In this article, we share some tips on getting the best performance and signal possible while recording with the Alesis iO Dock.
GarageBand has many meters and volume sliders. Only one actually shows you your peak audio input level (see below). Use this level meter as your sole reference when setting the input level knob on the rear of the iO Dock.
Your goal when setting the input level is to accurately capture the performance with a good signal level, but without clipping or reaching the right side of the input level meter (0dB).
When you double-tap on a track icon, to zoom into a track you will see other level meters (see below). On tracks with virtual amplifiers (i.e. guitar tracks), the meters on this screen are 'output meters’ and are affected by the virtual amp’s knob settings in the software. Because of this, this meter is not a reliable guide to setting your input gain on the rear of the iO Dock. Instead, use only the input level meter (light purple arrow above) as a guide when setting levels.
On vocal tracks there is no virtual amp to worry about affecting your perceived level. However, the VU meter (see below) on the GarageBand audio recorder measures average, rather than peak level, so it’s also not a great reference for setting input levels. If anything, it may lead you to set the input gain too high. The input meter on the main GarageBand window (light purple arrow above) is also your best reference when setting mic levels as well.
With input settings and headphone volume setting accounted for, there are still some other considerations that affect noise during monitoring:
When monitoring input during recording, make sure to turn down the iO Dock gain knob on any inputs you aren’t actively recording so you aren’t monitoring preamp noisefloor from inputs you aren’t using.
Generally, you’ll turn the Direct switch OFF when recording guitars (since you’ll want to hear the virtual amp) output only.
If you choose to leave the Direct switch ON while recording microphones, you may want to turn down the track volume slider in GarageBand so that you are not monitoring the signal twice (once through the iO Dock Direct Monitor, and once again through GarageBand), causing you to hear double the noisefloor as well.
Balancing your headphone mix
Once your input level is set properly using the input level meter as your sole reference (light purple arrow above), then balance the volume of other tracks, and your headphone volume to create a headphone mix that is balanced with your input signal.
Do not adjust your input signal to try to match the level of pre-recorded tracks, or based on what you hear in the headphones. The input is set solely based on the signal on the input level meter.
After recording is finished rebalance the tracks again into a final mix-down.
YouTube, iTunes, and Netflix, among others.
Certain (but not all) iPad apps have been designed to take advantage of the iPad iOS available video output. Apps which support this feature can output their video stream to an external monitor instead of to the iPad. The built-in iTunes and YouTube apps support this, so you can watch movies and videos on these apps on an external monitor or screen. A recent update to the Netflix app has brought this feature to Netflix users as well. Note though that this feature, and the app-specific support is supported on both the iPad 1 and iPad 2, and is a different technology from the newly announced Digital AV Adapter (iPad 2 only).
A firmware was released for the Alesis iO Dock. Firmware v.1.07, improves MIDI performance, and allows users to switch on/off the Video Output. This new firmware can be downloaded from the product's dedicated support page here.
You may need to change the input recording preferences within GarageBand. In the Audio Recorder, tap the Input icon on the top left corner. In the menu that appears, you will be able to choose which input (Left Channel, Right Channel, or Stereo) that GarageBand will record from.
Insert the iPad to the iO Dock. Power the iO Dock. Power the iPad. Tap Settings > General > About. You should now see Alesis iO Dock in the list towards the bottom. If the iO Dock is not in this list, your iPad is not recognizing the iO Dock.
The footswitch actually has two functions. You can connect one or two standard keyboard sustain pedal to the footswitch input. To connect two pedals, use a Dual 1/4" TS to 1/4" TRS y adapter. It is up to the app whether or not to support the footswitch input. The two functions are:
Visit Alesis online: Each product has a dedicated support page on the website where you can find manuals, specifications, software updates, drivers and troubleshooting guides: www.alesis.com
Contact by Phone: 401-658-5760
Hours of Operation: 8:30 AM - 6:30 PM EST Monday through Friday (except holidays).
Contact by email: www.alesis.com/support