iOS Music Production

Connections Needed

Yesterday I finished up a few projects, freeing me up to work on my next – getting my gear properly connected. I’ve had a decent workflow, but the recent advances in iOS connectivity has prompted me to reevaluate my workflow – and exposed some blank spots. I’m hoping to draw from some of the expertise in my network to help me come up with a solution that meets my workflow expectations.

When I started yesterday – the 1st connection I wanted to test was using the CCK to connect my iPad Mini to the Novation Circuit. When I unboxed the CCK (which I ordered several months back) I realized I made the oversight of ordering the 30 Pin adapter – instead of the Lightning CCK I needed. I knew I’d have to go swap that out 1st – and as well needed a Powered USB Hub. These 2 issues of course are no big deal, but when I started to look into solutions I realized that the simple CCK + Powered USB Hub wasn’t going to cut it for my workflow.

Reasons for the inadequacy of the CCK + Powered USB Hub solution are several. This inadequacy is due to the overall musical ecosystem I have, and limitations I want to eliminate. And since I’m going to require some manner of CCK + XXX – I started doing research into the possibilities, which led me into some confusion, and to writing this post seeking help!

1st I’ll list my existing ecosystem – then some of the goals I have for interconnectivity etc., with the hopes of receiving some recommendations of an integrated solution to bring it all together.

Hardware:

Novation Circuit

Arturia Beatstep Pro

Novation Launchpad Pro

Novation LaunchControl XL

Korg MS-20 Mini

Korg SQ-1

Numark NV

Audio Interface: Novation Audio Hub 2×4

Computers:

Macbook Pro (Mid 2014 Edition) 16 GB Ram etc.

Dell Inspiron 7737 w/ i7 + 16 GB Ram + Nvidia GE Force 750 etc. (Touchscreen)

Monitors (Macbook Pro)  – 2 External Dell 27″ 4K

Monitors (Dell Inspiron 7737) – 2 External 23″ 1080p

Computer Software:

Both PC + Macbook run Ableton Live 9.6

Mobile + Tablets:

iPad Air (2 – as in 2 devices)

iPad Mini 2

iPad Pro 9.7

iPad Mini 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 2014 Edition

Mobile Connectivity Apps:

Studiomux

MidiMux

Audiobus

Audiobus Remote

Midiflow w/ Controller Remapping + Controller Conditions (add-ons)

TouchOSC

Mobile Music Production Apps:

Modstep (Preferred DAW)

Blocs Wave

Launchpad

Arturia iSpark

ElasticDrums

Fugue Machine

LaunchKey

Zmors

AUM

Sound System:

Logitech Z5500

My Current Macbook workflow Looks like this:

Audio Hub 2×4  – Connected to Macbook via USB

Launchpad Pro + Novation Circuit  – Connected to USB Ports on Audio Hub 2×4

Simple 4 Port Anker USB Expander  – Connected to 3rd USB Port on Audio Hub 2×4

BeatStep Pro + SQ1 + MS-20 Mini + Numark NV – Connected to Simple 4 Port Expander Hub (USB plugged into Audio Hub 2×4)

Logitech Z550 Sound System Connected to Optical (Headphone) port of Macbook Pro via Toslink Cable

1 27″ Dell 4K Monitor Connected to Displayport on Macbook Pro

1 27″ Dell 4k Monitor Connected to HDMI Port on Macbook Pro (this is on HDMI because when I try to connect both via the 2 Displayports the video is immediately aliased)

1 SD Card for Additional Storage in SD Slot on Macbook Pro

Apple Bluetooth Mouse/Keyboard

Ipad mini – Connected to remaining USB Port on Macbook Pro (2nd iPad ((Air)) is used with AudioBus Remote to run 2nd etc. Apps. I use the mini as Primary iOS device because I actually like the smaller size.

Current Remaining unused Macbook Pro Connections – 1 Open DisplayPort on the Macbook Pro

Issues + Limitations:

As you’ll have noticed Above – I didn’t talk Audio Connections, only USB. Currently because of my lack of connection knowledge (or hardware limitations) I can only connect 1 Audio Device at a time to the Novation Audio Hub 2×4.

The devices I have that output Audio are:

MS-20 Mini (Patchbay) – Keyboard is Midi

Novation Circuit

Numark NV

Ipads

What I currently do when I want to use one of these  devices is connect them via RCAs to the Line Input on the Audio Hub 2×4. Here’s where my knowledge is inadequate though – the Audio Hub 2×4 has 2 Balanced Outputs + 2 sets of RCA Outputs that are currently unused on my Audio Hub 2×4. I’ve tried to plug stuff into these – but I’m (perhaps incorrectly) assuming these are for connecting out to a Mixer – or something else, and aren’t going to help me in the manner I want.

And what I want is to have everything connected simultaneously – so that I can use any and all of the above devices without limitations (midi, audio or otherwise).

Also – I want to hook the PC + the Samsung Galaxy Note 2014 Edition into the workflow as well.

So this is where I’m at today – and as I was looking to replace my mistakenly purchased 30 pin CCK – I thought it was as good a time as any to see if I could bring this all together. So far, I have looked at the iConnectMIDI4+ as a potential fix – since it will allow PC/MAC interconnectivity – and seems fairly thorough on Midi-routing. However, I’m not sure if it will work concurrently with what I have – or will help me out with the additional audio inputs I have

So here are my final goals (and let me know if I’m missing any potential inhibitors):

I want to make sure whatever I end up with will transfer MIDI as robustly as possible. I’m very much interested in using MidiFlow to remap, split, reroute Midi including SysEx/NRPN etc.

I want to make sure everything is connected simultaneously (both Audio + Midi) + PC & MAC

And when I want to go Hardware only – I want to make sure I have Powered USB wherever I need it to Connect directly to iOS.

Very Important Requirement is NO unhooking/rehooking Audio/Midi cables when I want to work with whatever devices I choose.

If I’m not mistaken – I’m short 3 audio connections (if my above assumptions about the connections on the Audio Hub 2×4 are correct)

Ideally – I’d like a single interface to add-on that allows me to connect everything I have via USB + Audio + PC + MAC and that will work Concurrently with my Audio Hub 2×4 (mostly so I don’t have to buy an entire new interface) Perhaps this is the iConnectMIDI4+ – but I don’t know

If you’ve made it this far, and can come up with a viable solution – I’ll be glad to buy you a beer or 3, edit something for you, wash your car, or praise you far and wide on the interweb – you tell me!

Thanks!
Jason.

Feel free to post in the comments below – on FB (if you’re here from the Circuit group) – Twitter @Ocsprey – or email me: jasonwcowling@gmail.com – same goes if you need any clarification. I tried to be thorough, but I’m not by any means an expert on connections – so please keep it simple for me!

AudioHub 2×4 Connection Pictures:
4Audiohub-main2 dicer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 replies »

  1. Whats about the iconnectivity audiointerfaces? With one of it u can connect for example mac/ipad and windows system at the same time and midi controllers! Maybe u just have to change the audiointerface?

    I will buy an ipad and this audiointrface to use apps like Thor and Korg gadget. I can connect it to my Pc for recording the stuff in FLstudio and I think I also could connect a Novation Circuit to this audiointerface and use it with Ipad apps because this interface uses some good midiroutings with a midimanagement software

    Like

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