Griffin has just unveiled its latest iPad accessory, the Studio Connect. This iPad dock adds not only extra audio inputs for boosting the tablet's recording abilities but also has full-size Midi connections for connecting up sequencers, synths and other electronic audio equipment. Here at CES, we got hands-on to see if it's a concept that holds up.
First impressions are that it's not the most elegant piece of hardware we've ever seen with its combination of grey, black and chrome, while the flying dock connection cable doesn't help either.
Still, this isn't really a device to be admired; it's a work tool, and in this regard it holds up well with a reasonably sturdy build throughout. It is a little plasticky in feel but again it's really not the sort of thing that would concern you in day to day use.
A large chrome control wheel sits dead centre and it has a nice smooth notched action. Meanwhile on the right side is a rather more weedy volume wheel.
The connections round the back all seemed sturdily mounted and sensibly spaced apart. You'll notice a coaxial power socket sitting in the middle. It's a shame the whole lot couldn't be powered from USB but it's hardly surprising.
Unfortunately there was no iPad to demo with so we couldn't see how that side of things worked, but clearly it depends what software you use as to what your experience will be. As a piece of hardware, though, the Griffin Studio Connect could be a great addition to any iPad owning musician. Our only real concern - given we don't yet know the price - is it's not the most portable device we've ever seen, and arguably that's what you primarily want from any iPad accessory. It just depends how you plan to use it, whether this is a concern for you or not.