Alesis io Hub vs. Roland Duo Capture EX + add'l house concert equipment needs

I'm using an iPad Air 2, and though I haven't started using Loopy in live performance yet, I'm going on a house concert tour next year, and am eager to climb this learning curve! (Gear Newb Alert!!)

In a previous discussion, I asked for suggestions for a minimum viable setup for live performance. I'm revisiting that again, but getting more specific.

Two suggestions that looked interesting to me in the previous thread were:

Alesis io Hub ($81.15 on Amazon)


Roland Duo Capture EX ($199 on Amazon)

I'm having a hard time figuring out

A) What the difference is


B) Which would be better for my needs.


1) What does the Roland Duo Capture EX do that warrants spending almost $120 more than on the Alesis io Hub?

2) Do I need a Lightning to USB Camera Adapter for either of these items?

In addition, I'm trying to figure out what OTHER equipment I need in order to loop for a small, living room-sized audience (20-40 people in a private home).

I won't need a ton of amplification -- these will be acoustic gigs, voice + ukulele, PLUS looping (if I can figure that side out in time!!!)


3) Can I use my Shure SM-58 microphone, or do I need to buy a special mike? If I CAN use the SM-58, what equipment do I need in order to plug it into the iPad Air 2? Or does the mike plug into the Roland or Alesis???

4) What kind of speaker setup would you recommend for an otherwise acoustic gig? (Obviously the sound has to get from the iPad Air 2 to the audience, and I'm not sure if the internal iPad speakers will be enough.)

5) How do I get the sound out to the audience, without it being picked up by Loopy? Is that just a matter of setting the noise gate, so the microphone only picks up my voice (or my ukulele, as the case may be)?

Thanks for your help!



  • you're gonna do great!

    1. Definitely get a "class comliant audio interface" you want something with a xlr input (for your SM58) and if your Uke has an electronic pickup, then you'll want an interface with a second input for a 1/4" instrument cable. If you are miking the Uke with your SM58, then a cheaper interface with just one XLR input will do. Some interfaces are "Made for iOS" which means they include a converter cable that goes directly into the lightning port and don't require going thru the camera adapter.

    2. Definitely get an external speaker, a small amp or one of those battery powered speakers (a good 10 or 20 watt one) will work. The wow factor of looping (even for a small audience) really works best when the looped audio is similar in quality and volume to your live voice. So the iPad speaker won't really do justice to what Loopy can do.

    I would start here:

    audio interface: Focusrite iTrack Solo - $80 today. just go buy it! it has mic input and 1/4" instrument input. and its Made For iOS, so no extra adapters needed.

    speaker: really a lot of variables... but at least something like this: ION Tailgater Portable Speaker System

    Both of those items plus a RCA stereo cable from the iTrack to speaker would still be right at $200 total and more than enough for a small house concert.

    Only other thing: Personally, I feel like Loopy's stereo features add a lot of interest to your style of acoustic performance... you know pan the ukelele around from left to right. Place the "oohs" slightly off-center... etc. So you might want to consider two speakers that be placed at opposite ends of the room.

  • edited December 2014

    seriously, go buy that iTrack Solo. The focusrite internal components are very good quality. You could even do a decent studio recording with it.

  • @Hmtx thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to reply!

    I've been comparing the Alesis io Hub, Roland Duo Capture EX, Apogee Duet 2, but had not seen the Focusrite iTrack Solo. Looks like a good option!

    I've been reading reviews from people who've used lower priced audio interfaces, and now have the Apogee Duet and can really tell the difference, wish they'd gotten it sooner, etc. It looks awfully tempting, but sheesh, $600????

    I definitely want an external speaker. I have an HK Audio Lukas Nano, which I'm very happy with
    but for the house concert tour, I'm going to be hopping a lot of planes, and I need something LOT smaller and lighter.

    Something this size would be ideal, and is small and inexpensive enough that I could get two:
    but I don't know if wireless would work (?), and I don't know if I could use two in stereo...

    Seriously looking at the iTrack Solo, though! Thank you for the tip!

  • Oh nice! Well, you've got the "small, powerful PA" category covered. So maybe for traveling a Bluetooth speaker would be the right size. Just make sure it has 3.5mm input because you don't want to fiddle with Bluetooth for live performing (another known latency source, gah!)

    Take a look at the sony SRS x3 if you can go a step up from the palm sized speakers. Or just Take your iPad and a 3.5mm audio cable into a shop that has all the different options and play one of your vocal recordings on them all to see how they compare. You'll get a lot more volume with something that has 20W power. Two of those Sonys or the UE Boom wired properly for stereo could make an OK airplane-able PA. There's just not going to be a lot of bass from these portable speakers

    Also If you are looking at $40 speakers I can't imagine you really need to be going for the $600 Apogee interfaces, though it definitely has a great reputation if you ever get into studio recordings.

  • @Hmtx yes, I was just discovering elsewhere in these forums that Bluetooth speakers are a no-go with Loopy app. Does the Sony SRSX3 work with cable?

    As for the $600 Apogee interface, it's probably not in the cards right now... The roland Duo Capture EX is looking tempting, though -- it has battery if I don't want to plug in (or can't), and midi i/o, which I understand is essential if I want a pedal--is that correct?

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