To avoid your iOS device being drained by an iRig Pro or one of IK Multimedia’s other iRig devices, you need some sort of power solution. iRig PowerBridge is IK Multimedia’s own solution to the problem. It’s a tiny power/data splitter that sits in-between your device and the iRig device. It delivers power to the iPad or iPhone as well as to the iRig device you’re using.
When I unpacked the iRig PowerBridge, it surprised me to see how small the unit actually is. The unit is a cigarette lighter sized rounded rectangular box with a lightning cable at one end, an electrical socket at the other and a data socket in the middle. The unit has a bright LED on top that lightens up when it is connected to the power grid. Your iRig device connects with the iRig data cable in the middle and the lightning cable (a separate iRig PowerBridge has the older style cable for pre-lightning iOS devices) goes into the iOS device.
The iRig PowerBridge prevents the batteries of your iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone to drain quickly as a result of recording to an iRig recording or pre-amp device or from using an iRig keyboard. It’s a great solution and it’s actually better than the approach Apogee uses with its Duet iPad/Mac. The latter serves as the powering device to your iPad. Just like the iRig PowerBridge, the Duet needs to be plugged in to the mains when recording to the iPad.
This is also the weakness of the two devices: you need a power outlet to power your iPad while recording or playing on your mobile device. You’re not really mobile anymore. However, I figured out a way to power the Duet iPad/Mac from a battery pack. The work-around is quite simple if you have the right battery gear because the Duet uses a small laptop-style power connector. You’ll only use it when an additional 5V current is needed — as when recording to an iPad.
The iRig PowerBridge, unfortunately, needs standard (self-switching 100-240V) mains power. If you want to stay mobile with the iRig PowerBridge you’ll need a larger, heavier battery like the Maplin Portable Power Pack. You can’t power it off a Powertraveller Powergorilla. The main reason is that the power adapter of the iRig PowerBridge is not detachable, i.e. you can’t feed the unit with the 5V current it needs directly.
The iRig PowerBridge is essential gear when you want to record audio to your iOS device and have enough battery power to manage recordings of over half an hour. It’s a pity the power adapter is soldered into the unit, as this means you’ll have to find a mains power socket to plug it in.
Nevertheless, in studio environments and even when interviewing on location, this may not be a problem. It becomes a problem when you’re in the wild. In that case, you’ll have to bring along a large 240V capable battery pack.