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Alesis DM Dock and Amp Dock for iPad hands-on

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Two new iPad docks from Alesis adds instrument inputs to your tablet.

Amp Dock from Alesis
Amp Dock from Alesis

The iPad sure seems to be a boon for musical equipment manufacturers: not only does it provide a common platform for apps, but developers can leverage some of that tech to bring you cheaper gear — that is, if you don't count the fact that you just spent $400 on the tablet in the first place. As further evidence of the trend, Alesis brought a couple new iPad docks to NAMM this week.

The first that caught our eye was the DM Dock, which turns your tablet into a fully-fledged MIDI drum module. Around the back there are a dozen inputs for trigger pads, a hi-hat control pedal, and 1/4-inch stereo outputs. If that weren't enough, it has classic MIDI input and outputs, and a USB port. Additionally, with an Alesis Module Mount (sold separately) you can connect it to a drum stand. Of course, as with anything there are a couple drawbacks: first of all, the build quality leaves something to be desired (it definitely seems to be made more for the bedroom Keith Moon in your life than any sort of touring professional). Second: when you factor in the cost of drum triggers or drum pads (which can get pretty expensive) and the iPad itself, this stops looking like that much of a value. But if you're already set up in the e-drum department and want to add some flexibility to your setup, this is definitely worth a second look. Compatible with iPad and iPad 2, look for it in Q2 2012 for a $249 price tag.

Next up is AmpDock, which acts as an audio interface for your iPad or iPad 2. This uses one of the many apps out there on the market that support Core MIDI (AmpliTube or Garage Band, for instance) as the amp modeler, while providing multiple 1/4-inch inputs and outputs, multiple control knobs, and more. In addition, the kit includes a pedalboard controller for additional control while playing. Look for it Q2 2012 for $299.