How to Connect a Guitar to GarageBand iPad

If you’re looking to record your guitar into your USB-C equipped iPad, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll go over the different ways you can connect and record your guitar into your iPad.

If you have an iPad with a lightning port, don’t worry – we’ve got a separate video tutorial you can check out. But for now, let’s focus on USB-C equipped iPads.

The quickest and easiest way to get audio into your iPad is by using its built-in microphones. All USB-C/thunderbolt equipped iPad models have microphones somewhere on their bodies. The microphone setup on the newer models is pretty impressive, and you should get fairly decent results using them. However, bear in mind that you won’t have a full range of frequencies to work with when it comes to mixing your built-in microphone recorded guitars.

If you want to keep things portable, companies like IK Multimedia and Apogee have a good range of devices on offer. The Apogee’s Jam Plus and IK Multimedia’s iRig HD 2 give you 24 bit 96 kilohertz recording quality and are no bigger than a chocolate biscuit. If you want more input options, the iRig Pro IO is an excellent choice as it has a combination XLR jack on the bottom. This allows you to hook up an XLR microphone and record real audio, as well as directly connect your guitar to it.

Finally, you can grab yourself a fully-fledged audio interface, hook it up to your iPad, and record your guitars that way. With an audio interface, you’re able to capture great quality sounds into your iPad as well as give yourself more audio recording options. The MOTO M2 audio interface provides amazingly high-quality recordings with practically zero latency. What’s more, its USB-C to USB-C connection means you can plug it straight into your iPad.

If you’d rather spend a little less, the M-Audio M-Track Solo has both an instrument and XLR combo input and sounds really good for the price. However, the issue with using this interface, and really any piece of kit that still uses a USB-A connection, is connectivity. You’re going to need an adapter.

The good news is that because you have an iPad with a USB-C port, you’re no longer shackled to Apple’s dreadfully overpriced selection of dongles. Pretty much any USB-C adapter or hub will work with your iPad. Personally, we like the one by UGREEN. It sits flush against the edge of our iPad, has a 100-watt 5-gigabits-per-second USB-C port, two 5-gigabits-per-second USB 3.0 ports, a 4K 60Hz capable HDMI port, and a 3.5-millimeter headphone port.

Remember, to set up a USB-A audio interface with your iPad and adapter, it’s just a case of plugging in the hub, then attaching the interface via one of the USB-A ports, and that’s it – you’re good to go.

Another advantage that iPads with USB-C ports have over iPads with a lightning port is that you don’t need any extra power to use an audio interface’s 48-volt phantom power function. So if you plan to record your acoustic guitar or amped-up electric guitar with an attached microphone, you don’t need to worry about plugging anything into the mains.

All in all, the sound quality you’re able to get from an audio interface is definitely worth the extra bit of setup. So now that you know how to hook up your guitar, go ahead and give it a try.