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Using iPad instead of Jamman with Helix?

chuskey

Member
Messages
479
Wanted to get some input on maybe changing my Helix setup a little bit. Right now I a Digitech Jamman that I run through one of the loops on the Helix for backing tracks. The features I use are:

Selecting different tracks

Playing back whole tracks (one shots)

Playing back songs on multiple tracks (intro, middle, end) On this part I have the intro and end as one shots and loop the middle. Once I trigger the intro I can immediately select the track with the middle loop on it and it will finish playing back the intro before switching, so I don't have to worry about timing. Once I'm finished looping I select the end and once it finishes playing the middle loop it switches.

On the Helix I have a volume pedal after the return block for the Jamman so I'm able to fade out the loops

That's pretty much what I use the Digitech for. If I'm just doing a live loop I usually use the Helix looper.

In addition I have a tablet on a stand that I use for lyrics using BandHelper.

My question is this: Is there a way to use an iPad with the lightning connector to USB to accomplish all of this with just the Helix and iPad?

A couple of things that I've looked into:

Loopy HD. Doesn't do one shots and can't select load sessions via MIDI. The one shots is a deal breaker, and having to go into the app to change sessions for different songs would be a pain.

I've looked at some backing track programs, but they don't seem to have a lot of midi control and doing a setup where it's one shot, going into a loop, then to another one shot seems to be elusive.

In a perfect world it would be awesome to find an app that could play back the way that the Jamman does and be midi controlled. I'd love to be able to create presets for each song and have midi select the right loops when I load the preset (that may be asking for too much). Reason being I'd prefer not to have to jump from app to app on the iPad to go from lyrics, to selecting loops, then back to lyrics in between songs.

But even if I can find something that mimics what I'm able to do with the Jamman and eliminate a pedal that would be awesome!
 

kiki_90291

Member
Messages
4,306
I've actually been exploring this lately and haven't found any great solutions. Ostinator comes close, but the sample loading process is clunky. Beatmaker 2 is supposed to work for this, but I haven't tried it yet. Other options I looked at:

SAMPL - has potential but reviews note that it crashes when you add the in-app purchase that enables you to import samples, plus non-existent documentation.

Sample Lab - buggy, crappy reviews.

LP-5 - Hmmm . . . looks like it should work. I need to revisit - not sure why I dropped this? Might have gotten lost in the shuffle.
 

kiki_90291

Member
Messages
4,306
Launchpad would be perfect for this, but it doesn't respond to MIDI - you can load your own samples, set to loop or one shot, load multiple samples. Unfortunately, you need to use their hardware or the ipad screen.
 

chuskey

Member
Messages
479
I've actually been exploring this lately and haven't found any great solutions. Ostinator comes close, but the sample loading process is clunky. Beatmaker 2 is supposed to work for this, but I haven't tried it yet. Other options I looked at:

SAMPL - has potential but reviews note that it crashes when you add the in-app purchase that enables you to import samples, plus non-existent documentation.

Sample Lab - buggy, crappy reviews.

LP-5 - Hmmm . . . looks like it should work. I need to revisit - not sure why I dropped this? Might have gotten lost in the shuffle.
I'm very frustrated by the limited options to perform such a seemingly simple task. The iPad is essentially a powerful computer and I can't find a way to duplicate relatively simple functions performed by a very simple loop pedal. I guess more people aren't asking for this functionality or it would be there, but it seems like this would be something a lot of people could use.

I looked at Ostinator and was initially hopeful. I didn't see a good way for loading samples, plus switching them on the fly. It seemed to stick to a very simple loop and go type of operation.

Beatmaker 2 looks cool, but it way overkill for what I need and from looking through the manual it looked like it may be complicated to setup what you would need for a live set. May give it a try anyway as a music creating app, but I don't know that it will fit the bill for what we're discussing.

Haven't looked at SAMPL or Sample Lab, but based on what you're saying doesn't sound promising.

