Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a rock star. It’s influenced my fashion sense with mixed results, rowdy behaviour at gigs (no matter how big or small ), and has led to a multitude of questionable haircuts. However, this is all in the realm of the superficial, window dressing to what actually matters: the sound.
When I learned of iRig’s musical updates to their iPhone and iPad musical equipment, the opportunity to blend my working life with the one of my dreams was too good to pass up. I checked out three of their latest products for home recording and was so impressed wit the results that I donned my leather jacket, styled my hair into a mohawk and jumped around my room until my girlfriend asked me to keep the noise down because he was watching TV. It’s only rock and roll, but I LOVE it.
1. iRig Voice
As smartphones have taken over pretty much every other form of music storage, it seems only right that instead of singing along with your favourite records, you croon together with the artists as your smartphone or tablet acts as jukebox. There are a plethora of Karaoke apps on the App Store and the iRig Voice microphone works with all of the major ones, allowing you to record your tone-deaf warbling/beautiful harmonising (delete as appropriate) from the comfort of your own bedroom. IK Multimedia released their own EZ Voice app that works as a mini-Karaoke studio in that you can import songs from your music library and then sing along to them, recording your progress and adding effects that you can get via in-app purchases.
The dual-input jack means that you can plug it in to your iPad and then plug either headphones or speakers into the jack, allowing you to hear both the song that’s playing and your own voice as you howl along.
The quality of the microphone is fairly decent and it’s a lot of fun; my bright yellow device means that I won’t be taking it to play any metal concerts any time soon, but it will go down a treat at Karaoke guilty pleasures night, especially when I add a bit of ‘reverb’ and ‘choir’ to my heartbreaking version of ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’…
Link: iRig Voice
2. iRig HD
Remember your school days when you had to get your mum to pick up your bandmate and load all of the amps, pedals, leads, wires, etc. into the boot of the car and ferry you around to the drummer’s garage where you would spend an hour setting everything up, hammer out three Green Day songs before it was time to go again? Well, I do. Those days are now abolished with the advent of technology, especially nifty little gadgets such as the iRig HD, which allows you to plug a guitar directly into your iPhone, iPad or Mac, channelling the sound out of any headphones or speaker that you want to plug in via an assortment of pedal and amp AmpliTube apps that cover everything that you’ll ever need in terms of fuzz, distortion, wah, and suchlike.
The device itself is pretty compact and has variety of input cables that you can interchange, depending on whether you’re plugging it into an iPhone 4 or 5 or a Mac. The sound quality is superb and once you start to explore the suite of apps, some of which are tailored to a famous guitarist’s sound, others to a style of amp (think Slash, Hendrix, Fender) you’ll stick all of your old fuzz boxes, wah wah pedals and distortion boxes on eBay. Seriously, imagine the ease of going to gigs and rehearsals armed only with your iPad and one (I’ll repeat that, ONE) lead! You can also record your tunes directly onto the AmpliTube app, so you carry your studio around with you.
Can’t recommend this one enough; it’s the portal to consolidating all of your hardware into one shiny tablet. If nothing else, think of the space that you’ll save!
Link: iRig HD
The baby brother to the iRig HD, the iRig is still a very useful piece of equipment for those who want to travel even lighter. The size of a cigarette lighter, this device lets you plug any guitar and bass into your iPad Touch, iPhone or iPad and access all of the features of AmpliTube: the tuner, pedalboard, amp head, cabinet, microphone and the 4-track recorder. Sure, you need a few in-app purchases to really reap the benefits of such a rig but this is a drop in the ocean to how much you’ll save on separate pedals, wires, leads, etc.
Although the iRig HD offers a distinctly superior sound quality, the iRig is a perfectly decent starting point and great for someone who wants to dip their toe into the enticing pool of iRecording.
Link: iRig HD