I’ve been playing in bands with backup tracks for years- first it was DAT machines, then miniDisk, and now iPods. Typically, the tracks are created with click hard-panned left and music hard-panned right, then the iPod out gets split so that music goes to house and music+click go to a headphone mixer for the drummer. This usually entails a rat’s nest of cables and adapters and equals confused drummer… who usually finds me, technically adept guy, to deal with this mess. Which would be fine if I wasn’t busy plugging in synths in the four and a half minutes alloted for setup…

I finally built a rack with a mixer and a custom presoldered panel on the back to simplify this whole ordeal. But the rack is kinda big and heavy, and everyone always wants to borrow it from me (which is why I’ve built two more of them for other bands). Imagine my delight when I saw SM Pro’s DiDock Live before at NAMM. It was one of those moments where I looked at it and thought “Is this what I think it is? Did someone actually get this right?”

Well, they did. Drop your iPod into the dock and you’re off and running (iPod only. Doesn’t fit Zune. I’m talking to you, Icky Skodis. No one uses Zune.). Here’s the back:

Balanced outs w/ground lift, an aux in routed to headphones, phones out and switch to charge the iPod. Lovely. (wish they would’ve put the headphone jack on the front though)

Using the mono button and L-R balance knob, Mr. Drummer Man can hear both click and music and dial in the balance between the channels while staying in mono (because you don’t want click in one ear and music in the other), all without affecting output to house sound. Oh yes, and they come in black too. I need 26 of these!

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