In the last couple of weeks we’ve finally been able to put our hands on the IK Multimedia iRig Pro, a compact audio/MIDI interface for iOS and OS X.
In terms of features per cm/inches, iRig Pro is quite impressive. We’re talking of a device that in approx. 40 g/1.41oz, 3,2cm/1.26″ x 10cm/4.14″ x 2cm/0.85″ (with the help of some little cables) packs: – a XLR/1/4″ combo jack for microphones and instruments – a MIDI input – Lightning, 30 pin and USB connectivity (no external adapter, the unit is bus-powered).
As you would expect from the list above, flexibility is the key here: in these weeks we’ve been using iRig Pro with an iPad Air and mics like Neumann TLM 49 (yes, iRig Pro supports phantom too, thanks to a 9v battery, included), Shure SM58 and SM57, digital and analog synths (like the recent Arturia Microbrute), some good old (and reliable) Yamaha and Oberheim MIDI controllers.
Well, this pocket-sized interface proved to be a faithful companion of basically any possible sonic adventure. Intuitive, with a low noise and clean preamp, so light and small that you can bring it anywhere and last but not least, extremely affordable (approx.. EUR 135, $149), iRig Pro is definitely a keeper.
Is it all roses and rainbows? Well, while features-wise iRig Pro is a clear winner, it shows margins of improvement on design and functionality. The volume knob is too recessed and a bit hard to control, the phantom switch is quite tiny and there’s no audio output.
At this price and with the amount of features that iRig Pro offers, it’s really hard to complain though. Here we have a truly mobile-friendly tool that allows musicians to capture their inspiration wherever/whenever needed, with a flexibility that beats even way more expensive products. For example, if you happen to have older MIDI keyboards lying in your studio, you’ll appreciate (like us) the possibility of using them with your iPad or iPhone. This means also you won’t have to run to the shop to buy one of those modern controllers (tiny keys, yes, we hear you) to be able to use your brand new iOS device and its synths.
The fact that you don’t need an external adapter it’s also a welcome bonus. Less clutter on the desk, and one thing less on your to-do list while on the road. Needless to say, when used with an iDevice, the iRig Pro will make its battery life shorter, but in our tests it’s never been a problem. I’d just recommend giving your iPad a good charge overnight and/or before starting a new creative session, and you’re good to go.
Conclusion If you’re shopping for an affordable audio/MIDI interface for your iOS setup (and why not, a simple one for your OS X laptop), we definitely recommend checking out iRig Pro. At this price, it’s hard to beat in terms of features, and it offers a solid performance to both pro and amateur musicians.
Price EUR 135, $149 approx. If you’d like to support ANR you can buy iRig Pro from Amazon following the links below, and we’ll get some cents out of it. Thanks!
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