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Best Tablet for Gigging


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craigtrumpet
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:23 am    Post subject: Best Tablet for Gigging Reply with quote

I'm looking to transition away from bringing large binders of sheet music to my gigs.

I need a large inexpensive tablet/eReader for displaying PDF's that has a light (for dark club gigs).

Obviously an iPad Pro would be the best, but I don't want to spend that kind of money. I already have in iMac desktop, a Macbook Pro, and an iPhone, so I don't need anymore devices like that. I just need something really basic: Big, has a light, and cheap.

Anyone got some suggestions for me?
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Turkle
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, the large 12" iPad Pro is so much better than any others, it really is worth it if you have to read sheet music (theater / big band charts, etc.).

Since I only read jazz lead sheets while on the stand and only very rarely have to read complex sheet music (and then only simple rock band horn charts and similar), a smaller tablet was fine for me despite my genuinely awful vision.

I purchased the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7-Inch tablet a while back. It works great, it comes with a digital pen (!), and hasn't let me down once in the 2 years I've had it. I don't know how I lived without one for so long. It's plenty if you're just reading simple lead sheets and simple charts. But it's pretty small for reading sheet music and I would hesitate to recommend it if you're 100% reading actual sheet music. In that case, pony up for the Apple.

If the Apple is too expensive, I strongly recommend borrowing someone else's 10" tablet, or trying one out in a store, and loading up a PDF of sheet music and see if your eyes are good enough to read at your trumpet distance.

Hope this is helpful!
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benlewis
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use the iPad Pro and have been super pleased with it. I also have AirTurn pedals and an Apple pen, but rarely use those.

I know you don't want to go with an iPad Pro, but let me add one other thing to consider; PDF software. I use ForScore and it is very handy. You can manipulate scores, copy and replace pages, straighten crooked scans, insert pages using the camera, make cuts, jumps, annotate, etc... I don't think there is anything on the PC/Android side that can match the features of Forscore. If all you doing is just reading, it may be fine. But, if you're like me, using it for live theater and needing to rearrange numbers on the fly, I'd be hard-pressed to feel comfortable using anything else.

My eyes are getting quite bad and even the iPad Pro is a bit hard to read (but still WAY better than hard copies, due to no shadows, hot spots, etc...), so I have toyed with using a smaller iPad and using an HDMI adapter in conjunction to a large LED monitor. You could get a refurbished older regular iPad and 24" monitor for about what you'd pay for a new iPad. A bit more stuff to lug, but man, what a display!

Just a thought; I hope you find a solution you're happy with...

HTH Ben
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craigtrumpet
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I will mostly be using it for the same types of gigs as you. Mostly doing horn band stuff (Sir Duke, September, Give it to me Baby, etc.), Latin bands, etc.

I was wondering if 10-inches would be large enough. I saw that ‘Kindle Fire 10 HD‘ were selling for $99 on Amazon. Maybe I’ll head over to Best Buy and check them out in person to see if that size would work.

Fire HD 10 Tablet (10.1" 1080p full HD display, 32 GB) – Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K1RZWMC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_inDgFb81PKM65
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craigtrumpet
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

benlewis wrote:
I use the iPad Pro and have been super pleased with it. I also have AirTurn pedals and an Apple pen, but rarely use those.

I know you don't want to go with an iPad Pro, but let me add one other thing to consider; PDF software. I use ForScore and it is very handy. You can manipulate scores, copy and replace pages, straighten crooked scans, insert pages using the camera, make cuts, jumps, annotate, etc... I don't think there is anything on the PC/Android side that can match the features of Forscore. If all you doing is just reading, it may be fine. But, if you're like me, using it for live theater and needing to rearrange numbers on the fly, I'd be hard-pressed to feel comfortable using anything else.

My eyes are getting quite bad and even the iPad Pro is a bit hard to read (but still WAY better than hard copies, due to no shadows, hot spots, etc...), so I have toyed with using a smaller iPad and using an HDMI adapter in conjunction to a large LED monitor. You could get a refurbished older regular iPad and 24" monitor for about what you'd pay for a new iPad. A bit more stuff to lug, but man, what a display!

Just a thought; I hope you find a solution you're happy with...

HTH Ben


Thank you, this definitely gives me some things to consider that I hadn’t thought of.
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hibidogrulez
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

benlewis wrote:
My eyes are getting quite bad and even the iPad Pro is a bit hard to read

Have you considered turning it sideways and show 'half a page' in full screen landscape mode? It'll require more page turns, but you could display it a lot bigger. It might also work for using a smaller tablet if eyesight isn't an issue.
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ghelbig
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Best Tablet for Gigging Reply with quote

craigtrumpet wrote:
I'm looking to transition away from bringing large binders of sheet music to my gigs.

I need a large inexpensive tablet/eReader for displaying PDF's that has a light (for dark club gigs).


Anything available today is back-lit - no worries there.

I understand not wanting to spend the money on an iPad - I got an Android for that reason.

I've been less than thrilled with the music reading apps available. Every app I've tried will - at the worst possible time - decide to take 20 seconds or more to change pages. Another issue with Android apps is occasionally a system update will break it - then you have to wait until the app gets updated to be compatible.

I think a foot pedal is essential. Swatting at the screen to change pages is a broken screen waiting to happen.

On the plus side, I've taken a 40 lb stack of music and scanned it to an SD-Card the size of my fingernail.

