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Alesis intros USB MIDI keyboard controllers, iOS amp docks

updated 10:40 pm EST, Fri January 20, 2012

Turn iPads into guitar and drum effects boxes

Audio accessory maker Alesis has debuted a number of new devices for musicians, including three new USB MIDI keyboard controllers along with a set of iPad- and iPhone-specific amp docks. All are on display at the company's booth (#6400) at the 2012 NAMM show in Anaheim, CA. The keyboards include two 61-note models as well as a 25-note compact model. The iPad and iPhone amp docks are based on the company's successful iO docks.

Alesis' Q-series USB MIDI controllers include the Q61 ($149), which offers 61 velocity-sensitive keys and a five-octave range, pitch and modulation wheels and octave up/down buttons. Users can work with an assignable data slider and even send program changes from the keys.

The QX61 ($199)adds filters, volume and playback knobs, includes drum pads, faders and buttons. The QX25 ($99) is a compact, 25-note version of the QX61. All three units can easily be connected to traditional MIDI hardware, samplers, synths and computers, along with iPads (via a USB connection to the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit).

The AmpDock houses the iPad or iPad 2 in a case enclosure with a locking door and features a rich assortment of inputs and outputs, including quarter-inch and XLR/quarter-inch combos for input and quarter-inch guitar or mic and ground lift switches to let the iPad do the processing and feed the result straight into a PA or guitar amp. There's also a headphone and USB MIDI port as well, and the case works with Garageband, AmpliTube and JamUp among other programs. The case even includes a kickstand for ideal angling while sitting on top of an amp.

The AmpDock also features two assignable knobs, volume knobs, program up/down buttons to switch between presets and an FX button for guitar effects. The unit comes with a pedalboard for foot control of the knobs found on the case that also includes an expression pedal which can be used for volume control or to send MIDI control changes such as wah and frequency.

The new DM Dock is similar in concept the AmpDock, but leverages the iPad's touchscreen and turns the tablet into a drum machine using wireless connections (including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay and 3G) and works with virtually any iPad app that uses external MIDI control. An optional Module Mount allows the case to be attached to any stand or rack.

The unit comes with 13 quarter-inch TRS trigger inputs (all dual-zone) and balanced quarter-inch stereo outputs, as well as traditional MIDI and USB MIDI connections and an assignable footswitch so users can toggle between kits, start or stop sequences or tap in a click tempo. The DM Dock includes its own power supply that charges the iPad while its in the dock and offers access to a wide library of downloadable drum sounds, reverb and room delay.

Finally, the company is offering the AmpCase, designed for the iPhone 4 and 4S to maximize the sound quality of headphones by adding Alesis' DSP technology as well as a linear power amplifier. The unit completely encases the iPhone and pulls the audio from the 30-pin dock connector rather than the headphone jack, keeping the signal wholly digital and improving the presence and "punch" with digital signal processing, along with amplification beyond what the iPhone is capable of.

The unit has a large wheel on the side for continuous volume control and a mini-USB jack so that the iPhone can be charged without removing it from the brushed-metal case. Prices for the AmpDock, DM Dock, AmpCase have not yet been announced.

The USB MIDI keyboard controllers

The AmpDock

DM Dock

AmpCase for iPhone 4/4S

by MacNN Staff



  1. thinkman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good ol' Alesis

    Back in the day (which means many years ago!) Alesis came on the scene, and like Apple, severely disrupted the digital music industry with their forward thinking devices and their extremely reasonable prices. And look, lo these many years, their strategy was right on the money! You might be thinking "Apple, reasonable prices?" And I'd contend you get what you pay for!

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