Everything about the iPad is about portability. Thinness. Ever-changing interfaces. Functionality hidden behind a pane of glass.

But, hey, now that you’ve slimmed down your computational device, why not go hog wild with tangible controls and a sprawling DIY MIDI controller?

That’s what Jakob Haq, the nearest thing to an iOS music celebrity we’ve got, has done with his rig. He’s got a video showing off a very simple, easy, friendly-to-everyone solution that fits in your pocket — versus a one-of-a-kind custom creation that will fit in your pocket if you’re wearing a camping tent.

Let’s look at each of those.

First, KORG have an exceptionally useful interface called plugKEY MIDI. Via one Lightning connection to your iPhone or iPad, you get audio out (via jack connections), headphone out, MIDI input, and charging (via standard microUSB). My only complaint is, you don’t get MIDI output, so you can’t use this for sequencing – you’ll need a different interface for that. But it’s still one of the handier options out there.

That is, this seems a quick way to get audio out, charging, and MIDI in. For more I/O, you have the iConnectMIDI offerings, or my current go-to solution, IK’s iRIG Pro Duo (which does audio in and out and MIDI in and out).

It’s what Jakob is doing with that MIDI in that’s most interesting, though.

It says something about the post-PC age. The iPad is thin, and barely there, but it does give you visuals. By connecting Jakob’s monster MIDI controller to the input, he can get as much physical control as he would hardware.

The video with the KORG shows a bit about that, but have a look, too, at how he got there:

Heavy stuff. And beautiful – a merging of the computer and GUI interface with more conventional physical controls.

As usual, I can’t wait to see what Jakob cooks up next. More links in his YouTube channel.

  • That is very clever!

  • Dubby Labby

    Jakob is awesome. The iOS community need more people like him and the place to be is audiob.us forum…

  • DrüMünkey

    Hi there… I’d like to offer up an idea before you head down the hardware road. At least this is what I’ve been discovering. Obviously you go the diy route because you have a workflow or process you’d like to have an interface to facilitate. However, the gap between what seeeeeeems like a good idea before you start huffing solder fumes and how it actually works is often pretty large.

    My suggestion is to prototype using something lik MidiDesignerPro and routing apps like MidiFlow.

    I have totally blown up ideas that I thought would be great once I try them in MDP and conversely discovered other things I would have never thought to try.

    What I would LOVE to see is a service or firm where you could send them a MDP layout and they build a HW controller that’s a 1:1 match… THAT could be fing amazballs!

    • Dubby Labby

      You can do it with pd and mobmuplat or Raspi directly (and fully standalone) but the vast majority of midi controllers doesn’t want to mess with iron soldering or midi remapping (strokes or functions are nightmares for most of them) and that’s why plugnplay and class compliance are the best selling points nowadays.
      Sometimes is easy to simplify our workflows than wait until perfect “tool” arrives IMHO.

  • Will

    Jakob for UN President.

    One other much cheaper way (if considerably less sexy) to make something like this dub machine: collect a few Korg NanoKontrols of any vintage and get an iConnectMIDI box with USB hub support. They’re known for interconnecting iOS and desktop devices but they can also be used as a way to collect and route a bunch of USB MIDI inputs to DIN outputs (and USB outputs simultaneously).

    I’m sure a clever person could take the Korg boxes apart and add some of this visual and tactile loveliness.

  • Michael L

    This is so great! Thanks for the details Haq. Also check out Tim Exile’s “Flow Machine” videos and equipboard list.

  • Steven Weston

    What is that midi controller and where can I get one?

  • So the “multi touch interface” of iPad is of no use ?