Review: IK Multimedia iRig Pads Portable Pad Controller


Hey what’s good fam?

Back with another review for the mobile musicians among us.

The new iRig Pads from IK Multimedia.

Let’s check it out?

So what is iRig Pads?

iRigPads_multicolor_34It’s a new portable drum controller meant to work with the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac, and PC.

It’s got 16 velocity sensitive pads, a data wheel, fader, two rotary knobs, and 4 buttons.

It comes ready to connect to any device via usb or newer iOS devices with lightning connection.

You can use it to trigger drums and samples, launch clips and patterns, send program change messages, act as toggle switches, and more.

Quick Specs

  • controls: 16 velocity sensitive backlit pads, fader, 2 edit buttons, 2 assignable buttons, pushbutton  rotary knob, two midi knobs
  • connectivity: lightning cable, usb, footswitch, (works with 30 pin connection but cable not included)
  • price: $149.99
  • product page:

So what’s the bottom line?

It’s a nice portable set of pads, I like the feel of the actual pads themselves and they are pretty responsive.

Of course I’m very picky, so I wasn’t able to get super low velocity hits to register for ghost notes and such, but it’s definiely a usable set of pads that I’d have not problem working with in most situations.

The level of integration with the iOS SampleTank app is pretty cool, I found myself quickly building up a track using transport and navigation controls. I soon wished for the same level of integration with their iRig Keys Pro controller.

Maybe they’ll come up with a combo controller that merges the two 🙂

4subsOverall I give iRig Pads 4 out of 5 subs, it’s a solid controller that’s super portable with lots of customization options in terms of what you control and how you control it. 

Though the integration with their SampleTank desktop software is well done, I did have some issues with it.

You can only use the integration in standalone mode, meaning, you can’t navigate and control SampleTank while using it in your DAW…I found this to be quite puzzling.

Also, iRig Pads has to be the dedicated MIDI input device, so you can’t, for example, use it along with your keyboard for actually playing sounds. I don’t know about you, but with all the instruments in SampleTank I’d definitely want to be able to  use my keyboard while still navigating and controlling things with the iRig Pads.

Hopefully they update those things in the future, as the integration itself is well done.

Overall, it’s a great controller, even as a general MIDI device it works well. It’s class compliant so no drivers are needed, which is always a plus.

Go on over and check it out:

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think


  1. Joe,

    Why dont the pads change colors while playing on sampletank? I found that if I play the pads with the app in the background, they do change, but not when app is in foreground!


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