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Alesis - A Terrible Company Irresponsibly Handling an Unforeseen Problem

Near the very end of September 2011 I purchased an Alesis IO Dock, an audio interface promising to fulfill all my needs for iPad-based live music performance.  In fact, 95% of the reason I purchased an iPad2 was due to the release of this highly-anticipated new product.  Shortly after my new IO Dock & iPad arrived, iOS5 was released, so I updated--a decision I regret ever since.  Little did I know that the IO Dock is not at all compatible with iOS5 on the iPad2, a fact that likely surprised even Alesis.

The Problem
The problem is simple enough to explain.  When using a music application (e.g. Garageband) on an iOS5 iPad2, a cacophonous hiss will enter the audio stream during use.  It often comes suddenly and at hearing-damage volume levels, which makes this problem not only frustrating, but also dangerous.  My own ears were blasted with noise on multiple occasions.  Here is an excellent video demonstrating the issue:




Users Respond

Fellow purchasers of the IO Dock responded quickly via the Alesis support forum --> http://community.alesis.com/alesis/topics/io_dock_hiss
There are literally thousands of posts on this forum.  It got to the point Alesis had to limit the number of displayed posts.

Alesis's Flawed Response
Alesis released a firmware update and encouraged all IO Dock users to install it immediately.  No effect.  Apple released iOS 5.01, and Alesis once again asked all users to update immediately.  No effect.  Alesis began posting "official" updates on the support forum, stating that the issue is essentially a bug in iOS that will be fixed with Apple's 5.1 release.  Please wait.  And waiting is all we customers have been doing.

How long must we wait?  Who knows?  It's now the middle of February 2012, and I'm well over 4 months into being the owner of a 20,000 yen glorified iPad charger.

Maybe Apple really screwed Alesis on this one, but blame is irrelevant.  My problem with Alesis is that they continue to sell a product proven both useless and dangerous in its current condition.  Isn't there a law against that?  Imagine purchasing this device, connecting it, and being welcomed with an explosion of noise.  Congratulations.  You're the latest victim.

Alesis should have stopped selling it and asked vendors to remove it from shelves.  They should have maybe even recalled it.  They should have posted a massive notification of apology and restitution on the front page of their website.  Only very recently did they finally post an inconspicuous and vague notice under the product FAQ.  I don't care whose fault it is.  It's your product, Alesis, so you're obligated to take ownership of the problem and respond befittingly.

What To Do
I had enough of waiting, so I contacted the vendor I purchased the IO Dock from and asked them to take it back.  They told me to ship it back to them (at their expense), which I did.  I sent the same email to Alesis Japan.  Their response was generic, telling me to follow-up with the vendor.  It's also interesting to note that Alesis's problem notification on their Japanese website went up after I contacted Alesis Japan.  They were still running the scam on non-English-speaking customers!  Shame on you, Alesis.  As for the vendor, I'm still waiting on their reply.  Who knows if I'll get my money back.

If you share in my plight...
* I suggest contacting the vendor you purchased from.  I'm sure they're all aware of the problem by now.  Contacting Alesis directly is a waste of time.
* Don't purchase another Alesis product ever again.  I sure as hell won't.  A company this irresponsible doesn't deserve your money.
* Get the word out.  The Internet empowers us customers with incredible clout.  Continue posting, commenting, linking, blogging, tweeting, facebooking, etc. about your experience with Alesis.  With any luck our posts will be all that appears when googling "Alesis."
* Contact customer watchdog organizations.  They should get wind of this.

This should serve as a lesson to not only Alesis--but to all companies--that in this Internet age the customer really does come first.  Forget that and you'll be mercilessly blogged into oblivion.

UPDATE
Here's the full Alesis support forum thread - http://thormuller.com/long_topics/show.php?topic=io_dock_hiss&page=27

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  • Guest - Joe

    Man I have a Alesis Multimix 8 USB 2.0 and it's the worst purchasing decision I ever made. The drivers are relentlessly buggy and Alesis just don't even respond to emails. I once sent them 3 emails over the course of a month, and two weeks afterwards I got one back that says 'I know it's been a while, so just checking if you've fixed your problem yet? If not, let me know and I'll have a look at it'.

    Are you freaking kidding me?? The pots are noisy, the drivers are buggy, it occasionally has beeps coming out of it, the bug fixes are non-existent, and it's the same thing on the Alesis forums (note that their website has been down for almost a week now as of this posting), so forget about posting new bugs.

    from Australia
  • Guest - Mr. X

    READ THE POST OF 'PlainTalk' - this is the truth. Sure Alesis should have better informed their customers that this is a iOS problem, but I'm pretty sure that his was strictly forbidden by the contracts made with Apple. Ask an MFI developer about Apples disgusting contract rules - oh'll find nobody who will do in public. NDA all over...

  • Guest - PlainTalk

    Just found this whilst looking for something else. People crying about Alesis in this situation just don't understand software and are shooting the messenger. The platform (iPad/iOS 5) had the bug, not the hardware. Any connecting hardware using the iPad 30pin connector for audio in the same way would exposed the same Apple issue. The responsibility to fix lay with Apple. The only thing Alesis might have done was to tell people that iOS 5 is not a recommended platform for their product due to Apple software bugs. Apple were extremely quiet about this until they had fixed it.

    Yes, I had the bug too. It only appeared when using the GarageBand instruments - after a period of time. stopping and restarting GB between takes overcame the problem. Recording and playback of audio was always fine.

    OniPAD 2, Alesis firmware 1.07 and iOS 6, everything is absolutely fine.

  • Guest - J.m.

    Still no good after 5.1 update and updated firmware. Im back down to ios4.3.3 and no good there either. It just doesnt work. But there may be good news for those lucky like me and can still return it, the behringer istudio comes out soon and it has a few more features. The griffin studioconnect is out but i cant find any reviews on it, one thing that looks cool about it is that its not a dock so you wont have to take your ipad out of your case if u have one. If alesis cant fix it with firmwares themselves then even if they (apple) gets it working with the next ios5.x , What'll happen when the next next ios5.x.x comes out? Will it always be a problem? If it works with a new ios but then doesnt with the next one than is alesis going to tell us we cant update our ipads and if we do than they can say its our fault because we updated? Please dont let these threads fizzle out and die. Keep posting everywhere you can. Alesis awhile back limited the number of posts on there site to 15 and last week they shut it down completely to sweep away the evidence. Theres a new thread http://community.alesis.com/alesis/topics/io_dock_still_hissing_after_firmware_and_ios_5_1_updates. That someone started up where the one alesis shut down left off. Also dont forget to write reviews at. Musicians friend, american musical supply,sweetwater, music 123, amazon, alesis, harmony central, ultimate guitar, etc.

  • I actually ended up returning mine. Luckily, the shop I got it from gave me a full refund 4.5 months after purchase. It was as if they were familiar with the situation. Good store, bad Alesis!

  • Guest - chrizb

    What is the status now that Apple 5.1 iOS and garage band 1.2 is out? People with that rig, please respond :)

  • Guest - jazzchamaeleon

    You are totally right!
    I have the same problem - I purchased the io dock end of December and I thought it's only MY problem...
    Spread the word!
    It's unbelievable.
    Thanks for bringing it to the net

  • Guest - sama

    Damn! That's terrible!!!!

  • Guest - JT

    You may want to Post link to complete thread:
    http://thormuller.com/long_topics/show.php?topic=io_dock_hiss&page=27