Ease of Use — 9
I used to carry several iOS interfaces - an iRig HD, an iRig PRE, and iRig Keys. The iRig PRO alone handles the iRig HD and iRig PRE, while giving me the freedom to use a full-sized MIDI controller instead of the iRig Keys. As with other mobile audio interfaces, the iRig PRO isn't designed to necessarily replace actual amps, analog effects, or home studios; but instead it gives you a portable alternative or addition to your main gear. As with the other iRig products, the iRig PRO is a solution for the person on the go, or a player living in a small apartment or dorm where space is tight. While there are other do-it-all interfaces on the market, I couldn't find any with all the iRig PRO's features or its affordable price.
Sound — 9
The iRig PRO is a universal audio and MIDI interface for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Mac computers. It's a very portable and affordable way to plug in and get audio or MIDI into apps, whether for practicing, firing up amps and effect models, recording ideas, or even potentially recording an entire album. Powered by a 9-volt battery, the unit I tested has so far survived more than a dozen hours of use, though I suspect it might be shorter if using the iRig PRO's built-in phantom power with a condenser mic. There's a quick-start guide, but I was able to use the iRig PRO straight out of the box. The knob on the front sets the input gain, and as you adjust your level a small LED will glow yellow if your signal gain is getting too high, and change to red if you are actually clipping. All of the necessary cables are included: a Lightning cable for newer iPads and iPhones, a 30-pin cable for older iOS devices, a USB cable, and a 2.5mm-jack-to-MIDI cable for connecting a MIDI keyboard or any other MIDI controller. You plug your 1/4" instrument cables or XLR mic cable into the combo jack, and if you're using a condenser mic, switch on the built-in phantom power.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The first key to a great recording is getting a good signal. The iRig PRO's gain control and audio level LED help you set a good level for a strong signal with minimal noise and no clipping. The PRO converts your audio to 24-bit digital, to send to whichever app you choose. There are hundreds of audio apps available, from guitar amp and effects simulators to full-on multi-track recording apps like Apple's Garage Band and IK's AmpliTube Studio. IK Multimedia has a number of nice apps, and registering will get you some freebies, like free AmpliTube amp and stompbox models or bonus sounds for SampleTank and iGrand Piano.
Overall Impression — 7
I've used and written about several IK Multimedia products and I've learned that they strike a nice balance of quality and affordability. They may not be military-spec, but they are solid enough to get the job done. The iRig PRO is built into a sturdy plastic housing not much larger than a roll of quarters, but it seems well put together. I personally keep my iRig PRO in a small camera bag along with the included cables as well as a few extra batteries and some instrument cables. That way I'm ready to practice or record ideas on the fly, and my iRig PRO is kept safe and secure.