Over the past week I’ve had the pleasure of testing out not one, but two new gadgets from IK Multimedia. Not only are they new, but they’re both second generation/updates to previous models. Today we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of each device in relation to the originals.
I tried out the original iKlip over a year ago, and while I thought it was a great idea, I felt it was somewhat limited because it only worked on specific models of the iPad and wasn’t usable with any other tablet on the market. Like it’s predecessor, the iKlip Xpand is a solid device, designed for years of use. The biggest advantage to the new iKlip is that the arms are now spring loaded, making it usable with any model of iPad as well as pretty much any other tablet on the market.
While I realize that IK’s main focus is on Apple devices, I have anxiety about leaving a $500+ iPad attached to my mic stand on a rowdy stage. That being said, I love taking a sub $200 7” Android tablet with me when I jam with friends. They’re ideal for keeping track of lyrics, chord changes, set lists, etc. And, a cracked screen from a tipped over stand is a whole lot easier to swallow on a cheaper device. The iKlip Xpand worked great with my 7” tablet as well as with my iPad. Now, if we could just get IK to create an Android version of AmpliTube…
The final product I was able to attach to my mic stand with the iKlip Xpand is my 11” Chromebook. Why would I every want to do that, you may ask? Like many other home recording enthusiasts, I don’t have a dedicated tracking room. Consequently, I generally use the family room adjacent to my office/project studio. Since the Chromebook doesn’t have an internal fan, it is completely quiet when running. With the help of Chrome Remote Desktop, I have full access to my DAW when I’m recording alone. I LOVE being able to have my Chromebook attached to my mic stand, instead of having it sit on a stool/coffee table/empty box/whatever else is available.
With a street price of $49.99, it is coming in at about $10 more than its predecessor. That being said, it feels more secure and is much more flexible. If you’re looking to attach a tablet or laptop to your mic stand, you’re not going to find a better option out there.
For more information on the iKlip Xpand, click here
iRig Midi 2
Simply put, IK Multimedia clearly listened to consumer feedback on the original iRig Midi because they have solved virtually every flaw from the initial design. One of my biggest pet peeves with audio and computer hardware is the use of non-standard cables. This was one of my biggest issues with the original version. This time around, IK has gone with standard midi inputs for the In, Out, and Through connections. The iRig Midi 2 is also much more flexible than the original design. Out of the box it comes with a USB connector and a Lightning connector. The device can also be connected to older Apple devices with a 30 pin connector. Unfortunately, the 30 pin connector isn’t included and has to be purchased separately.
For my test, I connected a 90’s midi keyboard I have laying around to an iPad, iPhone, and a PC. All of which worked flawlessly. On the IOS devices I used the iGrand Piano App and on my PC I used SampleTank. This simple midi interface has revitalized my 90’s relic keyboard by giving me access to a whole plethora of new, usable audio samples. Pretty cool stuff.
With a street price of $99, the iRig Midi 2 is about $30 more than the original, but the flexibility of being able to use it with iOS devices and Mac/PC computers, and the use of standard midi cables certainly justifies the increase. While I wish the 30 pin connector was also included, I do realize it has started becoming a dated connector. Overall, the iRig Midi 2 is a significant improvement over the original and is a great buy if you’re looking for an incredibly versatile midi interface.
For more information on the iRig Midi 2, click here