First tablet for charts / notes live

topdog91topdog91 Frets: 364
I'm an Android person but also a realist. I've managed to avoid Apple for years but now I'm looking at a tablet for my two hobbies of aviation and music, specifically live performance playing guitar in a party / function band.

I know that Android tablets have almost disappeared over the years as Android phones have become more capable and iPads have dominated what's left of the market.

For aviation, Foreflight is the big app and iOS only (boo) but that's for advanced (IFR) pilots. SkyDemon is the big app for VFR pilots (me) and available on Android so no issues there. Although I fly small planes where a small tablet is probably better but I think for music I may want full size?

I've looked at the apps available for my requirement but it's overwhelming. I play by ear but use charts for reference for some songs that I maybe don't know so well or are more complex and I might brain fart.

The charts are not musical notation, rather my own shirt reference, chords, structure, reminders of backing vocals, the very odd little bit of tab. All written by me. I know the songs so the charts are not verbose.

Currently these charts are written in Google Docs which I like but it becomes a bit annoying to reorder things as setlists change. So an easy way to organise a set list would be nice.

And then I print it out (~30 A4 sheets) and put it on a stand. It's annoying to turn pages whilst in the gig as we don't leave much space between songs. Tapping a tablet icon or even using some kind of footswitch (MIDI? Bluetooth?) would be much better. Oh, and if I'm not accurate, the sheets can fall or I turn too many etc...

Even exporting to PDF still means tedious document copying and pasting. I need something with the concept of a song as an entity.

Quick access to other songs outside the setlists would be nice too, for encores or just the ability to improvise.

It would be nice to be able to transpose as I'm in different bands. This isn't too important as I'm not in that many bands and could save a different song version in different keys (remember I write things in my own very concise way, more memory jerkers than chord charts).

If it has *good* charts for songs that's a bonus but anyway I prefer to listen to the songs and learn the original parts.

So yeah, that's me. Can anyone recommend options for a software and hardware setup that can handle this well? Android preferred but if I absolutely have to go to the dark side, so be it. Open source even better. Subscriptions baaaad. Simplicity good, I don't need a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Oh, and an open format would be much appreciated so if I migrate to something else in the future I don't have to start from scratch.

If I can edit files on another device that would be good too. I use Syncthing between computers and mobile.

Apps I've come across so far:
Setlist Helper (cross-platform)
Mobilesheets (cross-platform)

Songsheet Pro (iOS only)
Forescore (iOS only, looks incredible but more for actual sheet music)
OnSong(iOS only)

Set List Maker (terrible reviews, website down)
BandHelper (same developer as above, looks very cool but subscription service boo)
Lyric Pad (Android only, terrible reviews, website down)

Feel free to comment on any of the above, thanks in advance.
Brian Moore MC1 / i9.13p, Chapman ML-2 / ML-3, Fender 1977 Strat Hardtail / Richie Kotzen Telecaster, Peavey Predator / T-60, PRS SE Akerfeldt / Akesson , Squier Classic Vibe 60s Strat, FSR Custom Tele x2, Simon & Patrick Folk Cedar
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Comments

  • TheBigDipperTheBigDipper Frets: 4829
    Happy user of OnSong until they changed to a subscription pricing model and started getting bloated and buggy. Now using Songbook Pro (not Songsheet Pro, which is different). Happy.
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  • BlueingreenBlueingreen Frets: 2612
    edited March 29
    I use charts for a swing band I play in where some song arrangements have too many chords to make memorisation practicable. 

    When I decided to move from paper to tablet I downloaded Piascore (free app). I already owned iPad minis but decided I’d like a full sized tablet for this so I bought a fairly old iPad (from memory 2nd gen, the oldest compatible with Piascore) for £80. I don’t use it for anything else and does the job just fine. 

