quickie iConnectAudio4 report

After waiting over a year, it’s finally here! Preordered via Sweetewater.

I’ve been using Cubasis exclusively since its debut, unshackled from the tyranny of GarageBand for iOS. It’s the only all-in-one suite that gives GB a run for its money. Anyway,the short of it is that the iConnectAudio4 works like a charm, right out of the box with my iPad4. The only thing I had to do is raise the output via the touch interface. Yeah, touch interface! Tested the mic inputs, the LEDs sprang to life, again really easy to get the right gain even from a relatively quiet mic-up. (In comparison, the preamp on the Alesis that this replaces was nearly dimed.) Then there’s the audio itself, which is also impressive. Fairly dramatic improvement compared to my old Alesis iO4 or iM2. And it friggn charges the iPad at 2.1A, just like Apple’s charger, while you use it. Passes audio of course, but best of all, you don’t need to stuff it in some weird holder or stand. I like to keep my iPad in its case. More testing with multiple inputs and MIDI forthcoming. MIDI may entail some fine tuning via the so far, Mac/Win only iConfig app, but I’m guessing they’ll update the iOS app soon.

Okay, it’s a poor man’s Apogee perhaps, but that’s exactly what I want!

It exists! Man, it’s been “coming soon” for so long that I thought it was just rumourware. Charges iPad - nice touch. That’s one up on my UR44…

About a month in - how are you liking the interface now? How is the AD/DA conversion and the mic pre? I’m thinking of budding this up with the iCM4+ for more MIDI routings.

It’s working fine. I got a second iOS cord so I can use an iPhone as a MIDI controller while working in Cubasis on the iPad. The mic preamps are definitely a cut above what I’ve had, I’m getting more headroom and attenuation than with my previous boxes (Alesis, Edirol). Ditto the overall sound, but i’m not sure I could discern an RME from an Apogee or a Presonus.

Maybe just a couple of niggles:

  1. there doesn’t seem to be a way of mixing the live input with the monitored output. when I tried mixing them via the external app, it seemed to be one or the other. fortunately, latency isn’t and issue and I can live without the unmixed sound, but most devices have a hardware knob to mix the two which is handy for offsetting levels and latency during recording. and practicing without firing up the DAW.

  2. the power mains don’t seem to be buffered enough(?) and I can’t turn it on/off at the power supply. if the monitors warm up before the device, it’ll send a nasty spike into the speakers. the solution was to put it on a separate circuit and to ALWAYS use the knob to power on. it’s one extra step, but this could be an issue in a studio where everything is powered up through the mains.

How robust is the USB connectivity? To be honest, it was farting out more frequently than I expected at first, but much less with use now. Seems to happen in Cubasis more than iTunes or GB so it may have nothing to do with the ICA4. With minor precaution (e.g.; put in plane mode and quit unnecessary apps, reboot before session, etc.), it shouldn’t be an issue. You just need to unplug and replug to resync the USB.

The touchscreen is super elementary but it takes a little getting used to because you need to toggle between 4 inputs, 4 outputs and the headphone outs to make simple adjustments. As with anything minimalist, these were predictable trade-offs. I haven’t tested the MIDI host, which theoretically allows the daisy chaining of USB MIDI devices and powered hub, but the legacy MIDI works fine to control my TimeLine.

So far I’ve only used it with Cubasis, and as far as Core Audio functionality is concerned, it hits all the marks, especially for iOS users. I’ve stopped worrying about draining the iPad, that’s BIG! Just waiting for IC to update the iOS app so I have more control and can mix the monitor wth the live dry signal. Cheers!