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  • Using Bus-Powered Hardware MIDI Controllers With iPad Apps

    By Phil O'Keefe |

    Using Bus-Powered Hardware MIDI Controllers with iPad Apps


    Connecting and using external controllers with your iPad is easy - if you know the tricks


    by Phil O'Keefe


    usb-bus-powered-controller-with-adapters-and-ipad-88b79a78.thumb.jpg.71b25185dacf2fba01bf0420bfa28b2c.jpgSo now that you have the necessary hardware:

    • Connect a USB cable from your MIDI controller into your powered USB hub.
    • Plug the powered USB hub into the Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter and plug that into your iPad.
    • Finally, connect one end of the USB OTG cable that comes with the powered hub into your USB powerbank (or into the wall adapter that comes with the hub, it if you don't need mobility) and the other (smaller) end into the USB hub itself.


    You will need to use a virtual instrument app that responds to incoming MIDI and you may need to assign your controller as a MIDI input for your softsynth iPad app, but most of them will do it for you automatically when you connect everything. If not, check the documentation for your softsynth - the MIDI input assignment will usually be somewhere in the settings or options menu, as it is with Cakewalk's Z3TA+ synthesizer app shown here.




    That's all there is to it! You're now powering the hub from the USB powerbank (or AC wall outlet), and the USB MIDI controller is drawing its power from the powered hub. The iPad will get the MIDI data from your controller through the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter, and I'm sure you'll find that the external USB controller is much more fun and expressive to play than those tiny virtual onscreen keyboards. Have fun! -HC-






    Anker 4-port powered USB 3.0 Data Hub ($16.99 "street"), available from Amazon      


    Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter ($29 "street"), available from Sweetwater, B&HAmazon, Apple, and others    





    Have questions? Want to comment on this article? Join the discussion here.









    Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines.  

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