Reading/organizing PDFs on iPad vs. MacBook? (Sheet music, theory/history books)

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Mac32, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Mac32, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012

    Mac32 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #1
    Hi!

    I'm a teacher and a musician who needs some iPad advice. I have a big collection of various music theory books, sheet music and orchestral scores in PDF. I would especially like to have a more practical experience using electronic sheet music while playing the piano or listening to music.
    How does reading PDF files on an iPad work compared to my MacBook Pro/Air?

    I'm not familiar with the iOS system, so I'm wondering how easy it is to organize folders and files on an iPad. Can I group a big collection of PDF files into specified folders or groups, or having various htm text files on my iPad opened in Safari as local bookmarks (I have an offline version of the entire The New Grove music encylopedia)?

    Also, does iBooks provide a clear and HQ image of PDF files? I notice on my macbook that Adobe Reader Pro has a much more clearer PDF image quality, than (mac) Preview which makes several of my PDFs look blurry.

    I don't have a big budget these days, so I really have to weigh this purchase carefully.
    Any good tips or advices would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks! :)
     
  2. noteple macrumors 65816

    noteple

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    #2
    I use bunches of PDF charts and graphs along with an application called GoodReader
     
  3. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #3
    The iPad experience for PDFs is far closer to that of a book or stack of papers due to the lack of a keyboard.

    The iPad itself does not have a filesystem that the user can access. It is up to each app to organize itself in the way it best sees fit.

    There are many apps for reading and organizing PDFs as well as ePUBs. You may have to experiment a bit to find one that works best for you.

    B
     
  4. whtrbt7 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    #4
    If you're a musician and you are performing, you can use the iPad for the sheet music and recording. There are free apps for sheet music such as http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/virtual-sheet-music/id322312746?mt=8 and you can also view sheet music in iBooks or PDF expert. PDF expert will allow you to annotate PDF sheet music if there are any changes let's say from andante to adagio or if there are corrections needed like missing sharp/flat notes. The iPad will also fit on stands which the Macbook Air cannot.

    To get sheet music on your iPad, you can have it e-mailed to you or you can deposit them onto the iPad by using iTunes on a computer. Also check out these other apps which may benefit you in the long run.

    http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/41468/best-ipad-apps-for-musicians
     
  5. Mac32, Apr 1, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012

    Mac32 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #5
    Thanks for the replies.
    It is possible to connect a USB drive to the iPad and just copy the PDFs into the iPad? It would be impractical to send 10gb+ of sheet music and books via email. :)
    (I don't have wifi at home right now, and I would prefer not to pay for additional file synching services from Apple.)
    Thanks again.

    Ps: I will check out Virtual Sheet music if/when I get an iPad!
     
  6. whtrbt7 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    #6
    It would be best to transfer the sheet music via iTunes on the computer then. Just drag and drop into iBooks in iTunes and it will sync across.
     
  7. NATO macrumors 68000

    NATO

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #7
    iBooks has a great system for storing and organising PDFs. I have a lot of programming/tech books organised into folders by category.

    You can drag your PDFs into iTunes and sync them into iBooks that way or use Dropbox or Goodreader and use 'Open in...' to select iBooks where they'll be copied into your iBooks library and synced to iTunes automatically.

    Very useful app!
     
  8. shadowness macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    #8
    Hi,
    I use Goodreader for a lot of pdf collection, Catalogs, ebooks, manuals etc.
    Good reader also has a USB tool for both mac and windows through which you can connect your ipad to your computer and then create/delete, edit, organise folders & file inside good reader, similar to either finder or win explorer.

    you can find the updated version at the goodreader website.
     
  9. jpow112 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    #9
    ForScore is great for this - cheap and very functional.

    You can tag your PDFs, and add notes, composers, annotate and highlight, add text, and musical marks, which you can add to -

    It has a metronome and you can define a beat for each score, and also associate a music file from itunes for each score, for easy reference.

    You can associate each score with a particular Gig, a band, or otherwise, very flexibly.

    You can use a bluetooth page turner with it.

    The clarity with the new iPad 3 is exceptional.

    I'm not associated with the maker in any way, I'm a semi-pro musician, and use it all the time.
     
  10. Mac32, Apr 2, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012

    Mac32 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #10
    Thanks people, you've convinced me to buy an iPad. :)
    One last question though, what is the best PDF reader in terms of image quality? I've read that iBooks has a clearer PDF image quality than Goodreader. The thing is, I've noticed that osx Preview displays many of my PDFs as rather blurry, but the Acrobat Pro Reader produce a very clear and detalied image. This happens typically to high resolution scans PDFs.
    Thanks again!
     
