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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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