In the past couple of years, I’ve been leaning on my iPad more and more for freelance gigs. I can easily scan in any piece of sheet music, create a setlist and go. I can also notate things in different colors, or even erase sections that are cut. Add to that a bluetooth page turning pedal at my feet, and you can see why going completely digital has its positives. However, the biggest issue I’ve had with the page turners is that, because they’re made usually for EVERYONE (not just musicians), that they feel cheap. I usually keep mine velcro’d to my pedal board for ease, and there are those times that I have to adjust my “stomping” when going between flipping pages or engaging an effect.
Thankfully the folk at IK Multimedia, whose slogan is “Musicians First,” have just released the iRig BlueTurn, an affordable bluetooth page turning pedal that’s tailored specifically to us. As someone that has used their iKlip for a number of years, I was excited to see what they’d bring to the page turning table.
The first thing I noticed about the iRig BlueTurn in the images alone, was that the footswitches are backlit. For me, who’s in a crowded and dark theatre pit for most of my playing, having something as simple as soft, glowing lights at my feet is gigantic. I mean, you can look down and see what effect pedals are on, right? This is a simple, yet invaluable feature. Upon receiving it, I was impressed at the construction. While it’s still made of plastic, it’s made in such a way that it doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. Especially with the design of the footswitches, this has a very sturdy feel to it; I won’t worry about stepping on this for fear of breaking anything on it.
Stepping on it confirmed the sturdiness of the build. The soft-touch buttons are extremely durable, allowing you to push down with a minimum (or more) amount of force to quickly and easily change pages. I was impressed at how much easier this pedal was to use, as with other options, sometimes the softer touch didn’t quite register, so you ended up having to use the pedal again at which point you were already a page behind. Not with this.
Connecting the pedal to the iPad was easier than my previous page turner. The other one required you to be able to enter a numbered code, using buttons, to correctly pair the unit. Not here; it was as simple as turning on the unit, going into bluetooth settings, clicking on the iRig BlueTurn unit and connecting. There are three different modes you can set the BlueTurn for; the uber-simple instruction manual shows you how.
Sure, all of that sounds great, right? But how does it perform onstage, in an actual gigging situation? It performs exactly as described. Turning the unit on immediately pairs it with your bluetooth device, making setup a breeze. The backlit buttons are AMAZING in a dark, crowded pit and are extremely durable, especially when you’re playing a fast tune and step on the pedal a little more strongly than you intended. No problems at all.
With a street price of $69.99 USD, the iRig BlueTurn from IK Multimedia really delivers. It’s simple to use, easy to view and durable, everything that a regular digital music user like myself has been missing in this market for quite some time.