    I couldn’t be happier with this solution.
    “To a man with a hammer every problem looks like a nail.”
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  • WhistlerWhistler Frets: 323
    I have been an OnSong user for the last 13 years as a PDF manager, not in the manner the app was originally designed. Other band members have either Android or Apple tablets so this year I am trying MobileSheets, ForScore and OnSong side by side. 3 months in and my impressions so far are:

    OnSong has had a lot of features added during its life, some of which are off by default and so have to be adjusted in the settings - for example, how to jump a page instantly rather than scroll. OnSong is the most expensive and is easiest for songs and a pain to use with a songbook.

    ForScore is clearly the best programmed, always shows the whole page without unwanted clutter (menu bars or overlays). It is clearly designed for classical music scores and so handles long songbooks with ease. Its only weak point (which I hope I can resolve) is that with lots (500) songs in PDFs, it wants to turn through every page of every PDF in the setlist; it is not able to jump to the next song (next PDF) from part way through one PDF.

    MobileSheets is the cheapest app of the 3, the only one I am testing that works on Android (as @topdog91 ; mentioned) and while I am finding it not as quick (because it is not yet second nature to me) to add to or change the running order of setlists, I absolutely love its performance mode for keeping the screen clear and avoiding accidental taps on the screen doing anything except going forward or backward a page. To jump to the next song in performance more, a menu bar can be added. I like it and am recommending it to my Android-using friends.

    The one little niggle is that each app displays differently and that means the margins on my home-made PDFs have to be larger at the top for MobileSheets, larger at the bottom for OnSong, and are completely unecessary for ForScore. If you and your whole band only use one app you can have tighter margins.
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  • topdog91topdog91 Frets: 364
    Thanks everyone for the very interesting and useful insight.

    @Whistler have you tried Setlist Helper? I'm still at the start of my exploration but it seems cheap and cheerful. I met with band number two last night and it turns out the bassist in that band is a happy camper using Setlist Helper on Android. He said the main friction is that reordering songs in an existing setlist is a bit clunky. It's also free with the exception of some premium features.
    Brian Moore MC1 / i9.13p, Chapman ML-2 / ML-3, Fender 1977 Strat Hardtail / Richie Kotzen Telecaster, Peavey Predator / T-60, PRS SE Akerfeldt / Akesson , Squier Classic Vibe 60s Strat, FSR Custom Tele x2, Simon & Patrick Folk Cedar
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  • WhistlerWhistler Frets: 323
    topdog91 said:
    @Whistler have you tried Setlist Helper?
    Sort of. I have it installed on my iPad but I failed at the first hurdle. To use PDFs I need to import them and Setlist Helper's help only gives instructions for importing PDFs on Android. I cannot find the import command (or option) anywhere so at the moment I cannot comment on whether Setlist Helper works or not and I am not yet in a position to recommend it to anyone. I hope you get on better with it than I have.
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  • topdog91topdog91 Frets: 364
    edited April 12
    Whistler said:
    topdog91 said:
    @Whistler have you tried Setlist Helper?
    Sort of. I have it installed on my iPad but I failed at the first hurdle. To use PDFs I need to import them and Setlist Helper's help only gives instructions for importing PDFs on Android. I cannot find the import command (or option) anywhere so at the moment I cannot comment on whether Setlist Helper works or not and I am not yet in a position to recommend it to anyone. I hope you get on better with it than I have.
    I finished up with a second-hand 1st gen iPad Pro for music and I'll get something else for aviation in due course.

    Anyway, on iOS, one goes to Songs then there's a small menu icon in the bottom right, then Update Dropbox Files. The thing is that then it hangs.

    Edit: I found out that Dropbox support is only in the paid version. So it's clunky but seems to be working. Now trying to create songs and a setlist and connect it to a Donner Bluetooth page turner pedal that the keyboard player lent me.
    Brian Moore MC1 / i9.13p, Chapman ML-2 / ML-3, Fender 1977 Strat Hardtail / Richie Kotzen Telecaster, Peavey Predator / T-60, PRS SE Akerfeldt / Akesson , Squier Classic Vibe 60s Strat, FSR Custom Tele x2, Simon & Patrick Folk Cedar
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  • shufflebeatshufflebeat Frets: 105
    edited April 22
    iReal Pro:

    https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/ireal-pro/id298206806

    Chords, playback in various styles, small text notes and setlist manager.

