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This is the best audio interface for iPad and Mac

This is the best audio interface for iPad and Mac

The iConnectAudiofour+ isn’t a brand new product. It’s been round for a number of years. And this isn’t actually a evaluate. This article will likely be extra of a PSA, telling you a few distinctive enter gadget can change how you utilize your iPad for audio.

The characteristic that units the iConnectAudiofour+ aside from different USB audio interfaces is that it could possibly join to 2 computer systems without delay, and ship audio to each. It may even route audio — digitally — between your Mac and your iPad.

What is the iConnectAudiofour+?

The iConnectAudiofour+ is a USB audio and MIDI interface. That means you plug analog audio sources into it, and it digitizes the sound, then feeds it to a related laptop. It additionally does the identical in reverse, letting you ship audio out to audio system and so on.

The field has 4 analog enter jacks and 4 output jacks. It additionally had a headphone jack, and two USB B ports for connecting to 2 computer systems. In addition, it has two 5-pin DIN MIDI ports, and a USB MIDI host port. (The MIDI half we’ll get to in a bit.)

What makes iConnectAudiofour+ particular?

Pretty a lot each different USB audio interface can hook up with just one laptop at a time. The iConnectAudiofour+ will be hooked as much as two. I’ve mine related to a Mac and an iPad, however you too can use two Macs, two PCs, two iPhones and any mixture of those.

This means which you could plug a microphone, guitar or synthesizer into the iConnectAudiofour+, and report it on each computer systems/iPads at the identical time (which you’d in all probability by no means really do). But right here’s the kicker. You can ship pristine digital audio between the Mac and the iPad, direct, along with the analog inputs and outputs.

Inter-device audio

It's a nightmare, but you'll grow to like it.
It’s a nightmare, however you’ll develop to love it.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Here’s an instance of the way you would possibly use this. You have a drum app operating in your iPad, and a guitar plugged right into a jack on the entrance of the iConnectAudiofour+. You can route each the iPad drums and the guitar into Logic Pro or Ableton in your Mac, and report them. In this situation, the iPad is simply one other audio enter for your Mac.

What about sending some audio out from Logic Pro, processing it utilizing an app in your iPad, and then sending it again to be recorded in Logic? No drawback. And this instance exhibits the benefit of the iCA4+ over Apple’s built-in IDAM. IDAM stands for Inter Device Audio and MIDI. It helps you to ship audio from an iPad to a Mac, however not in the different route. Also, IDAM is stereo-only, whereas the iConnectAudiofour+ can ship tens of audio streams in both route.

Loopback

How about one other instance, this time utilizing solely the iPad? The iConnectAudiofour+ can route an audio stream from the iPad, and again to the identical iPad. This helps you to seize the fundamental audio output, which may very well be Skype or FaceTime, and then loop it again into the iPad for recording. Thus outfitted, you may report podcasts on simply an iPhone, or report YouTube movies, and even report iOS GarageBand’s superb digital devices into one other app.

The iConfig app

To obtain all this goodness, you could use the iConfig app. It seems to be like one thing out of a nightmare about Windows 95, however when you get used to its sparse, spreadsheetlike interface, you’ll discover it very highly effective. For occasion, its Audio Patchbay exhibits a matrix of all the bodily and digital inputs and outputs. You merely click on on a node to attach them. It’s actually complicated to begin with, however after a whilst you’ll come to love it. Like — not love. It’s too annoying for that.

MIDI

The iCA4+ is additionally a MIDI interface. You can route MIDI simply as simply as you route audio, both between computer systems, or to and from any related MIDI units — drum machines, keyboards and so on. These units will be related to the two MIDI DIN ports, or to the USB MIDI host port on the again. And this host port is killer.

You can’t simply join USB MIDI units collectively. You can’t plug a USB piano keyboard right into a synthesizer and use it, any greater than you may plug a mouse into a pc monitor and use it. You should have a “host” in between to regulate issues. The iCA4+’s host port takes the place of a pc. It additionally accepts USB hubs. So, you may plug all of your USB MIDI units right into a hub, then plug that into the host port, and all these units can magically speak to one another.

Like the audio half, this works standalone. You don’t want to attach a pc to the iConnectAudiofour+ to make use of it.

iPad caveats

iConnectAudio4+ rear panel shows all its hookups.
The iConnectAudiofour+ has all the hookups.
Photo: iConnectivity

In my use, the audio high quality of the iConnectAudiofour+ is nice. I don’t use microphones, besides for podcasting, so I don’t want fancy mic preamps. The audio half converts at 24bits, which is greater than adequate, and there’s sufficient achieve on board for all my makes use of, even my guitar. This is simply the best iOS audio interface I’ve used.

But it’s not all excellent news for iPad customers. For one, whereas the iConnectAudiofour+ can energy Lightning iPads and iPhones whereas they’re related, it can’t energy the USB-C iPad Pro. You’ll must work round that limitation your self.

The different drawback is an iOS drawback. The first time you join a brand new audio or MIDI gadget to your iPad, it’ll study the names of all the ports on that gadget. After that, they’ll by no means be modified, in need of completely resetting your iPad. Unfortunately, the default names for the varied iConnectAudiofour+ ports are generic and lengthy. Not solely will you’ve gotten bother selecting them out in a listing, however normally the names are too lengthy to even learn all of them.

How to cope with unwieldy port names

The reply is to alter all theses names on a Mac earlier than you ever plug in the iConnectAudiofour+ to your iPad. And be sure to get every thing proper earlier than you do. Misspellings will keep perpetually. And in case you ever determine to plug your named gear into a distinct port, then the previous labels will stay. This is an iOS limitation, so that you’ll simply should hope Apple fixes it sooner or later.

But aside from all that, the upsides of this field far, far outweigh the small downsides. I adore it. I’ve lastly been in a position to overlook about routing and every thing else when making music. Now I simply deal with the music itself. The iConnectAudiofour+ is the final do-anything audio drawback solver, and it does all this for slightly below $300.

Buy from: Amazon — $349.99


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