Make top-end studio quality recordings on your iPad

Written by David Shapton

Focusrite/RedSharkFocusrite iTrack Dock


With the Focusrite iTrack iPod dock, you can make studio-quality recordings with your iPad

The biggest deal for me with the iPad has always been that there's no I/O. I don't mean SDI or SP/DIF or AES/ABU, but there's not even a USB connection, well, not without a special Apple Adaptor.

There have been a few non-Apple adaptors that have allowed you to connect cameras or even Midi instruments, and of course, there's always been a headphone socket, but for all the power and elegance of the iPad, it's a pain to get stuff onto it and from it.

Which is a huge pity because there are some outstanding applications for musicians and audio practitioners. But how do you use them in the real world? Where do you plug your XLR microphone cable in?

The answer is that you need a pre-amp. And there are few pre-amp manufacturers around with a better reputation than Focusrite.



Focusrite knows how to make Pre-Amps

Their new iTrack Dock is a recording interface that you don't plug into the iPad: you plug the iPad into it.

There's always a whiff of concern about iPad docks because they are reduced to the status of paperweights if there's the slightest change in Apple's proprietary connector, but the iTrack Dock comes with a Lightening interface, which is relatively new, and will work with any suitably-fitted iPad - ie one with a Lightening connector socket.

Once you slot your iPad into the iTrack dock, you're ready to go with just about any audio application, which will then accept inputs from mic and line sources, in as well as providing monitor and headphone outputs.

Once you have a decent interface, a modern iPad (there's something slightly odd about that phrase) has all the power and headroom for recording at the highest quality, and it has a big advantage over a typical (though not all) laptop: there's no fan. It's as silent as you need it to be.


We like this idea. If we could sing and play like the amazing guy in the video, we'd definitely get one.

Demo video and full specs over the page






Analogue Input Performance - Mic

Frequency Response
20Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.2 dB (minimum gain)
< -99dB (minimum gain, -1dBFS input with 20Hz/20kHz bandpass filter)
Equivalent Input Noise (EIN)
< -125dBu CCIR-RMS (measured at maximum gain with 150 ohm termination)
Gain Range
-4dB to +46dB (dBFS / dBu) ±1dB
Max Input Level
>+4dBu (at 1% THD)

Analogue Input Performance - Line

Frequency Response
20Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.2dB (minimum gain)
< -98dB (min gain, -1dBFS at output and 20Hz/20kHz bandpass filter)
Noise (NiPoS)
<-104 dBFS CCIR-RMS (measured at min. gain with 50 ohm termination)
Gain Range
-22dB to +28dB (dBFS / dBu) ±1dB
Max Input Level
>+21dBu (at 1% THD)

Analogue Input Performance - Instrument

Frequency Response
20Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.2dB (minimum gain)
<-90dB (min gain, measured at Max Input Level -1dB, 20Hz/20kHz bandpass filter)
<-104dBu CCIR-RMS (measured at min. gain)
Gain Range
-16dB to +34dB (dBFS / dBu) ±1dB
Max Input Level
>+14dBu (at 1% THD)

Analogue Output Performance

Nominal Output Level
0dBFS = >+10dBu, balanced
0dBFS = >+4bBu, unbalanced
Frequency Response
20Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
< -100dB, balanced (0dBFS input 20Hz/20kHz bandpass filter)

Digital Performance

Clock sources
Internal clock only
D-A Dynamic Range
105dB 'A-weighted' (all outputs). Converter chipset D-A dynamic range 114dB
Supported sample rates
44.1 KHz, 48 KHz, 96 KHz
24 Bit

Input Metering

Ring LED lit Green
Signal present (-24 dBFS)
Ring LED lit Red
Signal overload (0dBFS), peak held for approximately 1 second

Weight and Dimensions

Height 64mm
Width 280mm
Depth 168
Weight 0.7 Kg  

 Here's RedShark's review of Auria, a powerful Ipad Digital Audio Workstation which works (we think!) with the Focusrite iTrack Dock

Tags: Audio


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