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REVIEW: IK Multimedia's iRig HD 2

Laura  Barnes
REVIEW: IK Multimedia's iRig HD 2

Eagle-eyed readers might remember a review that MI Pro posted a couple of months back on IK Multimedia’s superb amp modelling software, AmpliTube 4.

The company has made a name for itself by providing solutions for musicians with an array of music software, hardware and accessories, with this year being its 20th anniversary. Not content to sit back on their laurels and high-five 20 years of software/hardware creation, the team at IK Multimedia has recently upgraded the very popular iRig guitar interface just in time for Christmas.

The iRig HD 2 is an interface that allows guitarists to route their signal into a PC or Mac, however the real aim of the unit is towards the musician on the go, with the AmpliTube 4 software that comes free with the iRig also compatible with mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android and tablets, turning these devices into a fully-functional effects processor.

This ultimately means that by simply connecting a standard guitar lead from your instrument into the iRig, and connecting the iRig into your chosen device (all leads included) the musician has the ability to play absolutely anywhere with the minimum of fuss, and without the need to switch on amps/effects pedals and units, etc. This is extremely useful when travelling, or if you have an idea for a riff or song late at night and don’t want to go to the hassle of setting up your full guitar rig.
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Users of the older model will know just how versatile a unit the iRig is, and it seems that there has been some neat updates to the newer model that includes an integrated headphone output with level control, 24-bit/96kHz audio quality and amp out jack (with switchable output included).

When connecting to your chosen device, a blue LED light glows to let you know the unit is operational. There’s no need to upload any additional software, as iRig HD 2 is class compliant, another nice touch. Audio can be sent through to headphones, or via the 1/4-inch amplifier jack, which is useful if you’re using studio monitors or powered speakers.

The instructions on connecting the iRig HD 2 to your chosen device are extremely straightforward, and once you’ve selected the iRig HD 2 and AmpliTube as the preferred device/software from the audio settings you can very quickly get sounds going and begin playing with the amps and effects. In my case it took about five minutes, which is about five minutes under my concentration and patience limit when setting up a tech product for the first time, before walking away in a rage of disgust. Top marks, iRig HD 2.

There are two signal level controls, a volume that controls the headphone and a gain that controls the preamp for the guitar. Getting these two right with each other, especially the guitar preamp level, avoids the guitar clipping out when giving it any real welly. Both are slider controls and easy to operate.

Once you’re off and playing with iRig you are immersed in a vast array of guitar amps, tones and effects to keep even the seasoned player amused for hours and hours. AmpliTube 4 really is an impressive piece of software to play with. One word of warning, though; as with all distortion effects it’s best to keep a regular check on levels when playing through headphones to avoid any permanent hearing loss, which is easily done when on a Jimi trip playing through a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier amp model.

The iRig HD 2 is a fantastically versatile unit that delivers amazing tones and portability at a very competitive price. Suitable for the beginner, home musician or seasoned pro, it offers a digital solution that all guitarists can benefit from.

iRig HD 2 is available now from IK Multimedia with a RRP of 99.99. Find out more at http://www.ikmultimedia.com

Tags: ik multimedia , Reviews , iRig HD 2

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