Sunday, 29 September 2013

Creating Music Using iPhone iPad Hardware Software Review Part 001



Hi, Im TheWraith517, you can call me Bob...

Introduction Video


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If you have already watched the video above you'll know what these "Mobile Music Creation Review" blog posts are going to be about... and why they have been created..

If not your going to miss things and information if you skip through the videos and posts.
I recommend watching, reading, watching, looking at images and try to follow the blog posts from the beginning, rather than just skimming through the posts and the videos.. 

Paying attention could save you a fair bit of money doing this
  and you may learn something you also didn't know to...

So, ive been set a budget for software and hardware...
I am a pc guru my self, so this apple thing is pretty new to me, but as i am very inquisitive with things, this will be pretty easy for me and I shall explain it as best i can, but feel free to ask questions on the Blog posts, rather than the video comments, keep the info all in one place so to speak...

I am going to start with the Guitar App's and Hardware first... simply because inApp Purchases can be such robbery if you don't understand what your doing OR more importantly what your getting..

KEYBOARD PLAYERS DON'T JUMP AHEAD...
Some of this gear YOU can use, even if you can't play a guitar...

There are many Guitar apps, Some you need to be able to play the guitar, some you DON'T!!
(and you CAN combine the two...)
So you can accomplish a great guitar sound using an actual keyboard, or strumming Pre-Defined Chords on the phone/pad screen, dead easy stuff...

So as you saw in the video, with the allotted budget i decided to opt for a phone, not a pc, mac or laptop, just an old 2nd hand iPhone lol
at least if i get fed up with the music, i still have a phone right? lol

OT:
 if you already use an iDevice and your having iOS 7 Issues, read here about easily downgrading back to iOS 6.1.3 or 6.1.4 your self just using iTunes and the official Apple firmware download's  ;)



Apple iPhone  3GS  8GB
So the first piece of Hardware iPhone 3GS
8GB of storage space = £50
It came from a good source, 1 owner, fairly looked after and going rate at the time £60 to £79 and unknown condition. So first purchase a trusted bargain.  Ber in mind you can't put any memory cards into an iPhone, so an 8GB will always be 8GB, or 6.25GB in reality due to the firmware and on board software using up over a precious gig of your recording space, although you can pipe back out into a PC or AMP/PA. but depending on hardware bought from here on in will depend on what phone connection is needed, so hold off for now.



IK Multimedia iRig
Second piece of hardware is an iRig the original model (so it works on ANY  iPhone  or  iPad, what ever the connector the iDevice has i will still have power options)
Ber in mind the iRig works on ANY iPhone or iPad, but the iRig HD would require varied cables depending on the iDevice input.. 
IE, the iPad or iPhone with the "Lightning Connector" or the "30 Pin connector" as the HD is a digital device using the main input port, rather than the mic in/head phones out like the standard iRig.


IK Multimedia iRig

 So your basic guitar OR bass guitar plugs into this and the other end plugs into the phone or iPad, This is a lot less complex than the USB StealthPlug that many of you may remember for Guitar and Pc/Mac.

Once this is wired up you can go the app store and get a few free versions of IK Multimedia's software. You get a little book with this device listing other hardware and apps and you also get a registration card giving you download access to a manual on their site to.

 This piece of hardware generally retails for around anywhere between £9 and £18, varies on postage and seller, wouldn't pay more than £12 for it.




IK Multimedia iRig HD
 Remember a draw back here is the iRig uses an audio jack, so it's an analogue signal, It wouldn't be as clean as using the iRig HD, but then you must use a specific cable for the  iDevice to plug into, and then you loose access to your devices power socket, you can't have the iPhone/iPad on charge while using it with the iRig HD.. a little blunder from them.. as they could of easily fitted a power port into the side of it. Sadly you will notice i have a few creative and constructive gripes about this company's designs and inApp purchase  morals.
But we shall soldier on with this stuff and see were it goes..    The great thing about the HD, if overlooking the lack of power for your device while on stage, is the fact because its a digital input, theirs no real noise, so you would get the Studio clean sound using the iRig HD over the basic iRig.



IK Multimedia iRig HD



 IMPORTANT SAVING... You get the Lightning connector, the 30 pin connector and a USB cable with the HD version, so this could maybe get your HD studio sound and replace your old usb stealthplug at the same time as well as give you that Missing Lightning cable for the iRig Keys. I opted for the basic iRig so that i had money for other stuff, ber in mind this isn't my money and i am on a budget, which i may reveal at the end.

 The iRig HD sell anywhere from £60 to £80

see why i went for the basic £12 iRig now? lol
that said, if your a pro guitar player and you don't intend to use this on stage for long periods  (IE you can sit off while your device charges) then i truly recommend you get the iRig HD over the basic iRig..


