IK Multimedia releases an iRig Pro Quattro I/O

Yesterday, I received an email message from IK Multimedia’s PR, announcing the company has released a new iRig audio interface. More specifically, IK Multimedia has released a 4-in / 2-out field recording audio and MIDI interface. My first reaction was: if this is only half as good as Sound Devices’s MixPre 6 I reviewed a few years back, then it will be a boon for anyone who wanted to buy a MixPre but lacked the budget or simply thought it’s too expensive for what you can do with it. Turns out the specs are, I estimate, three quarters of what a MixPre offers, for a price of just shy of half that of the least expensive MixPre device.

The new device is another iRig model, the Pro Quattro I/O. The iRig range of audio devices are optimised for working with tablets, smartphones and with desktop computers (Mac and Windows). Their greatest appeal is that they combine good quality components/sound with the ease of use and simplicity of one of two mobile devices everyone who is remotely digitally active has; a smartphone or tablet.

That’s a huge difference with Sound Devices’s audio equipment. Sound Device equipment equals extremely high quality stand-alone equipment. That implies you always need to carry with you the device itself, a microphone, a microphone cable and a SD-card for recording. But besides the Kashmir pre-amps, you get a heavy metal enclosure and 32-bit floating point recording. The price of a MixPre reflects all this. The cheapest model (8 tracks MixPre-6 II) with its MX-4AA battery case and MX-PSU power supply unit retails at 1260 Euros (incl. VAT).

In contrast, IK Multimedia’s new offering will retail at 544.50 Euros (incl. VAT) for the Deluxe version, which includes 2 iRig MIC XY stereo microphones, iRig MIC XY windscreen, a carrying case, and a 9V power supply unit. With that pricing, IK Multimedia is slightly more expensive than field recorders with the same capabilities like those from Tascam (DR40-X), Roland (2-channel R-07), but cheaper than a Zoom H8 Handy Recorder or a less capable Sony PCM D-100 (2 channels).

What sets the iRig Pro Quattro I/O apart

The iRig Pro Quattro I/O is a professional-quality 4-in / 2-out field recording audio and MIDI interface. It has up to 24-bit, 96kHz conversion and a MEMS mic onboard for instant recording, which enables you to record audio anywhere and anytime, even without an external mic. The deluxe bundle offers custom iRig XY stereo mic capsules which will probably give better results and a stereo recording capability.

IK Multimedia claims the iRig Pro Quattro I/O’s four mic preamps with phantom power are high-quality, low-noise pre-amps. Other inputs include Hi-Z and line-level instrument, RCA and TRS inputs. Outputs include XLR balanced, 3.5 mm stereo and headphone outputs. There’s a full MIDI I/O port on board as well.

A major appeal of the iRig Pro Quattro I/O will be that it works with everything out of the box, including iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac and PC, but that it can also serve as a standalone mic preamp or line mixer, with a built-in limiter and direct monitoring. The device is also fully MFi-certified to work seamlessly with iOS devices, with no adapters required for iPhone or iPad for reliable field performance.

The iRig Pro Quattro I/O will record audio directly to any mobile device, computer or even DSLR camera. With its onboard digitally enhanced MEMS microphone and optional stereo mic capsules, the device can turn any mobile device or Mac/PC laptop into a full-featured field recorder. It can also work as a standalone preamp and mixer, powered via 4x AA batteries, USB or DC IN. The full set of inputs/outputs can be used to capture and mix multiple sources to DSLR cameras or send their mix to a PA system.

With the new iRig device, you’ll be able to record to mono, stereo and four separate channels. In stereo mode, the iRig Pro Quattro I/O will mix down all sources to stereo. Stereo and Mono modes pre-mix up to four audio sources — RCA/3.5 mm stereo line inputs (+ Loopback), XLR combo inputs and MEMS microphone — down to a stereo or mono track, which can be sent to streaming apps, DSLR cameras or sound systems. In Multichannel mode, the XLR mic/Hi-Z instrument and mic/line combo jacks or RCA/3.5 mm stereo line inputs are routed to channels 1 to 4 respectively, giving users four channels of audio to send to recording apps or any DAW.

Monitoring is easy thanks to a dedicated headphone output with independent volume control and direct monitoring. A Loopback feature lets users easily duet with videos. The deluxe power supply unit will ensure that the iRig Pro Quattro I/O can be used for long streaming sessions.

A built-in limiter should keep sound levels optimal and avoid clipping on inputs 1 and 2. In Stereo and Mono mode, inputs 3 and 4 can be used as safety channels, which means they are recording the same signal as input 1 and 2, but reduced by 12 dB as a backup in case the sound source unexpectedly overloads the main channels, a potentially elegant way to remedy the lack of 32-bit floating point recording.

The review that I will be writing as soon as I get my hands on the basic model will focus heavily on the quality of sound and the performance with multiple microphones connected to an iPad and an iMac. IK Multimedia has promised to send me the deluxe items separately as soon as they become available, and as soon as I get those, I will be writing a follow-up review covering my experiences of the new iRig in full.

Software and apps

As always with IK Multimedia’s devices, you will get a number of apps ready to download for free from your user account. In this case, the iRig Pro Quattro I/O comes with over $/€450 of software for Mac/PC. For iPhone/iPad, iRig Pro Quattro I/O includes over $/€100 of audio production apps, including fully loaded versions of iRig Recorder 3 and MixBox for iPad.

Some specs

  • AD and DA Resolution: 24-bit
  • Sampling Rate: 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz and 96 kHz
  • Power: USB bus power, battery power (4 x AA), DC power supply (9VDC) or external USB power supply (5VDC, 1A min)
  • Device Connection: Mini-DIN
  • Size: 166 mm / 6.54″ x 92 mm / 3.62″ x 43 mm / 1.69″
  • Weight: 325 g / 0.72 lb (batteries excluded)
  • Battery Life:
    • Recording – Max load: 1 hours, 30 minutes (Alkaline); 3 hours (NiMH rechargeable)
    • Playback – Min load: 2 hours, 30 minutes (Alkaline); 4 hours (NiMH rechargeable)

Max load condition: four inputs connected each to a 1.6mA phantom powered load, input gains set to maximum, 32 Ohm headphones connected. Min load condition is as follows: music playing, phantom power OFF, 32 Ohm headphones connected.

iRig Mic XY

  • Will be included with iRig Pro Quattro I/O Deluxe
  • Type: Electret condenser
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Capsule size: 0.55”
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: -39 dB at 1kHz
  • Equivalent noise: 22 dB (A-weighted)
  • Max SPL: 145 dB SPL (@1% THD)
  • Connector type: male 3-pin XLR
  • Power requirements: 48V phantom power, <2mA (each)
  • Dimensions (each): 55mm (H) x 19mm (Diam.)
  • Weight (each): 37g