Guitarist’s Buying Guide to iOS Gear

Guitarist’s Buying Guide to iOS Gear

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How to find the right iOS-compatible audio equipment for your iPhone or iPad to help make you a better playing and sounding guitarist

Today’s iOS technology has revolutionized the way we tune, perform, practice, and record with our guitars. Using an iPhone or iPad together with the great music apps now available, and the right iOS interface or other hardware, there is no limit to what you can accomplish. In this guide we’ll walk you through some of the gear that will help make that happen.

If you want to dive right in, check out our selection of iOS gear here. (Keep in mind that many new mixers, recorders, effects processors, and other audio gear now include iOS compatibility. Check the specs to see if the gear you’re thinking about can do double duty in both conventional and iOS-based guitar and recording rigs.)

Table of Contents

Hooking it Up: Selecting an iOS Guitar Interface
Amping Up: Taking Big Sound with You
Stomping Down: Adding Some Fancy Footwork
Must-Have iOS Accessories for Guitarists
Confused? Need More Help?

Hooking it Up: Selecting an iOS Guitar Interface

First things first: we need to make your guitar talk to your iOS device. Guitars have been around forever but iOS tech is fairly new, so how do we ensure that a Stratocaster can jam with an iPad? Fortunately, finding and using an excellent digital guitar interface is easy as plugging in a pair of earbuds.

Apogee JAM 96K Guitar Interface

As simple as it gets, the Apogee JAM 96K requires no setup. Just plug and play!

Portable enough to slip in your pocket, the Apogee JAM 96K is a great way to jam, record and practice using your iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer. Connect it to your iOS device or Mac desktop or laptop and you’re ready to access Apple’s GarageBand or any other popular DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) apps or software. The JAM 96K captures the natural warmth and musical-sounding distortion that guitarists hunger for with studio-quality 96kHz/24-bit high-definition recording. A thumb dial on the JAM allows you to control your output without having to use the iOS device’s touch screen. A green power monitor light turns red if you get into digital-distortion territory. Included cables work with either the older 30-pin Apple connector or the newer Lightning interface.


Check out the JAM 96K in action.

IK iRig2

With a 24-bit A/D converter and powered by your mobile gear, the IK Multimedia iRig 2 Guitar Interface delivers studio-like sound on a tight budget.

The iRig 2 Guitar Interface is equipped with a 1/4” output so you can plug it straight it into your amp without any adapters. The 1/4” input can be used with any guitar, bass or line-level instrument such as a digital keyboard. A gain control helps you dial in the right output levels. In addition to iOS devices, the iRig is compatible with select Android gear. Running IK’s AmpliTube—a robust multi-effects processor—gives you access to dozens of amazing amp and FX models.


IK Multimedia iRig HD Guitar Interface for iOS and MAC

The iRig HD interface has a 1/4" Hi-Z instrument input for your guitar and connects to your iOS device with the included 30-pin and Lightning cables.

The IK Multimedia’s iRig HD steps up your game by including full access to an entire suite of AmpliTube goodies including the Jimi Hendrix and Slash apps. You also get a single-track recorder plus in-app upgrade access to 4- and 8-track recorders when you run the iPhone or iPad apps. Or replicate your real stage rig if you want to practice at home with headphones. It even works with external mixers, keyboards and synths to be your mobile studio nerve center.

Line 6 Sonic Port

The Line 6 Sonic Port makes performance, recording, and practice fun. It includes access to thousands of POD presets and effects created by pro musicians and features a cool jam-along app.

Line 6’s Sonic Port is another slick and ultra-portable way to take your recording studio on the road. Equipped with four built-in jacks for guitar, headphones, monitor, and a stereo output, Sonic Port gives you the power to capture that inspired riff on the fly. It includes the free Mobile POD app, which turns your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch into a robust mixing board with access to a database of more than 10,000 guitar effects. The icing on the cake is the free Jammit app, which takes popular songs and isolates music tracks so you can listen and learn how to play like the pros.

Check out the comprehensive line of Musician’s Friend iOS hardware for guitars.

