The iconic and pioneering iRig from IK Multimedia finally gets a makeover in HD form.
Manufacturer IK Multimedia
Price €79 .99
Contact IK Multimedia 01223 234414
The term HD is quite vague, so to be clear, the main difference in this HD upgrade is that the newer unit uses your iOS device’s 30-pin Docking port or Lightning port rather than the headphone port. The accessories include a lead for either connection as well as a USB connector to run this input-only device with your Mac. The Dock port offers much better sound quality than the headphone port, and since the iRig HD’s converters are 24-bit, this improves on an already respectable noise floor when using this connection type.
The unit is larger than the original iRig and all connectivity is via detachable cables, which avoids you having to bin the unit if a built-in cable fails. Asides from a jack input for your guitar and output connection to your hardware device, there’s nothing else in terms of connectivity. This means there’s no power connection, which is a shame as it limits your practice time with an iOS device as you’re running down the battery as you play.
The input stage of the iRig HD coped perfectly well with our double-humbucker output and the input has a gain dial for optimum gain-staging. The unit feels a lot more solid than the original and we immediately started using it plugged into our iPad.
It is purely an input device, so the headphone out of your iPod/iPhone, iPad or Mac needs to be wired into headphones or your speaker system. This is fine in terms of functionality, but with headphone use, both your Apple device and the iRig need to be kept quite close together as any of the included iRig cables measures only approximately 70cm. This makes it a little tricky to use for stand-up practice with headphones should you want to let loose.
In operation there’s a lot less computer noise and chatter than is evident in other products occupying this price range. The sound quality is quite neutral in terms of spectral balance, with plenty of detail and dynamics but without being excessively bassy or bright.
Asides from the headphones restrictions if you want to move around, the sound quality is a major upgrade from the original.