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Aug 1, 2011

Top 5: Music accessories for your iPad

by Freddie Harrison

Want to create music on your iPad? Already addicted to GarageBand? Here’s our guide to the top 5 music accessories you can buy to go with the world’s portable music studio.

The iPad is a wonderful tool for creating music, aside from the plethora of third-party apps that allow you make music on your favourite iOS device, Apple’s GarageBand app is an incredible tool for getting your latest musical ideas down fast. But what about connecting your mics? How can you control GarageBand’s awesome stompboxes? Can an iPad really teach you how to play the piano? There are plenty of accessories to help you answer all your questions and we’ve got them all right here in our top five musical accessories for the iPad.

Alesis iO Dock
Alesis iO Dock - the all-in-one solution for music on your iPad

1. Alesis iO Dock (£139.00, solutions-inc.co.uk)
Famous for allowing guitarists to hook up tot their Macs with their GuitarLink cables, the iO Dock represents Alesis’ foray into the world of the iPad, and they’ve done a grand job of it. It’s an incredibly well-built device (despite the main build material being plastic) with an impressive array of inputs and outputs. Along the back of the unit there’s two intergrated XLR and jack inputs (with switchable phantom power), two jack mains outs, a video out, MIDI ins and outs, and a USB MIDI out. We told you it was impressive. The best part of it is, in order to get all of these working with your iPad, you simply slot it into the iO Dock and connect it via the dock connector, simple! It’s definitely the best all-rounder of our top five.

Want to know more about the iO Dock? Check out our post about it here.

ION Piano Apprentice
ION Piano Apprentice - Will it really make you the next Jools Holland?

2. ION Piano Apprentice ($99)
If you’re not quite at the stage where you’re ready to record your next piano-based hit…or if you just can’t play the piano, then you might want to check out ION’s latest creation, the Piano Apprentice. Combining a custom-made dock and a free app, ION reckons they can teach you how to play the piano using a combination of video lessons and light-up keys. The whole thing looks like a great idea for someone who’s interested in tinkering the ivories but fancies learning in their own time without the pressure of a tutor watching their every move. Apparently it’ll even teach you how to read music as well!

3. AmpliTube iRig (£26, amazon.co.uk)
IK Multimedia are well known for allowing musicians to easily interface with their tech, and they’ve not excluded the iPad from their technical wizardry. The ApliTube iRig
allows you to connect your guitar up to your iPad and monitor it with a set of headphones via a unit that’ll fit in your pocket, making it great for practicing on the go. Combine the iRig with IK Multimedia’s famed AmplitTube for iPad app and you’ve got yourself a great little mobile practice rig for your guitar.

For a full review of IK Multimedia’s iRig, click here.

Griffin Stompbox
Griffin Stompbox - The ultimate iPad accessory for controlling your effects

4. Griffin Stompbox ($99, griffintechnology.com)
Although relatively new to the ‘Awesome musical gear for your iPad’ game, the Griffin Stompbox is certainly proving itself to be a worthy contender for your cash. Plugging in to your iPad’s dock connection, it allows you to control guitar stomp boxes in certain musical apps to give your hands more time on the guitar and less time on the touchscreen. It’s even got an input for an expression pedal, making it ideal for tweaking your sound on the fly. It’s sturdily built too – with a metre-long connection cable to go to your iPad. Well worth a look if you love your effects.

For more information on the Griffin Stompbox, click here to read our blog post.

5. Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit (£25, apple.com)
This one’s a bit of a cheat, but in case you didn’t know, you can use your trusty Camera Connection Kit to connect certain USB microphones to your iPad for use in apps like GarageBand. Samon’s Meteor Mic works great for this and it’s as simple as plugging it in and tapping on GarageBand to get recording your killer vocal lines.

Reckon we’ve missed anything off this top 5? Is there a killer music accessory for the iPad that we’ve not mentioned? Then get in touch! Leave a comment below or Tweet us @iCreateMagazine.

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