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Top 30 Devices and Interfaces for iPad Audio

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Audio on iPad? I was a little dubious back in January 2010 when I asked "Will Apple’s iPad revolutionise music production?" Things have changed. Just over three years later, it's amazing how many pro audio companies are supporting the iPad with revolutionary hardware interfaces. Here's a collection of 30 of the best.

Disclaimer:
I haven't used all of the devices mentioned in this article. It would be great to get some real-world feedback, so if you have used any audio-related hardware with the iPad, please tell us about your experiences in the comments.

We cover a wide variety of devices in this article. Some are audio interfaces, some MIDI, and some both. Some devices are guitar pedals, others are controllers. Some are designed specifically for the iPad, others are general use devices which have been made compatible with the iPad.

I'm impressed to see so many big names getting behind the iPad, including Roland, Focusrite, Apogee and Line 6. Most of the devices I've listed here are serious music production and performance tools. There's something here for everyone's budget. They range in price from $25 all the way up to $1295 - but most are less than a few hundred dollars.

To help you find the device you need I've included a photo, a video and a brief description, including a quote from the official website. I've also given you an idea of the price of each device, and which iPads it supports. Links to Amazon, B&H Audio, and Sweetwater are affiliated - we appreciate your support.

So let's start the window shopping. Here are 30 iPad audio devices that caught my eye. Which are your favorites?


Audio Interfaces

1. Apogee Quartet iPad/Mac

  • Cost: $1295 (B&H Audio)
  • Web: apogeedigital.com/products/quartet
  • Type: Audio (4 combo XLR and 1/4” analog inputs, 8 channels of digital input via 2 optical connections, 8 1/4" outputs)
  • Supports: 30-pin dock connector, or Lightning via adaptor
quartet-ipad-mac-978x600

A professional USB multi-channel audio interface for iPad and Mac.

"Apogee Quartet is a professional USB audio interface designed to deliver the ultimate desktop recording experience to the iPad and Mac-based studio. [It features] 4 inputs and 8 outputs of Apogee’s industry-leading AD/DA conversion technology as well as 4 world-class mic preamps."

2. Alesis iO Dock

  • Cost: $199 (Amazon)
  • Web: alesis.com/iodock
  • Type: Audio (2 x XLR-1/4" Balanced TRS) and MIDI (In, Out and USB)
  • Supports: Full-sized iPads with a 30-pin dock connector
iodock_angle_lg

The iO Dock is an iPad docking, allowing you to connect a range of audio and MIDI devices.

"The iO Dock is a universal docking station specifically designed for the iPad, and it gives musicians, recording engineers, and music producers the connectivity they need to create and perform with iPad. Connect all your pro audio gear to virtually any app in the App Store with the iO Dock."

3. Roland DUO-CAPTURE EX

duo-capture_ex_front_gal

A rugged bus (or battery) powered USB audio interface for iPad (and Mac and Windows). Has phantom power support and a pair of VS preamps.

"The new DUO-CAPTURE EX is perfect for both home recording and mobile production. The rugged USB audio interface is outfitted with a pair of VS Preamps, which feature the same professional components used in Roland’s high-end digital mixers. Two combo XLR/TRS inputs are provided, including a Hi-Z input for connecting a guitar or bass directly... Compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and iOS."

4. Focusrite iTrack Solo

focusriteitracksolo

An audio interface with preamp for iPad and Mac.

"Track Solo provides the best solution for recording your instruments and vocals using an iPad. Featuring a Focusrite microphone pre-amplifier and an input to record directly from electric and bass guitars, iTrack Solo is the perfect way to expand the audio capabilities of your iPad using Garageband or any other music-making app."

5. Lexicon Omega Desktop Recording Studio

lexiconomega

A pro 24-bit audio interface with XLR and 1/4" inputs, and support for iPads (as well as Mac and PC).

"The Omega contains all the necessary components to transform an iPad into a professional 24-bit recording studio. For the first time, you can record, edit, mix and publish high quality audio on the go, using your iPad and the Lexicon Omega."

6. Roland DUO-CAPTURE mk2 Audio Interface for iPad

duo_capture_mk2_angle_gal

A portable bus powered USB audio interface for iPad (and Mac and Windows).

