Building an iPad recording studio; Part 2 – Getting audio and MIDI data into your iPad

finger on a tablet computer screenI finished Part 1 of this series on building a multi-track recording studio around an iPad by posing three questions. Dealing with these sorts of questions will go a long way in terms of getting the bare-bones of your iPad studio off the ground so, over the course of the early parts of the series I’ll explore each of these questions in turn – and perhaps a couple of others also – so that you can get a better understanding of what you will need to start work on that iPad studio. Let’s just recap what those questions were….

  • Are you happy to work with just a few key synths and create instrumental music or do you need/want to add audio tracks such as guitars or vocals?
  • Are you happy to play your synths via the touchscreen-virtual MIDI keyboards or would you rather use a real piano-style MIDI keyboard?
  • Are you happy to listen to your recordings via ear buds and/or headphones or do you want to hook up some decent studio-style speakers?

So, in this post – Part 2 of the series – let’s start with a question about MIDI and audio; do you want to use just one of these technologies or do you want to use both?

The key issue here is that the answer will influence your decision about one key piece of additional hardware that your fledgling iPad recording studio is going to need. Do you need an audio interface, a MIDI interface or both?

Audio, MIDI or both?

Most modern multi-track recordings can consist of a combination of two different types of tracks; audio and MIDI. Audio tracks are easy to get your head around; these are simply audio that you have captured from sources such as vocals, acoustic guitars or other ‘real’ sound sources. In many cases, these might involve a microphone placed in front of the sound to capture it, be that a vocalist, a guitar amp, a trumpet or a 50-piece orchestra (although that would actually be quite a challenge with a single mic!)

Before you stump up for an interface, you need to consider just what features you are going to need; audio, MIDI or both....  and how many of each...

Before you stump up for an interface, you need to consider just what features you are going to need; audio inputs/outputs, MIDI in/out or both…. and how many of each…

MIDI tracks are somewhat different. These don’t contain any actual sound but they do hold digital data. These data can be used for all sorts of things but their main function is to hold MIDI note data. This allows you to play a part on your MIDI keyboard (the notes can go to a MIDI synth at the same time so that you can hear what you are playing), record the MIDI notes to a MIDI track, perhaps edit them (if your keyboard playing is a bad as mine) and then re-play the track (as many times as you like), sending the MIDI data back to a synth so you can hear the end result.

You could, of course, just record your synth sounds as audio on an audio track. However, this has some disadvantages compared to recording the MIDI. First, the audio data is a less efficient way of storing the performance (it takes up more disk space). Second, if you make a mistake in the performance, the MIDI data can be very easily edited (for example, adding new notes, adjusting the timing, changing the pitch) but this is much more difficult to do with audio data (although it can be done with software like Melodyne on a desktop computer). So, compared to audio, MIDI is a flexible and very compact format (although it does have its downsides but that’s a story for another time).

So, that question I mentioned a couple of paragraphs above; are your recordings going to be audio-only or MIDI-only or use a combination of both? In most modern recordings, the use both of these track types is probably the most common route but, depending upon your personal answer to the question, you will need either an audio-only interface, a MIDI-only interface, one of each, or a combined audio+MIDI interface.

Interface in your face

If you were buying any of these interface types for a desktop computer recording system then there is a huge range of possible devices to choose from. These start at the budget end (perhaps UK£50, where you can still get decent audio quality but perhaps fewer features in total) and cover all price ranges up to the mega-price (over UK£1000, where you get top-notch audio quality and lots of additional features). However, for the iPad, currently at least, there is a more modest selection. And, as this article is aimed more at those making their first steps with multi-track recording, let’s start at the more budget end (maybe up to about the UK£150 mark?) of the audio/MIDI interface market to consider some examples.

The SPL Crimson -  compact(ish) audio/MIDI interface with plenty of features - and including support for iOS.

The SPL Crimson – compact(ish) audio/MIDI interface with plenty of features – and including support for iOS.

