Clarinet Notes

Odds and ends of clarinet tech and training

Investing in an iPad Tablet


Question: I want to invest in a laptop / tablet. My goal is to find one that will let me be heard well while playing live in our zoom lessons. The other goal is that it could be used as a tablet so I can eventually scan sheet music into it so I can put that on my music stand. Any thoughts? I am used to using an iPhone iPad.

Storing scanned sheet music

If you want an iPad to scan music into, go for the largest screen you can afford. Screen sizes are measured across the diagonal. A screen with a diagonal measure of 13 inches gives you a display about the size of a letter size page. This is what I use and, with my poor eyesight, I would really like it bigger. However, I don’t think iPads go above 10 inches. (I use a Boox eInk Android device.)

7 inches and below is really too small — though I sat in on a master class once where the piano accompanist had to play off a small phone because he forgot to bring the music with him. Watching somebody turn pages on an iPhone screen while playing at a presto tempo was amazing.

The software of choice for storing music on iOS devices is ForScore. You may also want a bluetooth foot pedal to turn pages.

Sound quality for playing live in Zoom

For playing live in zoom session, the first big factor is your internet connection. Followed by 2) original sound setting, 3) mic placement and volume levels, and 4) use of an external mic.

Internet connection

is probably something you don’t have much control over. Wired connection is typically best, but not something usually available on a tablet. 5G connection is usually worst. In the middle satellite, cable, fiberoptic. (More or less. it may depend somewhat on the provider and bandwidth)

Zoom settings (original sound, volume, etc.)

Original sound should be on. Here’s a discussion (behind a paywall in Clarinet Transformation Community) of how to enable it on iPad

Here’s a playlist of videos about zoom settings desktop/laptop. Most of the concepts apply to tablets too, though the specific clicks and keypress don’t

Recorded in February 2023 for Clarinet Transformation Community

Using an external mic

You can attach an external mic, and that helps. Two highly-rated mics designed specifically for tablets are the Shure MV88 and Zoom IQ 6/7 (no connection to Zoom conferencing). I believe Hiedi and Jane C-R both use the Shure. Hiedi plays live frequently, and always sounds great.

You can also connect a standard USB mic such as the Blue Yeti to an iPad with a special connector. I have done this on an old iPad Air, but not with a Blue Yeti so, before going this route, check with someone who has actually done it. I’m pretty sure there is somebody in Transformation Community that attaches a Blue Yeti to iPad, but I can’t remember who. Perhaps Eunice?

If you want pre-sales tech support and advice on purchasing audio gear, has a really good rep.

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