iRig HD2 with AmpliTube 4

Price Paid: 
$100 from Amazon
Features: 
  • 1/4" instrument input for guitar, bass, and other instruments
  • 1/4" AMP output for use with an amplifier or mixer
  • 1/8" headphone output for silent practice; Distortion (THD): 0.007%
  • Adjustable input gain and FX/THRU switch
  • Unlocks exclusive content inside Amplitude iOS and includes Amplitude 4 for Mac/PC

Pros: 

The iRig HD2 provides an inexpensive, easy way to play your guitar through your laptop, tablet or phone, for whatever reason you might want to do that.  The interface quality is good, and I’ve experienced no latency issues whatsoever.  iRig HD2 comes with the Amplitube 4 amp/effects farm.

Cons: 

The literature says: “Comes with AmpliTube 4 for Mac/PC, Unlocks full version features and gear of AmpliTube for iOS (Free download from App Store),” but that’s a little misleading. You have to really hunt to find out how to unlock the real version of Amplitude 4 — it took me four or five emails with IK to figure it out. And once unlocked, it’s still a hamstrung version, where most of the best amps, cabs, speakers, effects, and presets remain paid upgrades. But you get plenty of basic stuff to work with for non-critical applications. Considering the hardware and software together only cost $100, my gripe is more with the misleading marketing claims than the product itself.

The electronics in the iRig HD2 seem to be of high digital quality, but the unit itself is very light weight and feels kind of flimsy — even it it isn’t.  The weak point seems to be the connection point for, and/or the USB chord on the unit side. Once plugged in and working, if the unit jiggles — which is pretty likely when a guitar chord plugged into it — the connection between the hardware and AmpliTube 4 usually drops for a few seconds, and when it does, you have to reboot AmpliTube 4.

AmpliTube 4 is kind of buggy, too. When I first started using this setup, it seemed to be working properly on both of my Mac laptops, but after a few months, I’ve had trouble with software crashes on both machines. I can usually get it to come back, and it seems to have stabilized again, but at one point, I needed (on both machines) to delete my AmpliTube 4.settings file from the IK Multimedia directory deep within the system library so the software would generate a new, clean one. Only my decades in the software industry led me to try this, and it did seem to solve the problem.  You can create support tickets with IK, and they do get back to you, but my dealings with support on the unlocking the real version of AmpliTube 4 situation didn’t fill me with a lot of confidence.

I use this setup for practice only — through Mac earbuds, no less, so the sound quality isn’t particularly inspiring in my particular use-case.  Given that IK pitches this as both a live a recording solution, your mileage may vary. For live, IMO, I wouldn’t rely on it for anything larger than a coffee house kind of gig, where it might be enough. Though the chance of the connection dropping or the software crashing would likely scare me off.  For recording using AmpliTube 4 as your amp, you might get good results, and as I said, I haven’t experienced any latency issues. Personally, I’d have to hear it in the context of recorded tracks, through studio monitors. 

Condition: 
New
Summary: 

I wanted a way to centralize my entire practice routine and all of my resources (TABs, backing tracks, reference diagrams, videos, practice log,) onto my laptop.  iRig HD2 let me do that at a very reasonable cost. The big win here — for me — is that I can now play along with GuitarPro tracks, and log my progress in a lesson plan/resources Google doc that I can access from either of my laptops.  Having these resources centralized has maximized my practice time and helped me progress much faster than I had been previously. But the iRig is just one component of this setup. 

Overall Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)