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Advice on controlling a cue/click track from Mobile Sheets
#1
My goal is that I want to use Mobile Sheets for my music and have it control a click/cue track. I know that MS can do a metronome, but all that gives you is the beat and is rather simplistic (sometimes you want a Swing click). I want to have vocal cues as well to feed in-ear monitor mix. For an example of what I am talking about see this blog post: https://loopcommunity.com/blog/2018/02/c...cue-track/.

In an ideal world such a setup would:
  • Be self contained all on the tablet and not involve other equipment, just sending the audio out the headphone jack of the tablet.
  • Timing is controlled by Mobile Sheets so that auto-turn pages based on metronome and so that you can change the tempo if necessary. I have a bluetooth pedal so auto-turn is not a must, but very nice to have.
So one way to skin the cat is that I created the click track and cues in garage band and create an audio file with it and then attach that audio file in MobileSheets. That works, but:
  • Tempo is not controlled by Mobile Sheets so auto-turn pages doesn't work and the tempo is fixed so you can't tweak the tempo at the last minute.
  • Audio file is not an efficient storage mechanism.
So another thought is to create a MIDI file and have MobileSheets control the tempo with its metronome. Problems I have with that:
  • Doesn't seem to be any way to do that self contained. Android Midi theoretically supports virtual Midi ports to allow app to app Midi, but MS only supports MIDI over USB and Bluetooth. So one possibility is to have the tablet control a DAW app on my Mac.
  • USB is a non-starter for me as plugging in an OTG dongle is just going to end up physically stressing the usb port and I have nothing really to plug that into
  • Bluetooth is a possibility but I have been totally unable to figure out how to even get that to work to do anything.
So I am running out of options and looking for alternative solutions or ideas.
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#2
MobileSheetsPro for Android does support virtual MIDI ports. Just go to Settings->MIDI Settings->Configure MIDI connections and switch the library to "Google". Then you'll have access to the virtual MIDI ports. You may need to uncheck the option at the bottom left which filters on real MIDI devices. I have used the Soundbrenner metronome app to test this. I don't know if this gives you what you need. I'm certainly open to adding features in the future, but it's going to be awhile before I can get to them.

Mike
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#3
(08-18-2019, 07:22 AM)Zubersoft Wrote: MobileSheetsPro for Android does support virtual MIDI ports. Just go to Settings->MIDI Settings->Configure MIDI connections and switch the library to "Google". Then you'll have access to the virtual MIDI ports. You may need to uncheck the option at the bottom left which filters on real MIDI devices. I have used the Soundbrenner metronome app to test this. I don't know if this gives you what you need. I'm certainly open to adding features in the future, but it's going to be awhile before I can get to them.

Mike

Unfortunately, the Google library is problematic for me as it it dependent on whether the device manufacturer includes it. I have 2 tablets I am trying it on. The first is a Kindle Fire HD8 (with Google Play support added to it) and when I select Google library, it exits the Midi configuration screen like it threw an exception The other is a cheap EMatic tablet and when I select Google library it says that it isn't supported on the device.
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#4
(08-18-2019, 08:07 AM)dalewking Wrote: The first is a Kindle Fire HD8 (with Google Play support added to it) and when I select Google library, it exits the Midi configuration screen like it threw an exception.

Hmm, for some reason when I tried it today I didn't have any problems with Google library on the Kindle Fire. I could see SoundBrenner Metronome in the list and was able to select it. I could not figure out how to do anything with that so I installed the Mobileer Midi Scope as a test. Using the Test Midi command functionality I could see the commands show up.

So I am at least making progress toward the goal.
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#5
I was able to successfully create a Smart Button that would send commands to Soundbrenner to get it to start and to be in tempo based on the Mobile Sheets. Sometimes. I could not get it to reliably do it. I had cases where it started out at whatever tempo Soundbrenner was set to instead of MobileSheets' tempo. And sometimes it would not start it no matter what I did.

For one thing you have a Midi command to "toggle" sending the clock which is going to depend on what state it was in before. Shouldn't that really be turn it on and turn it off commands rather than a toggle?

I also haven't figured out how to synchronize sending the Midi Start command with starting the MobileSheets metronome in order to get the auto page turn to synchronize with the other Midi app.
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#6
The connection between MobileSheetsPro and Soundbrenner definitely feels a little clunky, but I've used the virtual ports to connect to things on my PC, and that was very reliable.

I didn't want to have to create two separate commands - one for turning it on and one for turning off. That's why I went with a single toggle. Does this create problems for you while using it?

I don't currently have a way to synchronize separate things like that. In theory you could have one smart button (or a touch action) set to start the metronome, and a button to send the MIDI start command, and you could just touch two at the same time. For a truly synchronized start, I'd need to have some way of having a single smart button trigger multiple actions. The design really isn't set up for that at the moment. I could look into changing it the future, but it would require redesigning the database tables and updating pretty much all of the code that uses smart buttons across the app.

Mike
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#7
I think I am going to try a different plan and forget about using auto-page turn based on the metronome in Mobile Sheets. I think I will let the sequencer control the tempo and have MS send a MIDI start to the sequencer. I will create a MIDI action that causes a page turn and put those MIDI messages in the song at the appropriate place to turn the page.

I think separate commands for turning it on or off makes a lot more sense. You either want to definitely turn it on or turn it off. When would you ever want to just make it the opposite of what it is now?

One issue with the way Android does the virtual ports is that there are 2 separate parts, enumerating available advertised virtual ports and connecting to them, and advertising an app as a virtual port to allow others to connect to it. An app can do one without the other. Mobile Sheets can connect to advertised ports, but does not advertise its ports. If you have another app that is the same and does not advertise its ports you cannot actually connect the 2. I may end up coding a utility app that will act as a MIDI THRU conduit that advertises ports to facilitate a connection if I cannot find an alternative.

Also contemplating using an unused Raspberry PI as a BLE MIDI device and going that way.

I at least have made a lot more progress now to get to the end goal and at least think the end goal is attainable now.
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#8
Fair enough - I've separated it out into on/off for the next update.

Thanks,
Mike
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