Review – iRig Micro Amplifier from IK Multimedia

Are you looking for the perfect small practice amp for your dorm room, apartment, or bedroom? One that has a wide-range of audio signatures and modeling? Do you want it to be small, portable, and able to operate on batteries, or AC power? Look no further, we think we have the answer.

The iRig Micro Amplifier from IK Multimedia is  small amp that can model a large range of amps, from a Marshall stack to a Fender Blues Deluxe, all controlled by your phone. As readers know, we are fans of the iRig product line, so we were curious how their new iRig Micro Amplifier performed.

The amp is small, light, and easy to keep in the smallest room. With settings for gain and master volume alongside a 3-band EQ, the 10-Watt iRig Micro Amplifier is everything I wanted out of an affordable practice amplifier. 

One of the iRig Micro’s most appealing features is its price. For a street price $129.99, you can purchase this amp from most major online music retail stores. For those less up-to-date on amplifiers, this is a great price. For comparison, another popular amp of the same segment is the Yamaha THR series, which go for anywhere between $200 and $300. But it doesn’t matter how cheap something is if it isn't worth buying, so let's look at the amp itself.

The amp features a minimalist approach to sonic control. It has the bare minimum in terms of knobs: a clean/dirty channel selector, volume, gain, and a 3-band EQ. However, the iRig Micro has an ace up its sleeve. IK Multimedia is known for using technology to make music production more connected, and the Micro amp is no different. There is a microUSB port next to auxiliary in/out jacks. What is the microUSB port for? The amp connects to any of iRig’s iOS/MacOS/Windows apps to suddenly add pedals, a greater EQ, reverb, and whatever else you could want.

It works great when you have access to a device. The problem is that, if you don't have access to these apps, you’ll miss out on a big feature. And as of this review, iRig doesn’t support Android, so pick up an iOS device or a Windows computer. You don’t even need an activated iPhone or iPad for example, you can use an older one, and turn it into your iRig effects rig.

One of the problems that small amplifiers are constantly struggling with, is the low-end, and this amp is no different. While you can dial in your tone to your exact liking with the built in EQ and supported apps, the bass will never be full, and the amp will never be “gigable.” This isn’t a fault of the amp as much as it is a fault of the ultraportable amplifier segment, but it is still worth noting. You could you use the amp to feed a subwoofer, or another powered amp that doesn’t have modeling.

I can see two wonderful uses for this little amplifier. The first, most obvious use, is as a portable practice amplifier. For an office, a kid, or a dorm roomthe iRig Micro is exactly what you need. Not too loud, and utterly simple, it’s great for practice and playing along with backing tracks.

The other use I see is as a portable speaker. Being battery powered, this amp doubles as a portable speaker with its aux input. For this purpose, it has excellent battery life and volume, but still lacks as much of a low end as I would like. I do not recommend buying this product to be used strictly as a speaker, but it is a nice little bonus of the device. We also recommend the use of an external power supply, unless you have a free lifetime supply of batteries.

A nice practice amplifier is a great utility for any guitar player. Not having to blast a 100W tube amp to learn a part or to practice a riff, but instead opt for a more subtle and quieter approach can have a great value. For this purpose, the iRig Micro Amp is a great choice. With the ability to run on batteries, its size, and its connectedness to the iRig ecosystem, this small amp offers almost everything you’d want from a small amp, although it is lacking in low-end, and doesn't have the controls we wished it had. With all things considered, for the price, and its features, we recommend the iRig Micro Amplifier from IK Multimedia, and is on Mac Edition Radio Gift Picks for the Holidays!

Jonathan Fogel, Posted 11/1/2019

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