the laptop, which was in turn much easier to setup than CD players and turntables! And I get to use the iPad to obsessively watch episodes of The Good Wife!

As far as other music apps go, I really enjoy AKAI SynthStation, and Nanostudio on iPad. But the midi connections are a little complicated. Apple mucked about with the power for USB devices to thwart aftermarket products, so even after you buy the overpriced $30 camera kit there is no guarantee your controller will work with it. Being the gear whore I am I own 5 midi keyboard controllers. Only two will work with the iPad–the Korg Nanokey and my Behringer UMX49.

Photo by Dave Dunham