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Entries in Dock (6)

Is Griffin Making a Move on Alesis with StudioConnect?

As you probably know already, Griffin Technology have announced a range of products at CES, many of them aimed at iOS devices. The iPad gets some special attention in the form of the StudioConnect.

What is it?

The StudioConnect basically incorporates Griffin's MIDI connect (coming soon) and Guitar Connect Pro, both available as separate input devices, into a charging dock with some audio outputs.

StudioConnect Front Sml

StudioConnect compared to the iO Dock

Initially it looks like the StudioConnect is moving in on the iO Dock's territory, and it is, a little bit. But if anything, the StudioConnect is a cut down version and seems aimed more at the consumer level audience rather than Alesis' Pro-musician aspirations with their iO Dock.

Although it doesn't offer the outer case protection of the iO Dock, or quite the same range of in/outs that the Alesis' device does, Griffin's StudioConnect is nearly $50 cheaper on the RRP. The street price will be the key thing of course, because we have seen the iO Dock for only $159.99 on Amazon.

The differences

What's missing on the StudioConnect may be the clincher for the more ambitious musician: XLR inputs, extra unbalanced and balanced ¼" inputs, phantom mic power and USB.

In addition, the iO Dock has video out (although we are not sure how much that is being used) and another ¼" input for a footswitch or controller.

StudioConnect Back Sml

How good the StudioConnect sounds remains to be seen and we will be closely watching the reviews when they come out later this year, but for the more casual musician, or those who don't need all the extra inputs, the StudioConnect's lower price tag could attract a lot of attention.

The StudioConnect is scheduled for release in 'Spring' this year, but until then, here's the specs from Griffin's press release. We have included the iO Dock's specs below so you can make a comparison:

Audio In and Out 

  • Audio In – Complete with its own gain control. Plug in your instrument through a mono 1/4" jack or plug a mixer into StudioConnect’s stereo 3.5mm jack.
  • Audio Out – Left and right line-­‐level RCA plugs. Also a 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack with its own volume knob helps monitor what's going in and out.

MIDI in and out is equally straightforward: 

  • MIDI In – Connect your MIDI controller through a standard 5-­‐pin DIN MIDI-­‐in port.
  • MIDI Out – A second 5-­‐pin DIN connector accepts a sequencer, sound module or other MIDI gear, allowing your iPad and favorite MIDI apps to act as a MIDI controller.

Alesis iO Dock Specs:

AUDIO INPUTS

  • 2 x XLR-1/4" Balanced TRS
  • Individual gain controls
  • Phantom power, switchable
  • Guitar (high-impedance) switch on Input 2 

INPUT SENSITIVITY

  • Balanced XLR Mic
    • Max -45 dBV
    • Min -3 dBV
  • Balanced 1/4“ TRS Mic/Line
    • Max -27 dBV
    • Min +16 dBV
  • Un-Balanced 1/4” TS Mic/Lin
    • Max -27 dBV
    • Min +16 dBV
  • Un-Balanced 1/4” TS Guitar
    • Max -38 dBV
    • Min +4.5 dBV

AUDIO OUTPUTS

  • 2 x 1/4" Balanced TRS Main
  • 1/4" TRS Headphone
  • Individual level controls

VIDEO OUTPUT

  • RCA Composite (requires compatible apps)

CONTROL I/O

  • MIDI In (DIN)
  • MIDI Out (DIN)
  • USB MIDI
  • 1/4" Footswitch (function assigned by apps)

What do you think? Does Griffin's StudioConnect tempt you? Or are you willing to spend a bit more for Alesis' iO Dock? Let us know in the comments.

8 Great Etsy Finds For Your iPad

Every now and then we like to pass the time by doing a search on Etsy for iPad accessories. Try this yourself and you'll find a plethora of handmade creative solutions both for sitting your iPad on your desk and for cosseting it when you're more mobile.

So if you are looking for a special and unique gift for the iPad addict in your life (yes, you can include yourself, we do), then here are a few of the many handcrafted accessories that caught our attention recently. 

1 - Jabba the Hut Oak iPad Dock

This was our favourite to be honest, a one of a kind Star Wars figurine welded to a piece of solid wood to enhance any geek's desk. We love it, so be quick and grab it now!

Jabba iPad Dock

Jabba iPad dock back

 

2 - iPad Acoustic Dock in Maple

We liked this dock because as well as being clean and simple, it acts as a naturally amplified speaker for your iPad's audio - no plug-in, power sapping, accessories needed. There's also a smaller version available for your iPhone. Very nice.

IPad acoustic dock

 

3 - Retro TV iPad Dock

We happen to know that we are not the only Etsy browsing iPad lovers to spot this one recently, but we didn't want you to miss this one. It doesn't look terribly sturdy if we're honest, but the wooden retro design wins our hearts and this is often the duty our iPad performs when it is sat on our desks while we work.

TV iPad dock

 

4 - Leather Messenger Bag

We could have picked any of the Copper River bags and cases to recommend. They all feature the thickest leather and chunkiest stitching we have ever seen, backed up by a 100 year warranty. These things are built to last and be loved by generations.

We chose this one as it is specifically for iPad sized devices., but would be more than happy with any of the range, if anyone is reading this and fancies buying us something nice. Please...

Leather messenger bag

 

5 - Vindicated Vinyl iPad Case - Sgt. Pepper's

With cases made out of recovered vinyl records and album covers, brindakaydesign makes some of the most unique cases we have seen. It will cost you, but if you want something really special for the music lover in your life or just someone who loves the nostalgia, you can't do much better than one of these cases (she does bags, trays and belt buckles too).

