Alesis IO Dock II verses Focusrite iTrack Dock

edited April 2014 in Equipment

Ok guys.. 2014 NAMM has shown us these two beauties.

Alesis IO DOCK 2

Focusrite iTrack Dock

I am looking to use my iPad 4 and Loopy HD live with my iRig Blueboard, but I want two inputs and 2 outputs plus somewhere to dock my iPad. So.. I have seen these two which are coming in at similar prices. But the design of the iTrack dock looks a little weird with an iPad 4 in.. Blatantly angling towards the iPad mini market!? And there seems to be more connections on the IO dock II with a slicker way of holding the iPad .. HUMMM!?

What do people think? Reminding you that I'm using this for LIVE looping.. In a pedalboard situation.
And recording my sessions as well!

Go forth and argue for me! Hehe. Plus suggestions to any other brands and makes you can think of?!



  • IMO

    the iodock is out for 3 reasons; still no support for connecting USB devices to it ( only a slave connection to connect to a PC/MAC Host), knobs and switches on the side and back of unit and iPad Air not supported ( it will be a very loose fit !). Alesis basically took their previous model and removed the mounted 30pin connector and replaced it with a cable connection

    The iTrack has a USB midi Host, so USB keyboards and controllers can be connected. It doesn't have a foot switch jack.

    Both are 24bit (iTrack up to 96kHz, iodock not specified), 2 input and output channels (48 volt phantom supply)....

    Just my 2 cents

  • Ganthofer, your 2 cents makes for very interesting reading.

    I have an iPad 4 so not too bothered about the air but yeah, the whole 'fitting into' a device seems dated. USB midi host is a big one thou. Being dumb for 5 seconds, didn't even think about host or slave, just saw 'midi'.. Oops. Hehe.

    Want this for LIVE use with the Loopy HD.. I can start to clearly see the faults in the io dock and you can't argue with Focusrite's mic preamps! Think my choices have been made! :-)

  • I just got the Focusrite iTrack because of the USB host port. It's a little-known fact that the Line 6 FBV MkII boards are USB HID-compliant midi controllers and I've been waiting for the iTrack to be released. So far I've had some initial success -- Loopy recgonized the midi signals coming in from the FBV Shortboard MkII. However, I need to re-program the buttons on the FBV board which involves connecting it to a computer that's running the Line 6 control program.

    The great thing about this setup will be that the FBV board is USB-powered, so no need for another power supply or batteries.Will report back when I make more progress.

  • edited June 2014

    Yes this midi port is pretty nice. The keyboards i've tried work fine. (but they aren't power hungry, so you never know).

    I never liked midi cables. Old fashioned and probably should go the way of the Dodo.
    Of course, there may be some benefit i'm not aware of, but I doubt it, considering the way things are going.

  • edited June 2014

    The iTrack Dock add says the USB port let you connect MIDI instruments and controllers
    in fact you can only connect 1, even if using a USB hub powered or unpowered. This was a big let down say if you are using LaunchPad S with Launch Control, I wrote tech support and they said "The iTrackDock does not support the use of USB hubs, so you will only be able to use one MIDI controller at a time. Apologies for any confusion the product description has caused. I will make sure that this is correct to avoid future confusion.

    Best Regards,

    Matt Pliskin // Focusrite Technical Support

  • Nice, I have been looking at doing the same thing - using it live as well as recording... Question for you guys who already own the itrack, do you find any latency issues using it live? Would love to be able to use this with audio bus and use loopy, jamup and bias but a little worried it's going to end up half a second behind my playing... Any thoughts?

  • edited June 2014

    I like that the iTrack is sized for the Mini, since I have a Mini Retina >.> Mackie makes some $700+ mixer docks, but they require a vastly over-priced $40 adapter for the mini -_-

    I wish the iTrack had 5-pin DIN MIDI, though, like the iO Dock, since I'd be running an Octatrack or Monomachine into it. Some of us do still use MIDI DIN hardware and on fairly modern gear.

    I imagine I could use a class-compliant USB MIDI interface with it, though (they state the controllers must be so), and plugging in my Oplab would get me the DIN ports I need, and two USB Host ports (and CV i/o) :D It is not a hub ;)

    I have a Line 6 Sonic Port already, which has a stereo in via a 3.5mm jack, but this would be a lot cooler and more useful if I can score a cheap mixer for the rest of my hardware.

  • Yeah, it sucks that the Focusrite doesn't work with a USB hub - hoping that the new Griffin Studio Connect HD will. As for size, with it being smaller, it's actually easier to remove the larger iPads from the Focusrite since the edges hang over, while as when I connect my mini, it takes a little effort to remove it - so while I was a little concerned before about the over hanging edges, I'm pleasantly surprised at its functionality...

  • I'm also disappointed that only one USB midi device is possible with the iTrack -- thinking of returning it and ordering the iConnect iMidi4+ which is the same price. It lacks the nice docking feature of the iTrack, but has amazing options for connectivity. It still charges the iOS device while connected and the host USB port supports up to 8 devices with a powered USB hub. At the same time you can connect 5-pin midi devices and PCs/Macs via midi-over-USB (2 USB device ports). One drawback is that they don't have their own lightning cable yet so the apple 30-pin lightning adapter is required.

    It doesn't have built-in mic/line audio inputs but appears to provide a USB class-compliant audio interface to USB connected devices. I think this means you could connect a USB audio interface to the powered USB hub on the host port and have everything you need. Worth a look.

  • The iconnect midi 4+ provides audio pass through, which means that you can route audio digitally between your ipad and PC, not between an ipad an a sound card.
    I seem to remember reading somewhere that hosting USB sound cards was on their list of things they would like to do but it didn't end up making it into the final product.

