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USB Midi Controllers For iPad

USB Midi Controllers For iPad

The best USB midi controllers for iPad…

Most electronic music hardware uses midi – via dedicated midi cables, USB and occasionally firewire – for its connections, but until recently utilizing midi on an iPad (or iPhone) was a one-way affair with many limitations. Since the early days of the iPhone there have been music apps that allowed the iPad and iPhone to be used as a wireless (nice touch) midi controllers but using the iPad as a synthesizer or drum machine triggered by an external midi controller was but a dream on the horizon.

A few years pass, innovators in the game see the potential for unleashing sound synthesizing applications, and the era of midi controllers for iPads was born.

Nowadays, thanks to the Apple’s camera connection kit and code compatible with iOS CoreMIDI, an increasing amount of midi controllers can be used to trigger software synths and drum machines on the iPad.

This means that with a few pieces of kit, almost any midi controller can trigger sounds from your iPad, but it’s important to remember that there are still some issues with brand compatibility.

Below is a list of our favorite midi controllers that feature dedicated software specifically designed with the iPad in mind.

Korg microKEY Keyboards

Korg’s popular USB microKEY midi controllers now work in perfect conjunction with Korg’s first class sound design apps like as the iMS-20 for iPad.

There are several models of the microKEY midi controllers, namely the microKEY25, microKEY37 and microKEY61, all of which are 100 percent compatible with Korg’s iPad apps.

korg microkey midi controller-1

Korg MicroKEY Keyboard

In addition, the Korg mircoKey and Nano 2 controller series should also work with other iPad synths such as Moog’s Animoog, Akai’s SynthStation, the Sunrizer synth by BeepStreet, the NLogSynth Pro, the Fairlight player, the Molten Drum Machine by One Red Dog Media, StepPolyArp, Midi Monitor by iOSMIDI, MidiVision, S1 Midi Trigger, AC-7 Core and FunkBox by Synthetic Bits .

And similarly, other midi controllers such as the M-Audio Axiom 49 keyboard should be able to control the same software synths on iPad using the camera connection kit, although this may require manual assigning of midi controls and there could be some limitations.

Akai SynthStation49

When it comes to less portable options, the Akai SynthStation49 keyboard controller is top of the bill. Reasonably priced, the SynthStation49 features a built-in iPad dock as well as dedicated SynthStation software with “direct in-app MIDI recording from its velocity-sensitive keyboard, nine MPC-style drum pads, and an array of transport controls.”

akai synthstation 49 for ipad-1

Akai SynthStation49

The Akai SynthStation49 is 100 percent compatible with iOS CoreMIDI, which means it can be instantly used with any of the music app’s available from the app store such as those mentioned above.

Line 6 Midi Mobilizer

The Line 6 Midi Mobilizer is a great device to “play, record, and store MIDI information anytime.”

Primarily designed to backup midi files whilst on the move, the device connects using a special 30 pin adaptor with midi in/out interface via 2.5mm TRS connections, and allows the user to play and record midi files using its accompanying MIDI Memo Recorder app.

line 6 midi mobilizer

Line 6 Midi Mobilizer

Although the Line 6 Midi Mobilizer does enable midi control on the iPad, there are limitations when it comes to tempo – there’s no way to sync the tempo and quantize your midi files, it’s simply play and record. Nevertheless, it does allow you to use your iPad as a midi instrument to jam with others and record the results.

M-Audio USB Uno 1×1 Midi Interface

Another simple solution for triggering and recording midi sounds on your iPad, the M-Audio USB Uno offers a USB connection for your computer and a midi connection for your controller.

m-audio usb uno midi interface for ipad

M-Audio USB Uno

The Uno is extremely simple to set up, literally plug in, assign the midi sounds, then play and record. However like with Line 6 Midi Mobilizer, there are limitations with syncing the tempo.

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