Reviewed: IK Multimedia iRig Acoustic Stage

Sound & Music | sound-music.com | Expect to Pay: $520

I’m not sure if many of you remember when IK Multimedia first launched the humble iRig, but it opened the world up to iOS and later Android integration for guitar players. It was a fairly simple device, but so clever in design. Since it was readily taken up by more users around the world than anyone would have expected, we have seen the development of iRig products continue to grow into areas we wouldn’t have predicted. With stands, clips, microphones, and computer interfaces, there is very little IK Multimedia doesn’t offer the musician in the iRig range. Now, they have given acoustic guitar players the opportunity to simply and effectively amplify their instrument on stage with their clever new device, the iRig Acoustic Stage.

Many people find that the guitar they would like to use for a live performance doesn’t have a built-in pickup and preamp system. This results in the quandary of whether to have a pickup installed, which can be costly and can change the feel and sound of the instrument, or whether to consider purchasing a new guitar. IK has now made it easy to amplify any acoustic guitar without permanently modifying the instrument and without expensive installations.

 

The iRig Acoustic Stage takes the already well-received iRig Acoustic pickup and pairs it with a belt-worn preamp system to generate the best sound from a little unit. The pickup clips onto the edge of the instrument’s sound hole, making installation a breeze. Best of all, it works with both steel and nylon string guitars, and doesn’t suffer the limitations of most magnetic sound hole pickups. The pickup is then connected to the belt pack to allow you to control the sound in the preamplifier stage. This can then be connected to your guitar amp or mixer with a normal 6.5mm instrument cable.

 

 

This nifty little system comes bundled in a compact carry case along with the connecting cable and belt clip and space for spare batteries, so it can live in your guitar case or bag and always be ready for use if you need it. What the belt pack offers is quite cool. Rather than just the typical three-band EQ that is found in most guitar preamps, you get a number of options to bring your guitar to life.

 

To start with, there is a feedback cancellation button that engages a fairly precise notch filter to calm down any wayward frequencies, while not overly affecting the tone of the guitar. Then, you have a number of preset tone options to change how your guitar sounds. Simply flick through each one, strum a few chords, and you’ll know which setting works best with your guitar. On top of all this, the system works as an audio interface for both mobile and desktop devices, so you can use it to record your instrument as well as using it for live performances.

Hits and Misses

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Clever concept

Doesn’t permanently modify your guitar

Works with nylon and steel string instruments

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Doesn’t quite match up to some inbuilt preamp systems

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