Use Your iOS Device as an Effects Processor: iRig HD, iStudio iS202, Turnado, LiveFX

In this iOS special we look at some iPad based effects processors (Sugar Bytes Turnado, Elephantcandy LiveFX) and the hardware you’ll need manipulate sounds with your iPad or iPhone (IK Multimedia iRig HD, Behringer iStudio iS202).

IK Multimedia's iRigHD audio interface and AmpliTube software

Over the past few years the iPad and iPhone have become powerful devices for music production, with many hardware and software manufacturers offering ways to integrate your iOS device into your production setup. In this iOS / iPad special we will look at some hardware and software options that allow you to use your mobile device as an effects processor. To do this you’ll first need an audio interface to route sound into and out of your device. IK Multimedia and Behringer are both offering new hardware options for audio routing with their respective iRigHD and iStudio iS202 interfaces. We’ll also take a look at some iOS effects processors such as Sugar BytesTurnado and LiveFX which allow you to manipulate sound with your iPad.

iRig HD – Digital Audio Interface

Italy’s IK Multimedia is one company who continues to stay at the edge of iOS product development, and they have raised the bar yet again with their iRigHD audio interface. The pocket-sized device is a one channel audio interface (input only) that boasts 24-bit analog to digital conversion, gain control, and the ability to work with new and older generation iPads and iPhones. The iRig HD connects to your iOS device via the Lighting connection jack on newer devices, or the 30-pin connector on older devices (both cables are included). Once this connection is established, you would then plug a 1/4 inch instrument cable into the iRig HD to send signal into your iOS effects processor, and your output signal would run through the device’s 1/8 inch output. This method results in a much cleaner signal than the original iRig and a stable digital connection that frees up your 1/8 inch output for stereo signal. The iRig HD has also been developed to work with Apple computers as a class-compliant audio interface that connects via an included USB cable. iRigHD is currently available with a retail price of $99.

Behringer iStudio iS202

The Behringer iSTUDIO iS202 is a new iPad docking station that offers a number of useful connections and controls for using your iPad to manipulate audio signal. This device only works with the iPad and more specifically full-sized iPads that have 30-pin connections. If you happen to have one of these models the Behringer iS202 could be a tempting solution for effects processing as it offers two analog inputs and two analog outputs with full digital to analog and analog to digital conversion. The dock also offers MIDI in/out, USB MIDI port, video output, an aux input, foot switch control, and physical level knobs on the surface of the device. While it’s less portable than something like the iRig HD, this option would be useful for the iPad user who plans to use the device for studio recoring on a regular basis. At $149 street price we look forward to checking it out soon.

Sugar Bytes Turnado iPad Edition

One of the most exciting new audio products for the iPad is Turnado iPad Edition by veteran plug in developers Sugar Bytes, who you may remember from popular computer-based effects such as Effectrix. Turnado iPad Edition is based on the popular plug-in of the same name and offers the ability to combine up to eight effects that each offer dynamic control through 4 XY pads on the app’s interface. The program integrates with Audiobus, MIDI, Audiocopy/Audiopaste, iTunes, and external sources to mangle sounds in unimaginable ways. Turnado is available now for $19.99 in the App Store.

Elephantcandy LiveFX Multi-Effects Processor

LiveFX is an iOS effects processor that takes input from the built-in microphone, external hardware, or Audiobus and applies up to four real-time effects with touchscreen control. You can access your music library through the program’s iTunes browser, or you can route any other iPad application that supports Audiobus to the effects. Four banks allow you to chain up to four effects together. Those combinations can be saved for later use, and the app comes loaded with presets to get you started. The app is free to download and try, but the full version costs $8.99 through an in-app purchase.