Sound — 9
I used the iRig HD for recording bass and guitar with the new AmpliTube Studio app on my iPhone 4s. I tested this device hooked up to the iPhone's 30 Pin charging port, and monitored with a pair of Carvin monitor headphones from my iPhone's headphone jack. The preamp gain control is extremely helpful in getting the best results. Of course, as a mobile interface there isn't a lot to say about the sound except that it doesn't stand in the way of it. The signal was very clear and transparent. The only thing this device does to the sound is lets you control the level of the input to tweak it just right. If you have a small home studio or use emulated amps or effects on your computer, you've probably experienced latency, that annoying delay between what you play and what you hear. With the iRig HD, I experienced absolutely no latency or weird line noise. And with an interface this small, I didn't have to worry about finding a place for it on my desk.
Overall Impression — 9
There are two things about the iRig HD that make it worthwhile the fact that you can connect it to the 30 Pin Apple connector, and the fact that it has an actual preamp gain to control the levels of your audio source. It is a must have for anyone doing any recording on their iPhone, iPad or iPod. And honestly, if you own an Apple device and you're a musician then why wouldn't you use your Apple device? How many people carry around a practice amp when traveling, or are continually looking for a good amp for practice in a small apartment? The iRig HD has you covered, while also being cost effective and taking up virtually no space.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The iRig HD is simple and solid, which translates into tough and durable. The only control is the preamp gain dial. The included cables are solid and look like they could survive some abuse. Since they're not permanently attached, it wouldn't be too hard to replace any of the cables should you ever have to. For simple practice purposes this device does not require any additional App Store purchases for emulation, as it is compatible with IK Multimedia's free apps such as AmpliTube FREE and AmpliTube Fender FREE, but there are a lot of cool extras available with the paid version of AmpliTube including a huge selection of in-app purchases if you want more options.
Ease of Use — 9
The iRig HD is an upgrade from the original iRig with some key upgrades. It includes an instrument-level 1/4" Hi-Z input jack like the original iRig, but in addition has a built-in high-definition preamp with gain control. As an additional upgrade from the original iRig, there are cables included for connection to Lightning, 30 Pin and USB ports instead of a fixed 3/8" connector. You can now connect to iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Mac without any additional accessories. The iRig HD also uses a very small power draw which it pulls from the iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac you connect it to. The iRig HD is a very straightforward interface. I began using it for practice and recording straight out of the box. The preamp gain control lets you set the input levels exactly where you need them for instruments with lower or higher output. While it is designed for guitars and bass, in a pinch you can use it with an XLR to 1/4" cable to run a vocal mic to record scratch vocals. I used it with AmpliTube on my iPhone 4s and AmpliTube immediately recognized the iRig HD and there were no problems working with it as an interface. I also tested it with UG's own UGFX amp and effect modeling app without any difficulties.