There is no arguing that Android has made great strides these past few years, and the flagships toting the system have turned into hardware monsters of desktop-class power. Still, there are a few fronts left, where iOS beats Android, and this is usually the front of highly specialized, niche apps, which need to be developed with specific hardware in mind, in order to ensure flawless performance.
Back in the day (well, just a few years ago actually), in order to make a decent recording of you playing your instrument or singing, you needed to go to a recording studio or have high-tech (and expensive) recording equipment at your house. But of course, now there are apps and gadgets for that and all you would need is an instrument, a plug, an Android device and of course there's also an app for that.
Samsung has teased this for quite a while, before IK Multimedia finally spilled the beans. The first time we noticed something might be going on was when we watched Sammy's live Unpacked 2.0 event, which had a live band playing, and each instrument was connected to a Galaxy Note 3, instead of an amp, for example. Then, when Samsung announced the Galaxy Gifts, which each new Note 4 owner would receive, we noticed an AmpliTube LE app in the list something that hadn't been seen on an Android device before. So it was obviously only a matter of time.
The iRig HD-A is a recording device that you can attach to your Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or any other device that has Samsung Professional Audio, and together with the AmpliTube app, you'll be able to record yourself riffing on your guitar without even having to step out of your room. Its developer, IK Multimedia, says the plug-and-play device is the first digital guitar interface for Android devices. It also has a 24-bit/48kHz converter plus a multicolor LED. If you want to use it on your PC instead, it also has a USB cable so you can plug it in there as well.
Input signals can be adjusting using the onboard gain potentiometer, while a multicolour LED displays the optimal signal level. The processed sound can be monitored from the regular mini jack output of the device through headphones or speakers.
Guitar enthusiasts will also need a special piece of hardware – an audio interface – in order to be able to plug their guitars into the handset – of course, IK offers these also. There is a choice of three different ones – the $39.99 iRig interface, $69.99 iRig Stomp, and the $99.99 iRig HD-A (as opposed to the iRig HD, which is iOS-only – shop with care). If one can shell out the $100 for the third option – it's the best one, as it uses a digital connection in order to get the guitar's signal into the phone, where the other two use analog, introducing noise and signal-loss in the process. Tip: if you are unsure about this tech, but wish to try it out for cheap – there are plenty of iRig interfaces flowing around the second-hand market, as ever since manufacturers switched to digital interfaces, users have been looking to upgrade.