Your trusty iPad or iPhone can be transformed into a mobile studio with just a few tweaks here and there.
yes, this kind of high-tech magic is literally possible nowadays! no, it won’t break your bank and it’s pretty simple to do. I’ve done it myself several times for friends and colleagues who wanted high-quality streaming and recording right on their phones.
so how do you connect an iphone or ipad to an audio interface?
to connect an audio interface to your ipad or iphone you need a usb to lightning adapter. use the usb receiving end of the adapter for your audio interface while you plug the lightning end into your ipad or iphone, then you can plug whatever you want into your audio interface and the sound will appear on your ipad or iphone. /p>
check out this nifty adapter here on amazon.
Now, that is the short answer to a long question. Do you want to know the full story with details on how it is done? Read on then, because we’re diving right into it.
why do you need an audio interface for an ipad or iphone?
You may be scratching your head right now and thinking “but why is it useful to connect an audio interface to my ipad or iphone?” well, there are several case scenarios where this little trick will definitely save you. I’m about to explain each one I’ve found so far, but I’m sure there are more benefits than these.
garage gang will love you (and you will love garage gang)
garage band started out as something to play around with and contained pre-recorded loops.
It never hurts to hear Steve Jobs talk and John Mayer play, which is what you can see in this video.
what if you wanted to recreate that epic, easy-to-use, good-sounding approach that garage band has when used on a laptop with an audio interface on your iphone or ipad?
well, the garage band loves to mix the pre-recorded loops with the soul of your inspiration and it will also open up a million new possibilities. Plus, you can even plug in a virtual drum kit and play all night with the sounds looped every day. yes, there is a whole new world to explore.
Let me tell you a little story to add some color to this article.
my friend lucy is an amazing singer and also plays a lot of instruments. She wanted to make a record with her friends who are competent musicians, so we recorded the basic tracks in my studio.
had drums, bass, guitars and a piano along with his voice. what he needed was some ear candy and fancy arrangements to take those skeletons to the next level. we loaded all the tracks on his iphone and he went to visit talented friends and record his parts.
he just took his phone and a solo from scarlett.
Doing the trick I’ll explain later, she managed to make an amazing record literally on the road. Just picture it for a minute, you can go and record friends’ participation in your brand new album at the comfort of their homes with your own stuff that you just brought in a small backpack (or even your pocket!). Trust me; making music has never been so easy.
instagram live is one of the main channels of promotion not only for younger acts but also for established bands.
the problem is that you can’t do an instagram live session from a computer and therefore most people do it with the sound of their cheap iphone microphone. What if you could sound better than the competition?
Well, with the little trick I’m going to show you in a few paragraphs, you’ll be able to do that session live by connecting as many things as you want to a mixer and all of that to your phone. I know it sounds like science fiction, but it can become an everyday thing in no time, trust me.
midi controllers are a composer’s best friend.
if you’re like my friend lucy, who plays many instruments well and sings like a pro, you can create the orchestration of your own songs by triggering the different instruments through midi.
This used to be a big issue with latency and multiple cables, but nowadays most midi controllers work through a simple usb cable. what if you could activate the different instruments in the garage band and create your own compositions instead of working with pre-recorded loops?
Also, what if you could create a mixed approach and then sing about it? well, it will be very easy following the instructions below.
- I have written a guide that explains exactly what midi is and how to get started. You can read it here.
How To Connect An Audio Interface To iPhone or iPad
what you need to do is transform the data that your audio interface will send to your computer via usb into a format that your ipad or iphone can read.
That’s why what you need is an adapter that converts usb to lightning. you can connect the output of your audio interface to the input of the adapter and the lightning cable to the port of your iphone or ipad and ready, you’re recording on your iphone.
install drivers? not needed on an ipad
I know what you’re thinking: “how do I install my audio interface drivers on an iphone?” there is no need for that. Most audio interfaces, like the very popular focusrite scarlet line, are what you call “class compliant”, meaning they don’t need any type of driver installation to work. ios.
I’ve written a guide to getting started with audio interfaces. You can read it here.
what do I need?
The elements you will need are:
class compliant usb audio interface
usb to lightning adapter
usb cable to go from the interface to your adapter
· your iphone or ipad charger with its cable
These simple items are all you need to get started.
Let’s see how to solve the problems you may encounter when doing this.
solving the energy problem
The first problem you are likely to encounter is the power problem.
iphone or ipad is not powerful enough to provide power to the audio interface and therefore may not work. things get particularly worse if you choose to plug in a condenser microphone (a very wise choice if you ask me) and turn on phantom power. then possible solutions could be:
· use a power supply: many mixers double up as audio interfaces with a usb connection along with the dual xlr outputs. if this is the case and the mixer can be connected to the adapter and also to electricity, which solves the problem.
· uses the apple camera adapter – the good thing about this apple camera adapter is that it has a slot for the charger and therefore no you will spend the energy of the hungry ipad but of a real charger connected to the adapter. In this scenario, you can feel free to activate that phantom power and activate the velvety element of your sexy voice.
I have written an article explaining phantom power. you can read it here.
· power bank: For maximum portability, you can even use a power bank to provide the necessary power once you have the adapter described above. in this way you will not depend on a power outlet and you will be able to do things on the road with absolute freedom.
See the selection of power banks here on Amazon.
USB Hub For Multiple Inputs When Recording With iPad and iPhone
what if, say, you want to connect the audio interface and also the midi controller to your ipad?
well a powered usb hub can solve that and also the power issue described above. no matter how much data you put into a single lightning port, it will take it and translate it to the daw with no problem.
actually some condenser mics are usb ready and in this case you could just go to the hub for power and then to the adapter to finally go to the ipad or ipod.
can i use this setup with monitor speakers?
The answer is absolutely yes.
The nice thing about most speakers found in studios is that they are active speakers and therefore don’t need to draw power from any other device to work; they simply plug into a normal outlet.
Your UI will have a few different output options that you can connect to. Another great idea is to use headphones.
Whatever the case, you can now set up a complete home studio based on an ipad and a few peripherals. this is a great video on how it’s done. it is quite long, but at the same time very useful and interesting.
final thoughts on using an audio interface with ipad and iphone
The desire to make and record music has been with us humans for at least a century.
The first recordings date back to the beginning of the last century and the technology has grown so much and so fast that it is now easier than ever. one of the many good things about it is that you can start writing songs without much investment and improve your songwriting skills with time and work instead of money.
Combine these modern recording capabilities with channels like youtube, soundcloud, spotify and the like, and you can literally cut out all the middlemen between your creativity and your audience.
Don’t forget this is a golden age to be creative because the technology to make it happen is affordable, accessible and easy to use. What are you waiting for? There has never been a better time to make music than now.
Happy recording (lightning)!