Using Garageband For Ipad With Midi Controller

16.04.2020
    30 - Comments
Here in North America the NHL playoffs are now in full swing and perhaps you're inspired to play some rocking organ! With GB on the iPad we get some great keyboard sounds with nifty screen controls! N

MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. The ability to change phrases of music after you’ve recorded it is the main benefit of using MIDI. For instance, if you’ve written a piano riff using a MIDI Controller, you can go back and adjust the timing, velocity, rhythm, as well as the pitch of the note. Finally, simple clear advice on how to connect a MIDI keyboard to an iPad using cables. This article makes it easy to understand the simplest options that will have you playing piano with your iPad in no time. Which adapter you'll use will depend on whether your MIDI keyboard has its own power supply.

Here in North America the NHL playoffs are now in full swing and perhaps you’re inspired to play some rocking organ! With GarageBand for iPad we get some great keyboard sounds with nifty screen controls! Not only can we use these keys in our songs that we’re recording, but as I explained in a recent tutorial, live use is also a possibility!


Setup and Equipment Needed

There are a few things we need.

  • Controller Keyboard with power supply - There are many to choose from and I use an Axiom Pro 61. You will definitely need the power supply as the iPad does not provide power through it’s dock port. If you want to use the Korg Nano series, you will need a USB hub with power supply.
  • Camera Connection Kit - Our keyboard controller communicates with GB through this device.


Axiom Pro 61

Apple's Camera Connection Kit

Controls

Each instrument has it’s own layout (organ with drawbars, synths with filter controls) but also there are some functions just above the keyboard and these will vary with the instrument selected. For example, “Sustain” will be on piano but not organ, organ will have the “Rotary” switch for the Leslie, all depending on the instrument.


Although we’re going to be using a keyboard controller, if you want to use the onscreen keyboard, you get different controls for how your screen keyboard responds. On the far left is an “Octave” plus and minus. A middle button for “Glissando”, “Scroll”, “Pitch” which vary again depending on the instrument selected and the right side has a “Scale”, “Arpeggiator” and “Keyboard Layout”.

“Glissando” lets you slide across the keys like a real keyboard would. Think of the piano player using the back of his hand and sliding up or down the keys.

“Scroll” allows you to play a note and while holding it, slide the keyboard up or down. Useful if you need to get into different octaves of the on screen keyboard quickly.

“Pitch” is a like a pitch bend wheel but lets you pitch up or down between notes simply by sliding your finger. Great for the vintage synths!

“Scale” is great for solos if you want to try different sounding scales in a piece of music. Once you pick the scale you want to use, the keyboard becomes more like a single row marimba minus the #/b keys. If you use a kb controller, you will still have all the notes available but you can learn what notes are used by playing them on the iPad and matching them on your keyboard. You’ll soon be playing “Klezmer” with ease!


“Arpeggiator” is your freedom to play multiple notes with one chord held down. You can choose note order, rate, and octave range. Great for dance tunes or your version of “Teenage Wasteland”! Unfortunately, the arpeggiator does not work with a KB Controller.


“Keyboard Layout/Velocity/Key Controls” - You can choose how you would like the onscreen keyboard to be set up with choices for one or two keyboards and octave range.
“Velocity” on and off is simple enough but you also can control the velocity range depending on the instrument (no velocity for organ since there is none!) left to the middle of the screen.
“Key Controls” simply turns on and off the view of the middle button for “Glissando”, etc.
There is also a hidden feature that is very cool and similar to an aftertouch on a KB controller. Load in the “Vintage Lead” preset under “Synth Lead” and strike a note. Now move your finger up and down that note.. instant filter sweep!

Keyboard Controller

Plug your keyboard into your Camera Connection Kit and make sure it’s secure as I find it can pop out easily. If it does, you may need to restart your iPad to get control again. Open up GB and navigate to the “Keyboard” instrument. Once this opens you can then select from pianos,organs, synths, etc. by tapping on the instrument in the middle of the screen. You can even store your own presets.
Again, think of the iPad screen as the controls for the organs drawbars or synths filters. Unfortunately GB won’t record this data during recording. Pitch bend and Mod wheels will respond on your controller as will velocity and after touch. Also, there are no ways to assign a KB controller’s sliders or knobs to say, organ drawbars or synth knobs, although I did find my “master” slider with MIDI CC#7 controlled instrument volume.

Using “Smart Instruments”

One feature I wish GB would allow is the use of “autoplay” but controlled via the KB controller. But there are some interesting ideas you can do by combining the “autoplay” feature and your keyboard. For example, select “Smart Keyboard” and choose one of the 4 “autoplay” modes. You then will see 3 bars with a chord on the top bar. The bar with the chord plays both left and right hand accompaniments, the middle bar is right hand only and the bottom is left hand bass. If you hit the top bar, you could solo on the KB controller. The middle bar could allow you to try bass combinations such as G-G/F-G/E or perhaps a piano bass line with a distinctive melody. Be careful though as the sustain is used most likely and can mush up your sound in the bass line. Using the bottom bar would allow you again more right hand solos or your own accompaniment.

