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Loopy for IPAD2 with Alesis IODock

edited January 2012 in Equipment
I think it is interesting for everybody who uses the above hardware.
After having some problems with the Alesis IODock and my IPAD2 I wrote a mail to Alesis support and received an answer:
1. There is a performance problem with Alesis IODock and IPAD 2 with IOS5 and some apps (I had noise problems and difficulties with MIDI with Loopy and Garageband)
2. Alesis says that Apple is working on the problem and will have a solution with the next IOS version



  • Cheers, @Mick - that's good to know!
  • I can't confirm this issues with iOS 4.3.2 and the Alesis IO Dock with the latest Firmware on my IPad 1.
    The IO Dock works flawless and stable all the time and the sound is excellent.
    Have you tried it with a different instrument cable or different instruments? Noise can be induced by guitar pickups, wornout volume/tone controls, instrument cables running along power cables or mains hum. Do you have the latest firmware?

    I also asked the clerk in a big music store and he had not heard of the problem yet. I hope you can find the issue or at least the next update from apple works for you.

    Kind regards,
  • Hi nelio,

    Alesis said it is a problem with IOS 5 and IPAD 2.
    So it seems not to be a problem with older IOS Versions.
  • edited January 2012
    I've been using Loopy HD with my iPad2 running iOS 5.0.1 in my Alesis IO Dock for several weeks now. In an effort to help those having issues with the Alesis IO Dock, here's what works well for me.

    I typically have a foot pedal in the footswitch jack, audio in both audio inputs using TRS jacks, headphones in the phones jack for monitoring the output of the "mix" and MIDI over wireless using my Windows PC to route MIDI controller information from an Edirol PCR-500 keyboard controller.

    I have rarely had problems with this setup. On the rare occasion that I have had problems, it has been distortion in the audio output and I've been able to fix the issue by terminating Loopy HD on the multitasking bar and then restarting Loopy HD.

    Also, when I received my Alesis IO Dock, it had firmware version 1.0.5 on it and I immediately updated to firmware version 1.0.7 from the Alesis web site.

    Hope this helps,
  • Paul et al,

    I'm thinking about getting an i/o dock and am wondering what the footswitch jack allows for. I'm also wondering if I can get a midi foot pedal and plug it into the i/o dock's midi jack and train it to trigger various loopy functions?


  • edited March 2012

    I don't use the MIDI jacks on the IO Dock, but I suppose a MIDI foot pedal that will send MIDI into the IO Dock's MIDI In jack should work fine. You will probably have to "program" the MIDI foot pedal to send the correct MIDI messages necessary trigger Loopy functionality. (Loopy helps to facilitate this pretty nicely, by the way.)

    Even though the IO Dock only has one footswitch female TRS connector, it actually allows for use of both a toggle footswich (called Footswitch 1) and a momentary (called Footswitch 2) simultaneously. However, I don't use it this way. I only use Footswitch 2.

    Footswitch 1 is (documented as) for use with a push-on/push-off (or toggle) footswitch. The IO Dock sends a MIDI Start when the footswitch is toggled on, and a MIDI Stop when the footswitch is toggled off. (This is how it's documented as working in the IO Dock Quickstart Guide.)

    Footswitch 2 is for an on-off (or momentary) footswitch. The IO Dock sends a MIDI CC#64 with data of 127 on first momentary pulse from the footswitch and MIDI CC#64 with data of 0 for the second momentary pulse from the footswitch. (Incidentally, the documentation in the IO Dock Quickstart Guide indicates that it's a CC#63 but this is a rarely implemented MIDI CC#. Loopy, however, is seeing a CC#64, which corresponds to the "Damper Pedal" which is probably correct. I speculate that Alesis's documentation may be wrong.)

    I can't remember exactly how I figured this out, but Footswitch 1 (the toggle footswitch) is connected by inserting the male TS (tip-sleave) connecter from the footswitch all the way into the IO Dock's TRS (tip-ring-sleave) footswitch connector as far as it will go. Footswitch 2 (the momentary footswitch) is connected by inserting the male TS (tip-sleave) connector from the footswitch all the way into the IO Dock's TRS (tip-ring-sleave) footswitch connector, then backing it out one click.

    To use both simultaneously, you need a stereo to L/R channel TRS "Y" adapter. Plug each footswitch into each of the left and right channel TRS connectors. (You'll have to figure out which footswitch gets plugged into which channel.) Then plug the stereo end of the stereo to L/R channel TRS adapter fully into the IO Dock's TRS footswitch connector.

