Best keyboard interface for ipad, mac, garage band


Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Hi,

I am looking for a keyboard/workstation that will mesh well with garage band on my ipad. I travel a lot and want to be able to use it as a writing tool and rough demo creator. I have the interface cables and powered USB ports already that would connect between my ipad and my future keyboard, and I also have a home DAW with a mac book pro laptop where I can import my created files from the ipad. However it is intended as a portable composing rig, not a final product creator.

I'm not fussy about 88 keys because of the size, but I would like some semi weighted/touch responsive keys, no smaller than 61, and some type of interface that would enable me to utilize the garage band drums, such as a drum pad controller. I will be recording into garage band, but the ipad screen is not a workable interface for me for keyboard, string or drums. The Keebler elves maybe, but not me.

I don't really have a budget restriction, but don't want to spend more than $1,200, as It is intended as a composing tool for the road. I have a full size digital piano in the home studio which is not very portable.

I've looked at the Alesis Vi61, but I've read some poor reviews on the software so I thought I'd ask users

Thanks for any advice.

Will
 
Ad

Advertisements

SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
Moderator
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
2,555
Reaction score
1,049
I haven't looked at GarageBand lately, so I don't know whether they've fixed this or not, but one thing to be aware of is that you can't export your tracks to a MIDI file, nor can you transmit (sequence) MIDI data from GarageBand to external MIDI equipment-- that is, GarageBand uses MIDI strictly for getting input from MIDI equipment and controlling virtual instruments. So if you lay down some MIDI tracks in GarageBand, you won't be able to export those MIDI tracks to your Mac afterward-- unless GarageBand has been updated to fix that.

Fortunately, there are some "proper" DAWs available for the iPad, so you might want to look into getting one of them rather than using GarageBand-- unless you want to transfer just audio tracks to your Mac.

I don't have experience with either of the following, but they look pretty good to me:

- Akai Professional MPK261
- Novation Impulse 61
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
This is from the garageband website:

"iCloud allows you to keep your GarageBand sessions up to date across all your iOS devices. Using iCloud Drive, you can import song sketches to your Mac and take them even further, then share your finished piece on any of your devices. You can also import a portable version of a Logic Pro X project and add more tracks. When you bring the project back into Logic Pro, the original tracks are all there, along with the new ones you’ve added in GarageBand."

That's my plan, anyway. :)

Thank for the references. I'll be sure to look them up as I am actively looking for a good interface.

EDIT: Yeah that Akai looks just like what I was imagining I would want to use. Actually the Novation even has a synch with Pro X. Hopefully someone here has used them and can give some real critique. Hard to trust on line anon reviews.
 
Last edited:

SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
Moderator
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
2,555
Reaction score
1,049
I'm personally more inclined toward the Novation I mentioned, but only because it has 9 sliders, whereas the Akai Pro has 8 sliders. If you happen to be interested in drawbar organs, 9 sliders come in handy for emulating the standard 9 drawbars of a Hammond; in fact, many controllers that have 9 sliders have a "drawbar" option where the sliders work the opposite of usual-- i.e., pushed all the way up, or away from you, is the "0" setting, like pushing the drawbars all the way in; and pulled all the way down, or toward you, is the maximum setting.

But if you aren't so interested in drawbar organs, then 8 sliders is plenty! :)

Both of those controllers have assignable aftertouch, which is another thing you might want to keep in mind when shopping around for a controller. Aftertouch is really more of a luxury, since you can usually just use the modulation wheel instead; but some keyboardists are fond of aftertouch. :)
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
1,731
Reaction score
1,190
Location
Lancashire, UK.
Will

A midi keyboard is all you need for iPad and Mac connections if you want a cheaper alternative.

An iPad and midi keyboard will do what you want but and it is a big BUT, not all midi keyboards will work on an iPad unless it is fed through a powered USB hub.

I fell foul of this when I bought a Roland midi keyboard which I returned, a Alesis V49 I then bought worked fine but I did not go down this route and sold it on.

For a workstation look at the Roland Juno DS in both 61 and 88 key versions and a Korg Kross 2 also available in 61 and 88 keys, the 61 key versions would be half your budget whereas the 88 keys about $1000

One thing you will need for your iPad is a genuine Apple’s own Camera adaptor (I am assuming yours has the lightning socket), the camera adaptor will enable the iPad power adaptor to be plugged in as well as the USB cable from the midi keyboard and it ensures two way communication which not all iPad connection devices do which is why I was specific about the Camera adaptor.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Hi Biggles,

Yes, I bought a powered USB made by Anker, and I also have the Apple camera adapter. My old digital piano is not compatible with that set up and it's too big to drag around so that's why I was looking for a new keyboard. I have the newest IPad, so all that's missing is the keyboard part.

I'm not too familiar with what basic midi keyboards would work best with the above set up. Do you know of any?

I looked at the Juno DS and the Korg unit, I know you have the Korg. Is the phrase pad on the roland the same concept as the 16 button section on the korg, and can they be assigned to trigger remote sounds and be played like a drum pad controller with touch sensitivity or do you just assign keys? Or are the preset rhythm samples in the korg/roland units fairly expansive and legit sounding? Garage band has a good number of decent sounding drum kits.
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
1,731
Reaction score
1,190
Location
Lancashire, UK.
The pads on the Kross 2 have multiple used depending upon what mode selection button above the pads is selected.