NOTE:
I went with IK because that was the main condition of the deal i was made and i think they chose me as  i have used the USB StealthPlug in videos and have used that software before (on a pc) so i no how stuff works and im a Composer and Mixer, NOT just a Mixer...  Their is an alternative company that produces an Analogue interface and a HD digital interface (both devices also work with IK Software as well as their own AmpKit) that company "Agile Partners" and their products are here AmpKit LiNK HD  The software seams good and also has a range of addon packs giving you more amps and effects.  Their HD device also allows for charging the phone. note though that the site says 

"Charge while you play: With the optional AC adapter, you can charge your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch while you play—a must for gigging"  

It doesn't state whether you can just use your phone charger OR whether you have to buy a separate charger, thinking the worst i would assume its a special adapter to sponge more money out of you
(if anyone has one please comment below and let us know)
and i will add the info here in the future.


First Piece of Software is, AmpliTube (i got the EXACT ONE shown here )
I note that because their are a few versions, be cautious about what you buy...


From The Official Apple Page, Note: red text added by ME

I would avoid ALL the others for now... don't go grabbing them all because the in app purchases i feel are very unfair because they don't transfer between their apps, and you could waste well up to £60 on stuff that they will happily let you essentially buy two or three or even four times between the other LIMITED apps....

So again i reiterate.. don't skip ahead and start buying other stuff or any inApp stuff yet   ;)
they do an AmpliTube Fender for example for £10.49, it comes with a few amps and you can buy 2 addons via the inApp purchase..
4-Track Recorder and Master FX  £6.99.
Midi Control £2.99
In total you would of just spent £20 and 47 pence...  DON'T DO IT
the same goes for the AmpliTube Hendrix and the AmpliTube Slash they are a waste of money!!
All three of them apps want you to buy the same 4-track recorder and midi support.

Personally i think if you BUY the hendrix, fender and slash that they should Unlock with a Restore Purchase inside AmpliTube and i think if you bought the 4-Track or midi support in ONE app, it should restore purchase in ALL the others..but ya no what..  THEY WON'T  meaning you would have to buy them again for AmpliTube its self.. so don't go spending £20.47 x £20.47 x £20.47  a whooping total of  £61.41 on 3 apps  only to find the best app and fully expandable app is the basic looking  AmpliTube.... which will still want the 4-Track and the midi purchasing to use them...



I got my AmpliTube for £6.99 (most their apps were on offer at the time)  it now sells for £13.99

This may sound steep for an iPhone/iPad app, and more expensive than the hendrix, fender and slash versions.. but think on... this is a guitar amp and guitar effects, that is MORE expandable than any of the others AND you can add the others to this without buying them fully. its a bargain as it stands with the £12  iRig.

Upon opening AmpliTube you get to demo some sounds and a tuner and metronome, handy tools removing the need for other random metronome and tuner apps...


This is the recorder interface, the £6.99 in app purchase
that would have to be bought at least 4 times if you got the 4 apps talked about (so far)
So be sure to just get AmpliTube for now...
And only have to buy this Optional Extra ONCE
(note unless you pay the £6.99 you only get 1 recording channel)
Bounce?  means you can move ALL 4 channels onto channel 1, freeing up 3 more channels, not perfect i know, but its better than the iPhone Tascam which appears to of stopped working a long time ago and no ones bothered to update it, shame really..


 


Here is that Master FX which you get along with the 4 track for your £6.99


 The "SONG" Option lets you load an audio file from your iPhone/iPad
so you can jam along with anything you have on your phone
this also has the ability to slow it down during playback to, which is handy for them people who listen to learn. the "No Voice" isn't perfect, but it can mute down some vocal layers within songs, all depends on the mastering of the original track your trying to take vocals away from...



Its still annoying me they would happily have you pay out an extra £39.92 across 4 apps after already buying them apps.. instead of just £9.98, then have you also buy the Fender, Slash and Hendrix individual inApp expansion purchases , even if you already owned them apps in full already..... morally that blows, as does spending any amount of money and still seeing not only pop ups.. but come and look at this app now/cancel boxes,  guys that's fkn SPAM...
They will even let you buy a fender amp in AmpliTube, and negate to tell you if you just bought the fender addon you'd get them all...  luckily im pretty savy with computers, apps and shareware stuff, but im sure many have bought some inApp purchases and then thought sh*t wtf have i just done...
Ide understand if people bought the hendrix, fender or slash, just to have it their and easier to navigate, but them inApp's should be free if you've bought them in ANY other IK app...

Right were was i.. oOOo  yeah  inApps...  Now these inApps i agree with (also shows theirs NO NEED for the other greed when they can make genuine deserved money off these)

 Anyway, other in apps (on ampliTube) you WONT get these on hendrix, slash or fender hence why i said BUY the simple Amplitube....  AmpliTube offers a range of additional guitar amps and effect peddles, generally £1.99 each, which is epic considering the price of the real things... and the availability of some of these things.. go from a guitar and a peddle board, to a guitar and a phone... for less money than a pedal board with NO pedals even on it  : /

Here are some examples of Stomp Boxes as some people call them...
to many of us... their just Guitar Pedals....



