LP-5 seems interesting, but I don't see any way of leading from one track into another. It would need some type of follow actions like you can setup in Ableton.

I've looked at lots of "backing track" apps, but none of them seem to handle looping. Just one shot or play through.

I saw an app TRAX 2 which actually looked like it could work, except there doesn't seem to be any MIDI support. Kind of same thing with Launchpad.

I'm using BandHelper (same people as SetlistMaker) and they are SO CLOSE to doing this. You can attach multiple recordings to songs, and it kind of has looping capabilities, but doesn't playback/loop from one track to another seamlessly. The developer has said that it's a known limitation and there are no direct plans to implement performance grade playback looping.

Loopy HD is another almost there app. It has no support to one shot/play once tracks and while there are a lot of midi binding options trying to replicate a verse/chorus/bridge setup is clunky. The developer is working on a more robust solution that would do this, but it's been in development for a couple of years now.

This CAN'T be that complicated a need. Several apps are so close to being able to do it. Why wouldn't someone replicate what most all hardware loopers can do?

If you come across something that works let me know, and I'll be sure to as well!
 

kiki_90291

Member
Messages
4,306
I'm very frustrated by the limited options to perform such a seemingly simple task. The iPad is essentially a powerful computer and I can't find a way to duplicate relatively simple functions performed by a very simple loop pedal. I guess more people aren't asking for this functionality or it would be there, but it seems like this would be something a lot of people could use.

I looked at Ostinator and was initially hopeful. I didn't see a good way for loading samples, plus switching them on the fly. It seemed to stick to a very simple loop and go type of operation.

Beatmaker 2 looks cool, but it way overkill for what I need and from looking through the manual it looked like it may be complicated to setup what you would need for a live set. May give it a try anyway as a music creating app, but I don't know that it will fit the bill for what we're discussing.

Haven't looked at SAMPL or Sample Lab, but based on what you're saying doesn't sound promising.

LP-5 seems interesting, but I don't see any way of leading from one track into another. It would need some type of follow actions like you can setup in Ableton.

I've looked at lots of "backing track" apps, but none of them seem to handle looping. Just one shot or play through.

I saw an app TRAX 2 which actually looked like it could work, except there doesn't seem to be any MIDI support. Kind of same thing with Launchpad.

I'm using BandHelper (same people as SetlistMaker) and they are SO CLOSE to doing this. You can attach multiple recordings to songs, and it kind of has looping capabilities, but doesn't playback/loop from one track to another seamlessly. The developer has said that it's a known limitation and there are no direct plans to implement performance grade playback looping.

Loopy HD is another almost there app. It has no support to one shot/play once tracks and while there are a lot of midi binding options trying to replicate a verse/chorus/bridge setup is clunky. The developer is working on a more robust solution that would do this, but it's been in development for a couple of years now.

This CAN'T be that complicated a need. Several apps are so close to being able to do it. Why wouldn't someone replicate what most all hardware loopers can do?

If you come across something that works let me know, and I'll be sure to as well!
I'm exactly where you are - I can't believe there's nothing like this already out there. Thinking about buying a RC-30 but hate spending the money when so many things seem tantalizingly close. I'll play around with LP-5 a little tonight. I'm beginning to remember why I gave up on it - the documentation is worthless!

I'll definitely update if I find something that works. I't looks like the Bilbao Gadget (in app purchase) in Korg Gadget will do one shots, but not loops . . .
 

chuskey

Member
Messages
479
I'm exactly where you are - I can't believe there's nothing like this already out there. Thinking about buying a RC-30 but hate spending the money when so many things seem tantalizingly close. I'll play around with LP-5 a little tonight. I'm beginning to remember why I gave up on it - the documentation is worthless!

I'll definitely update if I find something that works. I't looks like the Bilbao Gadget (in app purchase) in Korg Gadget will do one shots, but not loops . . .
I can't believe nothing will do this!