Before looking at some examples, one further point is worth making. As in so many areas of life, when buying a piece of music technology hardware such as an audio or MIDI interface, on the whole, you get what you pay for (see the Music App Blog’s recent review of the SPL Crimson; not cheap but most certainly high quality). In the context of audio interfaces, higher prices generally bring two improvements.

First, the quality of the hardware is better. In the main, this might be reflected in the actual audio quality you can capture. This will be down to better pre-amps (the bit that amplifies the audio signal within the interface) and better audio-to-digital convertors.

Second, more money often means more features. The obvious way this will manifest itself is in greater numbers of inputs; a single input interface (where you can only record one audio source at a time) is likely to be less expensive than an 8-channel interface (which, at a push, you could use to mic up a whole band), all other things being equal.

Whether for live performance or in a mobile studio, the Sonic Port does a great job of getting your guitar working with your iOD device.

Whether for live performance or in a mobile studio, the Sonic Port does a great job of getting your guitar working with your iOD device.

So what about some suggestions of a few audio-only interfaces that might suit a budget-conscious iPad-based musician interested in doing some recording? Well, in terms of audio-only interfaces, you could try and make do with one of the guitar-based audio interfaces such as the Sonic Port, iRig HD or AmpKit LiNK HD (all within the UK£70-85 range). The main problem with these choices is that they are not ideal for use with sources other than guitars (although the Sonic Port does include a line-level stereo input that could be used with something like a synth/keyboard). Slightly more expensive would be something like the Apogee Jam 96k (c.UK£100) but it is a high-quality device and robustly built.

The iRig HD is a breeze to use and includes a useful gain control for setting your guitar input level.

The iRig HD is a breeze to use and includes a useful gain control for setting your guitar input level.

However, if you want greater flexibility that having two inputs can bring, perhaps a better bet is something like the Focusrite iTrack Solo (about UK£130). Designed for use with the iPad, this offers very respectable audio quality (used with care, you could make some excellent audio recordings with this unit) and has two audio inputs; one for use with a guitar and another that is aimed at microphone use.

iTrack Solo and iPadIf you just want a MIDI interface then, at the budget end, you could pick from the obvious candidates are the Line 6 MIDI Mobiliser II and IK Multimedia’s iRig MIDI (both are currently c. £40 here in the UK). The basic concept is similar in both of these and the cables included provide standard 5-pin MIDI connectors for MIDI in and MDI out for connection to your other MIDI kit. The iRig MIDI also features a micro USB port that allows you to charge your iDevice through the iRig MIDI. IK Multimedia also make the newer iRig MIDI 2 at around the UK£80 mark. This looks like a rather slicker design but is still very portable and ships with cables for both Lightning and 30-pin docking connectors.

IK Multimedia's iRig MIDI 2 is a good bet if you just want a compact, iPad-powered MIDI-only interface.

IK Multimedia’s iRig MIDI 2 is a good bet if you just want a compact, iPad-powered MIDI-only interface.

For a more up-market take on MIDI connectivity that works with iOS, you could also look at the various iConnectMIDI devices. When you get as far as the iCM2+ or iCM4+ these units offer a lot of MIDI connectivity and, for complex setups where you have multiple MIDI devices to hook together, they might be just what’s required.

Best of both worlds

If you want/need both audio and MIDI you could, of course, buy separate audio and MIDI interfaces but the problem there is that, in all likelihood, they will both require the iPad’s docking port; you would not be able to use them at the same time. A single device that combined both functions – an audio+MIDI interface – is obviously a more practical solution.

For example, you might consider the iRig PRO (currently about UK£110). This provides a combined phantom-powered microphone input/guitar input (you can only record one mono source at a time) and a MIDI input in a compact format. The audio quality is actually pretty good and, for a solo musician happy to base their recording on a single mic setup, it works very well.

The iRig PRO is a very compact audio+MIDI interface for iOS.

The iRig PRO is a very compact audio+MIDI interface for iOS.

