IK Multimedia has long been at the forefront in providing iOS audio/MIDI interface solutions for guitarists, but the company’s new iRig Stomp I/O ($299) takes it to another level. The USB pedalboard controller integrates a professional 96kHz/24-bit audio interface and Class A preamp with MIDI I/O for iPhone, iPad, Mac and PC.
IK Multimedia is located in Italy, not far from the Ferrari auto factory, and this piece of gear is as sleek, solid and stylish as a Berlinetta. It features four onboard metal stomp switches, plus an expression pedal with a virtual switch, all with LED indicators. You can connect two additional switches or pedals, and the MIDI IN/OUT ports allow you to control external processors using iRig Stomp I/O as a stand-alone MIDI foot controller. The device bay is a unique feature that provides a place to charge your iOS device. It even has a rubber lip that secures your device in the bay — just one indicator of the thought that went into designing this product.
Your guitar enters a 1/4-inch XLR combo jack, is passed through a phone, tablet or laptop, and sent out through two balanced stereo outputs. You can connect to external amps, DAW mixers and PA systems, and there’s a 1/4-inch stereo headphone out for silent monitoring. Input gain and output volume are controlled on the front panel. The iRig Stomp I/O also comes with more than $800 worth of software and apps, including AmpliTube for Mac/PC and iOS.
You can find more features and specs on the IK website, but I want to get right into the experience. First I tried the Stomp I/O with an iPad as a virtual pedalboard into two combos. Booting up AmpliTube, shutting off the amp simulation and just using the virtual fuzz, overdrive, wah and delay, I experienced no discernable latency. Assigning switching and continuous controllers in Ampli-Tube iOS was simple. I just had to hold my finger (very still) on the virtual switch, knob or rocker pedal I wished to control until an assign-learn screen appeared, and then hit the appropriate hardware switch or rock the onboard expression pedal. Other iOS apps I used have different methods of assigning MIDI, but all instantly recognized Stomp I/O as a controller.
Plugging into my iMac to use the Stomp I/O as a USB-powered audio interface and MIDI switcher was just as easy. Ableton Live recognized it as both audio and MIDI sources. Assigning the Stomp I/O’s expression pedal to the frequency parameter of Live’s Auto Filter gave me a unique sounding wah effect.
More and more guitarists are comfortable using modeling systems in live and studio situations, while the new, powerful tablets let players carry all that processing power in a gig bag. For me, the excitement lies in being able to augment traditional sounds, whether created by hardware or modeling, with some of the granular and spectral processing available in iOS apps, but as yet unavailable in pedal form. Whatever system you prefer, Stomp I/O helps point the way to the future by providing a well-built, full featured, easy-to-use controller that earns an Editors’ Pick Award.
IK Multimedia iRig Stomp I/O
CONTROLS Expression pedal, 4 footswitches, input gain control and output volume control
POWER USB or DC Adaptor
CONNECTIONS Neutrik Combo socket for mic and instrument input (auto selecting), +48V phantom power switch, 1/4” headphones output, 2 x 1/4” TRS balanced floating line outputs, MIDI input/output, 2 x TRS External controllers sockets, B-type USB (for Mac/PC), Mini-DIN iOS connector, Barrel DC-in socket for power and charging devices
EXTRAS Software bundle (includes AmpliTube 4 Deluxe and T-RackS 5 mixing and mastering suite), Device bay with charging capability, lightning to Mini-DIN cable, USB A-type to USB-type cable
KUDOS A great way to control the new wave of iOS apps for guitar