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Alesis iO Dock Reviews

4.5 stars based on 30 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Scott DeMarko

    The Alesis iO Dock is the perfect add-on for your iPad to create the ultimate portable recording rig! With two incredibly well designed pre's, 1/4" outs, and even a video out for watching videos, it's an all-in-one solution that is highly impressive, affordable, and ready to take on the road! If you have an iPad and are in need of a great recording solution, the iO Dock is one of the best solutions on the market.

  • John Grabowski

    The iO Dock is quite simply the ultimate audio problem-solver for the iPad, and an absolute essential piece of gear for anyone using the iPad for music making. All those connectors that you wish your iPad had? The iO Dock has them. All of them.

    Before getting the iO Dock, I was using an Apple USB Camera Connection kit to connect MIDI keyboard controllers and play synthesizer apps. On top of that, I had an 1/8" stereo-to-dual RCA Y cable plugged into to the iPad's headphone jack in order to run a signal out to my mixer. The adapters and cords involved were anything but elegant, and I couldn't even keep the iPad connected to a power source while using it for music making. The iO Dock instantly solved all of that and more. It has all the audio amenities I'm accustomed to (along with MIDI and video connections too), and it has its own power adapter, so it powers the iPad while in use. Absolutely indispensable and highly recommended.

  • Yuval Fuchs

    The iO Dock will transform your consumer-grade iPad into a pro-grade studio audio interface and control hub. Alesis spared no costs in making this product with the highest-quality components and features such as durable XLR-1/4" inputs, MIDI I/O, video out, balanced TRS outputs, and more. To top it off, this device will even charge your iPad when it's docked! If you own an iPad, this is a no brainer.

  • from Miami, USA April 16, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician


    Excelent piece of gear. I use it for backing tracks on live shows along with Garage Band app.

  • from Brigantine, NJ March 30, 2013Music Background:
    Recording eng, live sound eng, pro musician, teacher.

    Alesis iO a SMASH!

    I was using the M Audio IO prior to this purchase. The Alesis has many more features that there is no comparison. The price point per features is excellent. Low noise, great ins and outs, phantom power, etc. Rockin.

  • from Dayton, Ohio December 21, 2012Music Background:
    Weekend performer

    Works perfectly

    Everything works great with iOS 6. No issues at all. I use audio in/out and MIDI and no issues.

  • from Westerville, OH November 12, 2012Music Background:
    hobbyist, experienced

    Glitches Fixed! I Love It!

    I had ready many bad reviews on this product, however 99% of the complaints were related to incompatibility with Apple OS updates. These issues have all been resolved. My white IO Dock came with the iPad 3 adapter, which also works with iPad 2. If you are using iPad 1, you wont need an adapter.
    This product to me is a no-brainer for musicians who own an iPad. This device transforms iPad into a extremely useful music making tool. The midi in/out & midi/usb makes it possible to play app keyboard instruments on any midi keyboard controller you wish. It also has 2 audio inputs, and balanced 1/4" stereo out, making it easy to record audio or guitar. It even has phantom power. There's a pedal input, and a headphone jack. I'll likely never use it, but there's a video port as well.
    Before this device I really had very little interest in mobile music apps, now I am amazed at how some sound, and how utterly useful so many of them are. I am now recording on my iPad, and recording in my computer from the iPad. This may be the best gear purchase I've made in years.

  • from California July 25, 2012Music Background:
    Singer, songwriter

    Great Product

    The Alesis iO Dock was just what I needed. I love creating music on the iPad , but hate plugging in the apple camera connector. Now all of that is eliminated. I have midi for my keyboard controller, XLR/input for mic and a separate headphone jack with volume control. I recommend this product .

  • from United States July 18, 2012Music Background:
    Performer, Composer, Engineer, Jack of All

    Excellent - Turns ipad into a Powerhouse

    This is a great piece of machinery, and Sweetwater is amazing.

    I have started using this for professional application immediately and it conforms beautifully.

    I haven't figured out how to sync my AKAI MPK49 to it yet, but I assume other midi controllers will have no problem (My mpk is a little wonky...)

    Also, Bart Good has been assisting me, and he is an excellent technician and rep. Thanks for all the help!

