Tag Archives: audio

USB microphones work with the iPad! (New post)

Okay, let’s try this again.

My iPad Camera Connection Kit arrived this morning and I couldn’t wait to try a trick I read about in Glenn Fleishman’s great review of the Kit over on TidBITS: if you use the Kit’s USB dongle to hook up a standard USB microphone, iPad audio apps will use it as an audio input-output device without further ado.

Proof:

iPad USB Audio demos by Ihnatko

It’s really that simple. My fave iPhone audio recorder (Recorder Pro) didn’t even blink; it recorded 44.1k audio straight away. It worked fine with my Blue Yeti mic (the premium mic I record my podcasts with) and Skype worked just fine with my USB headset.

The lone failure was my iUke. It’s ukulele with an integrated USB audio pickup. It’s possible that this is merely an exotic device, or that I just could get its levels dialed in correctly. There’s only one of these on the planet (it was custom-built for me by the iGuitar guys) so perhaps this isn’t a problem that will affect a great many users.

I wanted to try out something else Glenn mentioned. USB keyboards work just fine, too. The iPad sniffs that “This hardware isn’t supported” but nonetheless, it managed to screw up its courage and allow the keyboard to work just fine in Pages…including its function and command keys.

Cool beans!

That doesn’t mean that the iPad suddenly has a standard USB audio port. You’re limited to just the devices for which the iPad has built-in drivers. I suspect that the fact this is all evidence that internally, the iPad sees its stock keyboard and any dock sound devices as standard USB devices requiring nothing more than a basic driver. USB storage devices aren’t recognized by the iPad (except as sources of pictures and video, which is what God intended the Kit to serve). My mouse and my tablet didn’t do anything. And if anybody ever tried to create a printing app that exploited the Camera Kit and included drivers for HP, Epson, etc. I bet Apple wouldn’t approve it.

Still, this elevates the Camera Kit big-time. And it makes the iPad into an even better “road warrior” ultralight. I knew going in that it would let me post photos and videos from my DSLR and my Flip camera — an all-too-common reason why I’d drag my MacBook with me on a simple three-day trip — but now I know that I can Skype into a live podcast and deliver high-quality audio. Done and done.