iPad Integrated Music Production Hardware
If there was one repeated theme at NAMM 2012, it was that the iPad as a music production tool is here and kicking. iPad integrated music production hardware is quickly catching on with many music hardware manufacturers as they all attempt to harness the power and popularity device. And what god timing. With the release of Apple’s third-generation iPad, music hardware manufacturers are able to take advantage of the new iPad’s 2048 x 1536 retina display resolution and its quad-core A5x chip.
So what’s currently available or in the pipeline? Let’s take a look at some of the next-generation iPad integrated music production hardwarethat are currently in development, soon to be released, or recently released.
iPad Integrated Music Production Hardware
iPAD INTEGRATED MIXERS
Behringer (Behringer.com) announced three new mixers with iPad integration added to its XENYX line. The XENYX iX1642USB, iX2442USB, and the iX3242USB (currently not available as ofthis writing) feature 16-inputs, 24-inputs and 32-inputs respectively with XENYX Mic Preamps, one-knob compression, built-in USB audio interface, free audio recording software, plus150 instrument/effects plug-ins, and “wireless ready” digital system.
According to Behringer:
All iX mixers include the new dual-engine KLARK-TEKNIK FX processor with 32 editable, studio-grade presets such as reverb, chorus, flange, delay, pitch shifter and multi-effects. In addition to literally thousands of apps, the iX mixers use the iPad to control the new KLARK-TEKNIK FX Processor App, enhancing the mix by allowing the user deep control of EQ’s, compressors and reverbs and a full spectrum analyzer.
Mackie (Mackie.com) announced the DL1608 Digital Live Mixer with iPad Control. This mixer combines 16 high-quality Onyx preamps with the ease and mobility of the iPad. The DL1608 with iPad allows for complete wireless mixing along with other goodies such as: built-in DSP processing for EQ, compression, limiter, gate reverb and delay effects; support for up to 10 iPads, snapshot recall, iPad recording, iPad music app integration, and iPad locking for theft prevention.
Alesis (Alesis.com) has announced the iO Mix 4-channel Mixer/Recorder for iPad. While the Behringer and Mackie mixers are designed for live performance use with iPad enhanced features, the Alesis iO Mix focuses on the ability to record up to four inputs into existing iPad applications such as Garage Band. It houses four combo XLR-1/4″ input channels and two balanced stereo 1/4″ output channels in the rear of the unit. It also features per channel trim, gain, pan, high and low EQ controls, phantom power for use with a condenser mic, and push button high-pass filters to eliminate low-frequency interference in live mixing and recording situations. Lastly there’s an analog RCA video output that can be plugged into a TV or projector.
iAXE GUITAR FOR iPAD
Behringer also announced the iAxe Guitar for iPad (currently not available as of this writing) to compliment its iAxe USB Guitar line. This guitar houses the iPad in the main body of the instrument and also has an iPod/iPhone dock on the guitar headstock to read music or lyrics. The iAxe ships with a range of free apps allowing a user to learn to play guitar, add percussion, add bass along with other features. iAxe for iPad is based on Behringer’s concept of “progressive discovery” and looks to be a cross between a game controller and an entry-level guitar learning tool.
iPAD STUDIO DOCKING STATIONS
Other iPad integrated music production hardware include iPad docking stations the likes of the Alesis iO Dock. Alesis beefed up it’s iO line with the additions of the DM Dock and the Amp Dock (both currently not available as of this writing).
DM DOCK & AMP DOCK
DM Dock is an iPad integrated drum module that connects with any of the Alesis DM electronic drum kits such as the DM8 and DM10, and electronic drums from other manufacturers. It allows you to use the iPad’s touch screen to select and switch out drum kits without the need to fish through long menus. It comes with 13 individual 1/4″ TRS inputs for connecting drum and cymbal pads and other triggers. Along with the docking hardware, the DM Dock comes with the soon to be released DM Touch iPad app. DM Dock can also be used to trigger drums from other iOS apps such as Garage Band, making this iPad integrated music production hardware flexible across applications.
