iRig HD—Crystal clear tones for iOS guitar players

Recently I was lucky enough to win a copy of the iRig HD interface. I’ve been following IK Multimedia around the social networks long enough to know that this interface claimed to be the cleanest connection you’re likely to come across as you connect your guitar to your iOS device. I’m very skeptical normally and this time was no different. I’ve tested a few interfaces (I own several of my own) and for the most part they’re all very similar in the sound quality they provide (which is very good). When I played my guitar through my iPad using the iRig HD though, my skepticism was thrown out the window. Damn … The hype was worth it and it took me a year to realise.

I honestly am blown away by the clarity. Again, the skeptic in me thought that perhaps the improved sound only applied to AmpliTube (which would make sense as it’s also made by IK Multimedia). So I tested the iRig HD in all of my other iOS amplifier emulators (I have a few of those too). Damn it again. They’re all clearer! None of the apps or setups I tried could generate feedback.

That covers the sound quality. But what else is there to the iRig HD? Well, I’ve included a screenshot below that shows you all of the inclusions in the iRig HD package. For me, I needed the iRig HD and its 30-pin connector (I have an iPad 3 and iPhone 4S). For people with more modern technology the device also comes with a lightning connector. For those people wanting to connect to the Mac version of AmpliTube there is also a USB connector. That’s a very thorough and thoughtful setup. I remain impressed.

Also included in the package are the following items:

  • Registration card for the device
  • User manual/Quick Start Guide
  • Mini brochure of all the current IK Multimedia hardware and software choices (there are many)
  • Details on the free amps and pedals you’ll unlock in AmpliTube iOS
  • A free AmpliTube Metal serial number

AmpliTube Metal serial number! Awesome! I can say this with experience because I have AmpliTube Metal. It has some of my all-time favourite emulated metal tones (on any device/platform). Flangey 80s Stereo … I’m in love with that preset. But the free amps and pedals that the iRig HD unlocks in the iOS version of AmpliTube may just bring some of the awesome metal tones to the iPad for me.

Below you can see (stripped of all colour as I like to do) the two amps (Metal W and Metal 150) and the two pedals (Wharmonator and X-Flanger) after they’ve been unlocked. By the way, here’s a tip if you’ve just purchased the iRig HD and wondered “How do I activate the free amps and pedals with iRig HD?”  Quite simply, you need to open AmpliTube first and then plug in the iRig HD. AmpliTube will then recognise the device and unlock the freebies for you. And they’re absolutely amazing freebies.

Obviously I haven’t tested every interface there is in regards to the guitar/iOS realm (although I’m open to that if anybody would care to sponsor that project). I can honestly say though that of those I’ve tested, nothing comes close to this. The iRig HD is now my interface of choice.

If the iRig Pre has audio quality anything like this, then that interface is next on my wishlist. I’ve got some amplifier miking to do!

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