IK Multimedia is well-known in the mobile recording space with a plethora of different devices available for tech savvy musicians. The company recently released the latest addition to its lineup of portable audio recording interfaces known as the iRig Pro I/O. The new interface supports just about any kind of connectivity a musician or producer could need along with compatibility for all major platforms from iOS and Android to Mac and more.
Head below to find out more about what the new iRig has to offer over the already available options and more in our hands-on review.
First, the new model iRig is noticeably more robust feeling in your hands. While it is hard to say exactly – in terms of materials or actual manufacturing processes – how IK managed this, but it is certainly a much better physical build than previous models we have used. Considering this is, in large part, a portable recording system, it is nice to see the the company step it up a notch in this regard.
As I mentioned previously in our launch coverage, the packaging is quite nice here as well. Considering the total value of the product I would say the folks at IK have gone slightly over and above. We also get all of the needed cables and adapters, including the Lightning connection, in the box.
At the heart of it, this is essentially a basic audio/MIDI interface for your iPhone, iPad or Mac. Using a combination XLR/1/4-inch connector, the new iRig is more than capable of handling everything from your various acoustic instruments and vocals, to electric guitars, synthesizers and more. Along with the ability to pass phantom power to your condenser mics, we are getting a full 24-bit conversion at up to 96kHz. Those are some nice specs for the price range. While the recording didn’t quite stand up to a pro $4,000+ interface here in the studio, we were able to get some fantastic sounding vocals and acoustic guitar tracks with a little bit of post-processing. We also found there to be no major latency issues even at the highest bit/sample rates.
You can expect a nice headphone monitoring jack with its own volume control, LED indicators and a large, main gain pot. I can really appreciate a nice, large and highly useable main control here, and the direct volume control on the headphones is a must-have for me and many others. Nice one IK.
One thing that tends to plague smaller, single in/out interfaces of this nature is the reliance on a single connection to your iPad or iPhone. In most cases, this will limit us to using the interface either as a MIDI hub or an audio interface, but not with iRig Pro I/O. There are small 2.5mm MIDI in/out connections on the side of the small box. This enables us to run audio and MIDI down the Lighting cable to our DAWs without having to re-patch everything every time we want to switch to a new setup or instrument. And don’t worry, IK provides a breakout cable to convert those odd 2.5mm MIDI jacks into your standard DIN cables.
Now one thing we should point out is this is one of the only interfaces of this nature that can simultaneously charge your iPad at the same time. Well..kind of anyway. It can run on a pair of AA batteries or over the Lightning cable, but that won’t charge your device. You’ll need to purchase the additional $40 power supply in order to do that, which seems expensive for anyone not doing longer, entirely mobile recording sessions. Keep in mind, that you can use third party PSUs, but they won’t be MFi-approved like the iRig Pro I/O and the official power supply.
While IK might be a little bit guilty of constantly re-releasing slightly upgraded models of its already existing gear, and the iRig Pro is no exception there, although I’m not sure this is entirely a bad thing. It is nice to see IK continually offering up state-of-the-art products in an era where most music production companies will leave an aging product on the shelf for way to many years. At $149.99, with MIDI and audio built-in, I wouldn’t hesitate to say the iRig Pro I/O is one of the best audio interfaces in the price range when it comes to portability and quality.
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