  • from Lewiston, Idaho May 9, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Studio Owner, Musician

    iO Dock brings it all together

    If you're a musician and own an I Pad this is a MUST HAVE ! ! I have many music apps on my I Pad and having the iO Dock allows me to connect to my console and utilize all those apps in songs created in my studio. I can't even imagine not have one since I've now used one.

  • from Nebraska, USA March 29, 2012Music Background:
    Semi-pro folk singer, church band performer, 40+ years of trying to get good on guitar. ;-)

    Love it!

    It is exactly what I had hoped for: a way to turn my iPad into a portable recording device. Just having this thing has unlocked a new level of creativity in me that I didn't even know existed. I've written two new songs in short order, after a long dry spell, using only the smart instruments that come with GarageBand. I can't wait to see what happens when I start plugging in a real guitar and vocal mic!

    The iO Dock is really easy and straightforward to use. I do recommend doing the firmware upgrade. You can find info about that in Sweetwater's support page, or at the Alesis website. The upgrade cleared up a couple of little ghostly type things that were going wrong with GB.

    Also, do you really need to go buy a new MIDI controller? I bought a couple of MIDI cables and plugged in an old Yamaha PSR-series portable keyboard that we had sitting around for our kids to bang on and it works great.

    Alesis has a winner on their hands with this device. And you definitely want to buy yours from Sweetwater, because their service and support are better than any other online dealer I've ever used.

  • from Terre Haute, in October 7, 2011Music Background:
    Technician/ performer/ teacher


    I love that I can be both mobile and fun

  • from St. Charles, Mo June 27, 2011Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Podcaster

    Alesia iODock - WOW!

    I'm a podcaster, and use a PreSonus Firepod as my audio/MIDI interface. After a nice long wait, my iODock arrived today. I'm happy to say, this thing is really cool. I have FL Studio, Music Studio, and GarageBand. Plugging my MIDI controller into the MIDI In, I was able to control the virtual instruments in each app, and record some keys. Plugging my MOTIF XS-Rack into the iODocks MIDI out, I was able to play sequences from both FL Studio & Music Studio (GarageBand like the Mac version can only record MIDI, they will not send MIDI to external devices....FAIL on Apple).

    I also was able to plug in my XLR mic with phantom power & record audio using GarageBand. Everything works great, I think my PreSonus Firepod is going on EBay, I just don't need it anymore. Thank you Andrew!!

  • from Fresno, CA USA February 14, 2013Music Background:

    Alesis iO Dock Satifies

    Excellent, excellent piece of equipment, satisfied every need I had hooking up my mikes, guitars, midi keyboard, That it also charges the iPad and keeps it charged is a further plus. And there are even more capabilities of the Dock that I have not had the chance to use yet. I'm very happy with this equipment!

    The only slight issue I have had with it, is that it takes a bit of doing to seat the iPad's female fitting onto the Dock's male fitting and even when it does mate, there is no satisfying "click." The only way you can tell it has seated is when the Dock is turned on, the iPad announces that it is charging.

    Other than that? We are good to go!

  • from Azle Tx December 21, 2012Music Background:
    45 years of pickin and grinnin!!!

    Great choice!!!!!

    evrything works as its supposed to which is a plus!!! I havent tried the midi yet because I have never messed around with midi. I have been watching this device for a while and when they lowered the price to $99 and the free alesis IO dock tote bag......I had to jump on it!!!!!!! great buy!!!!!!

  • from June 27, 2012

    This is great!

    loses half a point for a couple really picky little things that are impractical but could potentially still be useful.
    -wish there was an xlr 1/4 outputs rather than just the 1/4 in main outs to match the universal inputs.
    -wish there was a midi thru or midi thru option somehow from the midi out.

    But it is perfect other than that!

  • from hawaii January 12, 2012Music Background:
    Gigging Musician and Studio Musician


    Would have rated the ioDock higher if more apps supported the 30pin format and pre.

    Works great, very convenient set up. I use is for midi keyboards and to access synths in iPad. Headphone out is great for allowing drummer to sync to sequenced loops. Great product!

  • from Birmingham,Al November 11, 2011Music Background:
    VO artist, audio production

    Works great for VO!!!

    I bought the I/O dock to use with twisted wave app to be able to do VO work on the go when I travel. The dock works great with my condenser mics and the iPad fits snug in the dock. If you use the IPAD 2 you will need to get the free adapter that slides in behind the dock and snaps In place. I also like that it charges up your iPad too! This worked perfectly for my applications.. Great for VO! Love that if has phantom power switch!