Here are some of the Amp types...
you can change the mic and the distance of the mic
you can also adjust the amp dials like a normal amp





Here are some of the inApp Purchase Options and Prices..








And i bet your wondering what that drum thing is at the top on other screen shots?
It gives you some backing beats to play along with


IF you plan to buy AmpliTube and then buy ALL the bits that come with it, what I would recommend is buy AmpliTube for the £13.99, open it up, go to the store and then by the Expansion for "Fender, Hendrix and Slash"  first...  This will automatically add a lot of the Amp's and Stomp Boxes, reducing what's now in the other store sections. Then look for any other pack offers, only after that should you buy any of the individual inApp purchases  ;)

Part TWO of this "Mobile Music Creation Review" will cover iPhone and iPad keyboards.
(part 3 will cover a mixture of apps, other pianos, synths, inc the iArmonica, bagpipes, even trumpets)

So for now..
what about those who Can't play the Guitar but need a guitar for their music creation?

Well i will be showing in part 2 how to get a Guitar Lead instrument sound using a keyboard with Pitch wheel (and an iPhone/iPad)  but for now let me introduce you to a few guitar apps were you DON'T need to be able to play any instrument at all to get some guitar rhythm stuff going..

and the first one is FREE and has NO Adverts  :D

First up is  StrumStage a free app for iPhone and iPad


StrumStage Splash Screen On iPhone

It comes with one guitar (has 3 others for 69 pence each)
It also has drum beats you can download as inApp purchases
but the great thing about this app is the "Chord Pallets" which download free
(and you can create your own sets of pallets to)

So as long as you have a list of chords on paper or in your head you can tell the app to use a Specific Set of chords and you can alternate between them chords by simply using 3 fingers in random orders while strumming the screen... (and if you chop up a few wires, or have a few cables and TWO iDevices, then nothing would stop you running StrumStage into an iRig on a 2nd device) just remember to keep the volume on the FIRST Device (running strumstage) just under half way, save pushing too many ohms into the 2nd phone, that said many guitars have electromagnetic pickups, so iRig can stand a few ohms like :)

You can see the guitar selection and you can see how using 3 fingers alternates between the chords shown at the top of the app, they can be changes sweeping sideways to pre-set pallets, which can be made be holding the chord icon on the right for a few seconds to reveal the chord pallets, none of which currently cost anything.. besides the 69p guitars.. and paying for drum loops..










































You can also get Real Guitar for £0.69 which sounds nice, but is limited to 2 guitar models, but its more basic and easier to set up if your really stupid like lol, but StrumStage chord changing is easier tbh, but then this has the Open String ability when NO chord is pressed in... yes i tried it with "wish you were here" lol
For 69 pence anyway its an impressive chord database.

Real Guitar Splash Screen





































Chances are that could be run through a 2nd Device to, it just means making sure you have NO effects on the device your strumming, and use the effects on the device that's fed into... Have i got you wondering if you can feed a music keyboard audio output into iRig yet?
well ive used a StealthPlug, on a yamaha keyboard, sending a piano into Native Instruments Guitar Rig 4 with the USB stealthplug and pc lol.

There is also Guitar Room Pro which is kinda cool, £2.99 for a wall of guitars, their is a free version with limitations like a demo version, looks like this, ide only get this if you can't play the guitar and have no plans to, but just want some odd chords and sounds for your music productions, or wish to jam along with someone on one of the other apps (so you both don't sound the same)

Official App Store Image

For Learning Chords ide probably go with "Guitar Suite"  or  "Guitar Suite HD"
(note that the HD is iPad only, IE, downloading one doesn't get you the other)
I got both of these at different stages a while ago using AppGratis for one and AppsGoneFree for the other, pretty good info on FREE iPhone and iPad apps here  
(no jail break needed & its all legal and genuine add free retail apps)

Anyway.. Remember...
Music is all about SOUND, not just melody, an acoustic will always be an acoustic, yet you palm it for effect at times, experimenting is what its all about, who cares if you have 3000+ professional string samples.. so has everyone else with uTorrent and fruity loops...

Last but not least, check out GarageBand, another legend app £2.99 and worth every penny.



 for Part 2 Click Here   :D


feel free to comment and suggest the NAMES of apps...
AVOID POSTING LINKS TO SAVE NOOBS FALLING FOR SPAM
A Simple APP Name Is Enough For Google Search...

also note if your on iOS 8 and would like to get your device back onto iOS 7 read this blog post on identifying your device and iTunes to legally downgrade the iOS.