If you want any electric or acoustic bass instruments, you will need to use “Smart Bass”. Using the acoustic bass gives a feature that is hard to emulate on the KB controller unless you get good with the pitch bend wheel.. sliding your finger along a fretless neck. Simply select Acoustic Bass, switch the “Chords” to “Notes” and tap on the screen. It adds some realism to the bass line and with some practice, can give some convincing results. Further editing can be done on GB on your Mac.


Garageband For Ipad Download

“Smart Guitar” is very similar to the smart keyboard and bass features with one additional feature. If you use your KB Controller, you can strike chords on your keys!Now you can use the “autoplay” feature for arpeggiated chords and “strum” chords on your keyboard. Great too for having ostinato picking patterns with multiple chord changes.

Using Garageband For Ipad With Midi Controller Free



Recording Tips

First and foremost.. PRACTICE! Yes.. I said that again as I did in the last tutorial. GB on the iPad does not allow editing like GB on a Mac . Not even MIDI editing for wrong notes. Maybe in version 2.. BUT.. you can slow down the tempo, unlike the Guitar/Audio recording section, and speed it up after. If needed later, you can open up the song on your Mac and edit it there. You also can save time by recording repetitive parts and then looping them. Simply record your part, double tap on the track region and select “Loop”.

If your timing is not that great or you need to tighten up a section, “Quantization” will help. Simply tap on the top right “Mixer” in the Track view and select your quantization value. Use the fastest value you played. For example, if a lead synth line played as fast as 16th notes, use the 1/16 Note value. Quantization will also affect all of the tracks regions in a section! But.. you can have different quantization on each section if a part gets moved from one section to another. Confused? Yeah.. me too at first. If you quantize a part in Section A to 1/8 notes but then move it to Section B that is quantized to 1/16 notes, the new part will show “Multiple”. This is something I seriously hope Apple fixes as it’s frustrating if you need multiple quantizations within a section.

Also, don’t be afraid to record a part and try different instruments as your song may take on a whole new flavor choosing a clav instead of a piano for example. Try duplicating the track with a similar synth but with a different filter cutoff and panned hard left and right. Or use two totally different synths. Bass lines can get really fat with this idea! Slow your song down and play in your own idea of an arpeggiated pattern.. speed up and loop!
Stay tuned for more GarageBand for iPad tips and tutorials. Till next time..don’t drive your neighbors nuts with the Minimoog playing Axel F or Tom Sawyer synth leads.

What is Audiobus? — Audiobus isan award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you useyour other music apps together. Chain effects on your favouritesynth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app likeGarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface outputfor each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive asynth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDIkeyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear.And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.

Download on the App Store

Audiobus is the app that makes the rest of your setup better.

in General App Discussion

I just switched from Andriod to iPhone, and one of the big reasons for the switch was because of the music apps available on the iPhone. So after I got my iPhone, one of the first things I did was start looking into how I can connect my keyboard controller and use my phone as basically a portable synth module. I read that back on the old 30-pin iPhones, you could use the camera connection kit to connect to a usb midi interface. But I have a modern lightning iPhone, so I can't do that. But then it occurred to me that the cable that came with my iPhone is already a lightning to usb adapter, except that the gender on the usb side is male instead of female. So I bought a usb coupler to go to female, and connected it to my usb midi interface, and I tried playing my keyboard controller into Garage Band. It didn't work.

How to get garageband songs off ipad. Aug 09, 2012  navigate to iTunes (which should be open while you do this) Click on your ipad icon at the left, then in the main window that displays (normally the Summary page) click on the Apps tab. After the page loads, scroll down to the File Sharing section and select Garageband. Your file will be listed. Jan 19, 2018  Share your Music Memo to iMovie. Open Music Memos. Tap at the top of the screen. Tap the Music Memo you’d like to share, then tap the waveform to open the Music Memo in Details view. Tap, then tap Copy to iMovie. Your Music Memos is exported to iMovie, and iMovie opens automatically.

So what midi solutions are there for lightning? I mean, besides those crazy expensive interfaces like the iRig MIDI.

Comments

  • The camera connection kit exist in lightning, that's what I use

  • You mentioned you have a ' lightning to USB adapter' which is actually just the lightning syncing and charging cable. It simply won't work with a USB MIDI keyboard.

    What you need is the 'Lightning to USB Camera adapter' which has a female USB on the other end. It is designed to turn your iPhone into a USB host, which can receive photos, host MIDI, and even support class compliant audio devices for audio recording.

    Just buy the apple branded item. Other manufacturers are known to have problems that make MIDI unusable.

  • Yeah, definitely get the Apple adapter. I use the short cable version. It stays attached much better. It is so cool being able to play into an iPhone and you get these awesome sounds coming out. Use some good headphones too.

  • Do you need suggestions on good synth or piano apps?

