Posts Tagged vocalive

iRig Pre Review

Developer: IK Multimedia
Price: $39.99
Device Reviewed With: new iPad, iPhone 5

Usability Rating: ★★★★☆
Integration with iPad/iPhone Rating: ★★★★☆
Hardware Design Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-Use Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IK Multimedia’s iRig Pre does the two things it’s made for very well. It connects any professional quality microphone using an XLR connection to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and it provides pre-amplification to the microphone signal with phantom power to boot. It’s small enough to drop into a gig bag, just a bit bigger than a 9 volt battery, which is included so as to not waste that precious iPhone or iPad’s battery. It connects to an iOS device via a 16 inch 1/8 inch cord right to the headphone jack.

The iRig Pre allows any mic with an industry standard XLR plug to connect to an iPhone or iPad. It can be used with any app that requires a microphone, including GarageBand and iRig’s own VocaLive and iRig Recorder. It has a gain control dial, +48 V of phantom power, an on/off switch, and a headphone jack to monitor the signal while recording. The battery life is touted at 30 hours with dynamic microphones and 10 hours with condenser mics with their own phantom power. My own dynamic mic testing showed no drain on my iPad battery power when using it, and the included battery is still going strong after several hours of use.

The only problem here is similar to one I pointed out when the iRig guitar connector came out: there’s no easy, un-adapted way to take the sound from the iOS device to a mixing board, PA, or amplifier. The guitarist in me rejoiced when the iRig Stompbox released, since that allowed me to use my iPhone as a multi-effects guitar processor with a stage-ready interface. The iRig Pre isn’t stage ready without a kludgy 1/8 to 1/4 adapter and then another long cable. If IK Multimedia can come out with a stompbox with the iRig Pre inside, that will be a must have device.

Even without that easy live-music functionality, though, the iRig Pre still makes a lot of sense for professional or hobbyist musicians who use their iPad or iPhone to record vocals in a variety of apps. If singers have a need to connect a real microphone and/or a preamp to their iOS device for a decent price, they can’t go wrong with the iRig Pre.

iRig Mix Review

Developer: IK Multimedia
Price: $99.99
Device Reviewed With: new iPad, iPhone 4

Usability Rating: ★★★★☆
Integration with iPad/iPhone Rating: ★★★½☆
Hardware Design Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-Use Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

The iRig Mix is a multichannel DJ hardware device that lets users connect up to two iOS devices at once. It also features an extra guitar or microphone input, allowing musicians to use it with other IK Multimedia apps like Amplitube or VocaLive. As with any iOS hardware peripheral, the quality of a device like this comes down to two main areas: the hardware build and the software that it can be used with.

Hardware-wise, the DJ Mix box is fairly solid feeling, and works well to split the audio signal from one or two different iOS sources, as well as an alternate music source like an MP3 or CD player. The top face of the device, where all the action happens, has what you’d expect from a small, two channel mixer, with a master volume control, channel gain knobs, bass and treble knobs for each channel, vertical volume sliders and a horizontal channel selection slider. It also includes a Cue button to listen only to one specific track, as well as signal amplitude lights, and a power light. The iRig Mix is powered via micro-USB, and comes with a wall charger, which must always be plugged in as there are no batteries.

The options are controlled via hardware buttons as well, including whether the input is one device or two, and whether users need X-Sync, a way to synchronize the audio tempo from a second iOS device or alternate audio source. There are two 1/8 inch ports for iOS devices, and two 1/4 inch ports for mic/guitar and headphones. It’s surprising that the headphone jack is the larger size, as most users will have headphones with a smaller 1/8 inch connector.

The sound quality of the box seems a bit on the low side, though that could be affected by the type and quality of audio connector and/or software used with the box. I found the same lower quality sound, however, via the headphone jack as well as the RCA audio out port; I wouldn’t use this in a professional setting, but it’s good enough for parties.

The software I tested the device with, DJ Rig, is a great app to try out dual-audio mixing with. The app recognizes the setting on the iRigMix for single or dual devices, and splits the audio output to the Mix box as specified. There’s a portrait and landscap interface, allowing users to mix, scratch, and add effects easily as they prefer. It allows for the importing of audio tracks, synchronization of tempo, and the like – all standard for the turntable style DJing. I was surprised to find that the app is iPhone only – seems like a Universal app would make more sense.

All in all, the iRig Mix is a decent prosumer-level two channel mixer that can be used with several music apps from IK Multimedia and others. The hardware quality is good enough for amateur use, and the downloadable apps work well with it.

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-03-07 :: Category: Music


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