If you’ve ever been camping and while sitting around a fire strumming your guitar, stumbled upon that riff or song that you knew was a winner? A decade ago your only viable option was to try and remember it for when you got home. More recently, perhaps you grabbed your smartphone and hit record on an app so that while you wouldn’t have anything even near decent quality, and least you could use it later to remember what it was that you were playing. Now, your options are increasing to the point that you could grab your phone, tablet, or laptop and with your new iRig interface could record a studio quality version of your newest opus. Depending on what recording app and effects/accesories you have on your mobile device, you could record, mix, master, and upload a finished tune without ever leaving the warmth of the fire. The iRig Acoustic and the iRig Pro Duo will ensure that whenever and wherever inspiration hits, you are ready.
The iRig Acoustic is a mic and interface that features a high quality clip on microphone/pickup that instantly and effortlessly attaches to your guitar, ukulele, or other stringed instrument. You then connect it to your mobile device, open a recording app like AmpliTube Acoustic or iRig Recorder and you are good to go. Using the device’s app, you can add effects, dial in the tone you want and then record a high quality audio file. If you’ve ever set up a mic in front of your guitar’s sound hole in order to record some acoustic passages, then you’re likely aware of how frustrating it can be to find that sweet spot of microphone placement. If you move at all while playing, then you are changing the spatial relationship between your guitar and the mic and end up with an uneven recording. The iRig Acoustic takes that issue away.
It was incredibly easy to set up. I went from unboxing, installing, and preparing to record in less than a minute. Now, having said that, since I have a DAW on both my Mac and PC, I have decided to not spend significant dollars on mobile recording apps since I wouldn’t really use them. Since this product is about mobility, rather than connecting it to my Mac, I recorded on my iPad. As I only have the free versions of AmpliTube and iRig Recorder, to say that my options were limited is an understatement. In order to have full functionality on these apps it is going to cost you. As we are all aware now, in-app purchases can end up being pricey. In AmpliTube’s defense, they do offer a lot of choice as far as packages and bundles that would be specific to your needs as far as genre or other considerations, but I chose not to spend any money so in my attached video I was only able to record a raw acoustic signal with no effects. I was also only able to transfer a compressed audio file of the recording as it would cost extra to have access to transferring the uncompressed file. Now, if you were going to do a lot of recording on your mobile device then by all means the full app is what you want and you can upgrade aspects of it as you go along and find that you now need them which is certainly better than having to pay one large sum upfront and by default receiving a bunch of features that you will never use.
iRig Pro Duo
The iRig Pro Duo also offers significant flexibility in recording. It also allows for mobile recording but is still relatively rich in features and like the iRig Acoustic, you can use the iRig Pro Duo to record in your studio or around the campfire. It does, however, have significantly more features than the iRig acoustic. It records in 24 bit sound and also has a midi connection. The biggest difference though is that it has 2 channels which means you can record guitar and vocals, or 2 guitars at the same time. While it can be powered with an optional adapter, it will also work with 2 AA batteries and fits in the palm of your hand so it is incredibly mobile in that respect. The inputs are a dual XLR/TRS so for instance you can connect a microphone via XLR and a guitar with a traditional ¼ inch jack. You can record guitar, bass, keyboards, or microphones and two channels means you can record two at a time. Depending again on which app/software you are using, you can record up to two at a time but create a full multi-track recording in the software itself.
The iRig Pro Duo also has phantom power capabilities so in addition to recording dynamic mics, it can also record condenser mics when using this function. If plugging in a Midi controller you can do this easily with the included TRS to Midi-DIN cables through the in/out jacks, This will let you control Midi compatable software but also lets you send Midi data to a keyboard for example. Again, you can use this to record and edit on your mobile device (iOS or Android), laptop, or within in your desktop Digital Audio Workstation (PC or Mac). Incredible diversity in a unit so compact and portable.
This unit was also incredibly easy to use. Simple to setup and I was recording in minutes. I recorded into my iPad’s free AmpliTube app and also into my Mac’s Logic DAW. Obviously it was easier for me to work with the music in Logic than on my iPad but that is mostly because, as was the issue with the iRig Acoustic, I was using the free versions of the apps and had limited resources at my disposal. While I already have a couple of different audio interfaces attached to my studio computers, you don’t need those if you are going to record to a desktop as the iRig Pro Duo is the interface that allows you to record and monitor directly to your DAW on its own. This is an very cost effective way to get into home recording and it offers you studio quality audio and versatility in addition to its mobility. I recorded a video using this with my ipad but after editing the iRig Acoustic video, I realised that they function essentially the same way in that environment and since I had limited abilities in the free app versions, decided that the one video was sufficient. Or perhaps more poignantly, one video to rule them all.
Amazingly easy to use, easy to set up and carry around, and all while able to record very good quality audio, the iRig Acoustic and the iRig Pro Duo are worthy of consideration if you are looking to get into more mobile recording situations. The Pro Duo is also something to look at if you want to dip your toe into home recording on your Mac or PC. It is an inexpensive yet quality audio interface in addition to all the other features and functions it offers. The only real downside I encountered wasn’t with the products themselves but with the apps that you need on your mobile devices. Just keep in mind that in order to get it to do what you want, whether with sound or recording/editing functionality, you will have to pay more to access those features in the apps. Other than that, two great devices to add to the already impressive list of output from the IK Multimedia family.