#71 How to: Setting up a new iPad for Live Sound
In the past few months, my aging iPad mini 2 has become less of a useful tool and more of a frustration that finds itself left home more often than not. Without being able to upgrade to the newest (or at least a relatively newer) iOS version, the gap between my App updates and the firmware running on gear I see professionally was getting too wide to ignore.
I found myself carrying my 15″ laptop more often than I should, to handle tasks that would typically be the iPad’s bread and butter. Staying up to date on e-mails, scheduling, billing and invoices are all tasks handled easily by a tablet. Playing walk-in music or sound-effects, connecting the cue-bus to a simple RTA or controlling a mixing console remotely, also tasks that play to the best strengths of a more portable device.
So with the push to iOS 11 – I hit my breaking point and ordered an iPad mini 4 replacement. In this video I go through some of the accessories and apps that I find valuable for working in pro audio and live sound. I am in the process of gathering a list of the most popular apps to review in an upcoming video, so please leave a comment with suggestions if you have any. This video is a broader look at what I use my iPad for the most, and what accessories help with those tasks.
One of the most valuable accessories you can find for an Apple device in my opinion, is a simple 3.5mm breakout cable. I set out to make my own with spare parts I had laying around, but after putting together one of them and going online to order parts to make more, I came across the pre-made option pictured to the right. These are only around $13 and work just fine with the iPad, iPhone and even my 2015 MacBook Pro. This allows you to take a 3.5mm stereo output to a standard PcDi, while also giving you an XLR input to the microphone port for connecting up to a mixing console cue-bus or other output.
One item that really has surprised me quite a bit is the bluetooth keyboard case I found for only $27. I’ve never had one of these before, and would hesitate to walk around with it on a job for fear of dropping and breaking it. But as a productivity tool, it had been incredibly helpful. When I’m not walking around with it, this case holds the iPad in a laptop type configuration, and allows me to type much faster than I can directly on the screen. It’s not perfect, but for keeping up with e-mails and invoices, it’s been a game changer.
I also picked up this Griffin Hand-Strap Case for easier grip when I’m walking around mixing. I have never used this model before, but a friend has a very similar styled case that I have used in the past and the hand-strap is very effective in reducing the strain of holding a tablet in one hand for extended periods of time. I’m a bit suspicious of the build quality on this case at first glance, but it functions well so far, and I will report back in a few months with an update on how it’s worked out.
I’m hoping my tablet computing needs should be covered for the next couple of years after this upgrade. I don’t consider myself a heavy tablet user typically, but in the short time I’ve had this one, the added speed of the device itself combined with the bluetooth keyboard case has made a noticeable impact on how often I find myself reaching for it in everyday situations.
Let us know what setup you carry in the FORUM or send a photo & short description to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add them to this post!
***While this article and video concentrate on the Apple iPad – I fully understand that many folks prefer to use non-apple devices for similar tasks. I support your choice to choose the device that fits your needs, and ask that we don’t turn this into an Apple vs. Android debate. I welcome your comments & suggestions for apps and hardware that you find useful, and please send your photos in as well so we can all learn more!***