IK Multimedia has added a compact two-channel audio+MIDI interface to their offering just in time for the holidays. We are huge fans of their products from the mics to the keyboards; they offer excellent solutions for mobile musicians.
The iRig Pro Duo really steps it up for producers and musicians who want to set up a true mobile mini studio.
IK Multimedia's [IKM] first foray into the mobile audio+MIDI interface was the iRig Pro, a device that was on the cutting edge at the time for mobile recording. The original still holds up, but most producers just want more options these days.
The Pro Duo steps it up by adding two audio inputs and a bump in price to $199.00 as well, but that's to be expected in the name of progress.
There are two 1/4" / XLR guitar, mic and line inputs that work with or without phantom power (yes it comes with tow AA batteries). There are also two nicely sized rotary gain knobs considering the units compact size that makes it easier to get your levels just the way you want them.
Did we mention it's compact? The size will be very appealing to producers on the go as it's only slightly bigger than a deck of playing cards.
The unit features some excellent visual displays with bright LEDs that give you a clear picture of what's going on with the levels, power status and MIDI activity. Another solid upgrade is the ability to send MIDI both in and out which makes this an excellent piece for mobile producers, even in the studio.
More connectivity options also justify the higher price with audio outputs. There are L/R line outputs for quarter-inch jacks and yes, even a headphone out which is super key in the mobile world.
The build quality is solid and even though many are averse to plastic, it helps keep the unit as light as possible and still feels sturdy. Time will tell in regards to how tough it is but if it's anything like the other IKM products it should be just fine as we have beat the hell out of those and they are still going strong.
The Pro Duo is capable of 24-bit DA and AD conversion and supports sample rates of 44.12 or 48kHz. 96kHz is not compatible, but most prosumer producers and musicians will not miss this, and it's not feasible with today's mobile devices memory capabilities. Huge files don't work on iPads, not yet anyway.
The Pro Duo will work on most of the newer iOS devices very well, so there is nothing to worry about there. The audio inputs give a very solid performance for the price point. We tested the Pro Duo with an electric Ukelele and an AKG C314 mic, and everything sounded great. Considering we were in a somewhat noisy environment, the signals were clear and smooth. You could definitely lay down some excellent audio with this set-up in a studio like environment or just somewhere quiet.
If you are in the market for an audio interface at the $200 - $300 price point you will be in great shape with IKM's Pro Duo. The audio and MIDI performance is reliable and sounds splendid for a prosumer device. This is a compact piece of equipment that will help you take your production show on the road and yield quality results that can be used in professional level productions.