Learn more with our expert Audio Interface Buying Guide

Amping Up: Taking Big Sound with You

Once you’ve developed your chops, at some point you’ll likely want to share your music with the world. Even if you don’t, monitoring with headphones won’t work if you’re jamming with others. We’ll next highlight a selection of guitar amps that are both iOS and travel-friendly.

Roland Cube Street EX

Take your music to the streets and meadows with the Roland Cube Street EX.

Weighing in at under 17 pounds and packing 50 watts of punch, the Roland Cube Street EX Battery Powered Stereo Guitar Amplifier makes it simple to take your show on the road. Powered by the included AC cable when wall current’s available, or eight AA batteries that can deliver up to five hours of playing time, the Cube Street EX comes with four independent channels to connect mics, instruments, and audio gear. When you connect the amp to your iOS device and unleash the power of the included i-CUBE LINK and CUBE JAM apps, your iPhone or iPad becomes your miniature recording studio, effects library, and digital backup band.

Line 6 AMPLIFi 150

The powerful AMPLIFi 150 plays nice with your iOS devices while serving up lavish helpings of Line 6 guitar tones and effects.

Want even bigger sound and more tones to play with? Check out the thunderous AMPLIFi 150 150W Modeling Solid State Guitar Amp. With five built-in speakers, including a 12” center loudspeaker specifically engineered by Celestion for stunning guitar sound, this baby ensures you’ll be heard in even loud band settings. Along with wireless Bluetooth streaming, the AMPLIFi Remote app turns your iOS device into a cloud-accessible tone library where you can compare and share custom tones with musicians around the world. All of this comes packaged in a slick maroon and black cabinet that you’ll be proud to load into any gig or make the centerpiece of your home rig.


Take a fast tour of all the AMPLIFi 150’s amazing capabilities.

These are just a few of the huge selection of Musician’s Friend guitar amp options, so find the one that works perfectly for your performance and recording needs!

Check out Musician’s Friend complete assortment of guitar effects some of which have iOS compatibility.

Must-Have iOS Accessories for Guitarists

After all your essential iOS guitar recording and jamming gear needs are met, it’s time to nail down those accessories that will help working with your iOS devices easier.

Dunlop Guitar IPod and iPhone Holder

The Dunlop Guitar IPod/iPhone Holder positions your iOS device for easy access and great legibility.

Simply yet elegantly designed, the Dunlop Guitar iPod/iPhone Holder makes your iOS device an extension of your guitar. Call up those hard-to-remember lyrics, lay down a chord progression, or tweak your effects with the swipe of a finger while keeping your focus on making musical magic.

Hal Leonard Fender iPad Case

Fly your guitarist flag and protect your iPad’s health with the Hal Leonard Fender iPad Case.

Since rolling with iOS gear is a job hazard in today’s music scene, some protection is in order. The Hal Leonard Contour Design Fender iPad Black Guitar Army Folio Case has a cushioned, impact-resistant design and is emblazoned with a collection of sweet-looking Fender axes.

Learn more with these expert guides:

The Top 10 Apps to Help You Make Better Music
iOS Recording Gear Buying Guide
How to Choose iOS-Compatible Music Gear and Software

Confused? Need More Help?

The best music is a collaborative effort. Now that you’ve gotten an overview of the iOS options awaiting you and your guitar, feel free to call on the professionals for help taking your music to the next level. Reach out to a Musician’s Friend Gear Head at 877-880-5907 today. We’ll be glad to help you find the right iOS solutions for your budget and setup.

Tags: Recording Audio Interfaces Amplifiers


# gabe 2015-07-14 18:53
# bertjoe 2015-03-03 11:11
What's a good setup for live operations for a guitar or bass. I want to use my Tech 21 power engine 60 to be the speaker. I just started using Bias, Ampkit, and jamUp with mu alesis io dock 2, but i dont want to lug that and there are too many level/volume controls that i would have to configure. I would like to get a Bluetooth pedal as well for controls. Please let me know what hardware and cables are necessary & compatible.
# Dave Ray 2014-10-23 12:36
Do any of these devices work with Android? I don't see it mentioned in any of the descriptions.
# ctgblue 2014-12-16 12:17
IK Multimedia makes the iRig HDA, which works with Android on Samsung and has the AmpliTube for Android available at the Samsung store

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