About Guitar Rabbit: iPad + Guitar = Music Making
Making music with guitars and an iPad has come a long way since the introduction of the original iRig in 2010. There's now a plethora of ways to get guitar signals in and out of your iPad with much better quality than before. I'm going to detail some ways I've done it here.
But firstly why would you ever want to do that? Well iPad is potentially a great bit of hardware for audio for a bunch of reasons:
- It's just quiet. No fan, no moving parts, no weird noises. If you've worked on a PC or laptop and fought ground loop hum and strange glitches creeping into your sound you can see the appeal of never having to waste time on that problem again!
- Low latency. When playing Rocksmith or even Guitar Hero through HDMI TVs on consoles or PCs, wow, you get a lot of latency. Hearing notes long after you've plucked them just isn't a good experience. It isn't entirely the fault of the software either: the HDMI standard is just concerned purely with keeping video and audio in sync, and not so much with how long it takes to get there. iPad audio can easily be done in 5 ms, and still give you a visual response at 60 Hz.
- That nice big high res touch screen can fit in a lot of information and is pretty convenient to hit while you are holding a guitar compared to a mouse!
- Convenience. You can be in there making music immediately, not waiting for spinning beach balls, or the constant nags and updates that plague laptops and desktops.
- Portable. If you're stuck for inspiration but always writing in the same room, well, take a guitar and iPad out to the nearest forest, mountain, or unicorn grazing plain and jam out there instead!
And as the processing power improves, amp simulators are sounding better all the time. So I'm really hoping that iPad Pro will get a version of Apple Logic Pro where I can record with iRig PRO, to get all my pros in a row. Fingers crossed.
So meanwhile, what to do if you have an OLD iRig? Well it may not always sound great on high gain effects, but it is fine for analysis e.g. tuner apps or Guitar Rabbit! One thing you can do is just split the signal with an ABY pedal (cheap and useful in general!), and send one to the iRig/iPad and another to a distortion pedal and an analog amp and listen to that one while still doing the analysis on the iPad:
iRig STOMP is a step up and works pretty well for delay and reverb effects. I've happily used this with the send effect loop on my old Fender Ultra Chorus. You can also just play through as if the iPad was another stomp box and send the signal onwards to other pedals and amps, like this:
These digital interface versions often also can take XLR microphones so you can mic up acoustic guitars and see just how much more sensitive they are than the iPad's built in mic.
Got any more mad ways to wire it? Share and let us know!