They can be a drum sequencer where each pad can be a different percussion sound
They can each be assigned to play a pre recorded sound or a sample created on the Kross
They can be used as quick access for Favourite programs/voices/instrument sounds

There are Korg Video Manuals and Roland Product Support videos on Youtube that show each keyboards capabilities/functions. PDF manuals can be download for your perusal, but be warned the Korg is written in Klingon, Korg operating systems are not as intuitive as Roland and do require a considerable effort to learn but once learned it is very quick to then navigate.

There are plenty of drum kits available, then each drum kit can be assigned one of very many styles, there is a Korg Parameter list that you can download from the same Korg page as you can download the full manual.

As for midi keyboards the Alesis v49 worked for me without a hub, I only bought it for the Grandkids to use instead of letting them on either of my Korgs but they soon lost interest hence why it was sold, Garage Band worked well as did an App called Music Studio.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Thank you for that info. I was on the verge of buying the Alesis I mentioned above, but ran into several legit users who said installing the software update was problematic, and that there was a definite lag problem with the unit so I deferred.

While I don't speak Klingon, I have spent a lot of time around musicians of different species, :) but I think I'll do what you did and run down to my local music shop and get hands on the roland and korg units. I've owned a bunch of roland stuff over the years so I will probably find them to be more familiar but I'm open.

Thanks for the info. I'll update this thread after I get my hands dirty.

PS if you can recommend a video that you liked, I'd like the link. So many of them are show offs, or they lack real insight.

Will
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
1,731
Reaction score
1,190
Location
Lancashire, UK.
Will
On youtube the videos produced by the makers are the ones I listed

Korg Kross 2 videos will be labelled as by Video Manual

Roland Juno DS videos will be labelled as by Product Support

The Korg ones are about six in total but the Roland are many more but they are not structured anywhere near as good as the Korg one
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Thanks for those video links, they were helpful and yeah, Roland is not as well structured as Korgs.
So I went to my local guitar center and unfortunately they did not have any display models on the floor for any of the units we have been discussing, but while I was looking for your videos on youtube I came across this video that showed a very interesting portable set up that had this combination: a Korg Micro Key air, which has 61 full size keys with a pitch and a mod wheel, and then a second keyboard, which is an I-rig keys I/O controller, a 25 key mini with 8 pads, 4 rotary controller knobs andsliders for pitch and mod. The Korg kybd supposedly has a very low latency factor and works well with mac book pro and Ipad, and the Irig unit was pretty much designed for the application I am using. I'm curious if anyone has ever used a set up like this where the functions are separate like this one is?
I'm still going to try and find a music store with either or both the Korg / roland kybds set up to use so I can try them out, but I have to admit the two kybd portable set up is intriguing as they work on usb power or batteries and the i-rig has headphone and monitor spk outputs. Haven't read reviews yet, but I'm trying to keep an open mind about what to get.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Oh and as a bonus they've added this software to the Irig I/O purchase:
Live Lite and Studio One Prime which are cut-down versions of Ableton and PreSonus’ DAWs, plus Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE, a 10GB orchestral ROMpler with over 700 instruments, edited, processed and mixed, and Syntronik Pro-V, a sample-based emulation of the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 and Prophet-10 synths, and T-RackS Deluxe and SampleTank 3. T-RackS includes nine modules from IK’s mixing and mastering suite, and SampleTank 3 (33GB) ROMpler has over 4000 multisampled acoustic, electric and electronic instruments of all kinds, endless effects, powerful pitchshifting and timestretching.
 

SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
Moderator
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
2,555
Reaction score
1,049
Studio One Prime can be downloaded for free from PreSonus; you might need a license to use it, but as far as I remember you can get a free license from PreSonus.

Live Lite is also "free" and you need a license to run it; but unlike with Studio One Prime, the only way to get a "free" license for Live Lite is to buy some audio or MiDI equipment (interface, controller, etc.) that includes Live Lite as bundled software-- except you don't get Live Lite, just a license for Live Lite, so you still need to download it yourself from Ableton.

I hope that didn't sound negative or dismissive. I've got both-- Live Lite which was bundled with a controller, and Studio One Prime which I downloaded from PreSonus. Both are good for what they are-- meaning lite versions-- but you might feel constrained by their limits. Live Lite limits the number of tracks you can work with, whereas Studio One Prime doesn't support third-party plugins. Nevertheless you can still do a lot with them as long as you work within their limits. But if you run up against their limits then you might find yourself wanting to upgrade to one of their paid versions. :)
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Well you know bundled software lets them say "Also, more than $$$ of free stuff included", lol.

In the past I've always used reaper and probably won't switch, and I fully agree with you about pretty much anything labeled "lite". They give you a taste, and then you either need or want more. Or both.

However, the sound libraries are what I would be interested in checking out. Although I haven't really made up my mind yet what to buy. I'm hoping to get my hands on those keyboards somewhere, I just have to find a place that displays them near me.
 

SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
Moderator
Joined
Jun 6, 2014
Messages
2,555
Reaction score
1,049
There are some things I like about both Live Lite and Studio One Prime, despite their limitations, so I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm dissing them at all, and on numerous occasions I've recommended Studio One Prime as a free DAW for beginners. I've sometimes considered upgrading to a paid version of both, but that's way down near the bottom of my list of priorities because I've already got a number of other DAWs.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
I think when it comes to DAWs, having lite versions is a good thing since you get to experience them but you're correct, there are so many out there it's hard to justify paying full price for more than one (or maybe two) full price versions.
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top