If the DM Dock is a treat for electronic drummers, then Alesis’ Amp Dock may be pure candy for guitarists. Amp Dock comes with both iPad docking hardware and a separate pedalboard controller and works with any iOS audio or CoreMIDI app such as JamUp or Amplitube. Amp Dock features one guitar input, and one switchable Mic/Line input; 1/4″ outputs with guitar/line switch for connecting to either a physical guitar amp or a mixer. This looks to be a great application if you have a favorite iPad guitar amp app and want an easier way to get the sounds in and out professionally with the added bonus of the pedalboard controller.
OTHER iPAD STUDIO DOCKS
Griffen (Griffen.com) enters into the iPad music studio fray with the StudioConnect. StudioConnect features a built-in MIDI interface with MIDI in and out, 1/4″ mono input, stereo mini input and stereo RCA phono outputs. Unlike other studio docking stations, StudioConnect has a simple iPad “stand” design versus a full encasement and houses a large volume control knob on the front of the dock.
Behringer’s entry in this category is the iStudio. iStudio features two combination XLR-1/4″ inputs with switchable phantom power and a Hi-Z switch; stereo AUX input for line level sources and an analog video output. It works with any CoreAudio or MIDI iOS application.
iPad Integrated Music Production Hardware
If you’re a DJ there’s great iPad integrated music production hardware for you too. Numark (Numark.com) has released the iDJ Pro. Welcome to the digital era where you don’t need crates of albums, folders of CD… you don’t even need a laptop anymore. Now your entire collection is housed on your iPad. Pop it into the iDJ Pro, and you’re ready to rock the house. This creature of beauty seamlessly integrates with Algoriddim’s djay for iPad. The hardware controller features dual touch-sensitive platters, large die-cast aluminum volume knobs, a dedicated music-library scroll knob, hot cues, looping, pitch and effect controls. Once your iPad is docked, a latching door provides total, seamless integration. iDJ Pro is ready to interface with your audio gear with professional microphone and external device inputs as well as balanced XLR master outputs.
From iPad DJ to iPad music producer, Akai (Akaipro.com) has got you covered with the new MPC Fly (currently not available as of this writing). Building on the popularity of Akai’s legendary samplers and taking the idea into the next generation, the MPC Fly is an integrated hardware controller and app for iPad. It features 16 real MPC pads, note repeat, swing, and the ability to sample music straight from your iPad’s music library. The double-hinged encasing looks to be solid and closes shut like a clamshell to protect your iPad. The MPC Fly only works with the iPad 2 and since the New iPad is similar in size, I’m guessing it will fit the new iPad as well (but don’t quote me on this). I have to say the MPC Fly looks very interesting and I can’t wait to see what it ends up like once released.
Akai also announced the Synthstation49 which is the follow-up to the Synthstation25. Akai took notes and listened to customer feedback regarding some of the limitations of the Synthstation25, and it appears this new incarnation steps up to the plate. The Synthstation49, as the name suggests, is a 49 key MIDI keyboard controller with integrated iPad docking. The iPad dock is angled and adjustable to your desired viewing angle. The soon to be released iPad app looks to be a considerable improvement over its predecessor and features an array of synth patches, drum kits as well as sequencing capability. The keyboard controller features 49 velocity-sensitive keys, nine velocity-sensitive MPC style drum pads, USB port for receiving power and controlling MIDI software, and 1/4″ audio outputs. The controller works with all CoreMIDI and AkaiConnect apps. With its USB MIDI and 1/4″ audio outputs, it’s very easy to use the Synthstation49 and iPad apps as an external synth module for your DAW.
Interested in other iOS related music software? Click here to read about the Lemur app for iOS which is another good music production tool for the iPad.
While Apple’s vision of the post PC world is still some years away, iPad integrated music production hardware is at least proving that with the iPad you can have the power of computing, flexibility of a portable device along with tactile touch surface control.