"The DUO-CAPTURE mk2 USB Audio Interface is ideal for mobile audio production with your laptop or iPad. It’s equipped with two audio inputs and two audio outputs, plus dual headphone outs that are perfect for side-by-side musician/engineer sessions."

7. Tascam iXZ

  • Cost: $40 (Amazon)
  • Web: tascam.com/product/ixz
  • Type: Audio (XLR mic input, high impedance guitar input, headphone jack, phantom power)
  • Supports: Any iPad – plugs into headphone jack
ixz_right

An audio interface with phantom power for iOS devices.

"Plug in a microphone, guitar or bass to interact with the latest guitar amp, sampling, recording and DJ apps. The iXZ even supplies phantom power for condenser microphones. An input setting sets the gain and there’s a headphone output to monitor from your iOS device."


Interfaces with Microphones

8. Apogee One

  • Cost: $249 (Amazon)
  • Web: apogeedigital.com/products/one
  • Type: Audio (XLR microphone and 1/4” instrument connector on breakout cable, built-in omnidirectional condenser microphone)
  • Supports: 30-pin dock connector, or Lightning via adaptor
one-ipad-mac-978x600

A studio quality audio interface and microphone for iPad and Mac.

"The all new Apogee ONE is the first studio quality microphone and USB audio interface for iPad and Mac. ONE is designed for easily creating professional and amazing sounding recordings on your iPod touch, iPhone, iPad or Mac."

9. Tascam iM2

  • Cost: $29 (Amazon)
  • Web: tascam.com/product/im2
  • Type: Audio (stereo microphone)
  • Supports: 30-pin dock connector (a Lightning adapter could be used, but I imagine would be awkward)
im2_image_02

Stereo condenser mics for your iPhone (or iPad), adjustable over 180 degrees for best sound placement.

"TASCAM's iM2 turns the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch into a high-quality stereo recorder. A pair of condenser microphones - the same high quality as TASCAM's best-selling DR-series recorders - plugs into the dock connector of your Apple device."

10. IK Multimedia iRig MIC Cast

0030_iRigMicCast_top34

A voice recording microphone for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, designed specifically for recording podcasts, interviews, lectures, voice memos, speeches and more.

"iRig MIC Cast provides a pocket-sized voice recording solution with crystal-clear audio quality. It features a tight unidirectional pickup pattern that minimizes background noise, making it ideal for single-source audio recording."


Mixers

11. Alesis iO Mix

  • Cost: $299 (Sweetwater)
  • Web: alesis.com/iomix
  • Type: Audio (4x Combo XLR-1/4", mic/line; channel 1 switchable to guitar-direct)
  • Supports: Full-sized iPads with a 30-pin dock connector
io_mix_web_lg

A multi-channel mixer interface for iPad with four combo XLR-1/4" input channels, balanced stereo 1/4" outs, and a video output.

"More than just a mixer, the Alesis iO MIX is a four-channel audio interface that delivers safe and secure iPad integration. Together, your iPad and iO MIX serve up a totally integrated recording studio."

12. IK Multimedia iRig MIX

iRigMixiPhoneiPad_coverbox_angle_res

A mobile DJ mixer for up to two iOS devices, offering the same controls you would expect from a professional DJ mixer (crossfader, cues, EQ and volume controls, etc.).

"iRig™ MIX is the first mobile mixer for iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. iRig MIX offers the same controls you would expect from a professional DJ mixer (crossfader, cues, EQ and volume controls, etc.) in an ultra-compact mobile mixer that can be used with a huge variety of iOS DJ mixing and other apps."


Guitar Inputs

13. Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack

1600-GuitarJack2_iphone

A portable audio interface for iPhones and iPads.

"Connect 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."

14. Line 6 Mobile In iOS Guitar Interface

  • Cost: $50 (Amazon)
  • Web: line6.com/mobilein
  • Type: Audio (guitar in, stereo line in)
  • Supports: 30-pin dock connector, or Lightning via adaptor
line6mobilein

A guitar interface for iPads and iPhones. It includes a Mobile POD app which provides 32 amps, 16 stompbox and rack effects, and 16 speaker cabinets.

