You might have already seen my initial review about the Amplitube iRig. If not you may want to check it out since it focuses on specs, features, and has a demo video. So I've had some time to play with the iRig testing is with an electric guitar and numerous iPhone apps for effects and multi-track recording. Here's my hands on impressions.
Oh, I should mention I haven't spend hours with this yet, so consider this my preliminary review. Once I spend more time I'll come back here and add any additional details or changes of opinion. Thanks!
iRig Physical Quality Review – Not great.
It's not impressive. When I opened it I was actually expecting based on photos of the product a much more sturdy case, something that you could step on. This is just a wimpy plastic shell held together by one small black screw.
I popped it open and the electronics are solid and the ports are well connected to the circuit board. The board has a handful of tiny components on it looking mostly like resistors. I assume this is for impedance matching at least and maybe some amount of level management. You can see the photo below. Sorry not the greatest quality photo.
From a physical quality standpoint it's not great. I've bought more sophisticated electronics for a quarter of the price from Walmart before. How they can charge $40 for this is beyond me. I guess you're paying for what it can do and not what it is.
You can tell I took this photo with an iPhone 3GS.
iRig Sound Quality Review – Darn Good.
The iRig does what it says. I tested it in a number of guitar effects apps and it was quiet and loud. In one app I was continuously getting a feedback sound with one effect but that may have simply been the effect itself–I need to look into that more. From a sound quality standpoint the iRig seemed solid.
iRig Compatibility Review – Darn Good.
An important thing I noted is that the iPhone 3GS seems to always detect when I had the unit plugged in–that's a good sign. With some cable adapters the iPhone will sometime miss that an adapter is plugged in and won't switch on the mic circuit. Keep in mind I only tested this on an iPhone and each iDevice and even the different builds of each react differently to devices attached to the mic/headphone jack, so you're millage may vary. However typically even when this is a problem it's minor. You unplug and replug the device to fix it.
So, the cable is so darn short that it feels like attaching a guitar cable directly to the iPhone/iPod, I think this would drag down an iPad almost as easily.
The problem with this is if you set it on a table then the cable is so heavy it pulls the phone right off the table. You'll need to really anchor your phone down or tie the cable around the leg of the table or tape it down so the iPhone can sit without being moved or dropped.
If you have a wireless system then no worries. Just set it next to the wireless transmitter.
Honestly though, this is something IK should have realized when they created and tested this product. To me this is the single biggest disadvantage to this particular device, and there are other iDevice guitar adapters which handle this issue much better.
My Final Verdict
I wish it was built with more durability, but the electronics are nice, the price is high for what it is, but it does seem to deliver reliability and works well. A simple device to accomplish a simple task. I think I wouldn't recommend this adapter in the end mainly because the very short cable. If anyone comes up with a clever solution to this, please let me know.
Other iPhone/iPad Adapter Options?
Yeah, there are quite a few other options you can checkout for connecting your iPhone or iPad to your guitar, including cables and adapters. I've included an exhaustive list and my own insights and how to's into these options just click the link in the previous sentence to read about them.
Over to you…