I’ve used one of these extensively with my own iPad setup. Yes, I happen to also own a much better audio interface than the iRig PRO and that I generally use with my desktop computer, but the iRig PRO scores for portability, the fact that it can be powered from the combination of a battery and the iPad, and that it can provide guitar, microphone and 5-pin MIDI input in a single small device.

There are, however, other good options well worth considering. While some of these are designed specifically for use with iOS devices – and I’ll consider a couple of these below – there are others that are more generic audio/MIDI interfaces that can work with Windows, OSX or iOS hardware.

For example, the Roland Duo Capture EX – currently at c. UK£120 – provides two mic preamps with switchable phantom power (these inputs can be used with guitars, keyboards, dynamic mics or phantom powered mics – and I’ll talk more about these different types of microphones in a later part of this series) and MIDI I/O in a very neat package. As it uses USB to connect to your iPad, it does require you to have Apple’s Camera Connection Kit (the CCK, available for UK£25 from the Apple Store) or the Lightning to USB cable (for newer iDevices and also priced at UK£25) but the audio quality is good and the unit could also serve as an audio/MIDI interface for a desktop computer system if you need that option as well.

Similar options might be the PreSonus Audiobox 2×2 (around UK£115) that, while not listed as formally supporting the iPad, is a class compliant core audio device (requires no drivers on a Mac) and there are plenty of folks out there (as a quick search on Google/YouTube will demonstrate) who have it working with the iPad as well as Windows/OS X, or something like the Focusrite 2i4, 6i6 or 8i6 (UK£150, UK£199 and UK£189 respectively). While the Focusrite website doesn’t always make it clear that these devices work with the iPad, user reports (try a quick Google search) suggest few, if any, problems.

Roland's Duo Capture EX; audio+MIDI interface that works with both the desktop and with iOS.

Roland’s Duo Capture EX; an audio+MIDI interface that works with both the desktop and with iOS.

I’ve used a Focusrite 8i6 in my own studio setup for a about a year and it works very well with both my iPad and desktop computer. The audio quality is very good indeed (material I’ve recorded using this interface has been used in broadcast TV so it is perfectly capable of good results). The model numbers and price differences reflect the number of audio inputs in each unit, with more features the further you go up the range. All use USB and therefore require the CCK or Lightning to USB cable (depending upon your iPad model) for use with the iPad.

The downside with some of these more generic ‘designed for the desktop’ audio+MIDI interfaces is that compatibility with iOS is not a given. You really do need to do your research here. Check the manufacturer’s website and search online to see if other users have experience of a specific make/model of interface with an iPad (or iPhone). And if you can’t find any definitive answers – and the manufacturer’s themselves can’t reassure you – then it’s probably best to avoid or get a hands-on demo in your local store.

There is one other issue to consider with an interface that’s not specifically designed with iOS in mind; power. Before you stump up your cash, make sure you know whether the unit is likely to work by drawing power from the iPad or whether it will need to be powered via the mains. The former is obviously convenient and would mean that you could (while your battery charge lasts) recorded anywhere. The latter means that you will not draw down your iPad’s battery charge quite so quickly but ties you to working near a mains source. In addition, note that most of these desktop-designed interfaces will use the iPad’s docking port and will not pass power through to your iPad. This may not a deal-breaker….  but do be aware of the issue when considering your options.

Designed for iPad

Of course, you could avoid any compatibility issues if you buy an audio+MIDI interface designed specifically with the iPad in mind. IK Multimedia’s simple – but very effective – iRig PRO that was mentioned above is a case in point. If you can manage with a single audio input (suitable for both guitars and phantom powered mics) and a single 5-pin MIDI input, this device is currently hard to beat and is both relatively inexpensive and highly portable.

However, if you need the greater flexibility offered by multiple audio inputs, then two relatively recent products are perhaps the obvious contenders; the Alesis iODock II and the Focusrite iTrack Dock. The formats of both these devices are broadly similar. Both require mains power, offer twin audio inputs that support instruments or phantom powered mics, have MIDI connectivity and outputs for both headphones and monitor speakers.

