iPad Interfaces for Audio and MIDI

So this summer it is a goal of mine to start using my iPad in new ways. Things like recording audio tracks on it or connecting my keyboards to it and using the iPad as the sequencer. These are things I know are possible and have been reading about. I just have not dug in and tried it.

First step is to find an audio interface as well as a MIDI interface. Maybe even one that does both. I would like an interface that does more than 2 audio inputs – from what I am reading the iPad can record 8 or more tracks of audio at once! 2 inputs is minimum as I am a keyboard player and if I can’t record a stereo track from my keyboards than it just doesn’t sound good. Another important item is price point – I would like something around $200.

I have tried the iRig audio interface but it is pretty noisy. There is way too much extra hiss. That would just be annoying in playback. I thought about the Line6 MobileIn little interface from Line6 and I think a trip to the local GuitarCenter is in order. Anyone have any great interfaces?

UPDATED:

Here is another audio interface much like the Line6 – This one is from Sonoma WireWorks – It is the Guitar Jack. This is from their website….

GuitarJack Model 2 is the highest quality audio interface that connects a wide range of instruments, microphones, and other audio hardware to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch via 1/4″ instrument and 1/8″ stereo mic/line inputs. GuitarJack’s 1/8″ stereo line/headphone output offers increased drive for headphones. GuitarJack features software controllable level control with 60 dB of gain plus 12 dB pad for 72 dB of adjustment, software configurable Lo-Z and Hi-Z modes, a 24-bit AD/DA converter*, and the highest quality sound. GuitarJack can record in stereo and simultaneously record vocals and an instrument when used with apps like FourTrack and StudioTrack that support those features. input

Here is another interface that is from Lexicon that some people seem to be having success with…. The Omega This offers more options and is probably higher quality? From their web-site… Unlike standard computer I/O boxes based on a patch bay concept, the Lexicon Omega Studio is designed and built around the same paradigm as large-format recording consoles. An 8-input, 4-Bus, 2-output USB I/O mixer with inserts, instrument input, MIDI I/O and complete metering and monitoring functions gives you the freedom to record up to 4 tracks at once and mix without the need for additional mixing hardware.

Here is a video showing a guy recording into GarageBand with the Omega

A New company that I have not heard of before (which means absolutely nothing!) is Focusrite. They have two interfaces that are a bit more pricy than what I wanted to look at but I thought I would mention their two interfaces that I found.

It is called the Scarlett 18i6 or the 8i6. You need to go read about these two interfaces and when you do read do so carefully. They are a bit mis-leading in the capabilities I believe. For instance on the 18i6 it claims to be Band Ready with 18 inputs! When you start reading you find that the interface gives you 6 analog inputs and the rest come from the ADAT optical cable…. at which point they loose me. I have seen ADAT and optical and all that but have never worked with it. I’m pretty sure most of us have not worked with it either!

The last interfaces fro tonight that I am going to put on this post are from Presonus. If you have been reading my Blog you know I bought their StudioLive Mixer which has just been amazing. (I had never really heard of Presonus before a couple years ago either – see I told you it doesn’t mean anything – lol)

They have a AudioBox 22VSL, an AudioBox 44VSL and an 1818VSL that work with the iPad as well. Now this is NOT advertised on their web-site or something that will even probably say works so don’t buy one and go call them for support! But the Auria App website people have tested the 1818VSL with their app and it works.
The 22VSL has been tested by Simeon Amburgey who wrote about his experience a bit at this link(you have to scroll down a ways on the page to find the iPad part.)The VSL part of those interfaces names are there because it stands for Virtual Studio Live which is software from PreSonus allowing you to control the interface and it’s settings from your computer (which I know is not supposed to be a part of this solution). By setting some of those settings though I think I just might have some nice options I would not otherwise get. CLARIFICATION – When I have talked about the VSL software and my StudioLive Mixer I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I can control the StudioLive through my iPad remotely. The way this works is you hook your StudioLive to your laptop which then runs the VSL software. Then you connect your iPad and your laptop to the same wi-fi network, open the SL-Remote app from Presonus. Using that app with that setup I can then control 90% of the settings of the mixer from anyplace I want to in the room. The 22VSL and 44VSL AudioBox’s do not appear to have this capability. The 1818VSL does have this ability. I’m not sure why the lower end interfaces don’t but I thought I would mention this distinction. Of course with only 2 or 4 inputs it’s not really that useful I wouldn’t think, although it is faster to make changes from my iPad app than accessing the StudioLive directly many times.This is a statement from the website about the Auria App and my own research….

The following interfaces have been tested and are not currently compatible with Auria:
  • M-Audio FastTrack Ultra 8R
  • Tascam US-1800 and Tascam US-2000
  • Roland Octa-Capture
  • MOTU 828mk3 Hybrid
  • RME Fireface UC
  • Focusrite Saffire Family
  • Tascam US1800
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4 thoughts on “iPad Interfaces for Audio and MIDI

  1. GuitarJack 2 is the best sounding and solid interface I’ve heard yet for the iPad. I reviewed it on our blog here: http://www.ipadcreative.com/blog/2012/1/20/guitarjack-2-reviewed-is-it-the-best-yet.html

    I also did a comparison of iRig and AmpKit LiNK (both headphone jack) but yes, they are a lot noisier than dock connector interfaces (as I demonstrated in my GuitarJack review above) – http://www.ipadcreative.com/blog/2011/1/12/irig-vs-ampkit-link-which-is-better-part-1-of-2.html

    We cover quite a lot of ways and examples of over at iPad Creative, try searching or just have a browse around. I hope you have a great time trying this stuff out, there is so much that can be done on the iPad.

  2. Thanks James and Phil for those links! They are very helpful! I really can not decide what I want here besides knowing I want to record in stereo and MIDI form one unit. I took a trip to Guitar Center today and decided against the Alesis i/o Dock… I can not get it out of my head that there have been too many people having issues with these. I think those issues are gone because of firmware updates but it still makes me very hesitant! Thank goodness for my iPhone … the guy there showed me the Tascam us1800 interface that has 18 inputs and MIDI for $250! But a quick search on the iPhone found a review stating that it WOULD NOT work! Bummer! I am interested to see some of the new Behringer equipment!

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