IK Multimedia, first with their innovative iOS apps and, more recently, with their hardware add-ons, have changed the landscape for many people working in the music industry. Check out this trio of recent offerings.
First up, the new kid on the block, the iRig STOMP ($79.95 from the Apple Store). This is a standard size stomp box, or effects pedal as we used to call them. The unit can be added into your current chain of effects to control any guitar modelling ( AmpliTube, etc.) you may have active on your iOS device. It can also be used simply as a guitar or bass interface into an iOS device.
Connect the STOMP to your iThing with the supplied cable, and connect your guitar or bass to the STOMP. Then use one or both of the output sockets to connect to external amplifiers or a PA system. Or connect a set of headphones. The large rotary knob gives you fine control of your guitar volume. When used with headphones the foot switch can be used to turn the guitar off but still allow you to listen to other audio signals from the iOS device without unplugging the STOMP. The device is battery-powered but also can be powered externally.
In my case I don’t use effect pedals any more. I switched to guitar modelling on my iPod touch when AmpliTube was released. So for me the STOMP is going to replace my faithful old iRig guitar interface when I’m performing live. It’s far more solid and much more stable. The master volume and bypass switch seal the deal. And it sounds pretty good too.
Next up we have an interesting concept. Pick a world-renowned rock guitarist and then use digital guitar modelling to put together a portfolio of his amplifiers, speaker setups effects and settings. And then tailor it for the iOsphere. Voilà, AmpliTube Slash ($15.99 from the App Store). Using the familiar AmpliTube interface, Slash lets you sound just like the former Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist.
You get two amplifiers – a Marshall AFD 100 and a Marshall JCM Slash, and six of his favourite effect pedals. 30 presets, some with weird names like Apocalyptic, Nasty Clean and Just Heavy, cover most of his main settings. Of course you can customise each one at will. Not being a Guns N’ Roses aficionado, I can’t pass any expert comments but the range of sounds would suit a surprisingly wide spectrum of musical styles.
I’m hoping this idea catches on. I’d love to sound like Mark Knopfler or even further back like Hank B Marvin of the Shadows. Or BB King.
And lastly the iRigMIX ($129.95), which is a compact two-channel audio mixer for the range of iOS devices. Measuring 100mm X 200mm and constructed of a white plastic, it offers a good range of features for such a small device.
Out of the box connect the included power supply to a micro USB port at the top of the device. Then use the included RCA to 3.5mm cable to connect to an external powered system. Connect the headphones to a socket at the bottom of the device which has its own volume control. If you plan to mix with one IOS device, connect it to the iRigMIX Channel 1 with the supplied cable.
You will also need a DJ app on your iOs device, of course. I’m using DJ Rig but there are others available. Importantly you need to set your DJ app to split the output from the Settings screen into dual mono. And set the on-board input switch to a single iOS device.
If you want to mix with two devices, connect a second device to the Channel 2 input with the supplied cable. Then set the input switch to two devices.
On board you have left and right faders and a cross-fader. Channels 1 and 2 have gain, treble and bass controls from -15 to +15, and Cue buttons. There’s also a feature called X-Sync which allows you to beat-sync audio from your IOS device to audio from any other source.
Four substantial rubber feet keep the MIX nice and steady while you’re working on the faders. The sound quality is remarkably clean for such a compact inexpensive device.
Now I have to confess, I’m not a DJ. Never was, and probably never will be. Yet I can see applications for an iOS/MIX set up for family functions, public meetings and in schools. But as a practising solo musician, I’m really interested in the Channel 3 input. Here I can plug in my guitar and use the guitar apps on my iPad (AmpliTube, Fender, JamUpPro and now Slash) and use the iRigMIX as a hardware mixer. Or plug in a microphone and tailor the vocal sound through VocaLive.
In fact iRig MIX includes four free apps as downloads from the iTunes App Store. The aforementioned VocaLive, DJRig and AmpliTube, and then GrooveMaker, which does what it says.
When I remember the 1970s and 1980s when DJs needed a truck and a roadie to cart their gear around, the idea of an iPad or two, and iRigMIX into a compact PA system like I use – a Yamaha StagePas 500 coupled with a 12in DB sub bass, all of which fits in the back of my Toyota Echo – sounds like heaven.
Nice work IK Multimedia. Keep ‘em coming
Macworld Australia is giving away one unit of the iRig MIX, valued at $129.95. For your chance to win, head to our competitions page and enter now!