Who would think that one of the cheapest audio production tools you can buy today is an Apple iPhone 4s? Often when I jam with friends or do DAW-less setups, I’d want to use my phone to record, or be a wireless clock for hardware, as well as various other uses. Once the phone is purposed for a function like that it can’t be used for anything else. If you get a call it will interrupt what you’re doing. I decided to look up purchasing an old iPhone that could give me the most audio production features for the cheapest price. The iPhone 4s was the clear standout.
For 30 to 40 dollars on eBay, the iPhone 4s is a very interesting piece of hardware. It includes the old 30 pin data connection technology. This was discarded for the lightning connection on the iPhone 5, which is still used to this day. I consider the 30 pin connection a plus for the 4s. Many stores sell the 30 pin audio interfaces at blowout prices. I was able to purchase a Tascam iM2 stereo condenser microphone interface for 10 dollars. A Griffin StudioConnect audio/midi interface was also purchased for 16 dollars. Add all this together with your free Garage Band app and you have a mobile audio interface, field recorder, and basic DAW all for 50-60 dollars. Thats a serious bang for your buck.
The other big plus to the iPhone 4s- iOS software. The 4s runs iOS 9.3.5, which is pretty outdated now. But don’t count it out! This software runs some of the more useful audio production features found on a current iPhone. For example, 9.3.5 is compatible with Ableton Link. This makes the 4s perfect for an app like the Korg SyncKontrol. You can send your wirelessly linked pulse through the headphone jack to anything that accepts cv inputs, though its set up best to work with things like the Korg Monotribe and Volca units. I found myself using it with a Arturia Keystep. I was able to jam with Patterning on my iPad with the Keystep playing a sequence on my Model D. It worked very well.
If you’re interested in seeing all my uses for the iPhone 4s, check out the video below! If you decide that the 4s is also useful for you, make sure you don’t get the iPhone 4 by mistake. The iPhone 4 does not run iOS 9.3.5 and can’t do anywhere near as much as the 4s. As always, please check out our Youtube page and subscribe if you like what you see.