"Simply plug your guitar or bass into the studio-quality Mobile In digital interface and explore the amazing collection of legendary amps, cabs and effects in the free Mobile POD app—the exact same ones found in Line 6’s award-winning POD 2.0 and Pocket POD products. You can also make music with GarageBand® and other iOS apps. And if you want to record other audio sources, simply plug them into the stereo line input. No matter what app you use, Mobile In delivers incredible guitar tone."

15. IK Multimedia iRig Guitar Interface Adaptor

005-atipad-front

An adaptor that allows you to plug a guitar or bass into your iPad or Mac.

"The iRig is a revolutionary product that allows you to connect your guitar/bass to your iOS device. From there, your signal travels through the wonderful world of AmpliTube iOS software to give your guitar sound life and meaning. To use the iRig, you simply plug the 3.5mm TRRS end into the headphone jack of your iOS device. Then plug your guitar into the 1/4" jack using a standard guitar cable. To monitor your sound, plug your headphones/line out into the 3.5 mm headphone jack on the iRig. That's all there is to it. Now you're ready to Jam."

16. Apogee JAM

jam-panel-tour

A studio quality guitar input for iPad or Mac.

"JAM is a premium digital converter and instrument preamp featuring Apogee's PureDIGITAL technology. PureDIGITAL means no noise just great guitar tone."

17. pocketlabworks iRiffPort

iriffport

An iOS Core Audio compliant audio interface and guitar preamp with integrated 6 foot cable.

"iRiffPort turns your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch into a practice guitar amplifier and effects processor."

18. RapcoHorizon iJam

ijam

A guitar practice amp that also interfaces with your iPad or iPhone. Guitar and iPad leads are included.

"The i-JAM 3-n-1 is a must have for the performer using electric instruments. It provides the player with 3 interfacing solutions in one small, portable package. The i-Phone Instrument Interface is for use with applications such as amplifier models, recording software apps, or guitar instructional apps. The Practice Amplifier needs no other interface. The MP3 Play-along Device uses the built-in instrument amp simultaneously with any MP3 player."

19. Griffin GuitarConnect Pro

guitarconnect-pro-3

Audio interface for iOS Core Audio with a single 1/4" input and an adjustable gain control.

"Simply plug your instrument into GuitarConnect Pro's 1/4" mono input for 100% digital connection from your instruments into GarageBand or any app that taps into your iPad's powerful Core Audio capabilities. Great for instrumentalists, because GuitarConnect Pro makes it easy to record multiple tracks all with 24-bit 48 kHz sound. GuitarConnect Pro also features an adjustable gain control to determine the strength of your input levels."

20. Peavey AmpKit Link

peaveyampkit

A high fidelity audio interface for the iPad and iPhone, working with the AmpKit app which supplies guitar amp simulations and effects.

"AmpKit LiNK HD is a pure digital guitar interface that connects via USB on the Mac, and also supports iOS devices via the 30-pin or Lightning port."


MIDI Interfaces

21. Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer II

line6midimobilizerii

A MIDI interface (including MIDI in and out ports) for the iPad and iPhone. Non-standard MIDI leads are required (two included).

"Connect any MIDI device to your iPhone® or iPad®, fire up CoreMIDI apps like GarageBand® for iPad® and make music any time, any place."

22. IK Multimedia iRig MIDI

020-iRigMIDI-front-1

A standard Core MIDI interface for iOS that includes in, out and thru ports. Special MIDI cables are required, and two 1.6 metre cables are included.

"iRig MIDI connects MIDI keyboards, drum machines, drum pads, pedal boards and more to an iOS device to control not only the included SampleTank FREE* but also a world of MIDI-compatible apps such as GarageBand®. You can also use iOS apps to control external MIDI equipment such as sound modules, DAWs or lighting systems right from the mobile device."


Keyboard Controllers

23. Akai SynthStation 49

synthstation49_angle_lg

A 49-key iOS Core MIDI-compatible keyboard controller designed to be instantly compatible with iPad audio apps. It includes an iPad dock, drum pads and transport buttons. And it can connect to your computer via the USB interface without any need of an iPad.

