Thursday, October 31, 2013

DIY Guitar Cable for iPad/iPhone (iRig DIY)

If you have an electric guitar and an iPad/iPhone you've probably heard of the iRig device.

In Singapore, the iRig is available at Davis Guitar Music Centre (Peninsula Shopping Centre) for around SGD $80-85 (sorry forgot the correct amount quoted). The Peavey Ampkit is around SGD $79 but is currently unavailable (from SweeLee and SV Guitars).

And for less than SGD $35 you can assemble your own iRig Guitar Cable to connect to the iPad/iPhone. I'll show you how.

All the items I bought was from Challenger (Singapore) but I will give links to Amazon items that can also be used.

1) The most important part is the main cable. Get a 3.5mm stereo (AV) plug - 3x RCA Plugs (Audio/Video Cable). To be sure that it will work, you should buy those that are made for the iPod Video like these below:

Belkin AV Cable for iPod 4G, 5G

I would like to point out that Not all RCA Video cable are wired the same way. If you have an existing 3.5mm to RCA A/V Cable (from old camcorders etc), by all means try if it works. But if you are going to buy one, just make sure it works with the iPod Video or was designed for the iPod Video.

2) RCA Female to 3.5mm Female adapter

Unfortunately for me this isn't available in Challenger so I bought these instead

Two RCA Plugs to 3.5mm Stereo Jack

RCA to RCA Jack

3) Last, but not the least, the RCA Jack to 1/4 Mono Plug

That's it. Just combine all these cables to look like the image below then rock on \m/ :D

I have tested this to work with the following iPad/iPhone Applications:

Garage Band



1) Change the RCA plug that goes into the guitar. Normally the Yellow RCA plug should be the one going into the guitar but I have seen others use the Red RCA plug. In fact, I have one other cable that works by using the White RCA plug as input.

2) Set your guitar to max volume and choose a single coil pick-up then plugin the cables into the iPad/iPhone. I'm using an Ibanez GRG170DXL that has two humbuckers and a single coil. If I choose the humbuckers there will be no line-in signal, but once I set it to single coil then re-plugin the cable, line-in signal was detected. After the iPad/iPhone has detected the line-in signal you can switch to the humbuckers.

* Just play with the switch positions on your guitar, re-plugin after every change to check if signal is detected.

3) In GarageBand, make sure the "Monitoring Option" is turned "On" to hear the guitar.

There you have it, your own DIY iRig Guitar Cable hehe

You can further enhance this by introducing an impedance matcher in the cable configuration such as below but I will not dwell on that :D

Shure A85F XLR-Female Lo-Z to Hi-Z 1/4"Male Transformer