IK Multimedia iRig BlueBoard wireless MIDI pedalboard review

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blueboard_top_viewThere is a plethora of digital audio interfaces available now to connect your guitar to your iPhone to use with all sorts of wonderful audio apps, but there aren’t a lot of accessories that allow you to easily change settings or presets inside of those apps. What this means is that if you want to turn off your distortion pedal or change presets while playing, you pretty much have to stop playing (or hire an assistant?). It shouldn’t be this way. Good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way any longer. IK Multimedia’s iRig BlueBoard is a Bluetooth MIDI pedalboard that makes using your iOS device as an effects processor easier than ever. It has four buttons that will help you change settings without stopping the music. This opens up all sorts of creative possibilities, in addition to just making your life as a musician more enjoyable.

The iRig BlueBoard is a small device with four large soft-touch pads (buttons). These buttons are big enough to press with your foot and can illuminate blue to signify activation. Additionally, there are two TRS expansion jacks for connecting additional controllers like an expression pedal or two. The whole thing is powered by four AAA batteries, which are included.

blueboard_pedal2Using the iRig BlueBoard is simple, though just a little different from what you might be used to with Bluetooth accessories. Instead of getting paired to your device via Settings, there’s a special iRig BlueBoard app that handles the connection. With the app open, turn the BlueBoard on and select it. Now you’re in business. The iRig BlueBoard app is the brains here. When you press a button on the device, it sends a signal via Bluetooth to your iOS device (or Mac), which is received by the app. The app in turn sends control messages to any Core MIDI compatible app like AmpliTube or GarageBand.

blueboard_guitar_ipad_335bAll that’s left to do is program what it is you want the BlueBoard’s pads to control. In AmpliTube, this is as simple as tapping and holding any control in the app for a few seconds. When you do this, the app asks what MIDI signal to listen for to adjust this control. Then you just press the button on the BlueBoard. When you use this control, it will illuminate when active. These are called control changes, but you can also use the BlueBoard to perform program changes.

Program changes are quite literally a bit more complex. A program change is basically changing to a different preset. Best of all, you can mix and match control and program changes. So button A can increment your presets up, button B can go down by one preset, button C can turn on/off the distortion pedal, button D can turn on a Flanger, and you could control a Wah effect with an expression pedal plugged into the iRig BlueBoard. You get the idea. You can also use the A and B pads to scroll through BlueBoard presets (change what each pad controls). Basically, you can control a bunch of stuff pretty easily and you have a ton of options. You’ll have to read the instruction manual to get the most out of the BlueBoard, but it’ll be good for you.

One of the best features of this device is the fact that it functions over Bluetooth so you don’t have to sacrifice other wired connections to use it. You can still connect an iRig HD or other audio interface to plug in your instrument. I’m also a really big fan of the fact this device can control any Core MIDI compatible app. That makes it extremely versatile.

The iRig BlueBoard is a fantastic accessory for any musician using an iOS device or Mac as an effects processor or music creation device. Finally, there’s an accessory that allows you to change settings and presets without stopping the music. Don’t stop strumming, just step on one of these buttons! It’s a simple device that works very well, is super versatile, and only costs $99.99. The iRig BlueBoard puts you back in control, which is exactly where you ought to be.

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Buy the iRig Blueboard

Provides: audio interface for iPad, iPhone, and Mac
Developer: IK Multimedia
Minimum Requirements: iPad, iPhone, or Mac
Price: $99.99
Availability: Now

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