  11. Schrijver macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    #11
    I also use my iPad for sheetmusic. I tried forscore and other dedicated music apps.

    At this moment I have the best experience with the combination PDF Expert + Dropbox

    I scanned al my music in pdf format:
    600 dpi
    Monochrome (Black & White)

    Then I organize and upload them in Dropbox folders. And then I sync within PDF Expert. Where I can annotate etc. all my pdf files.

    We also use this in our Brass Band, and a choir where we have a shared folder which contains alls files.
     
  12. jpow112 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    #12
    most of the PDF viewers use the iOS code, so they are all similar - and look very good.

    The workflow I use is to use Jotnot Pro to photograph the music with the now-adequate iPad camera, do keystone and white balance correction, then send the resulting PDF to forscore, then label and add tags.

    This is almost as effective as using a flatbed scanner, and a very good and portable solution to getting your own copy of music rather than relying on people copying it or scanning it then emailing you.
     
  13. whtrbt7 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    #13
    Is there an App for composition? This may also help other musicians that I know because most of them will carry a lot of paper with them and composition seems to waste a huge amount of paper.
     
  14. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #14
    IIRC Garageband can actually do some composition type stuff.

    Random example: http://rob.by/2011/garageband-has-found-its-interface/

    B
     
  15. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2011
    #15
    I second PDF Expert or iAnnotate in combination with Dropbox. I use my iPad primarily to read and annotate my research literature (pdf files), and it's brilliant for that.
     
  16. techkidd4400 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    #16
    The iOS does have a file system, but users cannot easily directly access it. Mostly, you have to view files within apps, but you can remotely access the iOS file system for ipad-to-device or device-to-ipad file transfers (I am not talking about cloud computing).

    ----------

    Goodreader was recently upgraded to match retina display so it not only provides the quality display of Adobe and iBooks, but you get the edit features as well.
     
  17. palpatine macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #17
    iannotate is the one i prefer. goodreader is a long-time favorite, but has fewer features. other ones (as far as i know) have not been updated yet for the new iPad. pdfs look fantastic!

    if i were you, i would consider evernote as a place to store your pdfs. premium users get 1gb of uploads per month, and that is cumulative, so by the end of the year you could have as much as 12gb in evernote. that is huge, and unlike dropbox or other services, will not disappear if you go back to the free service. evernote is great for organizing, has excellent search capabilities, and it is what i use for scans of books, journal articles, etc. when i want to read something at length (as opposed to just searching for something specific) i "open in" iannotate.
     
  18. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #18
    In those cases where I am aware of this, you still can only get access to a particular app's sandboxed area. The point is that unlike "regular" computers, the file system is not an equalizer for apps. i.e. not all apps can see all parts of the file system.

    FWIW I use and recommend "Papers" for my technical PDFs and it allows for over the air syncs.

    B
     
  19. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #19
    I notice nobody has answered the html files part of this question. No, there is no native support for reading HTML files stored on an iPad. I haven't really looked to see if there is an app that lets you do this. What I've been doing is using a program called Calibre on my desktop to convert HTML files to ePub, then reading them in iBooks. This works well with stand-alone HTML files, but if you have a folder full of HTML files that link to each other, then it wouldn't work. I assume apps like GoodReader will let you store and read individual HTML files without conversion, but I'm pretty sure links to other files wouldn't work.
     
  20. Mac32 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #20
    Thanks for all the replies. Too bad I can't use my complete New Grove (music encyclopedia) html text files library in Safari as a local webpage, but otherwise the iPad sounds great. First thing when I get my iPad I'll install PDF Expert and ForScore, and start reading music books and sheet music. :) Virtual Sheet Music and eScore also sounds great, which can access and display online collections of various classical scores.
    Ordering a white 32gb wifi model as soon as the next paycheck arrives in my bank account. :D
     
  21. Lagranger macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    #21
    Actually, you'll be happy to know that it *does* work as I've been doing this for quite some time. GR will open and display a folder of linked HTML files (including any referenced local js/css/image/etc files) just fine.

    One related hint: if you want to view just a single web page that contains several images and other externally-referenced files, open it in Safari on the desktop and save it as a .webarchive then copy it over to GR. The app (and likely others) recognizes this format and will open/display webpages saved this way.
     
  22. Mac32 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    #22
    Lagranger: Excellent, looking forward to receiving my iPad. :)
     

Share This Page