iPads are a great musician's tool, but it's difficult to figure out ways to mount the iPad on a microphone stand. Some musicians I know just used a regular music stand, but there's always the concern that swiping the screen may make the iPad slide off. Sure, you can always grab a roll of gaffer's tape to tie that iPad down, but it tends to leave a sticky residue behind. And there's always NewerTech's GripBase Podium, but if you don't want to buy a new stand -- just a way to hold the iPad -- you were pretty much out of luck until now. IK Multimedia has introduced the iKlip Xpand (US$49.99) to give your iPad or other tablet a secure place to hang while you're busy making music.
The design of the iKlip Xpand is brilliant. It has expandable arms that can hold tablets ranging is size from 7 to 12.1 inches measured diagonally. The way those arms are arranged leaves all of the ports and buttons unobstructed, so it's not an issue to keep your device connected to your other stage electronics. The grip points on the arms are rubber-lined to make sure your precious tablet doesn't get scratched.
On the back of the Xpand is a ball joint that makes it incredibly easy to adjust the iPad to just about any orientation you can imagine. The mic stand clamp is adjustable and will grip onto any vertical mic stand or horizontal boom up to 1.2 inches (30 mm) in diameter.
If you're going to be looking at sheet music on the iKlip Xpand, IK Multimedia has you covered there as well, since they include a download code for the iKlip Stage app for music score management and page turning. Well, at least that's what the PR says -- the app isn't available for download at this time.
IK Multimedia makes it simple to both register the iKlip Xpand and to download the app; there's a small card with QR codes for both the registration and download. Just use a QR-scanning app for your iPhone or iPad (I use Scanbot for both document and QR code scanning) and you're ready to roll.
I put the iKlip Xpand to the test not on a microphone or music stand, but on the nearest equivalent I could find -- my trusty Manfrotto monopod with its little foldable tripod legs. I figured it would be a good test simply because the monopod tubing is a bit larger in diameter than that on most mic stands.
First, the short "arm" of the iKlip Xpand is attached by screwing in a long bolt with a plastic knob on the end of it. Next, you use a shorter bolt to attach another piece that holds the ball joint on the back of the iKlip Xpand into position. That's it -- now you can grab your favorite tablet and pop it into the jaws of the iKlip Xpand.
Those jaws are wide enough that I was even able to put an iPad Air -- in a keyboard case -- onto the stand. While the Kensington KeyFolio Thin X3 is relatively thin, it's reassuring to know that most iPads in standard cases have no problems being held in place in the jaws of the iKlip Xpand.
Changing orientation of the iPad was a piece of cake. I just loosened the short bolt a tad, moved the iPad, then tightened it up again. Job done.
My two negatives about the iKlip Xpand are rather minor; first, I think the price tag is a bit high considering that it doesn't include a full telescoping stand like the $58 GripBase Podium from NewerTech, and second, I wish that IK Multimedia had waited for the iKlip Stage app to be available before shipping this accessory.
If you use an iPhone or iPod touch as your music-making machine, there's also the iKlip Xpand mini ($39.99) to keep your phone or phablet in place.
IK Multimedia continues to make amazing products for iOS device-using musicians, and the iKlip Xpand is another example of the company's commitment to the world of music. The device adjusts to fit just about any version of iPad or iPad mini, and the ability to clamp it onto a variety of horizontal or vertical mic stands provides a lot of flexibility.
Rating: 3-1/2 stars out of 4 stars possible