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IK Multimedia iRig Pro Duo

Ultra-compact audio and MIDI interface...does size matter?

 


by Phil O'Keefe

 



Our mobile devices are becoming more integrated with every aspect of our musical lives. We not only use them with music-making apps, but more and more musicians are also using them as recording tools - and not just to put down a song idea quickly so you don't forget it. Increasingly, tracks recorded on mobile devices are finding their way on to final releases, but in order to do that, you'll need a high quality interface. IK Multimedia's iRig Pro Duo is designed to meet the mobile interface needs of modern musicians. Does it? Let's put it under the microscope.





What You Need To Know

  • The IK Multimedia iRig Pro Duo is a combination audio and MIDI interface that works with a wide range of devices, including iOS (iPod, iPhone and iPads - iOS 5.1 or later), Android devices (that support the Samsung Professional Audio Technology - Android 5 required), and Mac / Windows computers (Macs OS X 10.6 or later, Windows XP or later and support for ASIO4ALL drivers).

  • If portability is important, you'll love the light weight and ultra-compact design. It measures 2.95" W x 5" L x 1.46" D and weighs only 6.96 ounces without batteries installed, making it the smallest full-featured dual-channel audio / MIDI interface on the planet, and probably in the solar system. 

  • The iRig Pro Duo is a two-input, two-output audio interface. 24-bit recording is supported at sample rates of 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz.

  • Two combination XLR / 1/4" TRS guitar / mic / line inputs mount on the unit's bottom. Up to 48 dB of gain is available for the mic inputs, and up to 27 dB for the line inputs. 48V (+/- 4V) is available for the mic inputs, so you can use studio-grade condenser microphones with the iRig Pro Duo.

  • On the main face of the unit, a pair of Gain knobs set the mic / line input levels, and a set of multicolor LEDs can display level, show MIDI status, and indicate whether the phantom power is turned on.

 

  • A pair of balanced 1/4" TRS line output jacks are mounted on the left side of the interface, along with a small volume control to adjust the output level, and the phantom power on/off switch.

  • A stereo 1/8" headphone out jack, with associated volume control, allows monitoring while working. A Direct Monitoring switch lets you avoid latency issues by monitoring the incoming unprocessed signals directly or, if you prefer, the processed signal after going through your device.

  • The iRig Pro Duo can be powered either by an external 500 mA (or better), center-negative plug 9V DC adapter (not included), bus-powered over the USB connection to your Mac or PC, or with a pair of onboard AA batteries for fully-mobile use. A pair of alkaline batteries are included to get you up and running. The battery compartment is located on the rear.

  • Battery life is somewhat limited, with up to 45 minutes of recording time available from a pair of standard AA alkaline batteries with the mic gain and playback levels maxed out and both inputs and phantom power in use (which increases to 3 hours and 30 minutes if you use NiMH rechargeable batteries). For playback, with alkaline batteries you get 3 hours of playback time under "minimum load" conditions (music playing, phantom power "off"), which increases to 10 hours of playback time under the same load conditions with rechargeable NiMH batteries.

  • Because multiple devices are supported, the package includes cables with a standard USB plug, an Apple Lightning connector, and a Micro USB connector. Each one terminates in a round multi-pin DIN connector that plugs into the iRig Pro Duo.



  • Also located at the top are two 1/8" TRS jacks. These use IK Multimedia's proprietary 1/8" TRS to MIDI DIN adapter cables, a pair of which are also included. This gives the iRig Pro Duo full MIDI I/O. 

  • Software? As you might expect from IK Multimedia, they include a variety of useful software apps (which vary, depending on what device you want to use) to get you up and running.     



Limitations

  • While the iRig Pro Duo is compatible with older iOS devices that use a 30-pin connection, a 30-pin cable is not included.

  • The iRig Pro Duo is light in no small part because the unit's housing is made of plastic. It appears reasonably sturdy, but obviously isn't going to be as durable or able to withstand the occasional hit or drop as well as an all-metal housing.

  • Sample rates above 48 kHz are not supported.



Conclusions

If you want something that's nearly ideal for mobile use, you're the target audience for the iRig Pro Duo. As usual with their products, IK Multimedia provides a useful collection of software, and the iRig Pro Duo is compatible with just about anything, whether tablet, smart phone, or computer.

