Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video The Tascam iXZ, part of iPad Music Production: Inputs, Mics, and MIDI.
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So far we've looked at how to connect instruments that use a quarter-inch base cable into your iPad using accessories that plug into either the headphone jack or the dock connector. But what if you need to record something out of the air with a microphone? None of the accessories we have looked at so far can really help you with that. So in this movie I'm looking at a device called the Tascam iXZ. This is a nice little compact unit and it's actually a combination microphone and guitar interface. Notice it has a special port on the front that can accept both a quarter-inch cable-- put right into the front like that-- as well as a standard XLR cable.
So you can use any standard microphone with this interface. The way this works is it just plugs right into the headphone jack of your iPad. And we have some switches on the front to determine what kind of instrument we're recording. If we're recording a guitar--I have that plugged in--I want to switch the mode over to the guitar setting. Now I should mention that the iXZ is battery- powered. It comes with two AA batteries, but if you're recording guitar, you actually don't need to have the batteries in here. So if you find yourself out in the road and the inspiration strikes to record some guitar tracks, but you don't have two AA batteries, it's okay if that battery chamber is completely empty.
You can plug in your guitar, plug it into your iPad, and you're still ready to record. What those batteries are there for is when you have the microphone connected. So if I switch this over to the Microphone mode, notice a little light lights up to indicate that I'm recording a microphone now. So that's why we do need the batteries for. We also need the batteries because the iXZ is capable of supplying phantom power if your microphone needs that. You can just switch phantom power on there as well. We'll also find an input level dial here, so you can adjust the gain. Now this dial is only for microphones.
If you have a guitar plugged in here, this dial has actually no effect whatsoever. So we are plugged in, and now I can open up an app like GarageBand. And if I were recording a microphone, I might just select the Voice Recorder. So again, I could set my input levels. Now because I'm plugged into the headphone jack here, that's going to automatically disable the built-in speaker on the iPad. So you are going to want to make sure you have a set of headphones, and you want to plug into the headphone port on the back of the iXZ. That's the only way you're going to be able to hear what you're recording and the only way you're going to be right here your playback.
But that's pretty much it. You've got it all connected. You can start recording. Now again, this is a very short cable that we see here, so when it's plugged in, just make sure the iXZ is just sitting next to your iPad, both are secure on the desktop here. You don't want to be yanking on this or to be pulling your iPad off the desk or anything like that. So just make sure both devices are secure sitting next to each other like that. Again, this is just a really nice compact device. It is lightweight. It runs on two AA batteries. You can toss it into a backpack or a gig bag and whenever inspiration strikes you can pull it out, plug it into your iPad and start recording.