It has been nearly five years since Travis reviewed the original iRig and two since I reviewed the iRig HD. Now IK Multimedia is back with iRig 2, the low-cost sequel to the best-selling classic iRig. And while this doesn’t knock iRig HD off the sonic perch, it brings in Android compatibility and a number of great new features!
Here are some of the features:
- The sequel to the best-selling iRig interface
- 1/4” instrument input for use with guitar, bass and other line instruments
- 1/4” amplifier output for use with an external amplifier without an adaptor
- 1/8” TRRS output for use with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and Android
- 1/8” headphone output
- Compact and lightweight design
- Selectable dual-mode switch: FX and THRU
- Input gain thumbwheel for easy signal control
- Comes with microphone stand Velcro strip
- Comes with AmpliTube FREE and a full suite of powerful IK applications and software
The original iRig was a revelation and a revolution – not since the Rockman came out in 1982 had anything arrived to enable guitar playing on the go as much as the combination of iRig and Amplitube on the iPhone. But as I noted previously, nearly five years have passed – the iPhone 3GS was Apple’s flagship when the original iRig shipped!
As I noted in my original iRig HD review, there were concerns from the original iRig, which extend to my time reviewing the iRig 2. Among them are: signal path, connectivity, and value. But before we get there let’s look at some of the features.
There are three major new features that differentiate the new iRig 2 from the original:
- Gain Dial: Previously you were limited to the output of your instrument, meaning that the output from iRig could overload or be too low when recording, leading to poor signal-to-noise and bad sound quality. The iRig HD introduced variable gain, which allows you to match your guitar to your system.
- 1/4″ Amp Output: The ability to send your output direct to your amp is … awesome.
- Thru Switch: the ability to flip a switch and have the clean guitar signal go through to your amp is excellent, allowing you to use Amplitube as a tuner while your real amp is used for processing sound.
There is also now an integrated VCelcro strap with mount that allows you to easily tether the iRig 2 in place.
The signal path remains fully analog, but this is NOT the same beast as the original iRig. It definitely sounds like IK Multimedia has cleaned up the signal path considerably, eliminating sources of noise, interference and cross-talk as much as poissible. I still noticed some hum as I was using iRig with my iLoud and then working with my Macbook Air, but it is much less of an issue than what I experienced with iRig.
The simple question I have been asked is: does it sound as good as iRig Pro. No. Quite simply the HD audio and 24-bit signal path of the iRig HD keeps it the best sounding guitar interface you can buy. But it also costs 250% more than iRig 2!
Connectivity is less of an issue for the iRig 2 than for iRig HD because it uses an analog 1/8″ TRRS connector. This means you can plug directly into your iPhone or Android device’s headphone jack. No worrying about Lightning or 30-pin or micro-USB. At the same time the attached 1/8″ cable is shorter than any of the accessory cables supplied with iRig HD, meaning you have to keep your iRig 2 very close to your smartphone. Not a big deal, just a slight inconvenience.
The final issue is that of value. At a list price of $39.99, the iRig 2 costs less than a decent case for your phone, yet provides you with the ability to play your guitar anywhere, tune it up, make it sound like a variety of amplifiers, route the signal through to your amp with or without signal conditioning, and adjust gain to match pretty much any setting. This is an incredible bargain.
MSRP: $39.99 at IK Multimedia Store
What I Like: Great design; solid sound quality; external gain control for line-matching without distortion; ability to pass signal through unprocessed
What Needs Improvement: Nothing
Source: Manufacturer provided review sample
Check out these videos of the iRig 2 from IK Multimedia: