Inside the iPad rig Jimmy Fallon used to duet with Billy Joel on 'The Tonight Show'

Posted:
in iPad edited March 2014
Apple's iPad was the centerpiece of a live performance this week featuring the legendary Billy Joel and "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon, and AppleInsider has learned exactly what hardware and software producers utilized to make the memorable duet happen.



The performance, which relied the iPad application Loopy HD, proved so popular that even Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook took notice on Friday, tweeting out the clip to his 425,000 followers and calling it "magical." Fallon collaborated with Joel in an a capella rendition of the 1961 hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens.

But an iPad and Loopy HD alone were not enough to enable the performance, which saw Joel and Fallon loop their own harmonizing voices for backing vocals. While at his "Tonight Show" desk, Fallon controlled the Loopy HD application on an iPad mini that was connected to an offscreen device via a black Lightning cable, and both he and Joel utilized wireless microphones to input their vocals.

"Tonight" staff member John MacDonald revealed on Friday that Fallon's iPad mini was connected to an Apogee Quartet. The setup put together by Grammy winning producer Lawrence Manchester, who is a music mixer for Fallon's program, made it possible for microphones to be connected to the iPad and Loopy HD.


The Apogee Quartet.


While a second-generation iPad mini with Retina display starts at $399 and the Loopy HD app is available on the App Store for $7.99, the Quartet, a four-channel interface designed for both iPad and Mac, is a high-end piece of professional equipment that sells for about $1,400. Apogee says the device is the first professional multi-channel audio interface for iPad, and also offers direct digital connection to Apple's iPhone and iPod touch.

The versatile hardware is compatible with any application that complies with the Core Audio application programming interface in Apple's iOS. That allows the Apogee Quartet to operate with Loopy HD, or Apple's own GarageBand, and a number of other audio apps for iPad.




The hardware also features a MIDI connection, which enables musicians to simultaneously connect a keyboard or DJ controller, in addition to the Quartet, to an iPad.

Apogee also makes a lower-end version known as the Duet, which is a two-channel audio interface compatible with both iPad and Mac. That device retails for $650.


Loopy HD for iPad.


Since it debuted in 2010, the iPad has been gaining recognition as a potentially versatile tool for musicians to utilize when performing live. Apple itself has even highlighted these capabilities in its "Your Verse" television ads, which showcase an iPad being used onstage while a DJ provides backing music for a pair of live singers at a club.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    The iPad is just a toy, there's nothing to see here people move along now ;)
  • Reply 2 of 40
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member

    Exactly.  And it's only for "consuming content."  If you want to create things of course you need a proper Windows device and MS Office.

  • Reply 3 of 40
    Just like that monochrome pie chart in the "Get a Mac" ads. I totally see the fun.
  • Reply 4 of 40
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,491member
    I just so happened to have watched that clip earlier today, but for a completely different reason. However, I was blown away by that particular use of the iPad. Obviously, there are other apps that enable one to loop vocals or audio tracks, such as Garage Band, but the ease of use of Loopy was very impressive. I wonder how much worse the audio would have been if they had simply used the iPad's microphone instead of the wireless mics and the Apogee. For background vocals for amateur use, it probably would have been fine.

    These things are usually rehearsed, but it looked to me like Billy Joel was surprised by the whole thing, including the way the app worked.

    It demonstrated once again, just how powerful, yet how easy the iPad is to use. I can see a lot of parents wanting to replicate that experience with their kids. I wouldn't be surprised to see a bump in iPad sales (and a bump in Loopy downloads) as a result.

    IMO, Apple should run a "52 apps" campaign. Each week, their ads should target a particular app or two, highlighting the best ones and especially ones that aren't available on other platforms.
  • Reply 5 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post



    IMO, Apple should run a "52 apps" campaign. Each week, their ads should target a particular app or two, highlighting the best ones and especially ones that aren't available on other platforms.

    Brilliant.

     

    Certainly something like that instead of the currently tepid, self-conscious looking (dead-poets-whatever) ones.

  • Reply 6 of 40
    If Billy Joel looked surprised, and the pondering pause by Fallon to pick an easy song, it's called acting. To say that the whole thing was unrehearsed or unscripted would be naive. It's not broadcasted live either, so it could've been edited. It was an unbelievable performance, nonetheless.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    The iPad is a tool restricted only by one's imagination of using. I'm equally amazed a the ingenuity of developers to write programs that push the hardware out into directions I couldn't have guessed.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    Thanks for the information on how this was done. Yep, everything is easy looking until one realizes that that's why professionals are professionals. They make the hard stuff look easy.
  • Reply 9 of 40
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Does Android still have latency problems that prevent quality music/audio creation? Sounds like it did as of 4.1, at least:

    http://www.androidannoyances.com/post/tag/low-latency-audio
  • Reply 10 of 40

    Sorry... I was watching Jimmy Kimmel. He's a lot funnier.

  • Reply 11 of 40
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,330member
    Sorry... I was watching Jimmy Kimmel. He's a lot funnier.

    And you couldn't press play in the video above? The one we're discussing.

    As an non American I find what clips I have seen of Fallon quite amusing. He's as eager as a puppy.

    Totally agree on Apples advertising. Time to advertise its apps, it's hardware integration. Time to kiss hipsterism goodbye.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post



    Thanks for the information on how this was done. Yep, everything is easy looking until one realizes that that's why professionals are professionals. They make the hard stuff look easy.

     

    The Apogee they used is pretty nice, but you don't need a $1,000 peripheral to do what they were doing. You can get some pretty good input devices for $200.

