Choosing an iOS Guitar Interface

Still, IK are the pioneers and we have a lot to thank them for in the mobile world.

The iRig 2 is the newest incarnation of their original devices, utilizing the headphone/mic jack on the older iThings as the I/O. This makes things a little iffy with noise and especially, feedback issues. Some software will allow an anti-feedback mode to use with this style of interface, but that makes it mono, killing the ability to run The One True Path (a signal with no cab sim for the guitar amp and a signal with a cabinet simulator on for the PA system).

This particular unit has a 1/4″ output (but it is summed to mono as far as I can tell) and a stereo 1/8″ headphone out.

For historical reasons, I figured this unit needed to be on the list, as it is the modern presentation of a legacy, but unless you have an older device that can’t do lightning, I would definitely avoid this model.

iRig HD 2

Here we are with a modern, lightning interface from IK Multimedia. Personally, I feel this unit sounds MILES above the iRig 2, especially up high in the treble department. To me, the difference was stunning. And that is nothing compared to the noise and lack of feedback problems! Perfect, right?

Well, maybe, or maybe not so much.

I started getting horrendous noises and distortions when clicking on menus or sometimes, even at random. Initially, in communication with IK’s tech support, they sure made it seem like they hadn’t seen this problem before, but it wasn’t too long before I found forum posts explaining it and the problems, and finally, at the end IK spilled the beans. This device shouldn’t be used with the older devices, as something broke in OS 10 or so….Not IK’s fault, and the prevailing wisdom is that Apple is aware of this problem, but probably won’t be fixing it…Indeed, it has gone on so long that the time for fixing was a few generations ago, so that’s probably true.

Still, there should be a BIG FAT warning in giant letters at IK’s site warning of incompatibilities with this model and older devices. I believe it behooves any manufacturer to think of their customers this way. IK didn’t so I will


You’re welcome, IK Multimedia.

Back to the device itself, it has a 1/4″ output, though it also seems summed to mono, and an 1/8″ stereo headphone out.

But the levels? Hmmm…Well, that has been quite a struggle!

Low Output on iOS guitar interfaces

I have played tech support ping pong with IK for quite a while over this, and picked up another unit on Craigslist that had the same issues, so I am not convinced this device has the drive to put out a sensible level that your guitar amp wants. As far as I have been able to test, the level, at its very maximum, with the input and output gains driven to full distortion, is a full 12 dB less than the guitar that went into it. This is NOT the level your guitar amp wants to see.

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