IK Multimedia introduces new iRig mic, mixer, and stompbox at CES
IK Multimedia is showing off new products in the North Hall of CES 2012 in Las Vegas this week, and they were one of our first stops around the Las Vegas Convention Center. IK Multimedia is behind the popular Amplitube software, and has seen a lot of success with the iRig guitar port for iOS, and its followup, the iRig mic.
In fact, given all of that success, IK is really going all out with the iRig brand, introducing a slew of new products to both bring audio in and out of iOS devices. The most impressive new tool on display at the show is the iRig Mix, a mobile two-track mixer that's designed to work with your iPhone or iPad. At its base, this is just a really solid mixer -- audio comes in via two 1/8" jacks at the top, and while those jacks are meant for iPad or iPhone audio, they'll really work with any input of that kind. Each side of the mixer has separate knobs for gain, treble, and bass, and of course either track can be cued through another headphone jack at the bottom and buttons above each slider. There's a master volume and sliders for both tracks, and of course there's a third slider to choose which one (or both) of the tracks is playing.
The really interesting switch on the mixer is something labeled "X-Sync." This one is designed to work with a new app coming from IK called DJ Rig, which itself will allow you to mix and match two different songs (so technically, you could mix four songs together, with two iOS devices and the iRig mixer). Basically, it will use the DJ Rig app to beat match any audio coming in from one track with the other. So you could have a CD player hooked up to one side, and the DJ Rig app hooked up to the other side, and X-Sync will figure out the beats per minute of the CD player's song, and command DJ Rig to automatically match it up when mixing. The process is pretty cool, and adds yet another feature to an already very powerful (and relatively tiny) $99 mixer. The casing is plastic, however, so that likely helps keep the cost low.
IK also was showing off the new iRig Stomp at the show -- it's (as you might have guessed from the title) a stomp box that's designed to work with the iOS version of Amplitube, so on-stage guitarists can control their audio output just by hitting a button with their foot. The Stomp will run about $60, and be available "soon," according to IK.
Elsewhere at the booth, we also got to see the new iRig Mic Cast, which is a tiny little microphone designed to plug right into the iPhone or iPad's headphone port. It's relatively inexpensive, for just $39.99, and has two different settings, depending on whether you're recording close sound in a loud environment, or louder sounds in a more quiet setting. The Mic Cast also has a headphone port on it so you can listen in while recording, and will work with IK's VocalLive app, or any other app that accepts audio through the headphone port.
And finally, we were shown the iRig Preamp, which is $49 and should be out in April. It's pretty simple -- a preamp for balanced mic use, which means you can use an XLR mic with your iPhone or iPod touch. The iRig Mic of course plugs right into the phone, but the preamp allows you to go between your own mic and the iPhone or iPad.
IK Multimedia has a long history of making audio products, but with these releases, the company has almost completely decided to focus on products compatible with Apple's iOS devices. As IK's rep told us, the company now has a full set of gadgets to record a band with, all going into its own iOS apps. The Gorrilaz did just that, in fact. Previously, IK made projects for a niche set of musicians looking for high quality audio software, but with Apple's App Store and all of the products that have come out of Amplitube for iOS, IK now focuses on a much wider audience of musicians (with iPhones and iPads) of all skill levels and budgets. It's very interesting to see such an established company get changed so much by the App Store, and I'd doubt this is the last we've yet seen of IK's popular iRig brand.
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