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Eigenharp iPad synth setup

My Eigenharp iPad synth setup is getting insane, but at last is sounding great now, the upside is that there are many very cheap and amazing apps.

To me it’s turning out as a great alternative to hardware synths. The software is written for known devices and can be fully tested and supported by the creators. They don’t have to worry about compatibility problems and host differences, like with AudioUnits and VSTs. With an ultra-high speed MIDI interface like iConnectMIDI, the latency and throughput rates are so low that it feels more like a plugin than like an external synth, transmitting at USB speeds. The Matrix USB/SPDIF interface outputs the audio from the iPad digitally to my Metric Halo ULN-2 where I can mix it in with other audio and listen to it with a world-class headphone amplifier through my wonderful Bowers & Wilkins P5s. The sounds from Animoog, WaveGenerator, Magellan and Sunrizer can totally rival with computer software synths like this. At the same time I also use my Moog Slim Phatty to provide all the goodness of the analog sounds, it’s a great combination.

Sadly, the wires are becoming quite a mess, which is not optimal, but given the quality of the final solution and the affordability of the iPad synths, it’s actually a very economical solution since all the hardware can be reused amongst apps.

Interestingly, the multi-touch screen of the iPad makes synth developers think about per-note expression, which MIDI-centric computer solutions don’t do. The iPad synths might actually be quicker in offering a solution for the full expressivity of the Eigenharp, PPG WaveGenerator already does in its next version (which I’m testing) and it’s planned for Animoog also. I’m sure others will follow soon after that.

Exciting times!

Posted in Configuration, Controllers, Setup, Software.

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One Response

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  1. Phillippa Lasocki says


    I’ve read a lot of your posts and so firstly want to thank you for giving your time to share so much valuable information.

    I have been trying to use your diagram above to help me build my own eigenharp setup, but I keep getting confused as to what hardware is required and what each piece of equipmet’s purpose is. I was wondering if you could advise me on the best possible setup for my needs.

    Firstly, I would like to connect my eigenharp pico to my ipad as you have done, From what I gather, I will need:
    – an audio interface
    – a cable for laptop to audio interface (usb to midi?)
    – a camera connection kit
    – a cable from the audio interface to the camera connection kit
    – hardware to get the audio out of my ipad and possibly connected to a PA system (although I’m not sure what hardware I would need for this)
    I notice you use the iconnect midi. Is this serving as an audio interface?
    I also recall reading someone mentioning they use the irig instead of the camera connection kit. Is this a preferable alternative? What would I need for this setup?

    Secondly, I like the idea of being able to access different effects and to alter their parameters whilst improvising. If I assign volume to touch sensitivity and pitch to up/down key motion, that leaves just side-to-side motion for another effect. There’s also breath control, although I was wondering if it might be an idea to have this option affect the intensity of the effect. Therefore, I was thinking about using pedals to provide more access to different effects.

    I’ve read about bluetooth operated pedals and found that those by Airturn seemed to receive more favourable reviews than others: I also found out that there may be midi pedals available. If I went for this option, would I connect the pedals to the audio interface? Do you have any experience or opinions on this?

    Finally, I am also a sax player and might like the option of going between eigenharp and sax during performances. I would like to experiment with ipad app effects for my sax too, using the pedals I mentioned above. Would the best option be for me to connect a microphone for my sax to the same audio interface I’m using to connect my eigenharp to my ipad?

    Thanks in advance and apologies for my ignorance. I have spent countless hours on the internet trying to gain some clarity, but to no avail.

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