In an age of technological advancement, creativity and change, it is not unusual to see technology employed for even some of the simplest of tasks.
The field of music is not immune to such technological advances. An iPad, for example, can potentially store much more—electronically—in the way of lyrics or sheet music than singers or musicians could ever carry in paper form.
Some of the ways in which technology has impacted music are:
- Using an iPad as a live rig and Replacing a MainStage Rig
- Interfacing musical equipment with an iPad
- Using an iPad as a Musical Instrument
Technology to Make a Difference
Whether you are a singer, a drummer, you play the guitar, violin or any one of a number of other instruments, the likelihood is that technology has already had an impact on your profession or hobby.
Technology could be in the form of an amp, a pedal, cables, cymbals, preamp and so forth. With all of the technology available, it is important to distinguish between the technology that is necessary to the task and the technology that you'd like but, perhaps, do not really need.
Through experience, I've found the most useful applications of technology have been the simple ones, such as a tuner, rather than fancy cabinets, gorgeous pedals or awesome microphones.
The AirTurn DUO is a remote bluetooth device that allows control over sheet music, on tablet or laptop, when performing. The AirTurn DUO enables you to turn pages forward and backwards without using your hands.
Whether this is for an orchestral performance, a jazz gig or just jamming with your mates, this device can be a real time-saver.
The AirTurn DUO device is connected to a computer, or a tablet, just as you'd do with an external keyboard. Checking that the connection has been established is evidenced by a flashing LED pulsating every two seconds.
The device itself requires no cables instead being portable and powered by batteries that, in turn, can be recharged using an included USB cable. I like this idea as it keeps everything tidy whilst performing on stage.
The AirTurn DUO can be used in six different modes:
- Mac or PC
- Assisted Technology
The AirTurn DUO is divided into two separate units
- DIGIT BT-106
- ATFS-2 Footswitch
The DIGIT BT-106 is the brain of the DUO. It's small, portable and has six control buttons and a power LED.
Each button has a different function depending on the mode you're in. The table below lists each function per mode:
As can be seen, most functions per mode are basic in the they enable movement up and down through sheet music. Or up and down through a track to which you're listening or recording.
Using the AirTurn DUO in ProTools provides some benefits, especially when recording. For example, Shift-R arms a track, or a group of tracks, whilst P zooms the track.
Using the BT-106 in multimedia mode—or mode five—allows you to play, pause, and move into a list of songs without having to be close to the desktop.
By using either foot, buttons one and three, the DIGIT BT-106 is controlled by the ATFS-2 foot switch. The pedal is light and easy to transport and it fits easily into a guitar case, or similar.
The foot switch makes no click or sound at all when pushed. I've found this to be a double-edged sword.
On the one hand it's professional to have silent gear, especially if you do lots of studio recording. On the other, in a live situation, I like to be able to feel when the pedal is switched on or off.
Pro and Cons
Reliable gear is a must, especially for utility products such as metronome, tuners, stands.
The AirTurn DUO is no different, in this respect, as you need to be confident in its function and reliability.
The main purpose of this bluetooth controller is turning pages on a chart or lyrics sheet. It will save you time when reading music, when reading lyrics and whilst performing.
Whilst some might think of this device as unnecessary, it is a tangible benefit not to have to pause to turn a page when you find yourself jamming on a new song written by someone else.
I know buying a new fancy pedal can be more exciting and thrilling but believe me, as I've made this mistake myself, those kind of products are sometimes essential.
If you're looking for a simple device, that can be connected as easily as an external keyboard, then the AirTurn DUO could be a real benefit to you.
If you plan to use the BT-106, as a remote controller—without the foot switch—I wouldn't necessarily recommend this product.
- Accomplishes designed function
- Long battery life
- The BT-106 remote buttons are a bit too loose
- Hard to communicate with only a LED flashing red or green depending on the action
- Changing mode requires the disconnection, and reconnection, of the BT-106 remote device.
For its designed purpose, the AirTurn DUO is a really useful device for specific use-case scenarios.
The fact that it works with a number of different apps doesn't make the device more versatile, the versatility relates to the features of the product which are, in themselves, limited.