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Music Gear Review

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iRig HD Package

iRig HD

IK Multimedia

Equipment & Hardware

Mac, iPhone, iPad


By the early 1980's the Sony Walkman was spreading around the globe and, for the first time, music listining became ultra-portable and personal. For the guitarist, there was an equally important revolution in the form of the Rockman, produced by Sholz Research & Development. Musicians could plug their guitars and headphones into a box slightly bigger than a deck of cards which could produce full sound complete with effects like chorus, echo and reverb.

Now, in the era of laptop multi-tracking, smartphones and tablets, IK Multimedia offers a similar experience for the modern guitarist.

iRig HD connection options illustrated

Simply plug your guitar's normal quarter inch jack into one end of the iRig HD. An included Lightning or USB cable goes from the other end directly into your Mac, iPhone or iPad.

If you're using your Mac start with Garage Band or Logic Pro. If you're feeling adventurous and have some spare cash, IK Multimedia sells recording and mixing applications along with a number of plugins, virtual instruments and simulated signature sounds. These can be rather expensive but the options are limitless.

For those of you saying "Wait a minute, I can already plug my guitar directly into my Mac and use Garage Band", your mac is probably a few years old. If you're lucky enough to have a newer Retina Macbook Pro, you were probably dissapointed to find that Apple no longer includes an audio-in interface. Enter the iRig HD via the USB port which provides a clean digital signal with built-in gain adjustment.

Ultimately the signal amplification provided by the iRig HD and powered by your comuter's USB port produces better sound into your computer than plugging in directly from your guitar.

songsterr instruments screenshot

When you download the free AmpliTube App (see separate review here) or purchase one of their fancier apps and plug the iRig HD into your iPhone or iPad you get the real power of a portable, personal amplification system. Again, IK Multimedia offers many options for you to spend money on effects and signature sounds, this time in the form of in app purchases. This can be very convenient but its also easy to get carried away without realizing how much money you've spent chasing that perfect sound.