4 Things You Can Connect to Your iPad/iPhone to Make Your Music Sound Better

By Ryan C. Williams, Mike Levine

You can interact and play instruments on the touchscreen of your iPhone or iPad, but a controller or audio interface will make your productions sound better (and make your life easier). Here are four kinds of devices you can connect to your iOS device to better make your music:

  • Audio interfaces: These interfaces let you plug in devices like microphones, guitars, or basses through your data connector. Interfaces offer higher-quality audio signals and the ability to use the standard cables and connections of professional music gear (as opposed to those specifically designed for iOS devices). You can also buy interfaces that connect using the headphone jack, but such interfaces don’t offer the same audio quality and functionality.

  • Docks: Not only do these docks let you route audio into your device, but you can also use them to better control audio levels to multiple outputs, including headphones. Your dock may also include MIDI functionality. Docks basically turn your iOS device (usually an iPad) into a portable instrument or recording rig (while powering your device at the same time).

  • MIDI controllers: If you want to control a virtual instrument such as a piano or synthesizer, MIDI controllers give you a realistic keyboard to play on. Those with actual piano training need a real-keyboard response to correctly play. (And even those without piano training probably can use all the help they can get.) Plus, a great number of MIDI controllers also offer pads, sliders, or other interfaces you can bang away on.

  • Bluetooth LE controllers: If you already use the data connector for an interface (or just don’t want more wires), you can use Bluetooth LE connections to pair your iOS device with your controller. Bluetooth LE controllers can act as pedalboards, page turners for sheet music, or a variety of other uses.