Essential functions to look for in a Bluetooth Page Turner & App Controller
What makes a product good? Not just a Bluetooth Page Turner & App Controller. Good products in general.
What made you buy the guitar, keyboard, piano, drum set, or bass you currently use? On the surface, a PRS SE Single Cut and Gibson Les Paul look similar. They basically do the same thing (you know, guitar’ing). Both are single-cut, two humbucking, three-way-switching rock machines.
But as musicians, we know better. We’re looking for tone, quality of construction, playability, and certain features. We know that not all instruments are equal. Even at similar price points with similar capabilities.
It doesn’t stop at instruments or musical equipment.
Why do you have a Galaxy or iPhone? What made you get one over the other? They both send texts, have e-mail and social media capabilities, good cameras, and can make phone calls (if that’s still a thing). They’re about the same price, model depending.
But there was something that made you choose one over the other. I’m guessing it had something to do with functionality or usability. Or both. You wanted a smart phone with a variety of capabilities. One that’s also user friendly.
If you’re reading this today, you may be looking for the best Bluetooth Page Turner & App Controller. Something with the functionality you need and then some. Something that’s easy and quick to use.
You may want to know what the differences are. Which one’s better. Which one does the most. Which one is the best for you.
Because let’s face it: you don’t have the time to waste on convoluted, cheap, or unhelpful pedals.
So let's look at a few key features and functions to look for in a Bluetooth Page Turner & App Controller.
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s find out what they actually do.
What is a Bluetooth Page Turner?
Exactly what it sounds like. It enables you to wirelessly turn pages on your smart phone or tablet. Hands-free. The biggest use is turning pages on sheet music or chord chart apps. Apps like forScore, OnSong, Planning Center. Basically, any app out there that accepts standard key commands.
Bluetooth Page Turners have really found a home in a wide array of settings. The most common uses I see are cover bands, church musicians, session players, and orchestral players. Musicians moving towards paperless digital sheet music and charts.
But as you’ll see, that’s only the beginning....
Because STOMP is also an app controller. That means that in addition to being compatible with sheet music and chart software, it’s also compatible with hundreds of apps with uses you might need as a musician. For example:
- Starting and stopping metronome / click tracks
- Triggering backing tracks during a set
- Controlling ProTools and other DAWs
- Changing slides on apps like PowerPoint and Keynote
And a whole bunch more. Really. Get creative!
And because I’m a musician, STOMP is...
Made With Musicians In Mind
One big trend I see right now is manufacturing facilities creating their own brands. This isn’t new. There have been knock-off guitars for the past 30-40 years. We see it with a lot of consumer electronics, clothing, and lately I’m seeing it much more with musical equipment.
These are companies that manufacture a product for an established company. They end up taking the basic idea of the item and create a cheaper version of it. They’re a shell of the original product, but they’re cheap.
Think of the Strat copies you could buy for $100 a few years ago. As someone who was just starting to play guitar, that was an easy entry point. But how long did it last? Probably not long. It played horribly, sounded awful, and probably broke.
Real Strats play very well, sound good, and will last as long as you want them to.
They’re also made by musicians, with musicians in mind.
If you search for “Bluetooth Page Turner” on Amazon, you’ll see a large handful of pedals made by these manufacturers-turned-brands. They’ll look suspiciously similar. On the surface they seem like a good entry into the Bluetooth page turner world. They turn pages (although reliability is in questionable), and they’re not too expensive.
But make no mistake, they’re the Strat knock off and not the real deal.
Close, But Not Quite
Most of us will admit that we don’t typically read instruction manuals. Even for Ikea furniture we’ll give it a decent skim, and go for it. (This is a mistake! Always read the Ikea instructions thoroughly!)
Beyond our pride taking over, most things are just intuitive these days. But when a non-musician makes something for musicians, there’s a big lack of nuance, usability, and common sense.
Take the virtual keyboard for example. If you’re using forScore, it’s important to have easy access to your virtual keyboard on your iPad or tablet. Most of the pedal manufacturers out there know that it’s “on the list” of features the pedal is supposed to have. So they include it.
But you either have to turn the pedal off or reach down to the pedal to push a button to enable it. That makes no sense. The whole point of it is to be hands free. So why is it so complicated?
Because they don’t get it. It’s just a box to check for them. A feature to include in the sales copy.
Contrast that with STOMP. To turn the virtual keyboard on, you simply hold both switches at the same time. With one foot. Easy. STOMP is actually the only one to make this hands-free. Even the legitimate brands require additional steps (no pun intended, mainly because you have to use your hands...) to activate the virtual keyboard.
Made For Performing
Running with the theme, there are smaller nuances that a lot of other pedals lack. Everything with STOMP is made with performance in mind.
STOMP is extremely versatile, but not complicated to use. The switches are spaced far enough apart that you don’t accidentally step on both of them. The overall footprint is designed with pedal boards and portability in mind.
The switches are quiet. It’s highly efficient and doesn’t drain your battery. It has a 9v DC power supply if you want to skip the battery altogether. It and has a sleep mode to preserve battery and ‘wakes up’ instantly.
It’s the only pedal on the market that’s made of an all metal enclosure.
I have a lot of guitar pedals. I’ve owned and sold/lost/traded even more. None of them have been made of plastic. Even if they’re on a pedalboard in a protective case, I’m still going to step on them. So a plastic pedal just wouldn’t last very long.
The switches also need to be substantial. Plastic wears significantly quicker than metal in mechanical applications.
For this reason, STOMP was designed to be durable. It needed to be able to be thrown into a bag after a gig. The switches need to be able to take abuse. When I’m switching, I'm switching. There’s no time to be delicate during a performance.
Or in the parking lot if you accidently run it over with a truck.
STOMP is not only designed in the USA, but it’s also made in the USA with only the highest quality parts. The sales and support teams are in the USA, so you have a real person to connect with.
The “Heated Seats” Idea:
You don’t need heated seats in your car, but it sure is nice in January. It may have been a feature that got you into that car instead of another. The details.
As musicians, it’s important to focus on our performance. Any other distraction can hinder or interrupt our set.
When I had an active acoustic guitar pickup, I’d change the batter every gig. My worst fear was that it would go flat during the set. I always keep my iPad at 100% for the same reason. Logically I understand the battery life. But it’s still one more thing to worry about.
STOMP actually charges your tablet during the set. If your tablet or smart phone is plugged into power, you don’t have to worry about it. If you don’t have to worry about it, you can focus on your performance.
Which is the point.
Everything you use during a performance is a tool. If you have to worry about the tool, is it worth bringing?
If you found this article helpful, share it with a musician you know will enjoy it!