One of my passions in life has always been music. I grew up around a family of musicians…uncles, aunts, cousins, dad, and my brothers were all musicians. So, naturally, I followed that path. I started playing drums when I was seven years old and graduated when I was 11 to the king-of-the-hill (in my eyes), the guitar. If you would have told me twenty-eight years ago that I would be playing my guitar through a small TV-like device that emulated the sounds of The Eagles, Pink Floyd, and Aerosmith, I would have called you insane. Yet, here we are in 2014 and IK Multimedia is doing just that with their iRigHD and AmpliTube for iPad Air (also available for iPhone and Mac).
The iRigHD is an interface for your guitar (or bass) that works with IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube application. This little tube-shaped device has a built in gain control with LED that lets you know when you’re pushing the audio limit. Blue indicates you’re in boring mode (better known as standby), while green, red, and orange indicate how heavy your signal is. Red, obviously, means you’re burning it up. Included with the iRigHD are connections for iPad/iPhone and Mac (both 30pin and Lightning are included).
Now, never having used the original iRig, I had to go back and read up on some other reviewers’ experiences, and most of what I read talked poorly about the original iRig’s sound quality. Never having experienced the original, I can confidently say that I had zero issues with sound quality from the iRigHD. My guess is that adding in the gain control into the iRigHD may have cleared up some of the sound issues others had with the original iRig. At any rate, the clarity is amazing. Even when driving it at full gain I didn’t get any distortion (I didn’t want) or any kind of feedback or noise.
The iRigHD is only half of the equation here. Bundle this puppy up with IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube app and you have yourself a full rig on your device that you can plug straight into your headphones, amp or direct box…a powerful rig. It would literally take me hours to get into the things you can do with AmpliTube. Let’s just delve into a few of the highlights and you’ll have to trust me that the rest of it is just amazing.
What’s the first thing every guitar player needs (at least those of us who weren’t born with perfect pitch or perfect ears)? A tuner. AmpliTube has a built-in tuner that works amazingly. As much as I love my BOSS TU-2, AmpliTube’s built-in works equally well, and I had no complaints about it at all. AmpliTube has a handful of preset sounds that combine their effects pedals, amplifiers, processors and cabinets into some really awesome sounds. You could simply live just fine with the presets and do a whole lot, but AmpliTube takes it further giving you the ability to create your own unique sound combining all the included goodies.
There are so many tools included in the software suite it’s mind blowing. You also have the option to buy more effects with in store app purchases (as if what’s included wasn’t enough). There’s also a metronome and a drum looper and even a recorder which I haven’t been able to play with just yet. You even have a MIDI input so you can control AmpliTube with any standard MIDI pedalboard. The in app store is filled with some nice extra amps and effects you can buy to create that sound your searching for. The iRigHD and AmpliTube app are so robust and feature-filled it will literally take you weeks to get through everything it has to offer.
iRig HD at a glance:
- High-quality instrument-level 1/4” Hi-Z input jack
- Detachable cables for Lightning, 30-pin and USB connector compatibility
- Preamp gain control
- High-quality low-noise, high-definition preamp
- High-quality 24-bit A/D conversion
- 44.1 and 48 kHz sampling rate
- Powered by the iOS device or USB
- Connect electric guitar and bass
- Also works with line level signals from synthesizers, keyboards and mixers
- Ultra-compact and lightweight
- Comes with AmpliTube FREE apps (free download on App Store)
- Comes with 4 exclusive gear models, never before available for iOS, which are unlocked in AmpliTube (v. 3.0 required) after the first time you connect iRig HD. The models include Metal W & Metal 150 (amps), and Wharmonator & X-Flanger (stompboxes)
- Free AmpliTube Custom Shop software (download from IK site) and free download of AmpliTube Metalcollection for Mac users
The iRigHD is a well built guitar interface that is small enough to be tossed into your guitar case but powerful enough to drive an amazing software program in AmpliTube. The most amazing thing about AmpliTube is the number of features you get for $19.99. And, you can build on the foundation they built with in app purchases of more stomp boxes and amplifiers. If I had the strength in my fingers I would be typing forever to list and explain the features and things you can do with the iRigHD and AmpliTube. Let’s just say this combination alone has replaced my rig completely. I no longer have to lug my effects rig with a dozen different heavy pedals. Just toss the iRigHD in my guitar case along with the iPad Air and I’m good to go. I highly recommend the iRigHD and AmpliTube app, if you’re looking for some great guitar effects and amp models at a reasonable price, this is the combo for you. Hit the links below to get yours.
Buy AmpliTube App