Connecting USB Audio Interfaces, MIDI Controllers, and Keyboards to an iPad or iOS device

 

You can connect any class compliant USB audio interface or MIDI controller or keyboard to your iPad.  This article shows you what you can connect and how, and also includes some tips to ensure success with the Apple Camera iPad Connection Kit.

 

ipad camera connector kitAll class compliant USB audio interfaces, MIDI controllers and keyboards can be connected to the iPad using the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit.

 

What does 'class compliant' mean?

A class compliant device is one that doesn't require extra drivers to connect your Windows or Macintosh computer, or to your iPad.  Class compliant devices use drivers which are built into the host (i.e. the computer or the iPad) operating system. 

To find out if your USB audio or MIDI device is class compliant, check the manufacturer's web page.  If it connects automatically to any computer without requiring you to install drivers from a website or a disk, it is probably class compliant.

ipad mpk mini

 

iPad Power - not as much as you might think

Many USB devices draw their power right from the USB cable that connects them to their host (a computer or an iPad).  The iPad can also supply power to connected USB devices.  The USB ports on computers supply 5V and 100mA-500mA of power.  However, through the course of several updates and revisions, Apple has decreased the amount of electrical power the iPad is allowed to supply connected USB devices.

This means that some devices that draw only a little power can survive off of what the iPad supplies, but devices that require more power may not find the iPad USB connection sufficient.  Furthermore, Apple can and has altered how much juice the iPad can offer connected devices, so what may have worked in the past, may not necessarily work in the future.

 

When you connect, the order matters

You have a MIDI or Audio device, a USB cable, the Apple Camera Connection Kit adapter, and your iPad...

Even if the device you are connecting requires very little power, if you connect them in the wrong order, you're likely to get the following error: Accessory Unavailable.  The attached accessory uses too much power.

ipad power error
 

To maximize the likelihood of a successful connection with an audio or MIDI device, you need to...

  1. Connect the USB cable to your Audio or MIDI device first.
  2. Next, connect the other end of the USB cable to the iPad Camera Connection Kit adapter.
  3. Last, connect the Camera Connection Kit adapter (with the USB cable already attached) to the 30-pin port on the bottom of your iPad.
  4. Wait 10 seconds.  The iPad will take a few moments to fully recognize a connected device.

If you still get the error above, or if the class compliant device does not function within 10 seconds of connection, the device likely requires more power than the iPad can supply.

 

If at first you don't succeed...use an AC Powered USB Hub

If the device you are connecting requires more power than the iPad can supply, connect it to an AC powered USB hub.  Powered USB hubs have AC power adapters that connect them to an electrical socket on the wall.  This will help ensure any connected devices have enough power to operate.

Belkin Powered USB Hub
 

List of some compatible devices

Note that Apple can and has altered how much juice the iPad can offer connected devices, so what may have worked without a powered hub in the past, may not necessarily work in the future.

Akai Professional

Alesis

M-Audio

Numark

ION Audio

 

AKAI Technical Support and Warranty Service

Whether you are a customer or dealer, if you already own an Akai Pro product, or if you just have pre-sales questions, the Akai Pro technical support team is available to help!

Visit the link below to connect with any of the following support options: online community support, phone support, email support.

www.akaipro.com/support