    But just to reiterate, the iconnect 4+ does not provide connections for USB sound cards.

  • That's correct, unfortunately. I just had a chance to play with the iconnectmidi4+. It's brilliant at routing between DIN midi devices, usb midi devices and iPads/PCs, but can't drive an audio interface directly. I plugged in an Alesis io2 express to the USB host interface and interestingly enough, the midi interface worked but not the audio.

    The only way this piece would work with loopy is to use the 1/8" analog mic input (headset jack) or have a separate laptop to control an audio interface. Neither option would be that great for me.

  • @richfiddler11

    Hey I'm also considering buying an iTrack Dock mainly for Loopy HD and Garageband with the Line 6 FBV MkII. How do you think iTrack Dock works with Line 6?

  • Not sure exactly what you're asking, but it works fine. I had to reprogram a few of the buttons by plugging the FBV into a PC and running a program from the line6 site. Other than that you just plug it into the iTrack dock USB host port and it works. Even the expression pedal works with loopy (I set it up as track volume).

    It's nice that the FBV is usb powered, no extra power adapter. The FBV MKII boards are easy to find used (ebay, guitar center, craigslist, etc), the express (4 buttons + exp pedal) goes for $40-50 and the Shortboard (13 buttons + exp pedal + port for 2nd exp pedal) can be found for $80-100.

    Note: Be very sure you're getting the MKII and not the original FBV. Only the MKII models have USB.

  • I've been using the original iodock for a couple years now, and love the thing. It sucks though, now I've upgraded iPads I need to upgrade iodocks but what evz.

    The reason I replied though; I've been using loopy hd and controlling it with midi(through the midi ports on the iodock) from my Line 6 m9. Works perfect. Just wanted to give my 1 cent


  • Just got the ITrack Dock a week ago, and it's great. The fact that it charges my iPad while using Loopy is a huge deal for me- I was always worried about running out of power or forgetting to charge my iPad ahead of time.

  • I'd say wait for the Griffin Studio Connect HD. Not only does it have both, a 5 pin DIN MIDI and a USB MIDI, but can also work on Mac, iPhone or iPad. It can fit any iPad. The problem is it will only be available in Fall! :( But maybe its worth the wait.

  • Hey all. Ok. Madness update.

    I ended up going against the grain and went with an io dock 2!

    Why (I hear you scream whilst spilling your coffee all over yourself)?!

    Ok.. Few things.
    1) I am now recently the proud owner of a Behringer fcb1010 as I want to use this setup live and of course this is standard old school midi cables. 1-0 to the io dock.
    2) Secure. The 'fit' for using an iPad (using an iPad 4) live is ACTUALLY more secure in the io dock 2 than in the Focusrite as it's slid into the tray instead of just being held by its own power connector.
    3) Angle. The Focusrite is gorgeous but I can't really see the iPad when it's on the floor next to the Behringer FCB1010 where as the io dock 2 has a better angle to view from the floor for placing on a pedalboard.
    4) USB FIX. This is a revelation from Focusrite not supporting USB hubs on the iTrack and is a let down to be honest. So I have found that there is a USB Hub fix for the io dock. Yes it means opening it up and doing some soldering but hey... If it solves the problem, screw it and it is means I can have 4 USBs coming out of the dock! YouTube link below.

    5) the io dock itself has a foot-switch connection that I have been using for basic start/stop session binding until the FCB1010 arrived so even if you don't have another foot pedal, basic one foot stomping can be done.

    So there is my choice and I will post a video with the new setup once my head gets to understand the FCB1010 and I have it the way I like it. I realise it's each to their own but that's what I went for. :-)

    JP - @theloopartist

  • Well, I just got the Focusrite iTrack about a week ago and it is far better than the ioDock I owned previous.

    The sound/loop quality is better/clearer.
    Gain control is far better
    Less glitches/bizarre bugs with loopy(I say less, yet haven't experienced a bug yet, with iodock it would bug out if not powered on in correct sequence).
    Size and build quality is perfect(iPad mini user here)

    I also built a perfect little cradle for it(a cost of $10) so it can be attached to any drum stand ie. no extra crap to carry and it sits at the right height. :)


  • So... is there a workaround for the Focusrite so that I can run my Korg 37 Micro Key and my EWI (electronic wind instrument)? I had a friend do the workaround shown in the video above to my Alessis iO dock, but now the the audio out isn't working. I got the new iPad Air 2, so I'm just trying to find a rig that works well for my needs.

    I'm sorry if this was addressed in the previous posts. I just wanted to get the latest input on the subject.


  • edited November 2014

    Well.. Of course.. I felt like I had made almost the perfect system.. And then it happened.

    The anomalies started to occur with the IO DOCK II.
    Sigh. Loopy started to go what I can only describe as "Bat Shit crazy!".. Live on stage too. [email protected]@rd!!!

    Sigh.. So I have researched the iO 'dick' and looked into the firmware, of which must be the least supported thing I have ever owned.

    I'm so so pissed off with it that I have reverted back to using my iphone and the IK multimedia irig pre.. so can only plug in my mic but not my guitar. And using the IK multimedia BlueBoard for now.

    What is the correct startup procedure for the iO dock?! It's freaking me out and making this amazing app unusable?!?! :-( help.

    I might very well be asking Santa to bring a different solution for Xmas! :-/

  • @TheLoopArtist sorry to hear. Live gear hassles are awful!

    What sort of bugs were happening? What version of loopy are you on? I guess you updated the ioDock firmware (agree, the support/updates are minimal)

    I've been using an ioDock with an iPad 2 and it's running ok. Occasional crackly start up, but I just close and reopen Loopy until it's ok (fairly rare, though).

    Let us know what's going wrong.

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