Suggestions for live custom sample based keyboard playing?

Mar 19, 2022
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In my band I play keyboards while drumming. Keyboard-wise I only run samples, there’s no synthesis at all. There are a lot of synth SOUNDS but they’re all from samples I made. No backing tracks. Lots of mellotron sounds modified by me, mixed with other sounds.

I did this with Beatmaker 2 on a 2017 iPad and IK Multimedia iRig Keys. The iPad’s battery has become unreliable and Beatmaker 2 is unhappy with these newer versions of iOS. So it seems it’s time to upgrade. There is Beatmaker 3 but the library of sounds I’ve made in Beatmaker 2 won’t open in version 3 and would have to be recreated detail by detail. If I have to suck it up and reprogram all the sounds I might as well explore other platforms that might fare better going into the future (Beatmaker 3 is not typically being updated anymore, for example).

Before the iPad I used an MPC1000 for these duties. I loved it but they’re not made well and their buttons eventually break. Otherwise they’re kind of amazing but I didn’t want to keep replacing or repairing them so I decided to bail.

MPC Live and Live 2 look ok but they’re too big. My setup isn’t huge but is already too big for the occasional stage.

I checked out Blackbox. It seems well made and is sized perfectly (SMALL) but it seems more oriented towards sequencing. My needs are more that I need a good tool for putting together specific keyboard patches from samples, ease in changing between these patches during a performance with a drum stick in my hand, and running good sounding reverb, delay, etc. I don’t need any kind of sequencing or clip triggering, no need for any kind of synthesis (I make all my samples on desktop), nothing beat making related at all really.

Electron stuff is too expensive and convoluted.

On a computer this stuff’s a piece of cake! All my stuff is apple so getting a laptop would be cost prohibitive. I’m not sure I’d want a laptop on stage anyway.

What would you use for this sampler related activity?


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