Which audio interface is compatible with my iPhone/iPad?

There are many different interfaces to choose from but most of them are for desktop use, especially those sophisticated ones with multiple in/out, so be sure to choose one that's compatible with iPad / iPhone. Some interfaces are analog, such as IK Multimedia's iRig 2, and won't be able to work with iPhone 7 and all models after due to the lack of a headphone jack.

Let's take a look at what you need to use Positive Grid's apps.


1) Analog interfaces with headphone interconnect cable (NOT for iPhone 7 and later models)

- IK Multimedia iRig 2, iRig Stomp

- Peavey Ampkit Link

- Tascam iXZ

The easiest way to get your favorite guitar sounds from your iOS device. However, as we mentioned above, the analog interface is only compatible with pre-iPhone 7 models. 


2) Lightning interfaces with single guitar input (NOT for iPhone 7 and later models)

- Apogee Jam

- Apogee Jam 96k

- IK Multimedia iRig HD

As long as you have an iOS device with a headphone output, you can use "input-only" interfaces and let headphone output take the duty of monitoring. 

However, if you want to plug into a guitar amp, things get a little more complicated:

  • If you try to plug a device with a low signal level into a device designed to take a high signal level, you will need to turn up the amplifier volume, introducing noise.
  • If you go the other way around, you will get clipping at high volumes. Turn the volume down low and you will probably be okay.
  • Because of the impedance bridging principle, it is okay to plug a low-impedance device into a high-impedance device. It is not okay to plug a high-impedance device into a low-impedance device. 

Examples of this principle can be found in guitar equipment: 1) Plug the instrument into effects pedal socket, but from then the signal is at line level through several pedals and the line level finally going into the high impedance instrument level amp socket. 2) Plug line out or headphone output into AUX In socket in a guitar amp. Similarly, because of the impedance bridging principle, a headphone output can generally drive a line input; but a line output generally can not drive a set of headphones.

Before you call for help, check if your guitar amp has "Aux In" (usually one socket in 1/8"). Some modern guitar amps have this as a standard feature and will happily accept the headphone signal from any consumer electronics.

If you have to connect your iPad/iPhone to a guitar amp that has only one guitar input, relax, it's not the end of the world. You just need two more tools:

A. Stereo 1/8" TRS to Mono 1/4" TS adaptor cable. Hosa and Canare are two common brands you can find easily. 

B. A re-amp box to convert low impedance signal to high impedance signal and further route to guitar input of your amp.


3) Lightning interfaces with guitar input, 1 set of headphone out and/or 1 pair of outputs

- IK Multimedia iRig HD 2, iRig Pro I/O, iRig Pro DUO

- Line 6 Sonic Port (VX)

- PreSonus iOne, iTwo

- Focusrite iTrack Solo

More outputs means better flexibility and, as the illustration above shows, with any of these you can either connect to your headphones, guitar amp or a pair of studio monitors (Note: to connect balanced out to a guitar amp you still need a re-amp box). Since Positive Grid software are designed with the most authentic cab simulation algorithm, we strongly suggest that you use FRFR (full range, flat response) speakers or studio monitors whenever you can to get the most out of it.    


4) Dock-style digital interfaces

- Alesis IO Dock II

- Focusrite iTrack Dock

Favored by many customers, dock style interfaces can easily be mounted on a stand or placed on a flat desk, providing a better experience under some critical circumstances. Bear in mind that Alesis IO Dock I and Behringer iS202 have 30-pin connectors only and are not compatible with models with lightning connectors.


5) Generic USB interfaces with iPad compatibility*

- Steinberg UR series

- Tascam US 2x2, US 4x4

- Roland Rubix series

- MOTU Microbook IIc

- Zoom U series

Some of the latest models from known brands offer iPad compatibility. However, you may need Apple's Camera Connection Kit to connect both ends. For more information, please refer to each manufacturer's website.

Voila! Now it's about time to fire up JamUp or BIAS and say sorry to your neighbors.


*Listed but not limited to these brands and models.

**Other product names mentioned in this page are trademarks of their respective companies that are not endorsed, associated, or affiliated with Positive Grid. Apple, IK Multimedia, Apogee, Peavey, Tascam, Focusrite, Line 6, PreSonus, MOTU, Roland, Steinberg, Alesis and Zoom are trademarks or trade names of other manufacturers and were used merely to identify products. All other trademarks are the property of their respective holders.

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