If you’ve ever used GarageBand on your iPad you’ll know how awesome it is. You’ll also probably know that you’re slightly limited in terms of an interface between real instruments, microphones, MIDI keyboards and your beloved iOS device. Sure, there are options, but they tend to be separate and involve a lot of plugging and unplugging and, in the case of the some of the USB mics, a little bit of a hack involving Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit. Enter Alesis, producers of audio interfaces, synths, and drum kits (amongst other things), and their iO Dock.
Now I’ve got to admit, I’ve never really been convinced that recording an entire band on your iOS device would ever be possible, but I think I’m being converted. Shunning the expensive audio interfaces that you might need for your Mac, the iO dock manages to look simple, compact and full-featured all at the same time. In the world of pro audio, iO stands for input/output, and this dock certainly lives up to its name. It’s got two combined XLR/1/4″ jack inputs (with individual gain controsl, phantom power, a high-impedance switch for plugging guitars in), a set of 1/4″ jack outputs, a headphones output, MIDI in/out, USB Midi, and a footswitch input – that’s a lot of options!
What’s really impressed me is the way that this myriad of features are integrated into the unit. It’s slick, black and silver, wedge-shaped design doesn’t look like it was cobbled together in a rash attempt to include all the features without thought for the design, it looks like design was just as much a priority. In short, it’s designed like any Apple product.
This is the first iPad dock of its kind to hit the shelves and target musicians, produces and performers, so it’ll be interesting to see how it pushes GarageBand for the iPad. My prediction is that the first album to be recorded using the iO dock will follow six months later. Imagine if Gorillaz had this for The Fall…