Touch controls and virtual instruments for Garageband on iPhone, iPad and Mac are great and all, but there’s nothing like plugging in the real thing and creating a new sonic masterpiece. IK Multimedia’s iRig line has long been a go-to device for hooking up a guitar to a mobile recording studio, and the company’s latest model, the iRig HD X, has some smart new additions for the budding rockstars among you.
Building on the principles of the iRig 2, the iRig HD X acts as an input interface go-between for your Apple devices, guitar and amp, and features a new control layout that focuses around a single chunky dial on the front of the candybar-shaped gadget.
Acting as an input level dial and function selection button, it lets you cycle through headphone, monitoring, loopback and tuner controls, with input levels and tuning accuracy displayed via LEDs that surround the dial. It’s a tidier, simpler set up than previous iRig options.
The loopback function, harnessing IK’s new Loopback+ effect suite, is perhaps the biggest addition here though, and of particular interest to streamers, letting you loop audio through Garageband or guitar apps like AmpliTube before sending it on to streaming apps — great if you’re looking to do some live performances to your growing army of TikTok followers, for instance.
Other upgrades are less headline-baiting but just as useful. A new low-noise input has a dynamic range of 115db, while that tuner’s usefulness is made much more practical by the LED ring around the dial, making it actually useable in a low-light gigging situation. Zero-latency monitoring will keep everything in time, too.
Elsewhere, the device is more similar to the HD2 before it — there’s still 96kHz audio with 24-bit A/D conversion rates, a ¼” guitar and amp outputs, and 3.5mm stereo and headphone output options.
Both Lightning and USB-C cables are included, while the package is rounded off with access to the AmpliTube 5 and TONEX SE iOS and Mac sound applications. It’s still a pocketable device too, roughly 4-inches long by 1-inch wide and half an inch thick.
On sale now priced at $129, we’ll be testing the iRig HD X for a full review in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for our full thoughts.