Enter the iRig 2, from IK Multimedia. ($39.99)
The iRig 2 is a device that can utilize mobile devices in place of amplifiers for the guitarist (or bassist) on the go. Apps like AmpliTube (IK Multimedia) or GarageBand (Apple) are among the thousands compatible. But how does it work?
It sports a headphone plug for plugging into mobile devices, as well as ¼” input and output jacks for the instrument, 1/8” jack for headphones (so you can listen to the effects), an FX/THRU switch, and a gain control knob.
The best place to start is with AmpliTube, IK’s own app (made for both iOS at and Samsung Pro Audio). Once the software of choice is installed on your device, just plug your guitar or bass into the iRig 2 and attach it to your device. Then, depending on preference, hook in some headphones, an auxiliary cord to a personal speaker, or go big with your own amps using the ¼” output. The gain control helps you maximize your sound while keeping it clear, and the FX/THRU switch lets you switch between digital and pure analog signal.
I can hear some of the skepticism. “Is this just another vamped-up review for a run-of-the-mill product?” And the answer is no. iPhone Life magazine declared the iRig 2 as “Best of CES 2015”.