by Jonny Rosch
Welcome one and all to my review of the iRig Blue Turn, that latest Bluetooth device offering from IK Multimedia. What do it do? It lies on the floor, with no wires or pretenses, looking strong. sturdy and confident in a Clint Eastwood way, but with that George Clooney, “come hither” look.
Well, that journey didn’t say very much, huh? What does it do?
The iRig Blue Turn connects via Bluetooth technology (no wires!) to a Bluetooth device (computer, iPad, iPhone and other iOS devices, Android, smartphones, etc.), and enables you to turn pages or scroll line-by-line through a document with a tap of the toe, and can even do some other nifty things depending on the particular app you are using. Anyone can turn pages and scroll through set lists, scores, lyric sheets, slides and more with hands-free, high-visibility convenience.
You don’t have to be a musician to use one, but you probably should be able to read.
The iRig Blue Turn is a beautifully made, elegant, sturdy box. (I’d call the material ‘pletal’ … or ‘mastic’, because it’s made of plastic but looks and almost feels like metal.)
It’s easy to throw in your gig bag or even your overcoat pocket.
But before you get to that stage, you’re going to have to set it up. How long is that going to take? Well, in my case I installed the 2 AA batteries (supplied–thank you) and turned it on. I made sure that Bluetooth was enabled in the Settings section of my iPad and, Holy smokes … I mean … voila! It recognized the iRig Blue Turn instantly and synched without any passcode nonsense. I will take some credit here because I did install the batteries, and did so correctly.
Now that it was synced, I wanted to use the device as a page turner for sheet music that was stored as .pdf file in an app I use called forScore. I opened the program, I loaded up a score in the program, I pressed the backlit DOWN arrow on the Blue Turn and it took me to the next page. I pressed the backlit UP arrow and it took me back to the first page. (Or was it the other way around? …by then I had a few cocktails because it was a gig. ) Anyway, it worked the way you would have expected it to. It’s set to scroll up or down one line, but you can set to page scroll mode, or left-to-right mode (especially good for people who say “No” a lot). You can change the mode when you turn on the device.
There is no clicking sound when you press the buttons and that’s a really good thing because not only do we need silence on stage when pressing buttons, most button pressers would be way out of time if there was an audible click, and that would drive your drummer crazy. What more can I tell you? It works beautifully and seamlessly and it keeps one’s hands and fingers on one’s respective instruments.
I spent a bit of time figuring out how to change the whole band’s pages at the same time, but only on paper. It’s doable, and if I had a steady band that performed new music on a regular basis, I might be inclined to try it.
Full disclosure: I am a professional musician, producer, writer and recording studio owner, and I use their other products by IK Multimedia daily in my recording studio and in live concert situations. Whenever there’s been an issue with one of their products, I have contacted the company and, sadly, I am forced to reveal that approximately 100% of the time I have discovered that the so-called problem or vexation was due to “operator error”’ (meaning me). This has left me with an even deeper sense of self-loathing than usual and has left me thinking, “I don’t think I feel like working today, what’s on Netflix?” On the plus side, I usually proceed with checking out what my project is going to be like now that I’ve fixed “my” error and then their product is so much fun that I get sucked back into working anyway. To sum up: I’m quite adept in the studio, but overall I may be a blithering idiot technologically but they have a great company that makes great products.
Here’s what I do know: I like everything about it. It’s like Apple used to be when Steve Jobs first ran it. The products were lean, clean, mean and elegant with a simplicity that belied it’s usefulness. I’d say get one even if you don’t technically need one. You can always use it to amaze your friends by having the hippest, battery powered, Bluetooth-capable doorstop.