    I only use a single, inexpensive, M-Audio momentary footswitch configured to momentarily close. I have the footswitch's TS connector pushed into the IO Dock's TRS footswitch connector and backed out one click so it uses Footswitch 2.

    Sorry for the long post, but I hope this helps explain how I understand and use the footswitch on the IO Dock,
  • Hey there-- I've recently become enamored with Loopy and would love to use it in a live vocal setup. I'm thinking about getting an IO Dock but the reviews on Amazon seem to be atrocious. I have an iPad 2 and IOS 5.. which seem to be the deadly combination.

    I can't seem to find another battle-tested solution to be able to record vocals in a live setting with Loopy-- would you guys recommend going with the IO Dock in spite of what seems to be a bucket of potential problems? Or are there useful alternatives to the IO Dock for microphone inputs?

  • edited April 2012
    Hi Olga,
    I would probably recommend getting a USB audio interface with Apple's Camera Connection Kit. This allows you to choose the features you want (MIDI, preamps, etc) and probably save some money too. Here's a good place to start looking for compatible devices:
    Keep in mind some devices will only work with a powered USB hub. This list is by no means extensive, so if you find something else suitable try and get it from a retailer that accepts returns - just in case it doesn't do the job. That way you can help other people by adding to the list!
  • Olga:

    I don't seem to have all the problems that most people have mentioned. I really can't say why, either. It could be that I don't use the IO Dock in as demanding a fashion as some of the others. As such, my usage characteristics may not qualify as "battle-tested". You can read above how I use the IO Dock with Loopy.

    Having said all that, I would think that the IO Dock would be an optimal device for "live" use. It has all the "significantly useful" components for a live performance in a single package; two audio input channels with adjustable gain, MIDI in/out, main outs with adjustable levels and phone outs with adjustable levels.

    You'd probably have to invest in programmable MIDI pedals so you can initiate operations without using your hands. I play violin, so I have a simple foot pedal running directly into the footswitch jack to start and stop recording. Please note that I'm not talented enough to do live looping, so the simple footswitch is good enough for me. I think having a set of MIDI footswitches to invoke functions like start/stop recording, next/previous track, etc. would be necessary for live performance. I haven't tried a configuration like that, but my impression is that the IO Dock could handle that with ease. I base these comments on my experience with using the IO Dock connected to my Windows PC by way of MIDI through both the MIDI ports on the IO Dock, the USB port on the IO Dock and by way of MIDI through the wireless network. All work fine for me with few issues.

    Finally, some information about the USB port on the IO Dock. The Alesis documentation indicates that it is designed to communicate to a PC USB port and that it is only for MIDI over USB, not audio. So, the IO Dock's USB port can't be used to get audio out of the iPad or be used to connect directly to a MIDI keyboard controller's USB port or a MIDI control surface's USB port. That implies that if you get programmable MIDI pedals like I mentioned above, you should make sure they provide MIDI in/out connections to be sure they will work with the IO Dock.

    (Although, when I get the chance, I'm going to try to hook my MIDI keyboard controller's (Edirol PCR-300) USB port to a USB hub, then connect the USB hub to the USB port on the IO Dock to see if that works. If that works, then it's possible to use MIDI over USB from a MIDI controller to the IO Dock.)

    By the way, the list that @thatsRayor posted is a pretty good list of alternatives.

    Hope this helps,
  • edited May 2012
    I am using ios 5.1.1 with ipad2 and IO dock. So far no problems with noise or distortion, but only new still. I am using the Behringer FCB1010 midi foot pedal to control, and is easy to set up and works great. Just plug in the pedal, select "settings", "midi" in Loopy, select "Dock" for control input (make sure little tick appears) tap the little right arrow disclosure button and it should be obvious from there... One thing I have noticed is that the input to loopy is stereo, that is, if you only plug into the left channel of IO Dock, then only the left channel shows up in Loopy. The Pan control in loopy then only fades the left channel. This would effect people wanting to use the set up with a microphone. This is a minor annoyance, as I was hoping to be able to use the one channel for mic and another for guitar and then use the FCB1010 to pan the various tracks. The solution: I think you would need a little mixer to put in front of the IO Dock to feed your mic/guitar to both inputs simultaneously - unless there is something obvious I've missed in the Loopy set up? Apart from that little gripe - I love the combination of Loopy + ipad +io dock! Maybe a future version of Loopy could look at adding selectable input - left, right or stereo?

