IK Multimedia iRig Pads MIDI Groove Controller Review


With iRig Pads, you can make beats, launch loops and mix like a DJ anywhere. But before planning to buy it, you should know about its pros and cons. Here is everything you need to know about the iRig Pads MIDI Groove Controller.

IK Multimedia iRig Pads MIDI Groove Controller

IK Multimedia iRig Pads MIDI Groove Controller

IK Multimedia has launched its latest music accessory, iRig Pads, for the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, and PC. It is an ultra-portable 16-pad MIDI controller. You can send commands and control changes to any Core MIDI iOS app, like GarageBand or IK Multimedia’s included apps. With this, you can make beats, launch loops, mix and much more. You can carry it to the stage or use it to create music in your studio.

What is MIDI?

Before knowing more about the latest music accessory, let’s first understand what MIDI is. Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) is considered a technical standard. It allows communication between electronic instruments and related devices by sending digital control messages. These messages specify pitch, velocity, and other control signals referred to as Control Changes (CC). In most cases, MIDI keyboards and pad controllers are input devices that send the appropriate messages to digital music apps. After receiving these messages, it interprets them to generate the proper sounds or to take other actions such as changing instrument banks, pitch, tempo, recording, and more.




iRig Pads is a lightweight and portable device that you can use anywhere you want. It has a four-by-four grid of sixteen velocity-sensitive and backlit multicolour rubber pads. Alongside the buttons, you will find two knobs, two pushbuttons, one slider, and a combination pushbutton or knob controller. You can connect an external footswitch pedal with the TRS jack provided on the back. You can program any controls to send any MIDI note or control change (CC) commands. Moreover, they can also be configured in either a temporary mode or in toggle mode.

  • In temporary mode, a MIDI note/CC is turned on when the pad is pressed and held and then turned off when the pad is released.
  • Whereas, in toggle mode, the note/CC is toggled on with a first press, and then off with a subsequent press of the appropriate button.


You also get Lightning and USB cables with the device for connecting to iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or a Mac or PC. Although, you can get a Dock Connector cable separately to connect with older iOS devices. Moreover, it uses a separate micro-USB port for the Mac/PC connection. This gives an advantage to users, allowing them to supply external power to iRig Pads when connecting to an iOS device. Thus, saving the battery life of your iPad or iPhone. Even though iRig Pads does not pass charging power back to the iOS device, the USB port is solely for powering the unit itself.

Each one of the foremost 16 pads supports the standard 128 levels of velocity response. It uses three different colours for illumination to provide visual feedback of velocity. This ranges from green for a light touch to red for a high-velocity touch. These colours also display outgoing and incoming MIDI messages. Also, various modes and statuses when programming iRig Pads. You can adjust the velocity sensitivity on the foremost pads to three different levels. Moreover, you can toggle it on and off entirely from a single button at the top. Rather than simply press and release, you can send MIDI aftertouch messages when a pad is held down.




The best part about iRig Pads is that you can carry them anywhere with you because of their sleek and compact design. You can slip it into any backpack or laptop bag and move it around with ease. Moreover, it even consumes ultra-low power for portability and is fully functional as soon as you connect it to its host device. This means you do not need to carry around a power adaptor. You can plug it into your iOS device via the Lightning cable or your Mac or PC via the USB cable.

Tactile Control

You get an incredible tactile control with the iRig Pads. Sixteen velocity-sensitive, backlit multicolour rubber pads light up in multiple colours. The colour varies from red, green, orange, and every shade in between and depends on your playing velocity. Moreover, it also depends on the MIDI information sent by your chosen music app or software.


The iRig Pads does more than any average mobile pad-based MIDI controller. You get a complete set of controls, including two knobs, two pushbuttons, one slider, and one pushbutton rotary encoder. Moreover, you can be in control in any situation with all these buttons. You can customize all the rules. You can save and recall up to 16 distinct MIDI maps or “scenes”. Moreover, you get six pre-programmed default scenes with which you can work with popular apps and software.

Easy editing

The Rig Pads Editor app is an easy-to-use editing program available for Mac and PC. With the intuitive single-screen interface, you quickly create, edit and transfer scenes to iRig Pads. You get complete control over all MIDI messages and assignments from your computer. You can easily customize the music accessory so that it fits seamlessly into your creative process.

Better beats

The 16-pad layout makes the device an ideal platform where you can create beats. You get a free copy of SampleTank 4 SE for Mac and PC. Also, there is a full-featured version of the next-generation sound and groove workstation with the IK Multimedia iRig Pads MIDI Groove Controller. The 30GB library of 2000 instruments is combined with the device to make a complete workstation. Moreover, when you register your device, you’ll also receive The Grid. It is an exclusive sound collection that features 50 additional instruments with over 800 samples and 50 MIDI patterns. Also, five different sound libraries from Elektronika and Beats Series collections. But it doesn’t end here. You also get 25 Gear Credits that you can put on any other sound library in SampleTank 3’s new Custom Shop.

Laptop and iPad

IK Multimedia iRig Pads MIDI Groove Controller

You can power the music accessory with just a USB connection to a real hub. You won’t find this with other controllers, and it is helpful on a Mac laptop. Also, you don’t need any driver installation, and the pads show up straight away in both Reason and Live. If you hold the two spare buttons, you will go to the Edit Mode, where Pads 11 or 12 can shift up and down. After you customize it, you can press another pad to confirm.

As with the laptop, the iRig Pads is simple to connect to your iOS device and work with CoreMIDI-compliant apps. You can use apps like GarageBand and Xenon Groove Synthesizer or the IK Multimedia apps like SampleTank Free and GrooveMaker Free. The SampleTank instruments for Mac and Windows are pretty traditional sampler plug-ins, whereas the iOS versions are more like mini grooveboxes or workstations with built-in multi-part sequencing. It is an intelligently integrated controller for the apps, with more functionality than any generic MIDI controller.

Salient Features

The level of customizable MIDI functionality you get with the IK Multimedia iRig Pads MIDI Groove Controller is beyond imagination. This makes it a powerful live performance controller and a versatile studio tool. You can easily customize the scenes directly on the unit. Scenes 1 and 2 are pre-programmed with General MIDI Drum and Chromatic Note sets. Other 4 of the 16 locations work similarly to Akai MPC banks with the iMPC Pro app.

Moreover, the pads can toggle notes and transmit MIDI CC commands with fixed or velocity-based values. By switching the mode, you can send a Program change from the pads in any scene. Finally, you can control the LED status and colour of each pad from external MIDI messages.

The software editor app for Mac and Windows makes it very easy to edit all control assignments. You can back up, load and store complete configurations within no time and even copy between scenes. You can even set the default octave for each scene.


If you are looking for a music accessory for making beats, cueing loops and Djing, iRigs Pad is a great choice. The IK Multimedia iRig Pads MIDI Groove Controller is a primary yet flexible and configurable pad controller. With the iRigs Pads MIDI Groove Controller you get a highly programmable full-size pad grid in the traditional 4×4 layout. It is portable, and you can carry it anywhere in your laptop bag. Moreover, the device is fully iOS compatible and has a suite of applications. You get an easy-to-use music accessory with tactile controls for working with iOS devices at an affordable price. primary

If you have any questions, you can ask us in the comments section below.

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