Alesis iODock II; convenient and compact, it turns your iPad into a very useable 2-in/2-out recording system with MIDI support.

Alesis iODock II; convenient and compact, it turns your iPad into a very useable 2-in/2-out recording system with MIDI support.

Both also have a ‘dock’ format so your iPad slots into (or onto) the body of the interface is some fashion. I have to say that I’m yet to be 100% convinced by the concept of a physical ‘dock’ (at least, in terms of how I’ve seen them implemented to date) simply because Apple are renown for changing the physical size of the iPad on a regular basis. However, if you are happy to live within whatever constraints the dock format might impose, both of these devices are compact and very convenient and, in use, both give very respectable audio performance, making the ‘interface+iPad’ combination seem like a single, coherent, recording system.

The Alesis unit is currently c. UK£135 while the Focusrite has a current street price of c. £170. There are some detailed differences in their specification (for example, in terms of the format of the MIDI support) so you need to consult the manufacturer’s specifications lists to decide which might suit your own needs best.

Don’t expect either to be a ‘perfect’ fit (at these prices, there is bound to be something you might wish to see included that is not) and also don’t expect anything at this price point to keep you satisfied for more than a year or two. Yes, you can do some seriously good recording with either of them (providing you take good care and attention of other elements of the recording process) but, in professional recording terms, these are devices build to a fairly modest budget. As a starting point for our iPad recording studio, however, either can do a very respectable job.

With a full-sized iPad in place, the iTrack Dock looks stylish.

With a full-sized iPad in place, the iTrack Dock looks stylish.

Of course, options such as the iRig PRO, Alesis iODock II and Focusrite iTrack Dock are far from the only choices and, as mentioned earlier, there are lots of audio+MIDI interfaces that are both desktop-friendly and also work well with an iPad. In the end, this is not a ‘one-size fits all’ kind of question….  but, with a bit of research (and armed with some ideas gleaned from this series of articles), you should be able to get as close as possible to finding ‘one-size that fits you’ sort of an answer.

In summary

So, to recap, you need to decide whether you want to record just audio, just MIDI or a combination of both. That will let you decide whether you need just an audio interface, just a MIDI interface or both. And if you want both, you can decide whether you will buy separate devices for audio and MIDI (and probably have to use them separately as you will only be able to plug one of them into your docking port at a time) or whether you are going to go for a combined audio+MIDI interface.

OK…  that’s hopefully got you thinking. However, before you rush out and buy yourself an interface, we need to think about what other equipment you are going to connect to that interface. If we want to make some MIDI-based recordings, we need to consider whether we need a MIDI keyboard and, if so, what type and features we require. If we want to make audio-based recordings – perhaps with vocals or acoustic instruments – then we need a microphone (or two) and, if so, we need to consider what type of microphone might be most suitable for the type of recordings we intend to make.

And that’s where Part 3 (MIDI keyboards) and Part 4 (microphones) of this series will come in….

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    Comments

    1. Richard Nevill says:

      Interface in your Face section: end of third para: … ‘ and better audio-to-digital convertors.’

      Should that be ‘and better -to-digital convertors’ ?

      Richard.

    2. Richard Nevill says:

      #analogue

    3. Victor Gallant says:

      Hey,

      Is the iTrack Dock USB midi port feature in and out midi ?
      Sending clock to my mpk49 to drive the arpeggiator would be nice !!

      Thank you :)

      • Hi Victor…. interesting question… but this isn’t something I’ve tried (and my review unit has already been returned to Focusrite)…. Anyone else out there have an answer? best wishes, John

    4. Robert Goldberg says:

      I found the iTrack Dock to be very unpredictable in terms of what MIDI keyboards it could see. It was (mostly) OK with the iRig Keys, but couldn’t see my Alesis Vortex or an off-brand, minimal 49-key controller. It would power them OK, but would not accept input. I wound up taking it back.