A fleece lined internal leather pocket holds your iPad when mobile and there is also a stand arrangement built in (see the page for more photos):

SgtPepper iPad case

 

6 - iPad Messenger Satchel - Made by Grandad

We chose this one because it is actually something we would seriously consider ordering (as with the next pick). We have been on an endless search for a camera bag that doesn't look like a camera bag, and something that can keep our iPad safe too when out and about or on holiday as carry-on bag.

IPad messenger bag

IPad Messenger bag open

This bag from UK based Etsy seller MadeByGrandad may be just the solution we have been looking for. With its inside padded and zippered iPad pocket, a number of iPhone and other accessory pockets, and central space big enough for a small DSLR in a padded wrap, this seems to fit the bill perfectly. If only it came in black, oh wait...

 

7 - iPad 2 Padded Case

These 100% wool made iPad cases from France look top notch quality, with three layers of protection, offering good internal padding too. We liked the range of colours available, the material used and attention to detail plus the external zippered pocket for cables, iPhone, etc.

IPad 2 cases

 

8 - Wolf iPad Felt Sleeve

This sleeve caught our eye because we thought it was weird, as well as fairly unique. There is an owl design too which also has scary eyes, plus a not so scary penguin or elephant for the more playful gift.

Designed to fit an iPad with a Smart Cover attached, these 100% wool felt sleeves also include a strap if required so you can use it as a messenger bag.

Wolf iPad sleevel

 

What have you found?

There are so many different bags, cases and docks available on Etsy, hand made by people all around the world, that it was quite difficult for us to select just these few to show you and we wish we had time and space to show all of them.

But what about you? Have you got any creative accessory finds for your iPad, or do you fancy one of ours? Let us know in the comments.

Video Find: Code Station iPad Dock Prototype

It might seem strange having a hardware controller for a software emulation of a hardware beat generator, but we liked this anyway. Whilst this is only a prototype, we think it's got major potential. 

Based on Livid Instruments' own hardware control surface Code inside what looks like a home fashioned docking station (i.e. prototype), the Code Station looks like something that should be in production. It is great fun seeing the Code being used to control something like iElectribe too.

Given that the Code is a class compliant MIDI device we think it should work with most MIDI enabled iPad apps where knob twiddling is required. This dock, housing an iPad and Code together, could be something used for live (or recorded live) performances.

What do you think?

Friday Fun: Antique iPad Docks

Original and unique, these antique looking iPad/iPhone Docks from Old Time Computer hit our inbox a few days ago and we thought we would share them with you. 

The wood and brass fitted docks evoke images of large oak desks from yesteryear, but actually sync and even charge your most modern iPad. You can order them with cherry, hard maple, oak, hand painted marble and rusty metal finishes, so you should find one to suit your taste. There is even a custom model that includes a slot-in bay for 2.5" or 3.5" hard disks with an integrated backup button for $129 (£85.75).

We think these hardwood iPad docks have a great look and certainly provide something unique for the discerning iPad user to place on their desks. Be sure to check out the whole range over at Old Time Computer and while you are there have a look at the gorgeous keyboards and computers that we are now lusting after, especially the iMac below. Just look at that keyboard! 

Friday Fun: The iPad Typewriter

Got an old dust covered typewriter in the loft that you thought you would never use again? Well, dig it out, we've got something cool for you!

Give it enough time and there is no end to the creativity of some people as far as re-purposing old things as a dock for their iPad. We have covered a few of them recently. If they get it right, they might even create a little cottage industry around these devices, just like Jack Zylkin is beginning to.

Jack has devised a clever way to reuse old typewriters to act as a dock for your iPad, especially for those with a hankering after the old analogue way of life in this digitally swamped age. Jack gives you the option to buy a complete vintage typewriter set up and ready to go with your iPad (for around $300), or you can get the soldering iron out and buy just the kit itself (at $75) and try following the instructions to turn your own typewriter into an iPad dock. There is another option, send off the old typewriter and let Jack install the kit for you, which will cost $200 plus shipping.

We have looked through the instructions and it looks do-able, with some care and a day without any distractions. We are off to search through our Parents' lofts for old typewriters. If you try this, let us know how it goes, and in the meantime enjoy your weekend.

Want to dock your iPad in style? (Creative iPad Docks)

Recently there seem to have been a number of unique, home-made iPad docks springing up, some of them re-purposing old Macs. Three of the most creative ones that have caught our attention in the last few days are below:

Gamer Arcade Cabinet

We want! Based on ThinkGeek's April Fool's iPad joke dock, this cardboard but fully functioning mock-up has us very excited (we really wanted one of the ThinkGeek ones and tried to find out how to order it, hoping that it was real, but were very disappointed). Read more about how they did it at TUAW's site.

iPad Arcade Accessory from hm0429 on Vimeo.

Classic iBook Clamshell Dock

ipad_ibook7.jpg

Ingenious and very creative, our next DIY iPad dock is built into a clamshell iBook. Although called 'Fisher Price' and otherwise mocked when it came out, we have a soft spot for this little iBook, having owned several versions, the latest one being very similar to the iBook used for this case mod.

The original post (in Japanese) does have a lot of photos showing how the iBook case mod was done, but we heard about it over at the MacStories site, where they have a description and links to the original, as well as a translated (not at all well) site.

Suffice to say, we love this.

Mac Classic dock

This one has been around for a little while on several big blogs, so forgive us if you have seen this one before, but it is creative simply for nothing other than recognising that the screen size is perfect and attacking a Mac Classic with a dremel. Although there is no access to the Home button or other buttons, or a dock connector at the moment, we think that is easy to remedy given the iBook solution above.

Check out Wired's article for more details and see the video below for what it looks like in practice, and the project creators Site Hirac even have another video on YouTube of the iPad working with a USB keyboard.