Review: IK Multimedia iRig Pro DUO | iLounge

Review

Review: IK Multimedia iRig Pro DUO

A
Highly Recommended

Company: IK Multimedia

Model: iRig Pro DUO

MSRP: $200

Compatibility: All Lightning iPads, iPad minis, iPhones + iPod touches, Other iOS Devices*

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Jesse Hollington

We were very impressed with IK Multimedia's original iRig Pro when it came out two years ago — it's an accessory that does an excellent job of blending functionality from the company's prior iRig PRE XLR microphone interface, iRig HD guitar interface, and iRig MIDI adapter into a single unit that was even better than the sum of its parts. Now, IK Multimedia has released the "deluxe version" we predicted two years ago, and taken the design a step further with iRig Pro DUO ($200), a unit that adds a second channel to the multi-interface functionality of its predecessor along with a more elegant design and several additional small but useful enhancements. As with IK Multimedia's other accessories, iRig Pro DUO provides a standard Core Audio and Core MIDI interface into iOS devices, meaning it will work with almost all iOS audio and MIDI applications as well as IK Multimedia's own apps such as AmpliTube, SampleTank, and Mic Room, for which IK Multimedia also provides free gear upon registering iRig Pro DUO.

In addition to the iRig Pro DUO unit, the package includes two AA batteries, two five-foot 2.5mm to 5-pin DIN MIDI adapter cables, and three different two-foot adapter cables — Lightning, micro-USB, and standard USB — for connecting iRig Pro DUO to iOS, Android and Mac/PC devices. Around the outside of the iRig Pro DUO you’ll find a wide assortment of connections, with two 1/4” TRS/XLR combo jacks at the base for connecting audio input, a 3.5mm headphone monitoring port on the right side, and left and right 1/4” TRS balanced audio outputs for connecting to studio monitors or portable speakers. The top end includes a standard barrel connector for an optional 9VDC external power adapter, IK’s now-standard 7-pin DIN data connector, and 2.5mm MIDI IN and OUT ports. Older 30-pin Dock Connector devices are also supported, although users will need to order a Dock Connector cable separately from IK Multimedia; it’s worth noting however that the cables are now standard across all of IK’s Lightning-capable devices, so a Dock Connector cable for another IK device will work fine with the iRig Pro DUO as well.

While iRig Pro DUO provides the same general capabilities as the original iRig Pro — a combined guitar, microphone and MIDI interface, in contrast to the earlier model it not only supports two channels, but no longer needs to draw power from the connected iOS device. Instead of the 9V battery that was used only to provide 48V phantom power for higher-end condenser mics, iRig Pro DUO uses two AA 1.5V batteries to power the devices internals, in addition to the phantom power option. Users in a studio setting can also connect a 9VDC external power adapter to iRig Pro DUO to save the need to run from battery power. IK Multimedia promises battery life of between 3.5 and 10 hours when using NiMH rechargeable batteries, depending on load conditions — supplying phantom power to both inputs will naturally decrease battery life as opposed to using high-impedance analog instruments and/or MIDI equipment.

Like its predecessor, iRig Pro DUO provides combination 1/4” TRS/XLR jacks that can be used to connect either a high-impedance instrument such as a guitar or an XLR microphone, and with the two jacks on iRig Pro DUO, users can mix and match instrument and mic inputs as required. Each channel has its own independent gain control with a 27 dB (instrument) or 48 dB (mic) gain range. This can also be combined with the MIDI inputs on the top, which use the supplied 2.5mm to MIDI DIN cables for both in and out channels. Multicolored LEDs on the front of iRig Pro DUO provide visual level indicators as well as showing whether phantom power is enabled, and MIDI channel activity.

In our testing, iRig Pro DUO performed mostly on par with the company’s prior iRig Pro. We didn’t really notice any significant differences in terms of microphone performance with our usual test suite of condenser and dynamic microphones, but it’s worth nothing that the instrument input is now in the ultra-high impedance range (1 MΩ), providing even more options by allowing higher-end pickups for acoustic and bass guitars to be used. In terms of sound quality, we’ve come to expect great things from IK Multimedia’s preamps and digital-to-analog converters, and iRig Pro DUO doesn’t disappoint, with a virtually nonexistent noise floor and a ton of headroom in the preamp before the signal even gets to the onboard 24-bit DAC. The result is ultra-clean sound coming into your iOS recording app of choice.

Looking back at our review of the original iRig Pro and IK Multimedia’s other interfaces, we find there’s not much new to say about the sound quality of the iRig Pro DUO other than it remains great, and in some ways even exceeds the capabilities of its predecessor. Ultimately, what iRig Pro DUO offers over IK Multimedia’s earlier devices is a dual-channel interface with more flexible connectivity options, expanded instrument support, and the addition of a MIDI OUT channel — all for $50 more than the older iRig Pro. While users with budget constraints and/or simpler needs might still prefer to opt for IK’s more inexpensive options, if you’ve got the little bit of extra money to spend, iRig Pro DUO definitely provides the most bang for the buck, and comes highly recommended.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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