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IK Multimedia iRig MIDI

IK Multimedia iRig MIDI

4.4 4.4 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

A compact portable MIDI interface for your iPhone/iPod Touch. Simple as that!

30th November 2011

IK Multimedia iRig MIDI by Whitecat

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
IK Multimedia iRig MIDI

The iRig MIDI is a super-fun little tool that, when paired with an iPhone, does indeed turn your iPhone into a mini-workstation.

I'll review the IK software options later on, but just speaking for this as a MIDI device, it does exactly what it's supposed to, which is transmit MIDI data to and from the iPhone. The Sampletank app obviously works well with it but there are other apps that can sense MIDI input as well.

It's very lightweight - one critique might be the plasticky feel of it is almost too flimsy, but of course part of the whole point is ridiculous portability so there's something to be said for keeping it light.

Two LED 'arrow'-shaped lights above the in & out labels activate as data passes so you can see what's going on. Useful for connection diagnosis on a dimly lit stage!

As far as connectors go, it uses 2.5" TRS mini jacks for the MIDI I/O (in/thru/out) - the adapter leads (included) are jack-to-MIDI male connectors. The kit also includes a USB power connector so you can keep your phone "on charge" during a show, for example.

To get it going you do have to download an app from the App Store called iRig MIDI Recorder, which will then provide a few options for MIDI data handling (such as OMNI listen on or off), a method for future firmware updates (if needed, mine's still 1.0.0 I think!) and it can also capture MIDI recordings which can then be exported.

Beyond that you simply pair it with the MIDI-aware app of your choice. I have mainly used it with SampleTank for iOS thus far (with a Korg K61 controller) and had no issue whatsoever.

So, not much else to say as this isn't a device that makes any noise on its own. If I had any further criticisms, there's probably an argument for having a single-connector 'breakout' cable rather than four different ports/leads (think Apogee Duet) - but of course that might not be to everyone's tastes as if you lose the one snake, you lose it all! That said, replacement individual MIDI cables from IK are 8 euros each plus VAT and delivery so don't make a habit of misplacing those either.

Anyway, anyone with an iPhone and a spare MIDI controller should really check this out as it will fit in your pocket and you can make some surprisingly good-sounding stuff with the range of apps out there.

12th January 2012

IK Multimedia iRig MIDI by tonalaxis

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
IK Multimedia iRig MIDI

iRig Midi

As *the New Year I thought I'd share my thoughts on one of my presents from Santa.
The iRig midi is a Core Midi interface for iPods, iPhone(3rd gen and above) and iPad(both models) from ikmultimedia. Most music/synth apps *now on the AppStore are Core Midi capable. Ikmultimedia have provided a list Here:-
You might also be interested to read that if you have either of ikmultimedias other products, the iRig Mic and iRig Guitar that they are updating Vocalive and Amplitube for iOS to receive Midi! So it'll be easy to switch presets/program changes on the fly using foot controllers etc.

* * *In the box you get the interface itself which has quite small black plastic housing with micro connections for the supplied midi leadsx2 and a mini USB power-in, which also comes with a lead so that you can charge your iPod/iPhone/iPad whist in use. *You have Midi In, Out and through and plug the iRig into the dock connector on you iPhone etc.*
Once plugged in it feels quite solid and it's offset to one side to allow for the iPod headphone socket.

I've been using it on an iPod Touch 4th gen and there are numerous ways for using one of these units, not just for playing Apps from a keyboard. You can connect *any Standard midi capable instrument to your 'i' device, send system dumps to and from hardware equipment, connect to electronic drums and use your iPod as a sound source, control lighting rigs and so on. The only thing that you cannot do is connect any of the newer keyboards/midi controllers that use USB for connection(which the Apple Camera kit can do, but only on iPad). It would have been nice to be able to connect up my LPD 8 drum pad straight to my ipod but I suspect that it might not have been possible with the iRig Midi, but there are ways around this if you have a midi interface connected to your mac/PC in the studio so not a real issue.

Onto using the iRig....
Well, you just plug it in, connect your midi equipment up and it works!! Straight away in most cases(depending on the app of course). You have two triangular l.e.d. Lights on the top of the unit that blink every time midi data is sent to or from the device so you get visual feedback from the iRig.
There's no noticeable latency between a key press on the keyboard and it really takes composing/playing music from an iOS device to another level!

Ikmultimedia also have released two apps specifically for use with iRig Midi. The first is the iRig Midi Recorder and they also have Sampletank which is a professional quality sound and groove module which has recently been updated quite extensively but more about that later.

The iRig MIDI Recorder is a totally free app that allows you to record and play back any midi data you care to throw at it. You can maybe record a piano piece from you digital piano and play it back flawlessly to capture ideas, or you can send system exclusive data from your hardware synths/modules and save your precious patch data without *fear of it getting lost. It's so simple to use you just press Record and away you go. You can then transfer your recordings via e-mail, iTunes file sharing or Wi-fi. It's a simple but useful app that goes hand in hand with the iRig Midi.*

Sampletank is available in two versions, a FREE one which comes with 8 sounds, however *if you register your iRig device serial number within the app you get access to more. And there is also the full version which gives you access to 136 instruments! Plus you can also buy more sound sets in-app to further build up your library.
I'm using the FREE version for this review and although there's not that great a selection of sounds to choose from the functionality of the full version is included!
You get four-part multi-timbral playback, a four track midi recorder and a fantastic MPC style drum pad screen to lay down your beats.
Export functions are there if you want to use what you've created in other apps using iTunes file sharing well as exporting as m4a via e-mail.*
The four multi-timbral parts can be assigned to different midi channels allowing layering of sounds if you wish. It's quite possible to get musical ideas down very quickly and is quite honestly very easy to use after reading the quite brilliantly laid out help section within the app itself.
The MPC style drum pads are all fully assignable to midi note and there are also a quite a number of preset styles and rhythms to get you started if your not the best at finger drumming.
The instruments also come with preset patterns according to the instrument to get you started or inspired.*
Now onto the quality of the sounds themselves.*
If you've used the Sampletank VST before then you know what to expect. Quality multi-sampled instruments is the order of the day here, even with the free version you get a taste of what to expect if you upgrade to the full version or buy one of the additional sound packs. I haven't had a chance to check out the full version yet but you can get to preview the sounds in Sampletank before you buy them which is a nice touch.
You can also edit the sounds to some degree by adding reverb, chorus and changing the attack, decay, release and sustain. It's quite amazing what ikmultimedia have squeezed into what's basically a Sound Module for your iOS device and then some.

So to summarise, the iRig Midi is a fantastic midi interface for your iOS device and with the added bonus of two very capable apps and tons more from other developers on the AppStore you can't really go wrong if you're thinking about a midi device for your iPod/Pad etc. I also have a feeling that iKmultimedia have other things up their sleeve for 2012 which will make getting one well worth while!

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