To take full advantage of Vulse's interactive features, you'll need a way to temporarily affix your device to your instrument. If it's a guitar, bass, or another instrument (keytar, anyone?) with enough flat, smooth space to adhere your phone, then it's as simple as getting one of the micro-suction cases below.
All micro-suction cases work the same way – they have a back covered in microscopic suction cups which stick to smooth, flat surfaces. They stick very securely until you pull them off, and don't leave residue or affect your instrument's finish at all.
Otherwise, check out Other Methods.
Our Recommended Case
Every micro-suction case we've tried works about the same, but there are two common problems: the headphone / charging holes can be too small to fit most cables through, and the suction back often clogs up with lint over time. The MEGAVERSE case is the only case that solves both of these problems, by having large port holes and (great-looking) removable backplates to keep the back clean while it's not sticking to something.
Thanks to the great backplates, the MEGAVERSE case is really the only micro-suction case that is suitable to keep your phone in 24/7. That's what I do, and it's great for a lot of things: taking group photos, watching movies on airplanes, and of course, being ready to use Vulse without needing to switch cases.
(There's also a version of this with useful backplates like a wallet, mirror, and bottle opener. It'll work exactly the same for Vulse, but get it if you're interested in the extra utility: Buy on Amazon.)
How To Use Your Case
Whether you're using the MEGAVERSE case above, or one of the cheaper options below, attaching it will be the same. These directions are for a guitar, bass, or similar stringed instrument, but they should translate easily if you're using something else:
- Choose a location
Ideally, you will have room for it below the strings, on the pickguard if you have one. As you can see from the demo video, this spot is great for reaching it quickly while playing, and even synchronizing it with your strumming. The next best spot is between the bridge and the strap button – this is where Muse's guitarist famously mounts his effect controller.
- Orient your phone
If your phone will be horizontal, face the bottom lightning port away from the guitar's neck. This may seem "upside-down" with Vulse open, but it's to ensure you can read everything normally while playing. Similarly, if your phone will be vertical, it should be most readable with the bottom port facing up.
- Remove the case's backplate, if attached, to expose the suction surface.
- Press your phone firmly onto the guitar. Without letting go, give it a moderate tug to test the suction. It should feel secure. If it does, you can let go. If not, you may need to press harder, or clean the case if it looks clogged with lint (this won't be a problem if the case is brand new).
A Cheaper Case
With the MEGAVERSE's case recent price drop, it's the best value we've seen and we would recommend it over any alternative. But if you're looking for a budget option, this CloudValley case is good for the price ($9.99 at the time of writing). The port holes are a good size, and it has a backplate, like the MegaVerse case, though it doesn't have the range of attractive color/texture options. This is a relatively new case, so we haven't tested it yet, but plan to soon.
Other cases we tried:
- Cloudgo Case: Previous budget pick – good port holes, no back plate. Recent price hike, though, from <$10 to $20.
- Goat Case: Sticks fine but the port holes are too small. I had to cut away part of the bottom of mine to get my iRig to fit.
- Mansion Case: Basically identical to the Cloudgo case, but currently costs a little bit more. Out of the two, just get whichever is cheapest currently.
If a micro-suction case won't work (your instrument has a coarse finish, or a pickguard with too many screws), we recommend:
- A regular, smooth, inexpensive phone case like this JETech case. If you already have a case like this, it should work, just avoid soft materials like leather.
- A small micro-suction pad like the Anti-Gravity Space, or a sheet like this Sewell AirStick which you can cut to shape, and stack if you need the extra thickness to clear the screws.
To solve the coarse finish problem, use the adhesive side of the Anti-Gravity Space directly on your instrument – the phone will attach to the micro-suction side. Keep the backplate attached when not in use. Bear in mind that adhesive can be more difficult to remove than micro-suction (though I've never had any damage or residue), so you shouldn't plan to frequently remove the pad from your instrument.
There are also many other options. When prototyping Vulse, we just used a few pieces of Velcro tape. You can also try a clamp mount like this, but be prepared for a bit of wobbling. Or you can try putting your phone somewhere other than the instrument, like on your belt or in an armband.
And here are some options that look very promising but aren't released yet:
- JamStack: An all-in-one option that is a phone mount, a cable, and an amp for output! This one is expensive, but very exciting, and looks like a great solution.
- Tenikle: A flexible tripod with suction cups. This one could be good for instruments without a large flat surface.