Lyrics On-Stage Using an iPhone Part 2

iPhone lyrics systemI did an earlier solution for bringing hundreds of lyrics on-stage  using an iPhone hooked to a mic stand. Well, it had its problems, mostly getting the GorillaMobile properly attached to mic stands, especially the non-boom ones (straight up mic stands.)

So back to the drawing board. Here is version number two! This time the iPhone (or iPod Touch) is hooked to a RadTech SLAM clip case that I got online for $7. This has a clip in the back that could be hooked to various possible support structures.

iPhone lyrics systemWhat I figured out concerning the boom stand mics and the single straight ones is that there has to be one single place where to attach the support structure. Well there is one — the XRL connector for the mic cable! What I tested out was using a document clip, those you use to clip together lots of paper, the big size. I attach that to the XRL connector, bend the clip pins over and hook the SLAM clip case to the top one. I use the bottom clip pin to support the case so it’s nicely aligned. I think the second picture shows how it all works.

So the end result is a system that is cheap, quick to set up (sometimes, as with jams, important), robust enough and also as invisible as you could have it concerning lyrics in front of your eyes.

Which leads to eye sight. Most of us that are somewhat, eh, older, we lose the short sight over time. My son could easily read the text in the iPhone from the distance close to the mic. I could barely read it. What’s the solution? Well, it’s cool to have sunglasses on-stage when performing and now I have a real need for them. In other words, from CVS and similar drug-stores you could get sunglasses that are bi-focal, the lower part has reading-glass strength lenses. The upper part is transparent.

The last thing I’m still working on is the lyrics delivery system. I set up a special email address on my ISP so I could send lyrics to an IMAP server — rich text emails. These I could then arrange in folders online and then sync these over to the iPhone. This means I have backups out there and could download them to any iPhone or iPod Touch in case I need to do it. As well as constantly sending over and updating my lyrics setup.

I’m sure I will be working on version 3 based on the experiences I have with this setup, but as the Japanese know, kaitzen (constant improvements.)


  1. Hi Kent,

    Have you considered using Dropbox as your lyric delivery mechanism?

    They have a neat little iPhone app that lets you mark items as favourites – these are stored on your iPhone for offline viewing. Otherwise you can browse them easily enough using a 3G/WiFi connection.

    If you’re not familiar with Dropbox, it’s a cloud storage solution – you can run the client on your Mac/PC, add your lyrics as documents – e.g. RTF files (which allows you to customise fonts etc). When you make a change to a file on your computer, it’ll get synced up to the Dropbox servers, and then you can view the updated files on your iPhone (or any other computer you’ve got Dropbox client software on).

    If you don’t have an account, sign up through this referral link:
    It’ll get you an extra 250MB of storage (and I’ll get the same!) Their free accounts come with 2GB which you can boost with referrals as well.

    Hope that helps.

    Of course, you’ve just inspired me to think about what would need to be done to produce an iPhone app that acted as a timed teleprompter :-)



  2. Yes, I’m using DropBox but for this purpose I need a way to sync formatted content to an iPhone so IMAP with rich-text emails is the best way to go — I could even send lyrics from my gmail account at any time and sync them to the iPhone when I need them.

  3. Rich tech emails have their own HTML styling, not RTF. And I rather see the emails than deal with RTF file enclosures. Testing my IMAP lyrics mailbox — works really well, I could put together lyrics in gmail and just blast them off to the mailbox.

  4. Hahahaha…….luv the clip. Sounds like something I would do. I made a rolling pizza stand for a local eatery out of an IV drip stand :)

  5. I wrote an iPhone app specifically to handle lyrics. Hope you don’t mind me plugging it here!

    Drop me an email, and I’ll get you a promo code.

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