I have to admit, I seldom use my iPad for any kind of music recording or production. Connectivity whilst maintaining portability is problem, twinned with the limited apps available that enable a musician to do anything other than the bare minimum.
Whilst I can’t really do anything about the latter (I’d love to see a version of Logic Pro in iOS), there are certainly things that can be done about the former. I was looking at ways of connecting a MIDI keyboard to the iPad with minimum fuss. I was also looking for something that was pretty cheap.
There are plenty of musician-targeted devices that allow this kind of connectivity, but bulkiness and price were an issue.
There is the iRig MIDI which looks quite promising, but it requires having extra cables and at £37, it is hardly a budget option.
I decided to go down the route of using an iPad camera connection kit and making use of the USB input to connect a MIDI keyboard. The official one is £25, which for me is still pricey for a small piece of plastic.
There are plenty of alternative options to buy online with many unofficial ones for sale. I had a quick look on Amazon and found one for less than £4. It’s always a risk buying cheap accessories so my expectations were fairly low.
As it turns out, it works really well. I connected the keyboard to the USB port on the card reader and I was able to use apps like GarageBand immediately. It makes a huge difference to the ease of recording on the iPad and all of a sudden, using a iPad software based DAW seems less gimmicky.
One thing to remember is that and iPad is not powerful enough to power a MIDI keyboard, so you will need to make sure your instrument is powered by an external power supply.
If you’re interested in recording music on the iPad, it’s definitely the most cost effective way to go.