      • Hi Robert, thanks for this. I commented on this when I reviewed the iTrack Dock… It is something that Focusrite are aware of and, I’m sure, working on…. I’d be surprised if this isn’t something they can ‘fix’ via a firmware update. Still, good advice to try before you buy…. Best wishes, John

    5. My last eP was recorded all with a Focusrite 18i8 and Auria.
      iOS compatibiity isn’t supported bu manufacturer but it works so good without any problem.

    6. Can you name the “8 tracks tape recorder-like” on the iPad in Irig pro picture ?

      Thanks

      Chris

    7. Angel José says:

      When I started on my iPad journey back in 2011, I was still one of the people that did not believe an idevice would be useful for music. Once I got Garageband and saw that there were possibilities I started to look for something sturdy and relatively inexpensive to try my guitar so I got me an Apogee Jam.

      The beauty of Jam is that its line in is so good that I experimented with it to see if I could use it for more than guitars. I have dynamic mics along with prized tube mic and I wanted to know if I could incorporate them and still have mobility.

      So, I bought an XLR to line impedance matching transformer, small enough to plugin in line with Jam. I tested both dynamic mics and worked with no issues. The big test was using it with the tube mic. I connect everything up, let the power supply of the mic warm it up and recorded. It works perfectly fine! I even plugged the tube mic to my old PC-based setup and the sound has spot on.

      What I want to say is that you can always start small, maximize what you currently have. Then, you can slowly improve equipment on your quest to make your idevice studio.

    8. Hi John,
      Thanks a lot for this very useful “Building an iPad recording studio” series!
      I’ve been messing around with my ipad/iphone since three years now. I got two young children and can not plugged my guitars into my tube amps every time I want! So I started connecting my guitars first with an ampkitlink (cheap and you got what you paid for), then upgrade to the apogee jam (excellent).
      I want now to record live guitar and voices (with my shure SM57 mic) so I need another interface.
      Reading this article, I think Focusrite iTrack Solo could be the thing.
      It seems that it’s deliver with a 30 pin connector and I’m using a lightning connected Ipad mini. Do you think I’m gonna loose audio quality using an adaptator? Do you have another audio interface in mind that could feets to my needs?
      the Roland Duo Capture EX looks also great (I like the possibility to connect two mics) but can I record simultaneously a guitar and a shure SM 57 ? Can I switch separately the phantom power of the two mic preamps in order to use one with the power for the mic and the other without for the guitar?
      (I try to be clear but sorry, english is not my native language…) If yes, I think I’d prefer this one!
      Thanks a lot!

    9. Chanson says:

      for me, irig pro on the go, apogee duet power and charge my ipad at home.

    10. Best write-up I’ve seen on the vast array of hardware for my iPad – very clear and concise – thank you. I’ve heard the Alesis io dock can lose the physical connection because of the flimsy build, so let’s hope the FocusRite device is better…

    11. How do I connect my iPad Air to my Focusrite 18i20 without buying any apple stuff? I succesfully connected the iPad 2 using a non-apple camera connection kit. Has anybody had any joy with a non-apple Lightning to USB or Non-apple Camera Connection Kit with the iPad Air 1??

      • Hi Emma… I’ve tried a couple of ‘non-Apple’ lightning connectors in the past and, while I could get chargers to work OK, for other tasks I’ve found these cheaper connectors to be much less reliable. Others may have a different experience to me but based upon the inconsistent results I’ve had, at best, given just how many of these unbranded alternatives you can find online (for example, through Amazon), selecting a suitable one is probably a bit of a lottery…. Not sure that helps you much :-( Best wishes, John

    12. Shamsul Arefin says:

      Hi John, I am looking for a device which can simultaneously playback a voice input, a Guitar input and a MIDI input. Does the Roland duo capture is capable of doing this? If not can you recall anything ?

