Remember the iKlip 2 microphone stand adapter for Apple’s tablet line? Don’t get me wrong, the device is a solid accessory for any iPad- or iPad mini-weilding musician. But what about rockers with an Android-powered tablet like the Nexus 7 or Galaxy Tab S—maybe even folks that strictly use their smartphone? That's where the iKlip Xpand and Xpand Mini come in. IK Multimedia’s latest duo of adapters are the company’s first (almost) universal stands that’ll work with nearly any device on the market, tablet or handset. What does "nearly" mean? The regular Xpand can hold any device between 7- to 12.1-inches (your iPad mini will need to be in landscape orientation) and the Xpand mini will comfortably carry a handset as large as the Galaxy S5.
You might be thinking, "They’re tablet stands… what’s there to talk about?" That sentiment is somewhat accurate, but there are a couple of things to consider when you’re buying accessories like these—especially if you’re willing to shell out $50 or so (specifically, $50 for the Xpand and $40 for the Xpand Mini). In terms of build quality, I’ll sum it down to two words: lightweight and solid. Both devices are entirely made of plastic (screw threads and all), with the exception of their rubber contact plates and springs. Wanna mount your device? Just pull the stand's edges outward, let them snugly clamp onto your slate or phone, adjust the ball joint for the proper viewing angle and voilà, you’re ready jam.
In addition to the Xpand and Xpand Mini, IK recently released its first-ever setlist app called iKlip Stage. In comparison to its main competitor called OnSong, iKlip Stage is seriously minimalistic; set lists flow in a completely left-to-right fashion and there’s no way to transpose songs or make any notes. iKlip Stage also imports image and PDF file strictly through iOS file sharing and Photo Album. So if you’re an active church player, don’t expect to add any charts directly from SongSelect or Planning Center. The interface? It has a clean and flat iOS 7 feel that’s nice to look at, but the controls aren’t very intuitive or apparent. When you’re trying to delete songs from a set, or just rearrange the order, some of the symbols are too transparent to notice without squinting. Actually, I’m still not sure how to exit the rearranging mode without just closing the app. Despite these small ticks, however, iKlip Stage is still worth a shot. Why? For starters, it's free (OnSong has way more features, but you’ll pay the premium price of $13). Secondly, its functionality, albeit simple, is more usable than ghetto-rigging Adobe Reader.
iKlip Xpand: $49.99
iKlip Xpand Mini: $39.99
iKlip Xpand: http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/iklipxpand/
iKlip Xpand Mini: http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/iklipxpandmini/