"SynthStation49’s expansive physical controls perfectly complement the SynthStation app’s powerful capabilities: responsive keys, rubberized pitch and modulation wheels and MPC-style drum pads all bridge the gap between the virtual world and the real world, creating a powerful and seamless music-making experience."

24. Line 6 Mobile Keys

  • Cost: $150 for 49 keys (Amazon), $100 for 25 keys (Amazon)
  • Web: line6.com/mobilekeys
  • Type: MIDI (controller keyboard)
  • Supports: 30-pin dock connector, or Lightning via adaptor
line6mobilekeys

Portable 49 and 25 key MIDI controller keyboards compatible with iOS (and Mac and Windows).

"Mobile Keys 25 and Mobile Keys 49 feel great. They incorporate premium keybeds with full-sized, velocity-sensitive keys for a natural playing experience. They also feature selectable velocity curves, so you can customize the keybed sensitivity to your individual playing style."

25. IK Multimedia iRig KEYS

iRig Keys_iPad_ST

A portable MIDI controller keyboard for iOS, featuring 37 velocity-sensitive mini-keys.

"iRig KEYS is the first ultra-slim and highly portable universal MIDI controller keyboard for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac/PC. iRig KEYS connects directly to the iOS device 30 pin dock connector or the USB port on your Mac/PC. It features 37 velocity-sensitive mini-keys."


Guitar Pedals

26. DigiTech iPB-10

iPB-10_open_2

The iPB-10 allows you to create your ultimate pedalboard, all on your iPad. Design a pedalboard by simply dragging and dropping up to 10 different pedals, in any order, to each pedalboard. You can even add an amp and cabinet to each setup.

"Traditional multi-effects have given you the flexibility to change the entire configuration of your signal chain with a single footswitch. The iPB-10 brings the concept of presets to a pedalboard. This allows you to save 100 of your favorite pedalboards with the touch or your finger, and instantly recall them with the stomp of your foot. You can have a different pedalboard for each gig, set, song, or even switch pedalboards within a song."

27. DigiTech iStomp 3-Pack

istomp_pedalboard

A guitar effects pedal that is configured with your iPad or iPhone. But it does its processing internally, meaning no latency, and no worries about stomping on your expensive iPhone.

"Unlike devices that require you to stay tethered to your iOS device, the iStomp does all of its processing internally. This means professional-quality, high-definition signal processing with no latency and you don’t need your iOS device while you’re playing."

28. IK Multimedia iRig STOMP Guitar Interface

irigstomp_main_image_450_from_adv

A guitar interface for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Integrate iOS signal processing apps into a pedalboard setup for tone shaping and effects processing.

"iRig STOMP is based on the wildly popular AmpliTube iRig interface and is compatible with any iOS (dare we say decent sounding?) guitar / amp / instrument app. With its compact, standard stompbox shape, iRig STOMP is packed with many smart features found here for the first time in an iOS audio accessory."


Drum Modules

29. Alesis DM Dock

  • Cost: $249 (Amazon)
  • Web: alesis.com/dmdock
  • Type: Drum pad inputs, USB
  • Supports: Full-sized iPads. The older model used a 30-pin dock connector. The new model uses Lightning.
dmdock_angle_web_lg

A drum module dock for iPad, compatible with most drum pads. It offers a full set of trigger and control inputs, as well as professional MIDI and audio connectors and a headphone jack.

"Make the DM Dock the centerpiece of your custom electronic drum setup. Use it with our impressive Alesis pads, or with nearly any other trigger pads. The twelve trigger pad inputs are equipped with 1/4" TRS jacks, providing full support for dual-zone drum and cymbal pads, triple-zone ride and multi-choke cymbal pads—even acoustic drum triggers."


Guitar Controllers

30. ION Audio All-Star Guitar

AllStarGuitar_angle_Web_RGB1-580x363

This device looks to be more fun than serious. Insert your iPad into the guitar holder, and you can choose your notes on the All-Star's fretboard while strumming or plucking the "strings" on the iPad in the guitar's body. You can learn songs by following LEDs on the device's neck.

"Learn guitar faster than ever before: using the free included app, you can follow the lighted LED's on All-Star Guitar's neck and play tons of amazing songs."

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