A portable audio interface that rivals the best

IK Multimedia has started selling its basic iRig Pro Quattro I/O audio interface. The Deluxe version, which comes with an XY microphone, power supply and accessory bag, will ship in late June.

iRig Pro Quattro I/O is a portable 4-in/2-out audio and MIDI interface for field recorders, content creators, live broadcasters, podcasters and performers. IK Multimedia claims this is a professional-grade device. I tested it to find out.

What is professional quality” In any event? Is this synonymous with the best possible quality? Or does that means suitable to make a living with? Anyway, I’m happy to say the sound quality of IK MultimediaThe new device is very good. That doesn’t mean that I don’tt have reviews.

First, letLet’s take a look at some specs of the iRig Pro Quattro I/O. It has a built-in MEMS mic[1]. Thisit is also a MIDI interface and in agreement with IK MultimediaAs tradition dictates, it works perfectly with iPhone, iPad (MFi certified), Android tablet, Mac and PC.

iRig Pro Quattro Specifications

Its maximum recording quality is 24-bit, 96kHz on four 1/4″ XLR/mic combo, guitar, line-in ports with phantom power, two RCA, 3.5mm line-in ports, two balanced XLR outputs and a headphone output port with direct monitoring.You can use it as a 4-track recorder, stereo or mono.It has live mixing capabilities, a built-in limiter and a safety mode. It connects to your device via USB and can be powered via a separate USB port, a 9 Volt DC power adapter supplied with the Deluxe version or battery powered (4 AA batteries).

Equipment

The iRig Pro Quattro I/O consists of a type of plastic tough enough to withstand everyday use, but if youI plan to throw it away, I think youYou will quickly find yourself with cracks and cuts all over.

The device comes with a cleverly designed tripod or mic stand. The mounting screw is mounted on a separate plate that you slide and click into place over the battery compartment. Thiss safe to use, but you could lose the plate if youdo not pay attention.

The buttons are flat and recessed, which prevents them from breaking easily. The switches are of the slide and click type. For example, to switch from mono to stereo, via multi-channel recording, you have a three-position switch. My experience with an alarm clock that has this type of switch is that frequent use eventually leads to the click part becoming so blurry that you have to use tape to hold it in place at the desired mode. Only time will tell if this is also the case with the iRig Pro Quattro I/O.

The device has a measurement display at the top and a column of LEDs at the bottom center, the latter serving to alert you to host, output and MIDI connections. Both screens are made of a rough transparent plastic that has wonnot scratch or show traces of grease to the touch.

Two major gripes I have with all of the IK Multimedia audio interfaces I’ve tested so far is that the USB power port is micro USB. Why no USB-C? The other grudge is that I canI don’t understand why connections that have an orientation like XLR combo ports (Hi-Z and micro) and micro USB interfaces are upside down.

I could be fussy, but I find that very boring. Try connecting to an upside down XLR port a high quality Sommer Carbokab 225 mic cable that looks more like an oil rig drill pipe than a signal cable without forcing it to twist…

Like everything works fine

I first tested the micro MEMs. Thiss OK but you need a strong signal to get a decent recording and itis not going to win you any prizes with its fine sound. Thisit is good if youI am recording a short statement from someone, but I would likedon’t use it for anything else. XY mics will be much better if you need to have mics on the device itself.

Four mics (48V phantom powered or not) can be used and three different setups are possible. You can record all four to individual channels or tracks in a DAW. By using two mics on channels 1 and 2, or four on all channels, you can record in stereo with channels 1 and 3, and 2 and 4 mixed on the same track in your DAW. Channels 1 and 2 will be at the gain level youyou have set and the other two are safety (redundant) channels that automatically record at 12 dB lower gain (this is also the case if youusing only two microphones on channels 1 and 2).

Finally, you can record in mono, with all channels summed. Channels 3 and 4 will again serve as security channels.

If you know in advance that your signal will be very strong, the device also has a decent limiter on channels 1 and 2 (working with both instruments and mics). Speaking of volume, I pitted the meters against a pair of Klangshelm VU meters in DIN mode on my Mac and the measurements only differed by a small margin.

The device is capable of a dynamic range of 10 Hz to 46 kHz. When used with microphones, the preamps are very quiet and therelittle difference with an Apogee Element. There is a clear difference in heat” however, with the iRig Quattro Pro I/O a little less detailed than the Element 24.

The iRig Pro Quattro I/O is not a recorder, despite the marketing claim you can use it standalone. It does not have its own data storage but uses your smartphone or tablet for this, or feeds an audio system integrated into the camera.

Verdict

The device has all the necessary features to satisfy a professional while having additional features that will be of great use to you if youI’m just starting out as a sound engineer. Jthe Deluxe version you can pre-order is recommended for its inclusion of XY mics, but it’s currently only available for pre-order at €449.99 excl. VAT The basic version is available now and sells for €349.99 incl. VAT

[1] A MEMS microphone is a microphone consisting of a pressure-sensitive diaphragm etched behind a fixed perforated plate. The combination acts much like a condenser of a condenser microphone.