IK Multimedia, once known primarily for Mac, then iOS apps that act as amp profiles and stomp boxes, keeps releasing hardware to fill out the experience. The latest, the iRig 2, is a little dongle that lets you plug a mic or guitar into an iPad or iPhone, with the potential to offer more than a direct connection with a straight jack to stereo-minipin adapter cable.
This is smaller than an iRig Pro, which is square and chunky. iRig 2 is sleeker with rounded-off edges. It has nice, direct jack connectors – the iRig Pro’s connector has a smart, dual jack and mic connector at one end, but the other was an old-fashioned serial-port-styled port into which you could add a supplied Lightning or line cable. There’s nothing wrong with a serial cable connector as far as connectivity goes, but it’s difficult to get that plug aligned properly into the lug when you’re working in the gloom – and that’s petty much a stage state-of-being for most musicians.
iRig 2 has a fixed cable coming out with the stereo-minipin, and that’s next to a standard 6.3mm (1/4-inch) guitar jack output which you can send to a computer or an actual amp. On the other end another standard guitar jack sits next to a stereo-minipin out for headphones/earbuds.
Basically, adapting your guitar or bass straight into a Mac or iDevice with a line cable works, but there’s a distinct lack of volume and power. iRig 2 adds a little flexibility to that with a gain control, signal path selection and its variety of inputs and outputs. Your iDevice can add the pre-amplification.
Also supplied with the 2 is a clip you can choose to install, meaning you can attach the 2 to a slim-profile guitar strap directly, or perhaps your lapel. But a supplied velcro strap can be threaded through this so you can attach the iRig 2 to a mic stand.
On one side is the gain dial and a switch for ‘Thru’ or FX. This switch lets you select between a processed signal (FX) or the clean ‘Thru’ input signal, which does let you use your mobile device as a tuner, recorder or other tool while preserving the purity of a 100% analogue signal path. FX lets you use your AmpliTube or whatever.
This is already pretty versatile straight out of the box, but IK expects you use it with its AmpliTube multi-effects processor app, which comes in free and paid versions to offer various amp and stompbox profiles. These apps are more and more cross-platform, with software that includes free versions of AmpliTube for iOS, Android and Mac or PC.
Unlike iRig Pro, there’s no battery as iRig 2 has no onboard electronics – essentially it’s a patch cable with options, letting you connect your guitar to your iDevice. Your smart device has all the electronics you need, and can clean up and process your signal while adding effects and the amp profile sound you like, but the gain control adds a something missing from the original iRig line unit.
Check out a video of iRig 2 in action here.
Mac NZ’s buying advice — iRig HD (NZ$169) offers a cleaner sound with more power since it has onboard battery-powered electronics, but it costs more. iRig 2 is a very handy, and very pocketable, useful device for what it does.
iRig 2, NZ$99.95, available from music and guitar shops.
System — Instrument input connection, 6.3mm jack, amplifier output connection 6.3mm jack, device output connection 3.5mm TRRS jack (guitar and mic combined), headphone output connection: 3.5mm jack (stereo minipin).
Input Impedance 380kOhms, frequency response 20Hz to 20kHz (±0.2 dB).
Most Mac computers starting from late 2008 are compatible with the exception of the Mac Pro line. To check if your Mac is compatible, from the Apple Menu select About This Mac>More Info>System Report>Audio and check that External Microphone/iPhone headset appears in the list of included features.
More information — IK International.