      • Hi Shamsul…. yes, the Roland Duo could do that (record two separate mono audio inputs or a stereo audio input and record a MIDI inout at the same time) but there are other devices that can also offer this including Steinberg’s UR22 MkII. The feature sets are somewhat different in other respects though so check out both reviews and see if either might suit your needs…. best wishes, John

    13. What ipad configuration with how much memory size is required?? A 32 gb one will work ??

      • Hi Shaikh, what iPad config you need will depend a little on how ambitious you are in terms of the combination of apps you want to run….. If you are ‘pre-Air’ then the processing power is obviously somewhat more limited… but still workable with the right combination of apps. Anything from the Air 1 onwards should, however, allow you plenty of scope…. In terms of RAM, then more the merrier…. and, again, you just have to work within your means. perhaps the key issue here is making sure you have free space for any audio recording you might want to make…. so, if you are using a 32GB model, don’t fill up 30-ish GB with apps and then expect to be able to make much music….. Hope this helps? best wishes, John

    14. DANNY Dayal says:

      Hi John,
      Thanks for getting me started on my maiden journey as a novice.
      I have:
      1) a 64GB iPad Air2
      2) Lexicon Alpha
      3) Yoga FX-508 dynamic Mic
      4) MagicSing Karaoke Mic (music chips)

      Is this equipment enough to get me started?

      Initially I want to record songs using my vocals and a backing track from MagicSing karaoke Mic or downloaded backing tracks.

      I would highly appreciate your response.
      Thanks,
      Danny

      • Hi Danny…. thanks for getting in touch. I’ve no personal experience of using the Alpha with an iOS device so my key question for you would simply to be whether you have that working OK already (that is, you can connected to your iPad via the usual Camera Connection Kit USB>Lightning connector and get audio into and out of a suitable app or three)? If so, some suitable headphones aside (and which you might already have), then there is nothing to stop you getting started…. and you can easily upgrade individual components as and when you are ready…. Out of interest, what apps are you going to use on the iPad to enable the recording side of your process? Very best wishes, John

    15. I’d like to suggest RME Babyface Pro with TotalMix FX For iPad
      It’s compact and have all features you want and may not want.

    16. “And if you want both, you can decide whether you will buy separate devices for audio and MIDI (and probably have to use them separately as you will only be able to plug one of them into your docking port at a time)”

      There is simple solution to use even 4 devices in one time. USB hub like Moshi iLynx 3.0 USB Hub connected to Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter. Problem is solved. And you can use audio interface without MIDI ports, because you can connect MIDI-keyboard directly via USB to one of the USB-hub’s ports. And since that’s a powered USB-hub, you can connect most USB-audio interfaces with one single USB-cable (no need separate power adapter, batteries etc.).

    17. So it’s 2017 and no one in the world knows of any device that records pro stereo line level audio within the iPhone 6 native camera for YouTube videos. I need to video record myself playing a stereo digital piano. That means I need an Interface that accepts a stereo line in (left and right) and that works in conjunction with the video camera already built into the iPhone 6. I need to simultaneously record video and audio in the iPhone 6. I need to be able to plug a stereo (left and right) connector into an interface through the Lightning adapter that allows for me to be seen and heard simultaneously. I don’t know any other way to break it down. I’ve asked BnH Photo New York, IK Multimedia, Filmic Pro, Apple etc. No one knows. I don’t mean everyone is a stupid idiot, after all most have college degrees and some are even engineers-what I mean is no one has dialed in any specific product because the software in the iPhone only allows mono recording and so everyone points me to some interface for guitar (mono) and vocals etc. and with so many available products everyone is just as lost as I am. Even the people who’ve designed certain products can’t tell me if they accept stereo line in to work within the native iOS camera app. Aaargh!!