    Right off the bat I can recommend Garageband. It's cheap and is one of the easiest mutlitrack recorders to learn and use.

  • +1 on Garageband. Exceptional value for money and works nicely on phone sized screens

  • Thanks for your replies. Okay cool, I'll get the lightning camera adapter. And I already have Garageband on my iPhone, but if anyone has any recommendations for other synths or samplers, please let me know.

    Anyway, one question about the lightning adapter: I have an M-Audio Keystation keyboard controller, which has a midi out port, but it also has usb so you can go directly into a computer. So does anyone know if I can use the Keystation's usb port to just go right into the iPhone (through the lightning adapter)? It would be nice to not have to use a midi interface at all.

  • Yes it will work, I love the 32 keys version , I assume the other ones work too ?
    Don't forget to check nanostudio, Magellan , Sunvox, pixitracker,Cassini, mitosynth, thumbjam drumjam, seek-beat, triqtraq, figure,pepp, audioshare, audiobus, loopy, mtdaw, all the AUFXapps, and apesoft/amazing noise( idensity,stria,dedalus,reverb,pulsaret..)
    I personally prefer the iPad but.. The iPhone is so good for making music allready

    Ps: if you don T know where to start , just get nanostudio and audioshare

  • Keystation must be core midi compliant for it to work.

  • In addition to the recommends above? Animoog is also amazing.

  • Don't know how that question mark got in there! All the recommendations are ones I'd agree with.

  • The camera connection kit that I ordered came today, and I'm happy to report that it works great in garage band. I was playing around with the sampler function in garage band, and I was wondering if there's a way to map different samples to different keys spans within a single sample patch, instead of only having one single sample on each sample track. Like how a real hardware sampler would work. I couldn't find any way to do it. If there isn't a way to do it in GarageBand, is there another app that would be up to the task?

  • I guess my question would be more appropriate in a garage band forum. Fair enough.

  • edited October 2015

    @pierre said:
    The camera connection kit exist in lightning, that's what I use

    Do you use it with the iPhone? According to Apple, it is not compatible with iPhone - only iPad. Have you actually tried it to connect MIDI to an actual iPhone? Thanks.

  • edited October 2015

    @Hmtx said:
    You mentioned you have a ' lightning to USB adapter' which is actually just the lightning syncing and charging cable. It simply won't work with a USB MIDI keyboard.

    What you need is the 'Lightning to USB Camera adapter' which has a female USB on the other end. It is designed to turn your iPhone into a USB host, which can receive photos, host MIDI, and even support class compliant audio devices for audio recording.

    Just buy the apple branded item. Other manufacturers are known to have problems that make MIDI unusable.

    As mentioned above to @pierre, Apple says the camera adapter is not compatible with iPhone - only with iPad. And I have found it not to work. Have you used it with iPhone and did you find it to work?

  • @Martygras said:
    Yeah, definitely get the Apple adapter. I use the short cable version. It stays attached much better. It is so cool being able to play into an iPhone and you get these awesome sounds coming out. Use some good headphones too.

    Hi @Matygras, it sounds like you have used the Apple camera adapter to connect MIDI to the iPhone. Was this Lightning or 30-pin? And what MIDI controller and MIDI adapter dd you use? I can't get it to work with my Yamaha P105 into iPhone 6. Thanks!

  • @Explodey said:
    Thanks for your replies. Okay cool, I'll get the lightning camera adapter. And I already have Garageband on my iPhone, but if anyone has any recommendations for other synths or samplers, please let me know.

    Anyway, one question about the lightning adapter: I have an M-Audio Keystation keyboard controller, which has a midi out port, but it also has usb so you can go directly into a computer. So does anyone know if I can use the Keystation's usb port to just go right into the iPhone (through the lightning adapter)? It would be nice to not have to use a midi interface at all.

    Hi @Explodey - I'd very much like to know if you managed to get the Lightning-USB to make a MIDI connection to the iPhone. I am unable to make it work. How did you make out? And if you got it to work, what was the trick? Thanks.

  • I'd never thought to try the Camera Connection Kit with my iPhone, as I normally use my external MIDI controllers with my iPad. I just connected my XKey controller to my iPhone 6+ (iOS 9) with GarageBand, and it works as expected.

  • @crzycrs, I'm not sure what the question is, but to clarify, I was responding to @polarbreeze who was wondering if an iPhone would work with an external MIDI controller when connected with the Camera Connection Kit. And I confirmed that yes, it does.

  • Yes, of course, what's the problem, did 9 break it?

  • edited October 2015

    Yes, the CCK has worked on iPhones for USB midi and audio interfaces since iOS7 ( or 6?) I believe. There may be a minimum device requirement, perhaps when lightning was introduced, not sure.

  • Ooh and if you get the power warning you can just put a simple unpowered USB hub between the cck and your midi device. For midibkeyboards you can connect almost every keyboard this way.

  • @Jocphone said:
    +1 on Garageband. Exceptional value for money and works nicely on phone sized screens

    +2