Review: IK Multimedia iRig Micro Amp is a Portable Powerhouse

iRig Micro Amp atop a speaker cabinet. Image via IK Multimedia

iRig Micro Amp atop a speaker cabinet. Image via IK Multimedia

By now, most readers of Apple World Today are aware of the fact that I’m learning guitar as a 61-year-old. The great thing about learning now as an adult is that all of the technological tools I’m using to help me advance weren’t available when I was a teenager, so I have a real advantage. Since I’m learning electric guitar, an amplifier isn’t just something nice to have — it’s a necessity. IK Multimedia provided me with one of their iRig Micro Amps (MSRP, $149.99) for testing and use during my learning experience, and today I’ll take you on a tour of the features of this small, but powerful device.

Design

Most practice amps usually have controls for volume, gain, bass, midrange, and treble equalizers, a power switch, a 1/4-inch plug for the guitar input, and a speaker. The iRig Micro Amp has all of those, and more... 

Start off by adding three pushbuttons for built-in analog channels — clean, drive and lead — and even beginners are able to start creating some amazing sounds. There’s a headphone output jack for silent practice (a necessity in our household), and a cabinet out connector for connecting to a larger speaker stack. Want to jam along with your favorite band? Plug your iPhone into the aux input port. But the biggest feature that you won’t find elsewhere is a micro-USB connector to connect your amp to an iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Top view of the iRig Micro Amp. Image via IK Multimedia

Top view of the iRig Micro Amp. Image via IK Multimedia

The importance of that feature becomes apparently when you download the AmpliTube CS app for iOS, which provides the ability to precisely mimic the sound of 10 classic amps and 26 stomp boxes for effects. For Mac users, AmpliTube 4 for Mac is included, along with 9 classic amps and 10 stomps. Of course, iRig Micro also works with other apps like Garage Band, Logic, and more. Without the need for any other interface, AmpliTube CS for iOS can use the iPhone or iPad’s microphone as input for modification with the digital effects.

The amp can run on six AA batteries for portable use, or can be plugged in using a separate AC adapter (not included). iRig Micro Amp pumps out 15W of power when it is plugged in, and 7.5W when running on battery power. At just 2.77 pounds (1.26kg) and 8.26 x 4.92 x 6.1 inches in size (210 x 125 x 155mm), the iRig Micro is a very portable amp. For those who want something even smaller — but much less capable — the $49.99 iRig Nano Amp is rather bare bones but would be more than sufficient for beginners. 

In case you’re wondering about the speaker in this amp, it’s a 4-inch that puts our a surprising amount of sound. The entire unit comes in a tough plastic case that not only looks good, but can match up nicely with just about any big speaker.

Function

Setting up the iRig Micro Amp was a piece of cake. I had read the owner’s manual ahead of time and purchased an inexpensive 9V AC/DC power adapter (Amazon affiliate link) so I’d be able to plug in the unit. I also had my Fender guitar/amp cable to connect my Yamaha Pacifica guitar to the unit, and my trusty old headphones.

Before I splurged on a clip tuner for the guitar, I would use the speaker in the amp for tuning. Cranking the amp up a bit, I could tell just how loud that 15W of sonic power is. Check out this video of Dr. Molly Miller demonstrating the features of the iRig Micro Amp at NAMM 2019 and you’ll see that this amp can do a lot!

Probably the thing I love the most about the iRIg Micro Amp is that it’s not only perfect for a beginning guitarist like me, but it can help me out as I become more proficient. As my playing skills become better, I can use one of IK Multimedia’s guitar interfaces like the $99.99 iRig HD 2, I can make more use of the included apps and purchase extra “sound models” from famous guitarists. Right now I’m happy with what I can do with the amp and effects using microphone input.

Conclusion 

I find the IK Multimedia iRig Micro Amp to be the perfect amp for my needs, both now and in the future. My only complaint is that the amp could benefit from a carrying strap of some sort — perhaps IK Multimedia could sell one as an accessory. Other than that, the capabilities, sound, and features of this amp are incredibly good. 

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★

Considering the purchase of an IK Multimedia iRig Micro Amp? Purchase it through Amazon for $110.29 and help support Apple World Today (affiliate link).