My Digitech Jamman Stereo works fine for this, but I'm using an iPad for lyrics already and with the camera connector kit I can pass audio and Midi through my Helix. Just seems redundant to have to carry another pedal, power supply, cables, etc for something that the iPad should be able to do easily. Plus reduces the amount of floor space and pedals I have to mess with.

I wish I knew how to code, I'd just write something myself! :)
 

kiki_90291

Member
Messages
4,306
Update on Korg Gadget and Launchpad: no dice.

I bought a couple of sampling gadgets for Gadget ($10 down the tubes) - Bilbao is a one shot sampler, but the samples are limited to 5 seconds. Abu Dhabi is a slicer that will loop samples, but only a given slice and the slices are really short.

Launchpad is completely unresponsive to MIDI as far as I can tell.

LP-5 gets close, too, but no one shot and it looks like all the loops have to be even multiples of each other.Not sure I want to spend another $10 to unlock it since it does not look like it will work. It might actually be worth contacting the developer to see if they'd be interested in developing something that does what we're looking for - this app actually seems the closest to what we want - I have no idea what it would take to make the changes, though . . .
 

chuskey

Member
Messages
479
Update on Korg Gadget and Launchpad: no dice.

I bought a couple of sampling gadgets for Gadget ($10 down the tubes) - Bilbao is a one shot sampler, but the samples are limited to 5 seconds. Abu Dhabi is a slicer that will loop samples, but only a given slice and the slices are really short.

Launchpad is completely unresponsive to MIDI as far as I can tell.

LP-5 gets close, too, but no one shot and it looks like all the loops have to be even multiples of each other.Not sure I want to spend another $10 to unlock it since it does not look like it will work. It might actually be worth contacting the developer to see if they'd be interested in developing something that does what we're looking for - this app actually seems the closest to what we want - I have no idea what it would take to make the changes, though . . .
Thanks for the update! I played around last night with some backing track apps hoping to find that needle in the haystack app that would do this and of course I didn't.

The only thing I haven't tried yet is Beatmaker 2. I may play around with that tonight. If I have any luck with it I'll post an update.
 

mbenigni

Member
Messages
9,614
This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I've been through a few looping apps and none of them have quite done the job. Most are aimed at vocalists/ beat boxers (beatbox-ers?) who are expected to interact directly with the iPad itself - not with a MIDI controller and instrument. Everyday Looper, Loopy HD, etc. etc. etc. A lot of people speak highly of Loopy HD but for me, weirdly, its UI was intermittently unresponsive. I'd touch the screen and, about half the time, nothing would happen. Not what you want in a looper...

It's been a while since I've tried using my iPad as a looper (have been futzing with a Digitech Trio+ more recently) so I can't help with specific recommendations to meet your needs. I can't even recall which support MIDI control and which don't. I remember being really excited about the multi-track looper built into TC Helicon's Voice Jam Studio app, just because it has one of the most sensible GUI's I've ever seen for this purpose. But here again, I don't remember any specifics regarding MIDI, etc.

http://musicappblog.com/voice-jam-studio-review/

I'm considering just going back to a Windows laptop when the time (by which I mean "money") comes, and getting back up to date with Ableton Live.
 

kiki_90291

Member
Messages
4,306
This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I've been through a few looping apps and none of them have quite done the job. Most are aimed at vocalists/ beat boxers (beatbox-ers?) who are expected to interact directly with the iPad itself - not with a MIDI controller and instrument. Everyday Looper, Loopy HD, etc. etc. etc. A lot of people speak highly of Loopy HD but for me, weirdly, its UI was intermittently unresponsive. I'd touch the screen and, about half the time, nothing would happen. Not what you want in a looper...