Gary.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hibidogrulez wrote:
benlewis wrote:
My eyes are getting quite bad and even the iPad Pro is a bit hard to read

Have you considered turning it sideways and show 'half a page' in full screen landscape mode? It'll require more page turns, but you could display it a lot bigger. It might also work for using a smaller tablet if eyesight isn't an issue.

I did a rehearsal with a pro orchestra and they called a piece not in the folder. A friend found the part on IMSLP and downloaded it to his iPad Mini. When I put it on it's side and read a half page at a time it was no problem at all.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've read a bunch of related threads. I'm most intrigued by posts where folks buy a cheap no-name tablet computer. It's obviously going to be bulkier and more prone to damage but it stands to be much cheaper than a big iPad Pro or Surface Pro.

Given the money I'd definitely go with an iPad Pro but I'd probably put it in a very durable case and use a very sturdy stand.

I'm less enamored with the idea of a foot switch which I hear can be buggy. If I have time to turn a piece a of paper then I have time to tap the screen.
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benlewis
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree; I used the pedals a few times and went to tapping. The nice thing about ForScore is that you can duplicate the page if needed to accommodate fast page turns.

Ben
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pinstriper
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's nothing so expensive as a cheap tool.

When you finally buckle and get the iPad Pro, all the money and time you spent on alternatives will be officially down the drain. More cost effective to get the right one up front. Seriously.

Check Amazon and w00t for refurbs, save about 30%.
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craigtrumpet
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pinstriper wrote:
There's nothing so expensive as a cheap tool.

When you finally buckle and get the iPad Pro, all the money and time you spent on alternatives will be officially down the drain. More cost effective to get the right one up front. Seriously.

Check Amazon and w00t for refurbs, save about 30%.


I normally do abide by the “buy nice, or buy twice” policy, but I’m not in the market for a great tablet with lots of functionality, I just need a backlit PDF displayer. I just can’t justify spending $1,000+ for something that is as powerful as an iPad Pro when the only thing I would use it for is to display PDF’s for a few hours once or twice a week on a gig. I’ve found a few E-readers that were big (13.3 inches) and looked like they’d do the job but they weren’t backlit so I’d have to use a stand light to illuminate the screen which is a deal breaker for me.

I’m pretty bummed there doesn’t seem to be a good affordable option for what seems like a very simple need.
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pinstriper
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

$600 at w00t

https://computers.woot.com/offers/apple-a1584-12-9-inch-ipad-pro-12-9-inch-128gb-gold?ref=w_cnt_lnd_cat_pc_5_9
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gregplo
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Find an older model of the iPad Pro 12.9" on sale. I see them all the time online. You will be glad you did. Yes...they are still in the $700 range, but still worth it in the long run. You might also try looking for an iPad Pro 11" on sale. I started with an iPad 10", but it is too small for me now...especially when using it on a Big Band stand that is further from my eyes than most music stands.

In regards to the Android tables you'll find out there, the screen aspect ratio they use is taller and narrower (when using in portrait mode) than the aspect ratio of the iPads, so even if you get a 15.6" Android tablet, the actual size of the music is still only as big as how the page displays on a 12.9" iPad Pro...so you end up with a very large and heavy device to do the same job. If you go with a smaller Android tablet, due to that aspect ratio, anything smaller is generally no better than a 10" iPad.

I've got both (wanted something for outside, high risk of damage gigs). Yes, the 15.6" Android tablet was very inexpensive (less than $200 from Walmart online), and works great for movies and web browsing, but for music, I keep going back to the iPad Pro because it is faster (important for page turns), has a better, brighter screen, and is considerably lighter.
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Aspeyrer
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iPad Pro is going to be the answer

Tom Hooten using his in recital;
https://youtu.be/-xJv0DeMTQ8

Yuja Wang using hers in concert;
https://youtu.be/ZbEtk1kdYx4

Good enough for these top pros.

There are a few sites that buy/sell used iPads. Not sure which I used but paid $500 for mine pro a little more than a year ago with warranty.
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craigtrumpet
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate the input from everyone, it looks like an iPad Pro reigns king, but I still can't justify the cost. I'd rather just keep using printed music than pay that much just to display PDF's. After lots of digging and reading, I think I'm going to go the cheap route. Maybe I'll regret it, but for the price I think it's worth the gamble.

I found this 13.3" tablet for $125. It has a good reviews on YouTube and the first review on Amazon says it works great for PDF's.




Link

I'll let you guys know if I end up regretting my decision or if it works out for me.
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Jerry
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I'm buying new, how much storage space is the right amount for a 12.9 iPad pro?
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pinstriper
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jerry wrote:
If I'm buying new, how much storage space is the right amount for a 12.9 iPad pro?


I have our band's entire book of 500 songs, T1-4 takes about 8gb. So even a 64gb tablet will have plenty of headroom for all the other things you use it for. The biggest thing that fills up storage is downloading movies which I used to do before a plan trip.

I have all the music duplicated on a 10" iPad Air 16gb as a backup. I use it for nothing else and it has plenty.
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Jerry
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks.
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cheiden
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jerry wrote:
If I'm buying new, how much storage space is the right amount for a 12.9 iPad pro?

I've read that some are in the habit of uploading their entire library to a cloud storage site (Google Drive, Dropbox,...) and only downloading to the device only a sensible subset.
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