  • from Victoria, Australia October 13, 2011Music Background:
    Live & studio sound

    Alesis IO Dock is a very sweet deal !!!

    I recieved my Alesis IO the other day and I'm not sure how I managed without it, it is simple to set up and a pleasure to use. I do a lot of VO work and already I have been able to book extra work because I have been able to go to the talent and "so quickly" and " so easily". ( not my words, clients comments) get a quality result.

  • from September 14, 2011Music Background:
    Professional Musician

    Delivers as Promised

    The Alesis IO Dock for iPad is an excellent tool for casual recording or as a portable front end for more serious ventures. The Return on Investment is excellent. Just the ability to add high quality microphones to the iPad is worth the price

  • from Novi, Mi, USA June 24, 2011Music Background:
    Bass Player

    Quick review of the I/O Dock

    Alesis I/O dock arrived on my doorstep today! Sweetwater shipped yesterday. Thanks Matt, you guys rock!

    Well, after a short 6 month wait for Alesis to release it (I placed my order with Sweetwater in January!) it finally arrived today.

    I'll try to give a few quick impressions:

    The box is huge, and the dock is well packed. Includes power supply, a really skimpy manual...basically a quickstart guide that briefly explains the buttons, knobs, ins and outs, and so on.
    Quality of parts looks pretty good really, the knobs seem firm and solid, and turn kinda hydraulically. The 3 selection switches are a solid metallic post style and engage pretty well, and the on/off switch is the snap in and out type, it feels better than a lot I've tried. The connections are plastic but are fairly robust. I've seen similar plastic inch jacks on amps, though these seem a little more rugged than some..

    The iPad 1 fits pretty well, but I was surprised to see no soft material for the back of the iPad, just plastic. Mine slipped right in, and is in there pretty snuggly, and not too hard to remove (like that will ever happen!).

    I plugged in the tiny wall wart, and hit the power button, and the iPad came to life, indicating charging was going on. First thing I did was fire up the Horizon synth. Sounds great through the headphones...I haven't got two inch cables to hook up to my M-Audio ProFire 2626 yet (hard to believe eh?), so all sounds were played through headphones.

    One thing I'll note is that the headphone out (a inch stereo type, not the 1/8 we see a lot of on small stuff) had a LOT of headroom! As a matter of fact this kinda worries me, as I can see the headphone level pot living at the barely on position for the rest of it's life. And don't have very fancy headphones, they're not that sensitive for sure. Be careful when you first use this output!

    Sound is really nice and smooth, a little less ultra high end than I get out of the ProFire, but nothing to complain about, sounds pretty analog to me...I don't see myself getting fatigued listening to the dock. I tried the Korg iElectribe, the Korg iMS-20, O-Generator, Nlog Pro, SunVox, ReBirth, NanoStudio, and BeatMaker apps, all sounded great.

    I also hooked up my bass (Fender Jazz) to the PRS Jam Amp, AmpKit, DAW MultiTrack, GarageBand, and Meteor apps and noticed a HUGE improvement over the Peavey Ampkit Link, and the PRS cord, and a couple home made cords I've put together. Using the dock's direct switch to toggle back and forth between the app's sound and the direct sound was very interesting. You could see how each app changes the sound...some taking out the treble side, some the bass, but with the dock, all sounded much better, flatter.

    What I found REALLY REALLY REALLY IRRITATING however, was the fact that the dock's input 1 and 2 jacks are Right and Left respectively and only. Normally this is a good idea, but I like to set up grooves in my apps and jam to them, and it bugs me to no end that the input 2 jack (which has the guitar/mic switch) isn't centered when the direct switch is used.

    You have to use an app that has a configurable mono input to get a centered guitar jack function (and not use the direct switch) but it ticks me off that I can't jam along centered with all my apps with sequencers.

    Sigh, I suspect I'll get used to it.

    As for MIDI and USB, I did hook up my Alesis Q49 using the MIDI out and all the synth apps responded to the keys, and pitch and mod wheel. Haven't tried sending any other info, but I tend to just use keys and the wheels.

