iRig Pads is the recent addition to IK Multimedia’s popular lineup of music accessories for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Positioned by IK Multimedia as a portable MIDI groove controller, it allows users to send control changes and commands to native iOS apps including iMPC Studio, FL Studio Mobile, GarageBand or IK Multimedia’s own apps such as DJ Rig (for digital decks), GrooveMaker (for grooves and loops) or SampleTank (for better beats).
- Portable MIDI controller that comes equipped with Sustain/Expression pedal input
- 16 sensitive backlit pads that display multiple colors, depending on velocity as well as incoming and outgoing commands and controls
- Customizable controls to create 16 MIDI scenes, assigning any CC or note to the controls
- Knobs and buttons- 2 MIDI knobs, 1 slider, 1 pushbutton encoder; all programmable
- A MIDI Interface that’s bus powered and fully compliant to MIDI class
- Powered by USB which means no battery drain when connected to iOS devices (USB cable and lightning connector included in the box)
Design and Programming
Designed to be portable and lightweight for on-the-go use, iRig Pads feature an array of sixteen backlit and velocity sensitive rubber pads, alongside a couple of pushbuttons and a couple of knobs, one slider, and a combination knob/pushbutton controller. Each control can be programmed to send notes or messages or commands. The buttons and pads come with a special configuration in toggle mode where a MIDI note/CC is switched on with a first press and then turned off with a subsequent press of the appropriate button or pad, or in a temporary mode where the note/cc is turned on by pressing and holding the pad, and then off when it is released.
Each pad on the four by four grid support the standard levels of velocity response, with multi-color illumination to give visual feedback of velocity- covering the whole color spectrum from red to green. Red indicates a high velocity touch, and green a low velocity touch. The multi color feature is also used to show incoming and outgoing messages and different statuses and modes when programming the pads. The velocity sensitive feature can be configured to three levels, and can even be toggled off and on by using a single button.
With iRig Pads, you can save up to 16 scenes and reuse them with different iOS apps. Each scene can save the assigned MIDI channels for various applications, and the assigned control changes or notes of each controller. Six pre-installed scenes come in handy whenever you want to get started quickly, however these can be used as you see fit. Best of all, the slider, pushbuttons, data knob and pads can all be set to separate channels, thereby making it easier for you to mix different CC commands and notes, across several applications. For instance, the slider and knobs could be used to send messages on Channel 3 to a sound enhancing app while the pads on Channel 1 to send MIDI notes to loops and grooves app.
IK Multimedia has delivered one of its best devices with iRig Pads. Although there is a wide array of MIDI pad controllers out there, iRig is without doubt one of the best choices if you are an audio hobbyist or musician who works mostly with iOS devices and is looking for a solid yet configurable and flexible MIDI pad controller that is easy on the pocket. It’s an impressive package at a great price, as the iRig Pads review above shows, and is totally worthy of our recommendation.