It's been a while since I've tried using my iPad as a looper (have been futzing with a Digitech Trio+ more recently) so I can't help with specific recommendations to meet your needs. I can't even recall which support MIDI control and which don't. I remember being really excited about the multi-track looper built into TC Helicon's Voice Jam Studio app, just because it has one of the most sensible GUI's I've ever seen for this purpose. But here again, I don't remember any specifics regarding MIDI, etc.

http://musicappblog.com/voice-jam-studio-review/

I'm considering just going back to a Windows laptop when the time (by which I mean "money") comes, and getting back up to date with Ableton Live.
Voice Jam looks interesting, but I can't find anything that definitively says you can control it with external MIDI controllers or import audio files. Like with most apps, the documentation sucks :) It looks like it should work, but I'm going to go broke spending $10 on app after app just trying to find one that works . . .
 

mbenigni

Member
Messages
9,614
Voice Jam looks interesting, but I can't find anything that definitively says you can control it with external MIDI controllers or import audio files. Like with most apps, the documentation sucks :) It looks like it should work, but I'm going to go broke spending $10 on app after app just trying to find one that works . . .
Amen re: lousy docs and going broke in dribs and drabs. (I call this process "kissing frogs".) I'll revisit Voice Jam ASAP and report back.
 

mbenigni

Member
Messages
9,614
Amen re: lousy docs and going broke in dribs and drabs. (I call this process "kissing frogs".) I'll revisit Voice Jam ASAP and report back.
Just checked this out and it looks like TC recently added an in-app purchase adding extensive MIDI support. It was reasonable ($3) so I grabbed it. I'm glad to see they're still supporting this app. There are also IAPs to add additional tracks, "professional", customizable vocal effects, etc.

I haven't had a chance to actually test the MIDI yet but I will keep you guys posted. If things work as advertised, I'll probably go all in on the rest... sooner or later.
 

kiki_90291

Member
Messages
4,306
Just checked this out and it looks like TC recently added an in-app purchase adding extensive MIDI support. It was reasonable ($3) so I grabbed it. I'm glad to see they're still supporting this app. There are also IAPs to add additional tracks, "professional", customizable vocal effects, etc.

I haven't had a chance to actually test the MIDI yet but I will keep you guys posted. If things work as advertised, I'll probably go all in on the rest... sooner or later.
Excellent - looking forward to hearing what you find. Fingers crossed.
 

chuskey

Member
Messages
479
Just checked this out and it looks like TC recently added an in-app purchase adding extensive MIDI support. It was reasonable ($3) so I grabbed it. I'm glad to see they're still supporting this app. There are also IAPs to add additional tracks, "professional", customizable vocal effects, etc.

I haven't had a chance to actually test the MIDI yet but I will keep you guys posted. If things work as advertised, I'll probably go all in on the rest... sooner or later.
Also looking forward to what you find. Thanks for contributing to the discussion!

I found this app yesterday: http://www.grouptheloop.com/

I posted some questions on the forum and it hits most of the marks. I haven't downloaded it yet. The one thing it doesn't do is allow for one shot/play once loops. I suppose as a workaround you could have an empty group cued up to start after the loop you want to "end". I may bite the bullet and buy it to try it out.

I'm with you @kiki_90291 at not wanting to go broke $10 at a time :)
 

chuskey

Member
Messages
479
This looks pretty awesome, actually. Looks like I have another frog to kiss...
Let me know what you find out! I have work today and a function to go to tonight so I won't have the chance to mess with it until tomorrow likely.

It looks like the developer is pretty active on the forums and there's still a lot of development going into the app. I think it's promising!
 

mbenigni

Member
Messages
9,614
Briefly - until I'm at a real keyboard. First impressions of Group the Loop are extremely positive. UI is just about perfect, especially for changing between song parts. MIDI is present and accounted for (though I haven't tested it yet.) Clip import/export looks like it's covered via AudioShare (again, have yet to test.). Likely my new go-to. Def. worth $10.

More soon, along with new thoughts re: Voice Jam and Trio+.
 






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