    One thing I am extremely curious to check out is if the USB connection is both ways. The Alesis website says you can use it for getting stuff in and out, but it's a B connector (usually associated with output), and the item I'm most curious about is if my Akai EWI USB wind controller will work with the I/O dock. It uses a B connector for output of MIDI over USB, so maybe I'll have to spring for a B to B USB cable. Dunno, makes me nervous. But if I can use the iPad with the I/O Dock as a portable sound module...Jeepers! How cool is that?

    Well, I'm gonna play around some more with it, and maybe get a couple more cables to integrate it with my system. Overall, this is a great tool, and of pretty good quality...Alesis could have skimped on some of the parts, but didn't, so I suspect it will take some knocks and still be functional.

  • from December 11, 2012Music Background:
    Logic Pro (Mainstage 2), Keyboardist, Student, Hobbyist

    Does the Job

    I bought this dock specifically to use with garageband for ipad to do some recording as well as make loops to play over during live improvs. This review should be considered in light of its interaction with garageband specifically.

    It does work for sure. Just a few things to keep in mind:
    Garageband interprets the 2 xlr/line in combos as a left and right channel. This can be a blessing or a curse. You cannot multitrack record 2 channels using this into garageband. If recording, go to the input button and make sure to select left or right for the channel you are using, unless you are running stereo, which select stereo.

    I have had some buzzing and clicking when recording from a DAW. This can be fixed by simply turning the dock off and back on. Just a strange quirk that happens at times.

    Also when adjusting your levels, adjust from the track list screen levels first, not the output levels on the device or the top right main output. Once you have that set, THEN adjust the others for recording/line out.

    I've plugged the output from my keyboard DAW, a bass and vocals and they all sound great. Depending on what other apps you use, your results may vary, I suggest researching those apps with this dock beforehand if you aren't sure.

  • from Ann Arbor Michigan March 30, 2012Music Background:
    Lifelong Hobbyist

    iO Dock is pretty cool

    Overall I really like this dock. I would have given it 5 stars but have had one minor problem. I upgraded the firmware as recommended when I got it. However, sometimes there will be some popping and snapping when recording. I have to power down the unit and start over and then the problem clears up. Upon looking at the Alesis support site I see I'm not the only one experiencing this problem. It only happens occasionally so it's not really a big deal.

    I"m an old guy who can recall the days when you couldn't get near decent recording equipment without selling your left kidney. Now for a few hundred bucks you've got a completely portable multitrack unit that works like a charm.

    Life is good.

  • from Sacramento, Ca March 14, 2012Music Background:
    R&B Drummer

    Alesis IO Dock

    I'm very happy with the Alesis IO Dock. It is suited for my particular situation. I don't have carry all that heavy recording equiptment around to record my ideas, when I'm away from home; love that part.

  • from Princeton, NJ, USA February 28, 2012Music Background:
    Classical producer/engineer for CDs and broadcast, live and delay

    The iO Dock Is A Great Tool

    First, let me say that the Alesis brand is still clearly innovative. That said, this iO Dock seemed a perfect addition to my new iPad, and as a classical recording producer/engineer, also made a perfect back-up to my session recordings, albeit 2-track. The first one which arrived, however, had problems: the earphone preamp cut out then faded back in, the bottom got so hot it could not be touched, and the inputs would not let go of the TRS 1/4" plugs, which I actually broke in order to get them out.

    The second iO Dock, sent immediately by Sweetwater as a replacement, was fine. The TRS were still "tight" but in and out a couple of times, and it was as it should be. No heated bottom, no cut-outs on the earphone monitor.

    There are many apps available for the iPad to record on, and my associate and I downloaded several. I won't recommend any one because each has its own usefulness, some multi-channel (but no more than two channels at a time), but the one we chose, for $9.99, does the trick, and records a two track back-up from a stereo feed from the control room into a .wav formatted file easily, setting up much like Sound Forge or Pro Tools in a two track format. Sure does make taking the session file home or on the road to listen to and review as to which take was best at which point in the score. Also easy to e-mail these out to another person for review. Sound quality was exactly as one would expect, with a hi-res option, and listening back was pure joy on the iPad, either still in it's dock, or independent of it.

    Let me just say I will be taking it to Venice with me in April where I will do some on-the-spot choral recordings using DPA and Schoeps mics directly into the unit, phantom powered by it, et al. It will be one of the easiest foreign gigs I've ever had, equipment-wise. If you want an easy and simple solution to a remote recording gig, this is it!

