Percussa micro super signal processor
The iPad wants a place in your recording rig - and to make recording friendlier. Photo courtesy Focusrite.

The iPad wants a place in your recording rig – and to make recording friendlier. Photo courtesy Focusrite.

The iPad could change recording. But first, you have to change the iPad.

Docks once reached fever-like proportions in hardware manufacture. Among those, one stood out: I’ve seen the Alesis iO Dock see iPads get more serious studio use, thanks to convenient access to audio and MIDI. (And that, in turn, is something you often don’t get when connecting hardware directly.)

Then, Apple switched connectors to the new Lightning Connector – and the hardware world fell silent.

Now, Focusrite steps in to fill the void. (We’ll see if Alesis is doing the same.)

And if many docks are dubious purchases, the Focusrite piece promises a stunning amount of functionality. The iTrack Dock does things that you can’t when you simply plug in accessories to your iPad. It can charge and connect and power at the same time (rather than sapping your battery as you work). It can do I/O, including – remarkably – even USB. (That perhaps makes more sense than just MIDI DIN ports, since it would work with both USB MIDI- and, via an additional interface, MIDI DIN-equipped hardware.)

Features:

  • Dual Focusrite mic pres, 24-bit 96kHz operation and 105 dB+ dynamic range
  • Two balanced line inputs, one instrument input, two mic inputs
  • Independent stereo monitor and headphone outs, with zero-latency monitoring for recording
  • Dedicated gain controls with colored feedback.
  • USB

Naturally, it also couples with Focusrite’s own Tape app for recording.

iTrack_Dock_3_Mini_&_Air

iTrack_Dock_2_Rear-2

Cost: MSRP: US$249.99 / $199.99 street. (No European pricing available yet)
Coming early this year.

Oddly, this could make the iPad more desirable – as a kind of simple, distraction-free recording device that can even top a computer.