Okay, it’s not as compact, but you can at least get input working with Apple’s now-shipping Lightning adapter for 30-pin accessories and Sonoma’s excellent GuitarJack.

Apple’s mobile hardware offers some serious audio performance and a whole mess of apps to take advantage of it. But what it doesn’t have is the ability to connect inputs and get high-quality sound. Basic mics will work via the built-in jack, but if you want really good sound and more flexibility, you need to connect external hardware. Previous accessories worked with the Apple Dock Connector.

I expect we’ll shortly see new hardware with the Lightning Connector built in – the whole thing seems like an opportunity for third-party vendors to sell more accessories. But in the meantime, here’s the latest from Sonoma WireWorks. One of our favorite audio adapters in fact works so long as you use Apple’s Lightning-to-30-pin adapter cable, and we’ve got pictures from Sonoma along with official word as proof.

(Previously, more on this issue: iPhone 5: Audio Accessories Compatible; Some Require Adapters [IK, Line 6 Official Word])

The important thing about this interface is that its connection to your Apple gizmo is digital, using the digital connection on the device rather than going through the analog headset jack. (That analog connection is fine for things like headsets, but might be disappointing for creative audio work.)

While it’s called “GuitarJack,” the interface works with instruments and mics as well as guitar and bass. You get a 1/4″ instrument, and 1/8″ connections for stereo mic/line input and stereo line output.

Specs: input level control with 60 dB gain + 12 dB pad, Lo-Z and Hi-Z modes for working with guitars and the like, and full iOS app compatibility. Made in the USA.


More pictures of the combination, plus the original hardware (sadly, showing what you can’t do – connect directly to the iPhone). The accessory works with iPad as well as iPhone.

  • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

    So for suckers like me who bought the iPad right before the new one was announced (and whom Apple won’t allow a return/exchange for because we’re 31+ days out), are their any pre-lightning devices of a similar nature that you would actively recommend + are still available?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Heh, don’t think you quite read the story above. This *is* a pre-Lightning device.

      So, in fact, you have a little bit of a windfall. *All* of the hardware works right now (none of the audio developers yet has a Lightning device). Get what you need now – and expect some stuff on clearance / used when people do go get Lightning-specific adapters.

      In fact, the iPad from earlier this year I think is a really nice model. There are big performance gains on the iPad 4, but they appear to be largely graphics-related, so not such a big deal for music.

    • http://twitter.com/a_w_young a_w_young

      Don’t I feel foolish and half a sleep. Thanks, I skimmed through and misunderstood. If I studied the photo, I could have figured it out too 😉

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      That’s okay, I actually made exactly the same mistake when I got the press release. (I have to hope that I don’t make that sort of mistake *live on the site*!)

  • http://twitter.com/iOSMusician iOS Musician Blog

    if you’ve got an iPhone 5 this is probably your best bet for making the GuitarJack ‘dock safe.’ apples cables are usually not stiff at all…