Minimum Viable Equipment for Live Vocal Looping on iPad Air?

edited October 2014 in Equipment

I've been playing with Loopy HD on my iPhone for the past couple of months, posting a new loop track most days on my blog ( and Soundcloud (

My big goal now is to be able to bring my looping into live performance. Eventually I'd like to loop my ukulele, but for now I want to get started looping JUST my vocals, with my soon-to-arrive, brand-spankin'-new iPad Air.

I have a brief performance opportunity coming up in early November, and would LOVE to be able to loop live for it! So my question is this:

  • What is the minimum viable equipment set-up that I'll need? What equipment do I need to buy in order to make this work?

The venue will provide microphone (though I may bring my own), and probably cables, but I'm at a loss as to how to connect everything to the iPad!

Any advice you can offer would be most appreciated!

Thanks so much,


  • edited October 2014

    Hello Melissa and welcome to the board! =D

    I was in your position like... two weeks ago. Or at least a similar one. ;)

    If you only want to loop your vocals you will need:

    your iPad
    an apple camera connection kit (CCK) = lightning to usb adapter

    an audiointerface between your iPad and your microphone and the venues PA

    There are serveral different audio interfaces, all with their own pros and cons. Let me list a few and point directions (and maybe the pros from the board can give their advice too, since I am quite a novice to the theme), from the smallest options to the more complex ones:

    The small interface:

    The iRig pro: With this small device you can either connect a guitar or microphone to your Ipad. But I think there is no professional possibilty to link that to the PA simultaniously.

    The three docks I know:

    The iTrack Dock, Alesis iO Dock and the Behringer iStudio iS202. All three of those give you more options than a small interfae like the iRig pro. You can at least plug in an instrument AND a microphone. They all charge your iPad while using the device. I think one of those could be your solution. I'd prefer the iTrack out of those three. But I've never tried one of them.

    And then there are "bigger" audiointerfaces like:

    The Akai EIE: This is the one I have bought, and I love it so far. you can plug in up to 4 instruments/microphones, you have 4 outputs, 4 audio inserts for effects (for an guitar...), you have midi in and out, there is an USB-Hub integrated, it's a massive metal construction (I think you could destroy the stage with it), and it looks awesome.
    It's more than I need at the moment, but in the future I may want to replace my whole band with my iPad and then I may have good use for 4 in- and outputs.

    I hope this is of some help to you.


  • Hi guys. Here is my $0.02

    I have the Alesis io Dock 2 and it works like a charm.. Only thing with it and the new iPad air 2 is the slot size and you would need a table to put it on and it needs powering from a wall socket.

    I originally favoured the Focusrite iTrack Dock and it's awesome for recording.. But for using live, the iPad is kinda in the wrong position to tap quickly whilst standing up. Was worried I would tap it and the dock would just fall backwards?!

    With the Alesis io Dock 2, the iPad sits in a tray and once connected doesn't move. Personally much better for performance position. I really like the iTrack Dock.. It's awesome.. It's just not for performing live, it's not really meant for that market.

    A real smart little device that I'm getting excited about to get two inputs into your iPad is (and please don't think Im pushing the same company) the Alesis io Hub.. Small 2 channel input and combine that with an IK Multimedia iKlip and then the system is then clipped to your mic stand. Very minimal and only needs power from a 9v battery, and that's only if you need phantom power for your mic, otherwise it just powers off the iPad. It has, like the io Dock, independent volume control for both inputs.
    I am getting one for busking live.. That way, I don't need to find power and I can plug in my guitalele and mic together.

    One word of warning.. With some of the older irig connections, they are analog and therefore only one channel can be used.. Plus the sound isn't that great.. Had an iRig PRE and it connects into the iPad via the headphone jack.. Quite a loss in quality.
    By plugging into the Lightning connector (which all the above now do) you are using two channels and digitally too so it is a MUCH better sound.

    Hope you find what your looking for Melissa.. And I'm now going to find you in Soundcloud. Really interested in what you have come up with. :-)

    Please update and let us all know what you decided. :-)


  • Iofan and JohnPaul, thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom!

    The Alesis io Hub looks like it might be exactly what I need!

    Thanks for turning me onto the IK Multimedia iKlip -- the XPand version looks especially great.

    If I have a microphone, and line-in for my ukulele, and the Alesis io Dock 2, and a PA/Amp, is that everything I'd need?

    Also, I have a TC Helicon Mike Mechanic, which does a great job rounding out my vocal sound. Can I add that to the chain if I'm sending vocals into my iPad for looping?


  • This is a great thread, guys!

  • edited October 2014

    I tried the iKlip and took it back the next day. Unless they've changed the design recently, I wouldn't buy one.

    Reasoning; If you've got your ipad in portrait orientation, it will work fine. Gravity will keep it in place. But, if you work in landscape, the iPad just slides in and out like a drawer, held in place by friction only. (And not much) If someone knocked the mic stand there's a VERY good chance the iPad will get launched onto the stage floor.

    I went for a K&M ipad holder. Quite a bit more expensive than the iCheap, but totally worth it.

    Wow, they're a lot cheaper now than when I bought one - I can't recommend it highly enough.

  • @muzza, I'm curious whether your iKlip was the original design or the XPand design. The XPand design looks much grippier, as it grips with some kind of spring action.


  • The original one. As I said in my opening line... "unless they've changed the design recently".

    I still prefer the K&M ones...

  • I don't know if you get the Hercules brand where you live, but they have a cool microphone stand tablet holder. I use it live all the time.

    I also highly recommend the Roland Duo Capture EX as an audio interface. I've used it for countless performances with my iPad and recordings with my Mac as well. You can just plop it on the floor next to your mic stand.

    TC helicon makes awesome stuff. The mic mechanic rocks.

  • Sounds like they have indeed changed the design of the iKlip recently, muzza. I haven't tried it, but it looks pretty cool.

    I'll check out the Hercules tablet holder, Sidd_CouttoO -- thanks for the rec!

    I'm also going to check out the Roland Duo Capture EX -- thanks!

    I LOVE my Mic Mechanic! Great little device.

  • edited November 2014

    Hey Melissa!
    The simplest design I use for this kinda thing: a powered elecret 1/8" microphone ($10) and the Griffin iMic ($30).

    However, for a 'professional' live performance I would suggest the Alesis IO Dock 2 (or save money and grab the 1st edition second-hand along with a 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter)

    Let us know how the gig goes! :)

  • Thanks, @Cubilas!

    I didn't get my iPad in time for this particular gig, but have it in hand now. The advantage is now I have some time to shop around for the best solution.

    I'm also now planning a living room tour around the U.S., and will be looking for the smallest, lightest setup for all of my sound: voice + ukulele + Loopy. Not sure yet if I'll be flying, driving, or some of each, but may very well need the entire thing to either be checkable or to fit in a carry on bag,

    I recently got a new, very portable PA (HK Audio Lukas Nano) which is much smaller and lighter than my old Yamaha Stagepas 300, but still not exactly airplane carryon size...

    Suggestions welcome. :)


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