Gear Review: iConnectMIDI
I’m a bit late to the game in reviewing the iConnectMIDI, seeing as how iConnectivity have discontinued it. I wanted to shower a little love on this device, though, because it was one of those rare purchases that really changed the center of gravity of our studio setup. I’m sure the build quality and feature set will continue with the new line of the device, but I won’t know, because the iConnectMIDI in EB Labs Highlandview will only be replaced after it is pried from my cold, dead hands.
Initially I picked up this device to provide MIDI for my iPad. Although I have lithe (and sexy I might add) guitarist fingers, trying to play those wicked softsynths on the little touchscreen keyboards was not exactly the best with several full size keyboards around me in the studio. The goal, then, was to be able to play using my controller keyboard for fiddling around and then to be able to playback via sequences in REAPER on my PC. I unboxed the iConnectMIDI and found it to be a nice hefty piece of kit — solid build you don’t need to worry about crunching or dropping. I RTFM (which was pretty short), plugged it into my controller keyboard and my iPad, and fired up Alchemy Mobile. I had to hunt around for the correct MIDI input, they get enumerated a little strangely on the iOS side, but in a few minutes I was jamming (or in this case swimming in lush ambiance). The iConnectMIDI shipped with all the ports routed to the iPad, so it just worked out of the box.
Initial successes in the bag, I started plugging in more devices. I connected up the PC and found that I could record the MIDI output of my controller keyboard into REAPER while still routing MIDI to the iPad. Previously, to work hardware synths, I had to route into the PC and back out using monitoring which introduced obnoxious latency. Things got even more interesting when I plugged my Akai MPD18 directly into one of the iConnectMIDI’s USB jacks. With zero setup I was capturing MIDI from a USB device without even plugging it into a PC. Mind = blown.
“Well, won’t be needing this anymore” I said, tossing my little 2×2 MIDI interface into the nearest bin… The iConnectMIDI ended up being the central hub of our entire studio’s MIDI world. In the current setup, it connects directly with my PC, then connects to my Korg X5 and Roland Juno-G via the MIDI interfaces. The Akai MPD18 and iPad connect via USB. There’s other stuff I could do to optimize the setup (such as connect the Juno-G via USB) but honestly there is no need at the moment. The iConnectMIDI does everything I need and does it well with huge potential for tweaking. The provided iOS app opens up a whole other world of filtering and routing, being able to save and recall scenes as needed. I could easily see this as being central in a musician’s live setup as well, possibly allowing for laptop-less setups (a thing we all strive for).
Overall, I’d say the iConnectMIDI is my best gear purchase (beside my iPad itself) in the last two years. Worth every penny.