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IK Multimedia iRig review

pic pic

The iRig is a simple solution for connecting electric guitars to iPhones, iPads and some Macs. It makes use of headset connectors present in those devices, so it's more like a headset with guitar input instead of a microphone and headphone output which can be used to connect speakers as well. Its sound quality and latency are dependant on audio interfaces present in whatever you connect it to.

Features 9/10

Features:

  • Guitar input
  • Headphone/speaker output
  • Dedicated Amplitube Free software
  • Doesn't require additional power supply
  • Works with iPhone, iPad and some Mac computers

Sound quality 5/10

The iRig has some obvious high frequency noise on both iPhone and iPad. It's probably not so much its fault, because it makes use of inputs designed for connecting microphones, not guitars. Other than that it produces pleasant guitar tones with the Amplitube Free. The more gain, the more hiss there is.

Round trip latency (iPad 2, iPhone 4)

Below are round trip latency measurements of the iRig. In theory you should keep your overall latency below 12 miliseconds and the smaller it is, the better it feels. There are two latency settings in the Amplitube FREE for iOS - Low and Ultra Low.The second setting is usable, however the delay is noticable, so for everyday jamming you will go better with a POD.

The iRig plugged into a Mac mini from 2011 operates at round trip latency of 2.7ms, but in this case an active di-box does is more appriopriate, noise free and cheap.

Latency setting Measured latency (iPhone 4) Measured latency (iPad 2)
Ultra Low 10.997ms 10.997ms
Low 16.689ms 16.689ms

IK Multimedia iRig latency measurement results, iPad 2, iPhone 4, iOS 5

Ease of use 10/10

Plug in, launch the software and play.

pic pic

Amplitube FREE on an iPad 2

Overall 6/10

The iRig is an additional tool that has its flaws which should be taken into consideration. There are situations in which it's a bless, but it's not that good to use it everyday. It's great to have the possibility to record musical ideas on an iPhone or an iPad. There's some noise, there's noticable latency

Advantages

pic Ease of use
pic Free guitar amp simulating software with built-in tuner and metronome
pic Possibility to record your ideas on an iPhone or an iPad

Drawbacks

pic Latency, which is acceptable on the "Ultra Low" setting only
pic Just one amp, one cab, a noise filter, delay and a distortion pedal, you can buy more gear through the app
pic Price
pic Hiss
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