What’s the point of putting a processor in hardware anymore? If it adds several hundred dollars to the price of an item, and a more powerful CPU is already in your pocket or travel bag, just plug that sucker in. The best computer is the one you’ve already bought.
It’s that logic that lead to the creation of Alesis’ DM Dock, and which allowed the company to keep the cost to $250. Plug in your iPad 4 or later and turn it into the brain of your drum trigger system while Alesis provides the shell and the I/O connections. The DM Dock features inputs for 12 pads (including a kick pad) plus one for a hi-hat control expression pedal. Dual zone pads, multi-choke cymbals, and three-zone rides are supported. The unit also features MIDI in/out, a USB port, balanced 1/4″ outputs, and will connect to an iPad (and charge it) via a 30-pin or lightning connector.
The dock was of course optimized for Alesis’ own free software, called DM Touch, but most other apps that use Core MiDI, like GarageBand and Cubasis, are supported. To me, this hybrid module will be especially interesting once users start to determine how open the platform is, so I’ll be keeping a loose eye out for that.