Record Guitar to an iPhone

Record Guitar to an iPhone with the Apogee JAM 96k

I recently tried out the Apogee JAM 96k.  The JAM bills itself as “the professional guitar interface for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Mac”.  As a bit of background, Apogee provides a wide range of audio electronics, covering entry-level to high end interfaces.  The JAM 96k fits as an entry level, single instrument, audio interface, with a bump in the audio quality up to 96k.

Several other companies provide similar interfaces, such as IK Multimedia’s iRig Pro and Line 6’s Sonic Port.

These interfaces are all aimed at providing the ability to record a guitar to an iPhone or iPad.

Why would you record guitar on an iPhone? Well…

A few reasons:

1.  Getting creative.  If you’re like me, then the complexity of recording gear can often take you out of your creative groove.  Somewhere in your brain, the “engineer” takes over and the “creative songwriter” part shuts down.  Having a fast, easy, and quick way to record facilitates the creative process – songwriting, recording riffs, working out parts, testing out solos, etc.

2. It’s portable.  If you play your guitar in a practice room at school, or a bedroom at home, or wherever – a small device like the Apogee JAM is easy to take with you.

3. Personal practice.  A tried’n’true practice technique is to listen to recordings of yourself.  The recording doesn’t have to be professional or acoustically perfect.  In fact, my first guitar teacher told me to get one of those old school tape recorder decks, regardless of the crappy quality.  The point was to have a quick and easy way to objectively hear myself playing a riff.

Record Guitar to an iPhone - Apogee Jam 96k Photos

About the Apogee JAM 96k

Main Features:

  • No setup required, just plug in and play
  • Powered by iOS device or Mac (no batteries or ext. power required)
  • Dial-in the perfect level with gain wheel and multicolor LED meter
  • Works with GarageBand, Logic, and all Core Audio compatible applications
  • Apogee’s PureDIGITAL circuit design eliminates signal noise
  • Direct digital connection for up to 96kHz / 24-bit high-definition recording

Pros:

  • Fairly inexpensive $129
  • Portable for travel, at home or whatever
  • Easy setup, I find that i don’t want to fuss with equipment when I’m in ‘songwriting’ mode.
  • Good quality

Cons:

  • Quality not up to pro recording standards
  • Limited to only guitar (not good quality for vocals, keys, other)
  • You can’t power the iPhone or iPad while recording since the Apogee Jam and the Apple charging cable use the same port on the device.  So make sure your iPhone or iPad is charged.

Some Cons I did NOT experience:

  • Drains battery – not any more than other apps on the phone.
  • Contrary to many online reviews, mine DID come with a 30-in cable for older iOS devices.
  • Construction was good enough.  It’s lightweight but relatively sturdy.

Bottom Line

You get what you pay for.  The Apogee JAM 96k is an inexpensive audio interface for quick’n’dirty recording.  It’s most useful for travel, practicing, and recording song ideas. If you want pro quality or rich features, you’ll have to move higher up the price tiers.

The Apogee JAM 96k is available on Amazon for $129.