iOS Live Streaming DIY Tech

During the month of June 2018, I had the pleasure of writing a four-article series for New Music Box, the publication of New Music USA. I received this invitation after presenting an hour-long talk at the 2018 New Music Gathering, at Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

Although live streaming has gained a bit of popularity, it can be problematic finding the right live streaming solution for your music applications. Well, I wrote 4 blogs about it! First, I wrote about why we live streaming, for my first New Music Box blog:

Live Streaming 101

The second blog focuses on where to host your stream, how to prepare for it, advertising, and what to do with it afterwards:

Live Streaming 102

This article focuses on the tech. I’ll spend some time in this blog linking some tech I love and use, so you have a clearer idea of where to start with equipment.

Live Streaming 103

The fourth article is a wrap up read that spends some time looking at collaboration, graphics, and more ideas of what to do with the content.

Live Streaming 104

The Tech

Finding the right tech is perplexing, time consuming, and usually not people’s favorite part. I, however, love the research behind it! So I present to you a short list of ways to get great live streams, with good audio

iOS + mic

Sometimes the simplest solution is to use your phone camera, which automatically connects to many streaming apps like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. But the audio from your phone isn’t the best. I have been using the Shure MV88 and so far, it’s a great simple solution (all images below link to the amazon products).

This mic is a stereo mic that plug directly in to the lighting port of iOS devices and can be controlled by the MOTIV app. You can adjust the mic pattern, EQ, set gain, and more. Using this in performance situations, it gives a true sound of the room.

PRO TIP: this mic has an excellent sound and great controls, but it requires your iOS device to be on “do not disturb” and airplane mode, so your wifi signal has to be good to be streaming with those settings. If you don’t, weird electronic interference occurs every time you get a phone call, text, or push notification (yes, this has happened to me).

iOS + audio interface

If you want to use your own mics, there are some great interfaces that are compatible with iOS or other USB devices. The Presonus iTwo is a great choice. With two inputs and phantom power, this interface will connect to your lighting port, and allow you to control your stereo mic pair.

Tascam also makes the Tascam iXR, which is very similar to the Presonus. Two channels, phantom power, and mobile recording via iOS.

Keep in mind; just like the microphones, the audio interfaces must be able to take over the audio input source of the iOS device. Not all connections do this!

PRO TIP: audio tech is constantly changing. Just because these are my two recommendations doesn’t mean there won’t be cooler iOS capable interfaces in the future, or interfaces that also work well with Android. Either way, do your research!

Stands and Mounts

The other aspect of a great iOS streaming set up is how your phones, ipads, and audio sources are set up, and how they are mounted. My method has been to use mic stands (because I can also use them for recording and GoPro needs), and different types of mounts.

The slew of products available for mounting iOS is incredible, but I recommend these versions which I have used, and been pleased with. For the iPhone, this mount is affordable and easy to use (image doesn’t work for some reason):

ChargerCity Music Pro Lyric Pole Bar Microphone Boom Mic Stand mount for Apple iPhone X 8 7 Plus 6s Galaxy S7 S8 Edge Note LG v30 MOTO X Blu Smartphones (Holder opens up to 3.5″)

For iPads, I have been pleased with this mount product, which can both clip onto things and connect to the microphone stand end with ease:

For mic stands, it’s helpful to have a well made tripod stand that has a 2-tier boom arm for the most compact adaptability. I have K&M mic stands that are super old and still in excellent condition.

I actually just used all of this equipment for four live streaming events at the 2018 Gilmore Piano Camp. We were wireless, iOS, and fully functioning with multiple camera angles thanks to the Switcher Studio apps. You can watch these streams on the Gilmore Education Facebook Page.

As always, please reach out if you have questions about my methods, the equipment, and streaming in general. I highly recommend reading through the four articles at the top of this page if you are unfamiliar with streaming tech and want to get started. There’s always a lot to consider.

Happy streaming!

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Something to Hunt

Since the fall, I have had the pleasure of working with ÆPEX Contemporary Performance to produce and present a concert of music by living, diverse composers. I am the only “white” male composer on the program. This concert is today and you should either come or live stream it.

I present two arguments for supporting this project. 1.) diversity across experiences is more important than ever, and 2.) your ear needs to be challenged, and this music will challenge you.

Diversity.

In this political climate, diversity is a subject that keeps coming up. Regardless of your political leanings, the world is getting smaller and more mixed up. To assume you can avoid interactions with someone outside of your race, religion, socio-economic class, etc.- is to live in a bubble. Future generations need to be able to handle this, and this starts now. Part of the awareness of diversity comes from intentional inclusion. For my line of work, this is intentional inclusion within the arts. 

If we want the arts to continue–meaning we have a continuation of audience, and a continuation of creators and performers–then we must cultivate artists that reflect the population around us. If we want contemporary classical music to reach more people, let’s start by presenting an actual snapshot of the people making this music. It’s not just white dudes, despite the majority of composer you will find as the “composer of the day” at the Society of Composers, and other such traditional organizations.

Our concert Something to Hunt features two women composers, an African American composer, a Mexican composer, and myself, the white male composer. We are not always defined by our gender and race, but statistics (and my day to day work interactions) show that we still move through our world with a white-male-dominated lens. Simply presenting and purposefully showcasing a diverse group of artists gives the audience a real slice of who makes up the classical contemporary music scene. It also gives future generations the ability to see themselves doing these things.

Your Ears Need to be Challenged.

Like any art form, the sounds of new music will most often challenge the ear. Tonight’s concert is no exception. The opening piece by Matthew Evan Taylor is a duet for saxophone and bass clarinet, boisterous and groovy, and will disrupt your evening. Follow that with a piece for solo violist by composer and friend Cassandra Kaczor.  Then the most harmonic and soothing pieces appear on the program, the world premiere of my “glass studies” for solo piano. Consider this my gift to your ears. After intermission, we reach into the mind of Edgar Barroso who begins his piece with the instrumentalists’ making noise with anything BUT their instruments. Gestures and shapes abound, but it’s not your normal listening experience. The program will end with Ashley Fure’s “Something to Hunt,” a piece that is far more interested in timbre and effect than anything pertaining to melody and harmony.

Most of the time, we go out to be entertained. This program will do that, as the sounds you hear are so unusual they will captivate, but they never labor on. However, tonight’s program will also invite you to contemplate the titles, the sounds, and the meaning of what you are listening to and why you are here. This exercise of questioning is just as important as breathing, and will hopefully allow you to create an inner dialogue with yourself–dancing around the sounds you like and the sounds you don’t and why.

Tickets here. [K-College Faculty & Students Free, Students $5, $10 all other]

8pm, Dalton Theater, Kalamazoo College. 

Live-streamed here: ÆPEX Contemporary Performance

and if tech goes well here: Adam Schumaker’s YouTube

 

media coverage part 2 & 3

Tonight I heard myself on the radio.

That’s part 2.

You can listen to it tomorrow (Thursday January 14th) at 10:00 am EST here: http://wmuk.org/ . If you listen, you get to hear me talk, with my pianist and friend Cassandra Kaczor, and you get to listen to three movements of six inspirations and another piano solo that will be heard on my concert this Friday.

Getting yourself out there is hard. Half of the battle is just getting noticed. Then perhaps the last struggle is getting people curious enough to care to come. Or at least consider coming to your concert.

With all of the media opportunities everyone has, I wonder if quality is irrelevant in the first step of media coverage. Maybe you just need to persist and tell everyone and get a look and a feel that says “I am here. I exist. I am important enough to consider.” Continue reading