In Gweek 002, Rob, Joel, and I talked about digital musical instruments and some of the music making apps available on the iPad. I complained bitterly about the crappy output of the headphone jack, and Joel rightly upbraided me for even trying to use it. I just found out about this $200 iPad dock from Alesis that allows you to connect all kinds of audio gear to it.
The iO Dock provides microphone and instrument users with two combination XLR and 1/4-inch inputs, each with its own gain control and switchable phantom power for condenser microphones. Guitarists and bassists will appreciate the iO Dock's guitar-direct switch, enabling them to play, perform and record right into amplifier- and effects-modeling apps. Bands can connect outputs from their mixer and easily record their performances and rehearsals or use the iO Dock as a metronome or loop-playback device. Producers can use the iO Dock's MIDI jacks to sequence external keyboards, samplers, drum machines and synthesizers, or perform using the iO Dock as the sound module and their favorite MIDI-compliant keyboard, drum pad or other controller. An assignable 1/4-inch footswitch input enables remote control of any app-defined function such as stop/start or record. Users can also connect the iO Dock to their Mac or PC using the USB port to send MIDI back and forth for creative, new applications of the iPad and computer used in tandem.Alesis iO Dock for iPad
Users can connect the iO Dock's stereo pair of 1/4-inch main outputs to studio monitors for critical listening, or to PA systems for use in performance settings. They can monitor on headphones, and independently control the levels of the two outputs, each on its own knob. Recording musicians will appreciate the iO Dock's direct-monitor switch, which enables them to toggle between the incoming and playback signal on their headphones. Rounding out the iO Dock's output section is a composite video connector, enabling users to employ the iO Dock as a source for video projection behind bands on stage, or for connection to most televisions and computer monitors.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.