 

There are a few issues, but they're relatively minor. The metering is basic at best, and the small controls for playback and headphone levels are a bit tricky to use and not something I want to hassle with in a studio, but they do their job sufficiently well for a mobile interface. You'll want to protect the plastic case from being banged around, but the upside is that the iRig Pro Duo is very light. It's also amazingly compact, and for mobile use, that's incredibly important. After all, who wants to lug around a large and heavy audio interface wherever they go?

 

But size and weight are only part of the story - an interface isn't of much use if the sound quality is sketchy, and fortunately that's not an issue. Sure, you can find better-sounding studio-based interfaces; but this one more than holds its own thanks to 24-bit recording at up to 48 kHz, two usable mic preamps with low noise, direct monitoring, and MIDI. For two hundred dollars, it's a good deal on the smallest fully-featured audio / MIDI interface around - and definitely recommended if you need to travel light, but still want to get real work done.  -HC-


Resources

IK Multimedia iRig Pro Duo ($199.99 "street")

IK Multimedia's product web page    


You can purchase the IK Multimedia iRig Pro Duo from:

Sweetwater  

Guitar Center    

B&H Photo Video  

Musician's Friend    


IK Multimedia demonstration videos

Overview:




Recording a song with the iRig Pro Duo:





iRig Pro Duo Specifications:

Microphone Input

    •    Microphone Inputs: 2x balanced, XLR. Pin 2: hot / Pin 3: cold / Pin 1: ground
    •    Microphone Input Level: from 6 mVpp to 1.4 Vpp
    •    Microphone Input Impedance: approx 2 kOhms
    •    Gain Range: 48 dB
    •    Phantom Power: +48V ± 4V
    •    Frequency Response:
    •       from 5 Hz to 21 kHz (-3dB) Gain @ min
    •       from 30 Hz to 21 kHz (-3dB) Gain @ max
    •    Input Noise:
    •       -103 dB(A) Gain @ min
    •       -86 dB(A) Gain @ max

Instrument Input

    •    Instrument Inputs: 2x unbalanced, Hi-Z, TS 1/4” Jack, Tip: signal / Shield: ground
    •    Instrument Input Level: from 30 mVpp to 6.9 Vpp
    •    Instrument Input Impedance: 1 MOhms
    •    Gain Range: 27 dB
    •    Frequency Response:
    •       from 2 Hz to 21 kHz (-3dB) Gain @ min
    •        from 5 Hz to 21 kHz (-3dB) Gain @ max
    •    Input Noise:
    •       -104 dB(A) Gain @ min
    •       -102 dB(A) Gain @ max

Line Output

    •    Line Outputs: 2x balanced, TRS 1/4” Jack, Tip: hot / Ring: cold / Shield: ground
    •    Floating Balanced Outputs with automatic level compensation when working in unbalanced mode
    •    Maximum Output Level: +16 dBu into 600 Ohms balanced load
    •    Frequency Response: from 10 Hz to 21 kHz (-3dB)
    •    Output Dynamic Range: 106 dB(A)
    •    Output Impedance: 150 Ohms balanced

Common

    •    AD and DA Resolution: 24-bit
    •    Sampling Rate: 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz
    •    Power: USB bus power, battery power (2xAA), or DC power supply (9VDC, from 500mA up, positive outside - not included)
    •    Metering: Multicolor LED
    •    Size: 75mm/2.95" x 127mm/5" x 37mm/1.46"
    •    Weight: 197.2g/6.96oz (batteries excluded)
    •    Battery Life:
    •       Recording - Max load*: 3 hours, 30 minutes (NiMH rechargeable); 45 minutes (Alkaline)
    •       Playback - Min load**: 10 hours (NiMH rechargeable); 3 hours (Alkaline)

*Max load condition: both inputs connected to two 1.5 mA phantom powered loads, input gains set to maximum, outputs set to maximum
**Min load condition: music playing, phantom power Off


Dimensions

    •    Size: 75mm/2.95" x 127mm/5" x 37mm/1.46"
    •    Weight: 197.2g/6.96oz (batteries excluded)
    •    Lightning to Mini-DIN connection cable: 60cm/23.62"
    •    Micro-USB-OTG to Mini-DIN connection cable: 60cm/23.62"
    •    USB to Mini-DIN connection cable: 60cm/23.62"
    •    2.5mm jack to MIDI cable: 160cm/63"





__________________________________________________

 




Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines.  

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