This tiny cube connects your iPhone to guitars and microphones | Cult of Mac

This tiny cube connects your iPhone to guitars and microphones

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iTrack One Pre
The iTrack One Pre won't slide off your desk.
Photo: Focusrite

Focusrite’s iTrack One Pre might be the ultimate portable recording gadget for musicians. It’s a little cube that fits in a pocket, but that packs in connections for a microphone and a guitar, as well as a port for charging the iPad or iPhone you connect to. It can even supply Phantom Power to a microphone, and has it’s own gain (“volume,” kinda) knob.

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iTrack One Pre

There are plenty of ways to hook up musical instruments and microphones to your iPad or iPhone for recording, or for adding effects to the instrument’s own sound. The worst way is to plug them into the iPhone’s mic jack (if it has one), using a crappy adapter. The best way is to use a nice big audio interface that either comes with a Lighting adapter, or can use the iOS USB camera adapter.

Portable power

Small, but capable.
Small, but capable.
Photo: Focusrite

The Focusrite iTrack One Pre sits between these. It’s a proper USB audio interface so it should sound good, but it is also tiny enough to carry anywhere. Considering the size, the list of hookups is impressive. There’s a single input socket which combines a quarter-inch jack hole (guitar) and an XLR port (microphone). Some high-end mics require power to work, and this is where Phantom Power comes in. Phantom Power is a 48 volt supply that runs through the mic cable itself, and is only seen by mics that need it (hence the “phantom” part of the name). The iTrack One Pre can provide this by sliding a switch.

The power to do this comes from a microUSB input, and this doubles as a power source for the connected iPad. Used with a USB power cable, the iPhone or iPad itself powers the iTrack One Pre. Used with a power cable, the iTrack One Pre charges the attached iDevice.

Gain

The other surprise feature is the gain knob, which lets you adjust the signal level running into the iPad or iPhone apps you’re using. This lets you compensate for quiet mics, or powerful guitar pickups. Usually, such small devices rely on the apps themselves to do this, so having it in hardware is a nice addition. If the signal gets too hot (risking “clipping,” or distortion) then the green ring around the gain knows flashes red.

And that’s it. The iTrack One Pre is perfect for hooking up instruments to something like Apple’s GarageBand for iOS.

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