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iRiffPort: A Look at the Digital Instrument Interface for iOS

Pocket Labworks iRiffPortSo far, I’ve focused in on mostly iOS apps in this space, but this time around, I’m going to focus in on hardware that works with many of these apps. I recently tried out the new iRiffPort by PocketLabWorks, which is a digital instrument interface in conjunction with the PocketGK app.

For starters, PocketLabWorks got things right by making it simple. This device is just a cable. No connecting up a bunch of stuff, no boxes, no batteries. On one end is a 30-pin connector (for your iOS device). On the other end is a 1/4 inch cable for your bass. Each end has a 1/8 inch jack. The mini-jack located next to the instrument plug is designed for your headphones while the one on the iOS end is a line out, which is useful if you want to send the signal anywhere else.

The cable is 6 feet long and thick enough to feel durable, but also malleable enough to wind nicely and take up practically no space in your bag. Input levels are set via your volume toggles on the iOS device.

I’ve found this cable to function well with every CoreAudio compliant app I have (Garageband, PocketGK, various tuners, and so on).

iRiffPort features:

  1. Recessed dock connector (to fit through protective cases
  2. Independent headphone and line outputs
  3. Headphone jack located in the guitar plug for easy access and clean wiring
  4. Support for all iOS devices

The PocketGK app has a number of additions since I first wrote about it (see my review for this app and more in my iPad as a Musical Study Tool column). I’ll focus on the latest additions here, which have helped to set this apart from the rest and have earned it a permanent place on my iPad and iPhone.

Once you have selected the tune from your iTunes library that you’d like to play along with, a tap on the album cover artwork bring up a control screen dull of sliders which allow you to adjust:

  • Mix I love this feature, which allows you to adjust the instrument level vs. song level
  • Pitch Allows you to change the key of the tune without effecting speed. Very accurate and helpful.
  • Speed The all important slow-downer! Great sound quality as you slow down or speed up, ranging from 25%-200%.
  • Loop section Allows you to set a loop beginning and end point so you no longer have to keep scrolling back and forth.

These features, in addition to an already good sounding app, have really made shedding tunes while on the road or away from home not only easy and kind of fun, but efficient.

I highly recommend the app and regardless of which app you prefer, very highly recommend the iRiffPort cable interface.