For a while now, I’ve been using an iRig with my EWI. It works rather well considering the price. It allows me to hook up my EWI to an iPad/iPhone/iPod and use programs like Garageband to add effects. You can also even get Looping apps so you can layer sonic creations on you iOS device.
My one complaint about the iRig would be that it is rather noisy. You can hear a lot of audio noise while using the interface as it plugs into the headphone/microphone jack on your iOS device. Latency isn’t a factor at all, which is really the bigger thing I was concerned about. Nothing sucks more than have a delay between when you physical sound a note (i.e. blow into the EWI) and hear it. My EWI settings are all tweaked to make it near instant (so no effect usually on the patches). For $30 (actually, look around iRigs are cheaper than that now) the iRig strikes a good compromise between features and audio quality.
The iRig HD fixes two issues in the original iRig. First, it fixes the audio quality problems by now plugging into either the 30 pin connector, the lightning connector, or via USB. So the signal is, I think, all digital now. Second, you now have a gain dial right on the device, so you can dial in the right amount of gain (and help eliminate noise). It’s about 3 times more expensive compared to the iRig, but it does come with the ability to unlock some amp sounds in Amplitube.
Which to get? Honestly, the original iRig works fine on EWI. The noise level is totally acceptable (sorta sounds like audio tape hiss…..so sorta retro sounding). If you plan on using the iRig with a REAL guitar as well as an EWI, you might want to get the iRig HD instead. It is sooooo much better than the original iRig in terms of noise when you use an electric guitar.
Check it out.
The Woodwind and the Brasswind has a little subsection on their site that they call “What The Pros Play”. And they have an article with multi-instrumentalist Jeff Kashiwa (of the Rippingtons). It starts with what he plays on and subsequent links to those instruments on the wwbw.com site. Towards the end, there are some fabulous insights on his EWI setup.
His EWI is no exception. Jeff used to travel with the EWI 4000s, wireless audio and midi, with a laptop and interface. Today Jeff uses the Akai 4000s with Patchman sounds, and has moved to an iPhone 4s set up attached to the side of the EWI with velcro.
He is using custom Logic EXS24 Multisamples which have been converted to Garageband for the iPhone app. Garageband is also generating the stereo delay and reverb. The internal audio and sampler outputs are routed with an iRig adapter in and out of the iPhone 4s with an inexpensive Radio Shack 1/8″ stereo headphone extension cable is used as the main output to the house sound system. He is stuck to a cable and not able to roam around on EWI thru the audience, BUT, how cool is that?? The entire system he once drug around on the road is pretty much just an iPhone now. I was impressed.
If you haven’t used iRig (or similar adapter) and Garageband with your EWI, you are missing out. For about $50 you can add a whole world of guitar amps and effects to your EWI. I am not sure why he’d have Logic samples in it though, as the iRig is purely an audio thing, and samples I would think would be controlled via Midi. That is not to say that he couldn’t also have one of the many Midi things available for iOS, like the iRig MIDI and a small little midi cable to the iPhone. Also, why he doesn’t pipe the sounds out of his iPhone into a wireless? Seems like you should be able to do it.
Anyhow, it’s an interesting little tidbit.