     

    My kids do stuff like this (8 and 10 years old). I got them an iPad based recording studio for them to play with and they love it. Before I let them play with my gear I figured I'd let them try out something simpler to start to see if they like it (gave them a couple old Shure SM58's as they are rugged as hell, and not expensive if they do break one).

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post



    Does Android still have latency problems that prevent quality music/audio creation? Sounds like it did as of 4.1, at least:



    http://www.androidannoyances.com/post/tag/low-latency-audio

     

    Still does. There are architectural issues with Android itself that need to be corrected before they will get low latency. Although latency has been getting better on Android, it's not because Google has been actively trying to improve it - it's because devices are getting faster and faster making the latency lower. Funny that a Snapdragon 800 phone/tablet can't get latency as low as a 3 year old Apple processor could.

  • Reply 13 of 40
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BeyondtheTech View Post



    If Billy Joel looked surprised, and the pondering pause by Fallon to pick an easy song, it's called acting. To say that the whole thing was unrehearsed or unscripted would be naive. It's not broadcasted live either, so it could've been edited. It was an unbelievable performance, nonetheless.

    Correct. There is no such thing as "Live and unscripted" on network television. Even when it looks that way. Even they tell you it is.

  • Reply 14 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post



    I just so happened to have watched that clip earlier today, but for a completely different reason. However, I was blown away by that particular use of the iPad. Obviously, there are other apps that enable one to loop vocals or audio tracks, such as Garage Band, but the ease of use of Loopy was very impressive. I wonder how much worse the audio would have been if they had simply used the iPad's microphone instead of the wireless mics and the Apogee. For background vocals for amateur use, it probably would have been fine.



    These things are usually rehearsed, but it looked to me like Billy Joel was surprised by the whole thing, including the way the app worked.



    It demonstrated once again, just how powerful, yet how easy the iPad is to use. I can see a lot of parents wanting to replicate that experience with their kids. I wouldn't be surprised to see a bump in iPad sales (and a bump in Loopy downloads) as a result.



    IMO, Apple should run a "52 apps" campaign. Each week, their ads should target a particular app or two, highlighting the best ones and especially ones that aren't available on other platforms.

    I agree...brilliant idea! Why can't think of things like this? You could put me in a room for a million years and I would not have thought of that! :)

     

    P.S. My best idea to date is to download some free flamenco guitar music off the internets. Burn some CD's. Print some covers for the CD cases and go to the local Art Fairs with a sound system and two guitars sitting in stands and sell the CD's for $17 a pop. I would sit there with my arm in a fake cast....cuz I can't play that well! :) If I sold a hundred that would be? err?     .....someone help me with the math! :)

  • Reply 15 of 40
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,752member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post



    The iPad is just a toy, there's nothing to see here people move along now image



    Of course it's just a toy.  Look at Fallon and Joel goofing off like kids.  Of course it's a toy!  /s  :)



    This was such a great video, and a wonderful promotion for the iPad.  I wonder if Apple was involved in any way to pay for the exposure?

  • Reply 16 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by waldobushman View Post



    Thanks for the information on how this was done. Yep, everything is easy looking until one realizes that that's why professionals are professionals. They make the hard stuff look easy.

    Agreed.

     

    One of my most enjoyable experiences lately (musically) was finding Paul McCartney's "Live at Abbey Road" video...the whole thing is on YouTube (in parts).

     

    He's basically in the Abbey Road studio of Beatles fame, showing how everything was done.

     

    He makes it look so easy! 

     

    But then again, he is Paul McCartney. 

     

    Check it out. 

     

    Best.

  • Reply 17 of 40
    tokoloshtokolosh Posts: 101member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by justamacguy View Post

     

    Sorry... I was watching Jimmy Kimmel. He's a lot funnier.


    "more funny"?

     

    It isn't just about being funny. Sure this role generally goes to a comedian but it is more about just being entertaining. Jimmy Fallon is an entertainer and I think is able to reach more audiences with his variety of skits and performances than Kimmel. That being said, Kimmel's handsome man club might be one of the best skits to come from these late shows. That was comedic genius.

     

    It is cool to see tech that is in most hands (or available to most) being used so simply. The professional equipment clearly was needed for the setting and quality but it is amazing to see how so many have been able to use Apple products and other simple tech to reach the world with their talents.

  • Reply 18 of 40
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by justamacguy View Post

     

    Sorry... I was watching Jimmy Kimmel. He's a lot funnier.


    Yeah, I agree. But Jimmy Fallon does have a unique way of connecting with musicians. I remember he and Mick Jagger clicking on SNL, back in the day!

     

    Jimmy Kimmel "connects" similarly with tall, thin, and very handsome men. :)

     

    Best.

  • Reply 19 of 40
    sflocal wrote: »

    Of course it's just a toy.  Look at Fallon and Joel goofing off like kids.  Of course it's a toy!  /s  :)


    This was such a great video, and a wonderful promotion for the iPad.  I wonder if Apple was involved in any way to pay for the exposure?

    Unnecessary. You know how creative, artsy, music, and Hollywood folks just use Apple products because (shocking) they want to. Most of the haters come from tech circles.
  • Reply 20 of 40
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,616member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

    IMO, Apple should run a "52 apps" campaign. Each week, their ads should target a particular app or two, highlighting the best ones and especially ones that aren't available on other platforms.

    I second what others have said. That is a great idea for a campaign. It should run in a little more depth on the Apple website. The usual ads featuring a wash of 'amazingness' often show impressive images and I often would like to know exactly what hey are doing and how.

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by justamacguy View Post

     

    Sorry... I was watching Jimmy Kimmel. He's a lot funnier.


    Kimmel is funnier but Fallon is good, too. He is a good musician. Did you see his Springsteen with Springsteen? 

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