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iRig HD 2
Input Gain Control
The iRig HD 2 doesn’t quite have the same features as the iRig Pro, particularly compatibility with condenser microphones, but offers much more value for the price. The number of ports isn’t too far off, and you even get more software and functionality with the physical THRU-FX toggle. As a package, we rate the iRig HD 2 a high 9.5.
The most substantial upgrade that the iRig Pro has over the HD 2 is its XLR input with Phantom Power. However, for the difference in price, you don’t get a proportional increase in features. Apart from a lighter basket of software, the interface does support battery operation, but they can run out quickly and are less useful than the FX slider on its competition. For those reasons, the device earns a score of 9.
When it comes to I/O, the iRig HD 2 gives up a lot for portability. The interface hosts only a Hi-Z instrument input, coupled with headphone and amplifier outputs. The setup isn’t ideal or versatile, which is why it scores 7.5 in the category.
The iRig Pro is still a portable device, but offers an XLR/TS Combo port, as well as a 2.5mm MIDI In as inputs. For its outputs, it offers both a 1/8″ Headphone Out port, as well as MIDI Out. With roughly double the I/O of the iRig HD 2 and the option of Phantom Power, the iRig Pro more than earns its 8.5 in the category.
The iRig HD 2 worked amazingly well for recording our guitar. We got crystal clear sound with no real lag as and low latency. Although we are picky when it comes to the quality of amps and FX we play through, the tones sound really impressive on our iPhone and iPad devices. For its audio quality, the iRig HD 2 earns an 8.
The iRig Pro sounds fantastic if you don’t need a super low buffer rate. The sound is clean and quiet, even at relatively high preamp gain. The interface does tremendously well to clean up our audio feed on our devices, and has more input gain than the other interface at 40 dB, for which it scores an 8.5.
The iRig HD 2 uses a fairly dated micro-USB connection, which isn’t as universal as USB-C and Thunderbolt, nor does it have the same capabilities. For those reasons, the interface earns a score of 7.5.
The iRig Pro’s mini-DIN connector is used across a wide range of audio devices, and is much more convenient than a micro-USB port. Therefore, we rate the connection 8, putting it slightly ahead of the iRig HD 2.
With the iRig HD 2, the only extra feature on the interface itself is the THRU-FX slider. However, you do get the full Amplitube app, TONEX SE, as well as a custom ASIO driver as add-ons. For this setup, we can’t rate the interface any higher than 8.
The iRig Pro lacks the THRU-FX switch that the iRig HD 2 has, and doesn’t have the same selection of apps either. However, the inclusion of AmpliTube 5 SE, TONEX SE, as well as a custom ASIO driver does wonders to boost creativity. You also get the choice of battery operation, which earns it the same score of 8 as its competition.
All things considered, the iRig Pro is the clear winner with a total average score of 8.4. While it doesn’t quite match up in price, the iRig Pro gives you much better performance per dollar. The biggest difference between both interfaces is in their I/O, where the iRig HD 2 falls somewhat behind for its lack of XLR input and Phantom Power for condenser microphones.
However, it holds up pretty well against the much pricier iRig Pro in Additional Features, tying the score thanks to its more useful THRU-FX toggle and more software add-ons. The Pro’s battery operation is a fantastic addition if you’re working on the go, though it might not work for every setup.
For what it costs, we don’t see a proportional increase in Sound Quality between both interfaces. We got clear sound with no lag or latency, and both devices cleaned up our audio signals well. However, the iRig Pro is just a bit better in character, and offers a substantially wider input gain range.
One thing to note here is that both devices don’t have the best quality with their plastic builds, and the iRig Pro’s glossy knobs can be a bit difficult to adjust. Other than that, the micro-USB and mini-DIN connections are both usable, but we did have a better time with the latter since it’s easier to plug in and work with.
Regardless, if you’re looking for a portable, reliable audio interface with quality amps and FX, as well all the basic tools you need, you cannot go wrong with the iRig Pro. Highly recommended!