iMIDIPatchbay promises to be a central command center for your live keyboard rigs - and a boon to gigging musicians - right from the iPad. Screenshots courtesy the developer.

iMIDIPatchbay promises to be a central command center for your live keyboard rigs – and a boon to gigging musicians – right from the iPad. Screenshots courtesy the developer.

Yes, the iPad can be its own synth or music tool. But here’s yet another example in which Apple’s tablet acts instead as a hub for other gear, a touchable window into your live music rig. For keyboardists, or anyone working with MIDI setups, it could wind up being more convenient, more immediate, and more portable than a computer. (Cue mental image of a laptop tumbling off a stage piano. Yeah, that.)

iMIDIPatchbay is just about to enter beta, but the feature list looks promising. It solves one problem, but a common problem: a keyboardist wants to set up splits and layers for triggering other gear. (It’s definitely keyboard-centric, though something like this might work for other MIDI users, too.)

See the images here. The full version will set you back 49.99 EUR, but the Lite version also looks capable in the screenshots; serious users will have to work out whether it’s worth the investment, but then, it’s also nice to see “pro”-level tools. (On desktop, at least, this would easily cost 50 €, and niche applications for more dedicated users it seems will have to find a way to price higher – or developers will simply ignore those niches.)

The feature list looks powerful, indeed, for a keyboardist. The only bad news to me is, really, that you may need a hub anyway, and while the touch interface is nice, it’s not hard to imagine a piece of hardware doing some of this for you without the iPad. On the other hand, you have a choice of hardware that works with the iPad (more on iConnectMIDI soon, I hope), and there’s no question it’s easier to navigate an iPad than it is some buttons and an LED.

Create split and layer configurations very easily
Send volume and other control changes to your sound devices
Send program changes to your sound devices
Transpose sounds in octave steps
Filter controller data (sustain, pitch bend etc.)
Store configurations as programs for later recall
Switch programs of iMIDIPatchbay from another app or MIDI device via program changes
Switch programs while holding down keys or holding e.g. the sustain pedal without getting stuck notes
UI which is optimized for live usage

More on this as it comes out. Why? Because we heart MIDI, after all this years. At least, when it’s solving simple keyboard problems, certainly.

The Lite version, judging from this screen, should be enough to give you a taste before shelling out €50 - and could satisfy more casual users.

The Lite version, judging from this screen, should be enough to give you a taste before shelling out €50 – and could satisfy more casual users.

imidipatchbay_settings

imidipatchbay_global

Information and notification sign-up:
http://www.imidipatchbay.com

  • Guiltin

    The app is indeed useful, but 49 EUROS is way too much. We’ve seen other pro apps cost less than half of that price.

  • vaikl

    WHAT? 50 Euros???

    Spend 9 Euro for MIDIBridge and FreEWI and you’re done, much more flexible with your comp included via WiFi.

  • David Campbell

    This is close to the app I was looking for a couple years ago when I was in my last band. They went even farther with the MIDI control than I’d envisioned when I was looking for such an app. But a couple features I’d like to see are: First, a more musician-friendly way to organize configurations, rather than emulating the crummy UI of a hardware device. It’s really squandering the UI possibilities of the iPad, IMO. For instance, you ought to be able to name and organize programs based on song title and section (chorus, verse, etc) and have those names be the primary program selection method in the UI. It should allow you to configure the order of programs within a song so that you can sequence through the programs as the song progresses by hitting a single “next button” (instead of making you remember to, say, select program 6 for verses and program 8 for the bridge, etc.). Having direct access to programs is useful too (for times when the song structure isn’t so well-defined) but there’s no reason the UI couldn’t accommodate both. The other feature I’d love to see: it would be extremely useful if the software could be programmed to display PDF or text notes/comments whenever you hit a patch change. I could have used that for remembering chord changes, reminders about song breaks or tricky endings, etc.

  • Robert B

    While I greatly appreciate the attention given to those still using multiple external MIDI sound sources, since a multi-port MIDI thru box or patchbay would almost certainly be desired (as opposed to chaining your MIDI devices serially), at 49 Euros it may be advisable to look at acquiring a used Yamaha MEP4, or Digital Music Corp MX-8 (both of which I own) instead.

  • Vitor Jesus

    49 for the App and then some for the actual MIDI interface? Better to wait for the iConnect MIDI 2+ ;) Should start shipping this month.

  • Zymos

    You know what can also “set up live keyboard rigs easily”? My keyboard!

  • http://twitter.com/JimAtwood Jim Atwood

    I agree with all the comments posted here. While a useful app and an exciting release for sure, the price point is way overboard! Some iPad developers really push it with their price point and this is one example. Also, the free version is simply a trial. It’s majorly crippled and completely useless as a “Free” version. The developer should simply call it a 30 minute evaluation. Slapping a Free or Lite tag on it is ridiculous. There are some excellent alternatives listed in these comments of which all are likely better solutions. Let’s not get sucked in to these absorbent prices.