Accessories, News, Recording / Music

[Review] iRig PRE From IK Multimedia – Use Your Favorite Mic With Any iOS Device

Review by:
Dom Esposito

Reviewed by:
5 Stars
On September 20, 2012
Last modified:October 16, 2012


Take your favorite microphone and plug it into your iOS device using iRig PRE. It's seriously that simple. This awesome little box also includes a Phantom Power switch, making it compatible with almost any microphone. It also runs on a single 9 volt battery and fits in your pocket.

I’ve been a big fan of IK Multimedia for a long time, and they’ve never failed to impress me with their innovation. In my opinion, they create some of the best iOS music accessories your money can buy. Their latest device, iRig PRE, is no different…

I was first introduced to iRig PRE back at CES 2012 in January. I was thoroughly impressed with the capabilities that this little black box offers to iOS devices, and knew it would be a hit when it was released.

If your curious, iRig PRE is a mini preamp for your iOS device. It comes complete with an XLR input, gain dial, and a headphone jack (for real-time monitoring).

The concept is genius: Take your favorite microphone and plug it into your iOS device using iRig PRE. It’s seriously that simple. This awesome little box also includes a Phantom Power switch, making it compatible with almost any microphone. It also runs on a single 9 volt battery and fits in your pocket.

Check out the video:

iRig PRE Features:

  • 40 cm (15.75″) TRRS cable to connect
    to any iOS device headset jack
  • XLR input connector for microphones
  • Gain control
  • +48 V phantom power
  • Headphone output
  • On/Off switch
  • Power/Phantom Power provided by 9V battery
  • Battery life is approximately
    30 hours with dynamic microphones
    and 10 hours with phantom powered condenser studio microphones
  • Download 2 free apps from the App Store:
    iRig Recorder FREE, an easy-to-use voice recording/editing app,
    VocaLive FREE, a multi-effects processing app for singers.
  • Compatible with iPhone/iPod touch/iPad.


I was shocked at how great iRig PRE worked. In the video demonstration above, you can hear the quality of the iRig PRE. I was able to plug a Shure SM7 right into my iPhone and record broadcast quality sound, right from my couch. You really have to hear it to believe it.

Download the sample here:

The build quality of iRig PRE is excellent. Yes, it’s made from plastic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not built like a tank. I also love that because iRig PRE uses the headphone jack on iOS devices, it’s completely compatible with the iPhone 5.


Are you kidding? Nothing to say here.

Final Thoughts

This baby only runs $39.99, and in my opinion, it’s the best accessory from IK Multimedia ever. Period. I’d even go as far as saying this tops all other music accessories I’ve ever seen. It’s totally innovative, and brings a much-needed feature to the recording world and iOS devices.

IK Multimedia’s iRig PRE definitely takes the top spot in my life as far as iOS recording accessories are concerned. To find our more information about iRig PRE or to purchase one, you can check it out here.

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  • Auditory

    Review of iRig Pre

    Overall, I am quite satisfied with the performance of the iRig Pre interface. I am using it with an iPhone 4, running OS 5.0.1. The sound quality is very good.

    Still, there are some quirks about the iRig Pre and some improvements should be considered. First, the iRig Pre can be susceptible to electrical interference from other audio devices. Any buzz is easily remedied however, by moving the iRig Pre or the device the iRig Pre is allergic to. Also, try to make sure your iPhone is fully charged in case there is unwanted noise that may occur when the iPhone’s ac adapter is used.

    Another issue with the iRig Pre is the quality of construction. I’d much prefer a device encased in metal rather than plastic.

    The iRig Pre runs on a 9-volt battery and battery life is more than adequate, especially if the iRig Pre’s phantom power option isn’t required. Still, would have liked to see a jack for an external power supply.

    A nice feature of the iRig Pre is the input volume control. This gives the user the option to control the trim of the input sources. This comes in mighty handy if your input source is line level instead of microphone level or something in between. Although there is plenty of gain and attenuation on the iRig Pre’s level control, a switchable mic/line button would have been a welcomed addition.

    Getting back to quality of construction, I found the rheostat type thumb control knob to be on the cheap side. It reminded me of the ones on those old, made in Japan, plastic, transistor radios from the 1960s. The volume wheel on my iRig Pre was scratchy and staticky, almost from the day of first use. I am considering returning it under warranty because if I ever have to change the volume level during a recording, the static produced from the cut-rate control wheel could compromise the integrity of the recording.

    I use iRig Pre to record Internet radio productions via Skype. It saves me from having to use a full size laptop computer.

    Another bonus is being able to use the iPhone’s video camera and bypass the phone’s built-in microphone when recorder is used. You’ll get crystal clear audio even if the video is less than splendid.

    A few words about the iRig Pre’s iOS software called “iRig Recorder Free”. The application is fairly straightforward. The most frustrating feature is the segmented record level meter. It is difficult to judge appropriate levels because the only colors on the level indicator are white, pink and red. To compound the problem, there are only about 10 pink bars out of the 56 remaining so it’s tough to estimate when you are over modulated, under modulated or in the pink. In fact, it’s hard to know where exactly one should aim in order to hit the level’s peak. The next iRig Recorder’s upgrade should include a multi-colored level indicator with white, green yellow and red hues for easy signal verification. I also didn’t care for having to pay (albeit a very nominal fee) for the otherwise free iRig software in order to unlock access to my uncompressed audio files. I shelled out $40.00 for the iRig Pre and in my opinion the full software version should have been included with it.

    There aren’t many choices if you want to use an external microphone or an audio mixer’s output signal with your iPhone. iRig Pre is compact, versitile and economical. It’s got a few shortcomings but there is a work around for nearly all of them.

  • Steven Gowin

    I’d also just demonstrate how to get the file out of iTunes or through whichever download one is using. Otherwise thanks.

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