    Great screen-space management.

    iOS and Android, in case that’s still important.

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  • topdog91topdog91 Frets: 364
    Bumping this to see what people are using for mounts. First gig I just put the iPad Pro 12.9" on my music stand, and it was okay if a tiny bit wobbly. It's one thing dropping paper, but I don't want this to fall and break. Nabbed a Bluetooth page turner pedal off our keyboard player and it worked really well.

    I usually do backing vocals so I'm looking at the mic stand mounts which will save valuable stage area. The standouts seem to be:
    Amazon:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jubor-Microphone-Compatible-Smartphone-4-7-12-9/dp/B09JVPPYKC/
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Elitehood-Newest-Microphone-Adjustable-Devices-Black/dp/B0B4ZN2T8B/

    Thomann:
    https://www.thomann.de/gb/km_19791_tablet_pc_holder.htm

    I can read reviews as much as the next person but does anyone have any experience with the above or would like to recommend another for any reason? Bit annoyed at my lack of preparation, have a gig tomorrow so Thomann is less attractive than Amazon (Prime). But if the Thomann is worth it, I'll go for it and use the music stand again tomorrow night. I'm conscious of false economies but also of wasting money. ;)
    Brian Moore MC1 / i9.13p, Chapman ML-2 / ML-3, Fender 1977 Strat Hardtail / Richie Kotzen Telecaster, Peavey Predator / T-60, PRS SE Akerfeldt / Akesson , Squier Classic Vibe 60s Strat, FSR Custom Tele x2, Simon & Patrick Folk Cedar
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 8789
    The K&M holder looks much more stable and reliable than the cheaper Amazon options. The long sleeve on the K&M, that’s the bit which goes around the mic stand, stops the stand sagging sideways under the weight of the tablet.

    The longer arm on the K&M allows you to move the tablet closer towards you, or to the side. I find this very useful because I don’t want to have my boom mic stand directly in front of me.
    Tree recycler, and guitarist with  https://www.undercoversband.com/.
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  • topdog91topdog91 Frets: 364
    Roland said:
    The K&M holder looks much more stable and reliable than the cheaper Amazon options. The long sleeve on the K&M, that’s the bit which goes around the mic stand, stops the stand sagging sideways under the weight of the tablet.

    The longer arm on the K&M allows you to move the tablet closer towards you, or to the side. I find this very useful because I don’t want to have my boom mic stand directly in front of me.
    Thank you. I ordered both from Amazon to arrive today, but having read more reviews I think they'll be going back. The more expensive of the two seems to have an issue with a screw shearing off. I just don't need to be worrying about equipment problems for another 20-30 quid. A dropped cracked tablet would really get my goat.

    Thanks, care to elaborate on why?
    Brian Moore MC1 / i9.13p, Chapman ML-2 / ML-3, Fender 1977 Strat Hardtail / Richie Kotzen Telecaster, Peavey Predator / T-60, PRS SE Akerfeldt / Akesson , Squier Classic Vibe 60s Strat, FSR Custom Tele x2, Simon & Patrick Folk Cedar
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  • shufflebeatshufflebeat Frets: 105
    edited May 2
    topdog91 said:
    The problems I’ve had have been either with design or materials, if the design is well thought through then the materials are flimsy, if it’s made from decent metal then it can sometimes be “over engineered” with elaborate mechanisms for gripping/adjusting.

    The Herc feels reassuringly solid in all the moving parts, has lots of scope for adjustment
    and folds up nicely for storage.

    I also had the previous Hercules model but it didn’t quite manage to hold a 10” iPad housed in a tough case, the new one has better clearance behind to accommodate the handle.
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