Line 6 Mobile In digital guitar interface review

Sections: iDevice Accessories, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch, Reviews

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Provides: iOS guitar input
Developer: Line 6
Minimum Requirements: iOS device and guitar or bass
Price: $79.99
Availability: Now

If you’re a guitarist with an iOS device, you ought to have an adapter to connect the two. Guitar apps for iOS are simply amazing. They can do things that just a few years ago required at least a multi-effects processor many times the size of an iPhone. Analog solutions are available from many companies, but Line 6 thought they could do better. So, they made the Line 6 Mobile In. It’s a digital guitar adapter that uses the dock connection to interface your iOS device with your guitar. But there’s more; a whole app more. As if a digital input that works with other guitar effects apps wasn’t enough, Line 6 is giving away their Mobile POD app, and it’s awesome.

The first thing you should know is what sets the Mobile In apart from other guitar adapters. You’ve probably seen other solutions that plug into the headphone port on an iOS device. These rely on the device’s own hardware to convert analog signals into something the app can process and make sound better. The problem here is that better audio in almost always corresponds directly to better audio out, and analog isn’t the best for audio quality. Sure, in most cases, it works just fine. But if you really care about how your guitar sounds, you’ll want to go digital.

Here’s where the Mobile In steps up. It plugs into the dock connector on your iOS device, allowing for a digital connection that sounds amazing. It also means there’s no need for a battery (since it gets its power from the device) and there’s no signal loss. There are 110 dB of dynamic range to play around with on this input. Not bad, not bad at all. Plus there’s a stereo output for when your iOS device isn’t the end of the chain (ie. plug it into an amp).

Looking at the dongle adapter, you’d probably guess that you won’t be using a standard guitar cable with the Mobile In. While they include the cables you need to use the Mobile In, this is probably the biggest flaw I could find with the interface. I also dislike this style of dongle adapter as it prohibits the use of most iPhone cases and doesn’t stay attached particularly well. I’d have much preferred an adapter with a 30 pin connector, a short, flexible cable with inputs on the end. Neither of these are issues to get worked up about, though.

On it’s own, the Mobile In is a great product. It’s one of the only solutions available that gives you a digital connection to your iOS device, which translates to better signal processing and better guitar audio. Plus it’s super mobile. But the kicker is that Line 6 throws in amazing app called Mobile POD.

For Line 6, it has almost always been all about the POD, and the Mobile In is really no exception. The Mobile POD is everything the red, kidney bean shaped multi-effects processor ever was and more. It’s a guitar gear modeling app with 32 guitar amps, 16 stompbox and rack effects, and 16 guitar cabinets. Each model has a plethora of settings, making for a mind boggling amount of tonal possibilities. But let’s assume for a second you have absolutely no talent for building your own guitar tones. No worries, there are over 10,000 presets readily available right in the app via their preset sharing methods. And what really seals the deal is that they don’t charge extra for the app.

Let me type that again. They don’t charge you for the adapter and the app separately. The app is totally free. In fact, you could go download Mobile POD right now. The only gotcha is that it only functions with a Mobile In adapter. Seems more than fair to me.

Overall, Line 6 has a real winner on their hands with the Mobile In and Mobile POD app combo. It’s an amazing portable, digital guitar interface for iOS plus an amazing app. You can use it for practicing at home or playing on stage. Now, you can have amazing guitar audio quality without a van full of gear and a mess of cables; all you need is an iOS device and $79.99 for a Line 6 Mobile In.

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Line 6 Mobile In review

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