The iRig is a pretty nifty bit of gear if you’re in a pinch or have limited bag space
Recording and gigging as a guitarist is only ever getting more and more complex. If you’re a modern guitarist chances are you’ve got an amp, a pedal board, an interface, a computer with a DAW to record with and if you’re hip with your gear, you might have a digital modeller.
Let’s welcome IK Multimedia’s iRig USB to the discussion, an interesting new player in the field, one that can has it’s fingers in every pie and if it’s not enough to make you want to part with any of your favourite gear, might just be affordable enough that you’ll want to add it to the collection.
At its core the iRig USB is a USB-C based audio interface that allows you to connect your guitar to your laptop, phone or tablet. Getting familiar with this little device is super straightforward.
It’s got a USB-C connection for going to your device, a 3.5mm headphone jack to monitor, a quarter inch input jack and a quarter inch through jack to send the signal out to your amp. It also has an FX / thru switch.
When you pick up an iRig you’ll get IK Multimedia’s popular AmpliTube SE and TONEX SE software included. These are stacked with emulations of iconic amplifiers and effects pedals and they can both run both as standalone software or as plugins in your DAW.
If you really wanna get stuck in, you can even use the TONEX software to capture your own amps and pedals which you can then load into Amplitube.
This all offers a super simple way to get your direct guitar signal into your DAW for digital reamping, particularly if you’re often on the road and wanna be able to quickly and easily whip up some demos or track your remote recording session jobs.
One function that I think is really exciting about the iRig USB is its gigging capacity. Because the Amplitube and TONEX softwares are available on your iPhone (as far as I can tell these are only available on iOS) you can actually just load your tones up on your phone and output straight from there.
Another option is to run a cable from the quarter jack amp output to a house amp and use your phone just as your pedalboard. Either way – no lugging a pedalboard and amp to your next rehearsal or gig.
Of course you won’t be able to easily stomp on switches and activate effects on the fly, but if you tend to stick to one sound for a whole song or set, this is an interesting and hyper portable rig.
I’ve been an amp modelling guy for a while. I take a modeller with me to gigs to save myself the headache of using dodgy house gear and weird amps. I also very often use it to record guitars for my productions.
The iRig certainly isn’t going to take the place of the kit that I have, but it’s also a hell of a lot cheaper than what I’ve got and the idea that I can chuck it straight in your pocket with my phone means it’s a pretty nifty bit of gear and a handy option to have if you’re in a pinch or have limited bag space.
The iRig USB is currently going for 69.99 Euros so we can expect it to hit aussie shelves for around 120 AUD. If you’re keen to learn more, check out their website.