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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.

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