      • Hi John, in my own (limited!) experience, the standard video/camera app included in iOS works fine with an external audio interface. I’m pretty sure I have, for example, used my IK Multimedia iRig DUO interface to record stereo audio onto a video??? It would have been a while ago though…. If I get 5 mins in the next day or two I’ll check for you…. Best wishes, John

        • Hi John…. just as a follow up….. Just recored audio from my iPad to my iPhone 6S via the IKM DUO (as an example; I’d be surprised in any Core Audio compatible stereo audio interface wouldn’t also work) and into the standard camera app in video mode. The audio was recorded in stereo. I was panning a guitar sound left/right while recording and this was present in the audio recording made with the video on playback. So, it can be done…. Hope this helps? Best wishes, John

      • With Apple CCK, Roland/Edirol AU-1EX can record stereo line-level into iPad/GarageBand, at 24-bit resolution. Should work with camera …

        No mention of Presonus iOne or iTwo lightning audio interfaces here? They’d do the job too.

        • #iTwo for stereo line-in

        • Roland have also just released a new line of USB audio/MIDI combo interfaces called Rubix.

          • Hi Zlatty, there are new interface options becoming available all the time…. It’s not possible to keep up with them all via the blog unfortunately…. but I am hoping to do a complete update on the ‘iPad recording studio’ series at some stage so I’ll take a fresh look at what’s out there at that stage…. Best wishes, John

            • Yeah, sorry mate; I didn’t mean to open that can o’ worms – bloke got me thinking about stereo interfaces and I just went through a rough time choosing between the versatility and completeness of the Presonus iTwo against the ultra-compact, true portability of the iRig HD 2. I still don’t know if I made the right choice, ha! Hint – I bought an Edirol AU-1EX almost a decade ago (it works 24-bit/44.1k with iPad and CCK) and added a Roland UM-ONE MK II to it for MIDI on-the-go last year … but with audio interfaces it’s like keeping up with all the new cars on market: one tries but it gets tiresome, doesn’t it? Cheers!

            • * I bought an iRig HD 2.

              If you’ve ever wondered about the built-in audio capabilities of iPads, here’s something: “Few people realize that Apple iOS devices have some of the best audio digital-to-analog converters and low-impedance headphone amplifiers available at any price.” Of the iPad Pro’s 0.002—0.005 THD bloke says “This is exceptional; almost nothing else has this little THD, and very few portable devices have this much clean output in to low-impedance loads.” Seems one could easily do worse than monitor off their iPad’s onboard audio-out.

              Source: http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/ipad-pro-audio-quality.htm

            • * So THD does get worse in the sub-bass frequencies but again, bloke reckons the audio-out on iPad Pro is of audiophile quality and unbeatable for headphone monitoring:
              “Apple has more smart people and more resources than any other audio company on the planet, so as we see when it comes to audio engineering, the iPhone easily outdoes many so-called “audiophile” products. For enjoying music, you will probably get poorer performance if you waste your time and money with outboard DACs or headphone amplifiers; the iPhone already has the best there is.”

    18. richard wright says:

      Hi John, just discovered your site and these articles – this is brilliant thank you! I’m plotting to upgrade my iPad “studio” from the OG iRIG (yes the £20 one!) and my earbud headphones – to a high quality audio input device and a decent monitor (amp or speakers). It’s the live monitoring bit I’m confused on – basically I would like to be able to dial in amp and fx settings on, say, BIAS FX; but then play live through the iPad and out to either a guitar amp or monitor speakers to rehearse. I can only find that Sonic Port and the new iRig HD 2 has a monitor out option – how well do these work? I hear great things about the Apogee Jam but it doesn’t appear to have a monitor out feature. Any tips gratefully received!

      • Hi Richard…. thanks for the kind words. While I’m not sure I’d want to use the iRig Pro HD2 as my ‘only’ audio interface for a recording setup (I’d want a couple of mic inputs and phantom power for example), for guitar-only work – including the ‘live’ context you mention – it would do a pretty decent job. I’ve not gigged the setup but have run it in a rehearsal context using a combination of BIAS FX on my iPad and my own tube-based guitar amp…. and it worked pretty well. I just used BIAS for some front-of-amp effects but, depending upon your amp choice (guitar amp or PA system) then you would have plenty of options I’m sure…. What you don’t get is the whole effects loop setup just using the HD2 so I guess how well it might work for you would depend upon your specific needs. Hope that helps in some way??? best wishes, John

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