  • Hey Rob - cheers for the great write-up! I'm aware of the need to be able to select L, R, or Stereo input, and am building it into the next update, so that shouldn't be a problem for long.
  • Hi Michael,

    No problems. Thanks for the info above - much appreciated! I am looking forward to the switchable input. Been putting the gear (loopy + Alesis io dock + FCB 1010) through its paces today in preparation for gig on Friday Night. Very pleased with how its working. I am using a Boss ME-50 foot pedal which has stereo outputs, so that sorts the stereo panning issue for now. Output from Alesis unit to two powered PA speakers. A couple of minor head scratchers to look out for:
    (1) If you switch to another App, like garage band, and don't fully close it down, then switch back to loopy, the signal can get very distorted. Sounds like Loopy not getting enough CPU to do it's processing?? Cure is to go back to Garage band and shut it down completely. Then it comes good.
    (2) Switching to another APP (e.g. Garage Band) and then back to Loopy can cause the Loopy Midi control input selection (which should be "dock") to become lost. Cure is to just go into midi setup and tap "dock" again.
    (3) Switching to another (sound) APP and then back to Loopy on one occasion caused Loopy to lose the input. The Cure was to try another couple of APPS e.g. Garage Band, and then back to Loopy after fully closing down. Came good again.

    Overall, a great combination of gear and app that really stream-lines my performance set-up. I hope these few notes will help others get there gear going well with the minimum of angst!


  • Oh brilliant, thanks for that, Rob - I'll check those things out.
  • Rob, could you give a very detailed description of your loopy rig? I am interested in having the multiple inputs and running that fcb1010.
  • Hey @kellerpj, did you test the iO Dock w/ a USB hub to see if it works with out a computer in-between the iO Dock and the usb controller?

  • Sean:

    After thinking about it, I realized it wouldn't work as I originally was hoping.

    I tried it anyway just to confirm. It doesn't work. USB needs a "master" to arbitrate access to the buss (as I understand it). My keyboard controller (Edirol PCR-500) is not designed to be a "master" and, as such, it doesn't work.

  • So...I have an iPad2 with 5...will the the Alesis work for me, or should I wait for the Behringer unit? I'd be fine just getting my pedal board hooked up for live use with HD. Thanks!
  • Has anyone had any luck connecting the ioDock with the SoftStep controller via powered USB Hub?
  • @ mrjantz, I'm looking to connect ioDock with the softstep and a Yourock midi guitar controller. I was thinking this would be possible using the midi expander from KM, what do u think?
  • @Krass In the time that has transpired, I figured it out and you are correct, it requires the midi expander to get the job done.
  • For those owning an IO Dock and wanting to hook up additional USB controllers to it: I tried out a little hardware hack and am now the proud owner of an IO Dock with three additional USB ports. Works fine with Loopy ;) See my video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLYteU5r8tE

  • Terrific iO Dock hack! And great video.
    I don't have the need for a USB connection at the moment, but now that I know how to do it, I can also consider USB devices as well as old MIDI type connections.


  • @Ganthofer Glad you like it! Loved your explanations concerning the FCB1010 btw.

  • @untergeek That's very cool; both the solution and the explanation. Makes you wonder why Alesis didn't just include a hub like that in the first place...

  • Just a thought, but any reason that you couldn't achieve the same effect by using an iConnectMIDI? It's not a cheap item, but if this can be connected to the Alesis ioDock then it would save having to hack the ioDock itself. Of course, the iConnectMIDI is designed to work directly with any iOS device, but I'm assuming it would work indirectly via the ioDock too...

  • Well, yes, you could connect it to the IO Dock, using a printer connection cable - but can the iConnectMidi double as a USB Master, which it would have to, as the Alesis Dock only has the USB Slave connector? I doubt it - the use case the engineers had in mind is that you always have a master present (be it the iPad or computer). It might still work, so it's worth trying. It wouldn't be that much less messy than the Camera Connection Kit solution.

    Which gives me another thought: If you don't have an IO Dock, why not build your own iDevice stompboard? Just like the guitarists used to do, way before the multi effect. Take a large wooden board, the CCK, a hub, a power supply, a cheap USB/Midi, a cheap class-compliant audio interface w/ headphone out. Fasten everything to the board. Instant win! Without Dremel! :)

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