Alesis iO Dock

Our iO dock arrived today and we are going to be putting it through it’s paces over the next few weeks and months to see just how the Alesis  iO dock performs as a music performance and production machine for iPad.

iO Dock Adapter Insert

We found the iO Dock quite difficult to source, with a deficit in the U.K. and we were hesitant about the need for an insert  / sleeve  / adapter for our iPad 3. After some internet searching we managed to get an io dock shipped out in only 4 days from the Thomann Cyberstore and fresh out of the box, with the adapter already inside the io Dock the ipad 3 slid straight into place.

First impressions

Straight out of the box the iO dock feels far more substantial and sturdy than the price tag would have you believe and with the ipad in place it’s also lighter than a MacBook.

Why choose the Alesis iO dock?

The reason we chose the Alesis over other iPad compatible interfaces was very simple – price, convenience and protection. A device such as the Mackie DL 1608 might offer vastly advantageous sonic and performance capabilities but we weren’t prepared to blow a grand ( approx. $999 ) to find out that the iPad itself or iPad DAW (digital audio workstation – eg Auria, Cubasis, Meteor etc.) couldn’t handle hardcore audio recording and production. Other high end options include the XENYX iX2442USB and the Masterlink 24.

Guide to iPad Recording

The other reason we chose the Alesis io Dock was  because most devices such as the Akai eie, Focusrite, M audio & Presonus interfaces all require the CCC – the Apple camera connection kit, and in many cases also require a powered USB hub. Many do not charge the iPad as well. Using one of these iPad interfaces introduces a whole bunch of connection spaghetti into the equation with power leads and cords all over the place:

That’s okay if you want to spend ages messing about, but we wanted to keep everything as portable and small scale as possible – after all that’s what the iPad is all about.  We weren’t keen on fixing the Ipad to a microphone stand either, especially in a live situation with lots of guitar necks waving about!

Guide to using the Alesis iO Dock?

So, over the course of using the io dock we will be writing about how to get the best out of your iPad audio, and any problems and issues we encounter.

In setting up the Alesis iO Dock we will be testing out a DAW, looking at multiple APP mixing, testing the Whole World Band Beta and using the iPad 3 live and as a recording / production tool!


Using the iODock

We took  the Alesis out for a test in a live situation at the weekend. Instead of taking a cabinet and large valve head or even a medium sized combo we took a guitar, a bag of leads an iPad and iO Dock. After setting up the iO Dock and plugging it into the P.A. / sono  – which took about two minutes we inserted the iPad and fired up some music apps.

Alesis iO Dock sound

The first app we tested to balance out the overall sound quality through the P.A. was Novation Launchpad App. The sound was good. So, for the first time in a live situation we plugged a Stratocaster into the back of the Alesis !

A quick blast through Studio Devil Guitar Amp confirmed suspicions that this guitar amp app was ridiculously good delivering a fat warm tube sound, feedback and harmonic depth all straight out of an iPad – astonishing! I think I’ll just take the iPad to the next gig then – easy!
The only downside to the Guitar Amp is lack of support for AUDIO BUS or JACK – hopefully this improvement is on the cards because that will make Guitar Amp the weapon of choice for virtual tube enthusiasists.

The Alesis iO Dock handled everything we could throw at it – guitar, drum loops, synthesizers, delays,  effects, and with absolutely no noise, or feedback. At performance volume levels there was no discernible hiss just clear, crisp sound coming from the P.A.

So if you’re looking for an affordable, yet highly portable iPad music solution the iO Dock is a winner.



APP TESTS !  – the best music apps for iPad

 Click here for the best music apps

Apps were are currently reviewing and testing are as follows:

Audiobus – Select an app filter it through another and then receive it in another

Jack – modular audio /midi/ data connectivity app

Studio Devil Guitar Amp – Tube modelled guitar sounds

SunVox – sequencer  and modular synthesis app with effects

Samplr – sampler, looper, gesture based performance

Novation Launchpad for iPad

Whole World Band – live music performance collaboration app – beta – check out the testing sessions in Dublin!

whole world band