The “Get Lucky” jamstik video, step by step, a coarse primer
by Chris HeilleAugust 27, 2015
I get lots of “how’d you do that” questions regarding the “Get Lucky” video we launched on YouTube in June of 2013. At some point in time I’ll cook up a video that covers this a little more in depth, but for now I’ll try to point you to some resources and explanations behind what’s happening in the video.
To conceptually break down what’s going on you’ll have to wrap your head around the three different elements necessary to pull this off on the iPad; 1) MIDI apps, 2) Audiobus, and 3) audio recording in Loopy HD. While Audiobus and Loopy are somewhat related (they both are handling audio) it helps to mentally segregate them so we don’t get confused. More on that in a minute.
MIDI APPS: I’m using a handful of synth and sampler apps to generate sounds, and those apps are being controlled from the jamstik. The jamstik is sending my live performance MIDI to each app. The apps I used for sounds are: Animoog for a guitar-esque sound I built and a pad behind the piano, Sunrizer for synth bass, Peter Vogel CMI loaded w/ drum samples I exported from a session I recorded in Logic, iVoxel the vocoder used to record the vocal “thru," SampleTank for piano.
AUDIOBUS: So - those apps are being controlled by the jamstik’s MIDI output to create audio. The audio the apps generate needs to be recorded in our destination recording app, Loopy HD, and at that time the only way to patch the output of the apps into Loopy was to use Audiobus. If it helps, think of Audiobus as a switchboard or patch bay that routes the audio output of the apps to Loopy (or any other audio recording app you want to use.) If you’re not familiar with Audiobus, there’s some great tutorials on YouTube that can help get you started here: Audiobus Playlist.
AUDIO RECORDING IN LOOPY HD: Think of Loopy HD as our multitrack recorder that records all of our separate takes. Here’s a great tutorial on using Loopy (Getting started w/ Loopy: https://youtu.be/2iD7O42j5Q8) that can get you up and running.
Here’s some of the “behind the scenes” elements in the video you might either miss because they go by kind of quick or we edited out for time and to keep things moving… (Some of this is super boring to watch, or including it would have introduced an extra element of confusion, so it’s not in the video.)
Here we go:
1) The Volume is down for MIDI apps that aren’t currently being recorded. If you’ve been messing around with your jamstik enough to have multiple MIDI apps running simultaneously, you’ll know that all of them will play on input unless you turn them down or quit them. (i.e. Sunrizer, Animoog, Sampletank, etc. would all be responding to the performance I was playing for drums in the CMI app which can be distracting, confusing, and sounds terrible.) So the volume for all of the “background” apps is down while we record the output of the app we want in Loopy.
2) Loopy gives you the flexibility to record different loop lengths. You may have missed it, but the kick and snare samples are 1-bar loops and I make the first loop length switch about here (https://youtu.be/D5Dy8ZXg5V8?t=1m9s.) As the elements of the song require longer phrases, I keep switching to longer loops until we hit the vocal which is the longest phrase.
3) The vocal is tracked using iVoxel, which is a vocoder app. Vocoders (for the most part) won’t pass audio until some external signal audio (your vocal typically) is present on input as the carrier. You’ll need a USB mic that can connect to your iPad (Camera Connection Kit necessary) and yep - you’re going to need to play and sing simultaneously.
Interestingly enough, Loopy HD and Audiobus are from the same team of developers, who are very cool guys… But if you wanted to start loop recording in an app you might be more familiar with, I suggest you take a look at our tutorial on Loop Recording in GarageBand: https://youtu.be/NQg-EiqtNI8. We should probably add a section onto this GarageBand video that discusses using other third party apps and Audiobus (or Apple’s InterApp Audio) to patch audio into GarageBand, but for now you’ll have to experiment on your own!