The iRig HD X is one of the latest installments from IK Multimedia. It’s a compact guitar interface that presents itself as an ingenious solution to mobile recording and augmenting your live performance rig. Let’s take a closer look and see whether it deserves a place in your arsenal.
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Final verdict on the iRig HD X
For what it’s worth, the iRig HD X is a solid solution to consider when it comes to mobile recording. I can also see it being a neat little interface for beginners trying to experiment with recording some guitar or synth tracks.
While it does offer some more functionality beyond that, I truthfully don’t see the point. There are many other affordable interfaces that provide more flexibility, connectivity, as well as higher audio quality. That being said, the iRig has its function and it does its job quite well.
What I like
- Solid sound quality.
What I don’t like
- Not the most versatile piece of gear in the world.
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I/O and controls
The iRig HD X has an incredibly simple design, featuring only one instrument input, as well as one amp out/through output. There is also an 1/8-inch headphone jack for monitoring, as well as a USB-C port.
The controls are easily accessible through the rotary dial, which can also be pressed down to toggle between the different modes.
Each mode is indicated by an LED light above the rotary dial, accompanied by pictures to tell which mode you’re currently in (those being headphone monitoring, FX/THRU, direct monitoring, or loopback mode).
Its design is simple, rather user-friendly, and its performance is decent. While its most obvious use is for recording purposes, its single output can potentially lend itself a spot somewhere in your pedalboard, in which it can be used in a myriad of ways.
The iRig HD X has a 24-bit/96 kHz A/D resolution, which is fairly admirable for an interface of this size. That being said, I doubt it will fare as well as higher-end units. Would I prefer to use an actual interface? Yes, but the iRig can definitely work if you’re in a pinch.
I found it’s preamp to do a decent enough job of capturing the essence of my guitar tone. Although, it isn’t the most colorful or powerful preamp in the world. It’s overall adequate.
This definitely wouldn’t be on the top of my list for home recording setups. I imagine that folks with more experience and accumulated gear won’t be as interested in this considering that they probably already have the equipment to serve this function at a higher quality.
However, I can see the appeal of the iRig from the standpoint of someone who is just starting out and fears waking up their parents or neighbors with the sounds of them practicing or attempting to record their first songs.
Mobile recording is more or less what I envision the ultimate use of the iRig is. Considering how compact and lightweight it is, it presents a perfect solution for recording quick demos when you’re in the midst of traveling or away from your main setup and needing to get an idea out. It requires minimal setup and provides extremely usable results in a pinch.
The unit is incredibly light, weighing at a mere 2 oz. The overall design is easy to navigate and the dual purpose rotary dial is a clever work around from having more buttons and knobs than are necessary.
It doesn’t strike me as the most durable interface I’ve come across, but for a bit over $120, I honestly have very little to complain about.
Honestly, getting the iRig HD X interface is worth it just for saving money on the software that comes along with it.
Compared to other audio interfaces
While this might be the perfect recording interface for your needs, here are a few comparisons to consider before finalizing your decision on the iRig.
iRig HD X vs iRig HD 2
The iRig HD X is a solid improvement on the iRig HD 2 in a number of ways. The recording quality is better, the software bundle is better, and it has more compatibility amongst different devices. It’s a worthwhile upgrade if you were a fan of the HD 2.
iRig HD X vs Apogee Jam+
The Jam+ is very similar to the HD X, although it’s a bit pricier and lacks the TRS output that the HD X has to offer. I would recommend you opt for the iRig, but the choice ultimately comes down to you and your preferences.
iRig HD X vs Focusrite Scarlett Solo
The Scarlett offers far more versatility and connectivity than the iRig, which is far more important to me than all that the iRig has to offer. That being said, if you’re solely looking for a mobile recording solution, go for the iRig.
Who is the IK Multimedia iRig HD X audio interface best suited for?
The iRig HD X interface is best suited for folks looking for an easy portable recording solution, or beginners looking for something small in order to practice quietly or to experiment with recording.Buy IK Multimedia iRig HD X at: SweetwaterAmazon
You can also watch this video by my colleague Fabio, where he puts the iRig HD X guitar interface to the test.