January 15, 2013

The Jam is ON!

Recently picked up a nice bit of kit and thought I’d share. When testing new pedals for quality control, I’ve been pairing my iPad and the Alesis I/O Dock to bring the signal into GarageBand and check that each build is functioning perfectly before boxing it up.

The Alesis has served me well, but I’ve been on the hunt for something even more portable and straightforward. I was able to grab an Apogee Jam off eBay for a decent price, and my initial thoughts are that this is exactly what I was looking for.

It’s light, it’s no frills and it’s damn small. The Alesis wasn’t much bigger than the iPad itself, but it can be a bit cumbersome to throw in a bag on the way to rehearsal. Since the iPad has become such a great songwriting tool, I wanted an interface that would let me get up and recoding with a minimum of hassle.

One additional benefit is that the Jam features a gain adjustment knob right on the unit itself. I was testing a new guitar out last night and found myself riding this control quite a bit, just because it was so much more intuitive than tapping through GarageBand menus to tweak the input levels.

Also, while the Jam costs more than some other low-cost interface options, the fact that it uses the iPad dock connector – rather than the headphone jack – is worth it in my book.