  • from Dubai UAE February 16, 2012Music Background:
    Studio Designer, Musician, Live Sound Engineer, Professional Consultant.

    Great Hardware

    Finally a way to open up the IPad music making possibilities. Simple and functional, every music making IPad owner should have one in the studio cabled up all the time. Just slide the IPad in and away you go, and with more App programmers stating their support the 30pin docking format soon, then all the more reason.

  • from Buenos Aires, Argentina December 19, 2011Music Background:
    Keyboard player.

    Alesis iO Dock

    IO Dock is a good solution for musicians, but it has no USB port. These really dissapoint me. Bur the rest it's OK.

  • from N.E. Florida/S.E.Georgia September 30, 2011Music Background:
    Currently in mus.ed., product spec./artist for organ co, concerts.

    iPad iO Dock is great.

    I am a music educator of students k thru 6th grade. One of the main reasons I bought the iO Dock was so that I could show the iPad images on a large video screen. That does not happen. Apparently Apple has editorial control over what will be seen on external video. I purchased some children's sing-along apps which I had hoped to show on the video. So far the only thing that makes it to video is youtube vids and Netflix. Thus the "4.0" rating.
    The MIDI & audio interfaces are well worth the price.
    I can't say enough about the convenience of connecting the iPad to MIDI and external sound reinforcement through the iO Dock.
    THIS was worth the price alone. For that I give the iO Dock 5 stars.
    Now if we could just get the developers of GarageBand to separate the MIDI channels into "poly" mode instead of "omni" I could use the iPad in live concerts.
    The iO Dock has it's own power supply and charges the iPad battery in half the time it takes connecting it to the computer.
    The iO Dock is just the thing (except for video) for interfacing the iPad with other devices. 5 Stars for that.

  • from Payette idaho September 22, 2011Music Background:
    Recording engineer,live sound ,performing musician

    Sweet mobile interface

    Pretty awesome. Perfect solution for mobile recording and recording practices. Wish i didn't have to plug it into the wall though.
    Also wish it had an aditional usb port for powering my soft synth. If i didnt need to power outlets i could be truly mobile. The preamps are very smooth and having phantom power is sweet. For 200 bucks its a sweet accessory for your ipad.

  • from Vienna, VA June 27, 2011

    Just got mine for recording guitar...

    Excellent sound quality - I suspected it would be improved over the 1/8" inputs currently on the market and felt bang for buck, the mic inputs really were a winner. Have not tested all the features but wanted to note a few things for potential buyers:
    - I bought this use the iPad as a guitar scratchpad. So far, it works with Garageband and Ampkit. Amplitude does NOT yet support input through the USB connector (which may also mean that Apogee's Jam doesn't work - I do not own that product however)

    Otherwise, it's a great product!

  • from Asheville NC March 26, 2013Music Background:
    Composer, performer, multi-instrumentallist

    Getting a little dated but still useful

    Excellent for connecting MIDI input (one only) and audio to the iPad. Most USB controllers won't connect because it will not power the device, e.g., new keyboards. For that and for multiple MIDI you will need a MIDI interface (the new ones from iConnectivity should do all that and more). The video out is of limited use, doesn't simply output the screen image. I mostly use the Dock with a dock extender cable since I often use the iPad for other purposes. The iPad 3 is a tight fit to install inside the device but works. Newer iPads will require an adapter and cable.

  • from Owatonna mn October 31, 2011Music Background:

    Alesia iO Dock

    Beware.. If you use an external keyboard midi notes will hang. firmware update helps but is still a real problem.

  • from Chicago IL USA December 11, 2012Music Background:

    Avoid it Like the Plague

    I received one for use with an iPad 3 that fortunately came with the iPad 3 adaptor, however that just allowed me to verify that it didn't work without having to wait for Alesis to ship me the iPad 3 adaptor. My iPad would not mate with the connector on the iO Dock, so it didn't work at all.

    I had all the latest software and firmware for both devices as of 12/2012. Apparently, the connector on the iO Dock is a little too short to easily mate with the connector on the iPad 3. I repeatedly pressed my iPad into the iO Dock with rather extraordinary force, but was unable to get the connector to mate successfully. I'm not willing to risk breaking the iPad, so I returned the Alesis iO Dock. YMMV, since some people apparently did get theirs to work.

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