iOS Gear for Drummers Buying Guide

iOS Gear for Drummers Buying Guide

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Take a tour of the newest iOS-aware gear that's taking the art of drumming into spheres unimagined just a few years ago.

Today’s vast selection of tools and toys for percussionists lets you simply transform your iPhone or iPad into a high-tech beat studio where you can shake off the dust and sharpen your skills. Below is a guide to connecting your rhythmic skills with the power of today’s iOS-aware gear for drummers.

Table of Contents

iOS audio interfaces for drums
iOS MIDI controllers for drummers
iOS drum trigger pads
Get help!

iOS audio interfaces for drums

The power of your beats speaks for itself. But to integrate them into the near-limitless musical opportunities of the iOS audio universe, you’ll need a way to easily capture the controlled chaos of a drum session on your iPhone or iPad. If you know where to shop and can plug in a Lightning cable, you have enough engineer in you to set up a new iOS audio interface for your drums.

Packing a lot of high-tech punch in a sleek little package, the Line 6 SonicPort VX puts a mobile recording studio in your knapsack. The built-in pro-level preamp and paired stereo mics are studio-quality, designed to digitally capture the extremes between your high-hat and your kick drum. A third mono mic is great for the raw growl of your backup vocals.

Line 6 Sonic Port VX

The crystal-clear mics on the Line 6 Sonic Port VX are perfect for capturing drum tracks.

The portability of the Sonic Port VX will help you find and record percussion on the go from the infinite beats and rhythms of the world around you. Capture ambient sounds then lay them down as track effects you can play along with. In addition to dual stereo line I/O, the Sonic Port VX boasts a professionally buffered ¼ in jack for guitar or bass.

But the true power of the Sonic Port VX is unleashed through its software integration. The included Line 6 Mobile POD app for iOS provides a new level of control for drum tracking, blending and experimentation. When your guitarist friends come over to jam they will love the world-renowned digital guitar effects in the Mobile POD app, which can be layered and mixed with your drum tracks with the touch of a finger. With seamless integration into the wide array of iOS audio apps, including GarageBand, the Sonic Port VX unlocks your digital potential.

The Sonic Port VX is just one of many options for connecting your drums with your iOS device. Check out the Musician’s Friend complete selection of iOS audio interfaces for more selection!

iOS MIDI controllers for drummers

Adding a percussion-based MIDI controller to your toolbox gives you access to dozens of drumming and groove-production apps. These range from full-blown electronic drum kits that integrate iOS capability to smaller percussion pad-type controllers.

The iRig PADS from IK Multimedia falls in the second category. Its 16 velocity-sensitive rubber pads illuminate with three different colors based on the MIDI messages streaming in from your iPhone or iPad. The control surface includes a two assignable MIDI knobs, a rotary encoder, a slider, and two buttons, all of which can be programmed to work optimally with your app. Having a true hands-on control surface coupled with pads that are dynamically responsive is huge when it comes to creating more fluid grooves.

IK Multimedia iRig PADS

The iRig PADS gives you incredibly portable and hands-on percussion capability with all the iOS apps that are revolutionizing the way beats are built.

Once you’ve built a groove using your app, it can be saved in one of 16 “scene” locations for immediate recall using an assigned pad to trigger it. MIDI data flows both ways with PADS, allowing the percussion pad illumination to respond to messages from the host iOS device. Because it is bus-powered, PADS needs no battery or adapter and connects to computers via its mini-USB port. Also included is an expression pedal input plus a software bundle that includes pre-programmed GrooveMaker and SampleTank scenes to get you started.

There are a variety of other ways to crush beats without lugging a six-piece kit and a bag full of stands and pedals that weighs more than a lot of dead bodies. Check out the full assortment of MIDI controllers for drummers from Musician’s Friend.

iOS drum trigger pads

Pearl Tru Trac Electronic Head Pack

Old and new schools collide in funky fashion with tech like the Pearl Tru Trac Electronic Head Pack.

Designed to replace or augment your existing drum kit, trigger pads add another dimension to your drumming. Trigger pads are the tech world’s answer to traditional drums. They look and sound like drum heads, but trigger pads deliver their sound from a flat, digitally interactive surface. Though they pack an amazing range of sound and tracking abilities, some purists shun trigger pads as something less than real drums, often because the size and feel of the pads are noticeably different than traditional drum heads. That said, their sonic and performance possibilities along with control over recording dynamics can help justify the learning curve involved in getting comfortable with playing pads.

But there’s another approach that involves less adjustments on the part of the drummer. By offering trigger pads in standard sizes that easily integrate with acoustic drum kits and have the same responsive feel as regular drum heads, the Pearl Tru Trac Electronic Head Pack gives you the best of both worlds.

If you have a trusted acoustic set that you want to keep around but also want to experiment with electronic drumming, trigger heads are the perfect solution for getting the most out of both drum universes. The Pearl Tru Trac Electronic Head Pack is a complete conversion kit that will transform your acoustic drum set into a state-of-the-art percussion system. The kit comes with all the tools, rods, cables, and drum heads, and requires no drilling or other permanent alteration to your acoustic set.

As fast and easy as changing drum heads, you won’t need a roadie in order to “soft” convert your old drums and connect them the limitless possibilities of the iOS music sphere through your new drum MIDI controller. More importantly, you won’t have to use a drill to permanently alter your drums.

Once the trigger pads are installed, you can lay down tracks in GarageBand, learn new riffs from the endless assortment of percussion apps, and endear yourself to the neighbors by confining the thunder of your practice sessions to your headphones.

Once you’ve docked your stick skills to the iOS drumming mother ship you can move seamlessly between the electronic and acoustic drum worlds like a modern day Neo with better rhythm. Check out the huge Musician’s Friend selection of trigger pads to find other options for extending the capabilities of your acoustic kit.

Get help!

Not even a one-man band can do it all alone. Our team of technicians and musicians are available to help guide you through the increasingly complex world of iOS drum gear. Get the inside scoop from people who actually play by reaching out to a Musician’s Friend Gear Head at 800-449-9128.

Tags: Electronic Drums Acoustic Drums


# Angelo Smith II 2016-11-03 13:51
Hello. I'm an inspired disabled musician looking for an easier way to play the bongos. I have a aet, but I find myself always not being heard when I play as I am not strong enough to strike this drumheads hard enough to produce a loud enough sound to be heard along with the other musicians... I was wondering if there was an electronic drum pad(s) that I could use in order for me to be able to play with a band, and be heard? I had seen the Pearl Tru Trac Electronic Head Pack, but thats too many pads

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