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Griffin StudioConnect review

Does it live up to its promise of making digital-music creation easy?

For

  • Great build quality
  • Charges iPad
  • Works with GarageBand

Against

  • Struggles with vocals

Griffin's StudioConnect unites your iPad with other pieces of music making hardware in your studio.

The unit has seven ports in total: headphone out (on the front), 3.5mm stereo in, 1/4-inch audio-in jack, five-pin DIN MIDI in and out, and left/right RCA line-outs (for connecting your sound system).

Those five-pin MIDI ports require your gear to be mains powered, meaning that USB-over-MIDI gear won’t cut it.

These gripes aside, this gadget delivers everything it promises. Our MIDI keyboard worked perfectly with the GarageBand and Animoog apps, with audio crisp and clear. It was more satisfying to play a real keyboard rather than poke away at the virtual keys on a screen.

But we quickly came across a problem when recording vocals. The unit doesn’t offer XLR sockets with phantom power, and there’s no pre-amp, so you’ll struggle to record vox that sounds any better than those gained through the iPad’s built-in mic. A missed opportunity.

While the StudioConnect does what it can do well, it doesn’t offer all we’d expect. It’s a good-looking, fuss-free, high-quality way to get MIDI and audio into your iPad’s clutches, and we’d recommend it as long as you don’t plan on recording many vocals.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCradle
Product FamilyStudioConnect
Connectivity TechnologyWired
Brand NameGriffin
Device SupportediPad
Synchronizing CapabilityYes
Charging CapabilityYes
CompatibilityApple Products:
  • iPad
  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3
ManufacturerGriffin Technology
Product NameStudioConnect Cradle
Product LineStudioConnect
Manufacturer Part Numberna17132
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.griffintechnology.com
Marketing InformationConnect your guitar, bass and MIDI instruments to your iPad and GarageBand.

Digital music-making has never been easier. Owning an iPad makes it easier still, taking it to a whole new level of versatility and portability. StudioConnect gives your iPad: audio in/out, MIDI in/out, and a stereo headphone jack with its own volume control so you can monitor what's going in (or out).