If you are an audio enthusiast who wants to record your sound at home or on the go, you might be wondering which audio interface is the best for your needs. There are many choices available, but two of the most popular ones are the iRig Pro Duo I/O and the Zoom U-24. Both of these devices allow you to connect your microphones and instruments to your computer, tablet, or smartphone and record high-quality audio.
But how do they compare in terms of features, performance, and price? In this article, we will review both of these audio interfaces and help you decide which one is better for recording audio.
A Quick Look
If you want more portability and compatibility and don’t mind a slightly smaller and lighter device, you may want to choose the iRig Pro Duo I/O. It has a universal cable that can work with any device with a Lightning, USB-C, Micro-USB, or USB-A port. It also has MIDI input and output, a headphone output with level control, and a switch for selecting between instrument or line level input.
If you want more features and controls, low-noise preamps with up to 60 dB of gain, and don’t mind a slightly larger and heavier device, you may want to choose the Zoom U-24. It has switchable phantom power, Hi-Z input, pad, and loopback functions. It also has LED indicators for input and output levels, power, and battery status. It also has direct monitoring with a mix knob for blending your input and playback signals.
iRig Pro Duo I/O
- Two combo XLR/1/4 inch inputs for microphones or instruments.
- Two MIDI inputs and outputs for connecting keyboards, controllers, or other MIDI devices.
- Two 1/4 inch balanced outputs for connecting speakers or mixers.
- One 1/8 inch headphone output with level control.
- Two gain control knobs for adjusting the input levels.
- Two phantom power switches for condenser microphones.
- Powered by two AA batteries, an external power supply, or the connected device.
- Switchable +48V phantom power for condenser microphones.
- Switchable Hi-Z input for electric guitars or basses.
- Switchable pad for attenuating loud signals.
- Switchable loopback function for streaming audio from your device to the internet.
- LED indicators for input and output levels, power, and battery status.
- High-performance sound with up to 24-bit/96 kHz resolution.
- Direct monitoring with a mix knob for blending your input and playback signals.
The iRig Pro Duo I/O and the Zoom U-24 have some common features that make them both suitable for mobile recording. These include:
- Two XLR/TRS combo inputs: Both audio interfaces have two balanced XLR/TRS combo inputs that can accept microphones, guitars, keyboards, or other line-level sources. You can use these inputs to record stereo or dual-mono signals with different sources.
- Two balanced 1/4″ TRS outputs: Both audio interfaces have two balanced 1/4″ TRS outputs that can connect to monitors or PA systems. You can use these outputs to playback your recorded or processed audio with high quality and low noise.
- MIDI input/output: Both audio interfaces have a MIDI input/output for connecting MIDI controllers or synthesizers. You can use this feature to control your software instruments, effects, or DAW functions with your hardware devices.
- Headphone output: Both audio interfaces have a headphone output with independent volume control. You can use this feature to monitor your input or playback signals with headphones without affecting the main outputs.
- Battery or USB power options: Both audio interfaces can run on two AA batteries for up to 3 or 4 hours of continuous use. They can also use USB power from your device or an external power bank. Alternatively, you can use an optional DC adapter for either audio interface.
The iRig Pro Duo I/O and the Zoom U-24 both deliver high-quality sound with up to 24-bit resolution. However, they differ in their sampling rates and preamp quality.
The iRig Pro Duo I/O supports up to 24-bit/48 kHz audio resolution, while the Zoom U-24 supports up to 24-bit/96 kHz audio resolution. This means that the Zoom U-24 can capture and reproduce more details and nuances of your sound than the iRig Pro Duo I/O. However, this also means that the Zoom U-24 requires more storage space and processing power than the iRig Pro Duo I/O.
The iRig Pro Duo I/O has low-noise preamps with phantom power for condenser microphones and high-headroom inputs for dynamic microphones or instruments. The Zoom U-24 has low-noise preamps with up to 60 dB of gain and high-headroom inputs for dynamic microphones or instruments. This means that the Zoom U-24 can handle louder signals and provide more gain than the iRig Pro Duo I/O.
iRig Pro Duo I/O Pros
- Portable and highly compatible.
- Has two combo inputs and two MIDI inputs/outputs.
- Has balanced outputs for speakers or mixers.
- Comes with a large software bundle.
iRig Pro Duo I/O Cons
- Does not have a headphone output with preamp and level control.
- Has some compatibility issues with some iOS and Android devices.
Zoom U-24 Pros
- Supports higher audio resolution than the iRig Pro Duo I/O (24-bit/96 kHz vs 24-bit/48 kHz).
- Phantom power for condenser microphones.
- Switchable phantom power, Hi-Z input, pad, and loopback functions.
- Low-noise preamps with up to 60 dB of gain.
- MIDI input/output.
Zoom U-24 Cons
- Does not work with some iOS devices that have a 30-pin connector.
- Need an Apple Camera Connection Kit to connect it to your iPhone or iPad.
- Does not work with any Android devices at all.
Both the iRig Pro Duo I/O and the Zoom U-24 are compatible with most iOS devices, Macs, and PCs. They work with any app that supports Core Audio on iOS or ASIO on Windows.
However, there are some compatibility issues that you should be aware of before buying either device. Here are some of them:
iRig Pro Duo I/O Compatibility
- The device does not come with a power supply, so you have to buy one separately if you want to use it with phantom power or MIDI devices.
- The device does not work with some Android devices, even with a USB OTG cable. You have to check the compatibility list on the IK Multimedia website before buying.
- The device does not work with some digital cameras, such as DSLR cameras or GoPro cameras. You have to use an adapter or a different cable to connect to these cameras.
Zoom U-24 Compatibility
- The device does not come with an Apple Camera Connection Kit, so you have to buy one separately if you want to use it with iOS devices.
- The device does not work with some iOS devices that have a 30-pin connector, such as the iPad 3 or earlier. You have to use an adapter or a different cable to connect to these devices.
- The device does not work with any Android devices at all. You cannot use it with Android phones or tablets.
The iRig Pro Duo I/O comes with a large software bundle that includes AmpliTube 4 Deluxe, SampleTank 4 SE, T-RackS 5 SE, and many other apps and plugins.
The Zoom U-24 comes with a free download license for Cubase LE and Cubasis LE.
The iRig Pro Duo I/O is more expensive than the Zoom U-24, as you might expect from its more portable and compatible design and features. The iRig Pro Duo has a recommended retail price of $199.99, but you can often find it online for around $180-$200.
The Zoom U-24 is cheaper than the iRig Pro Duo, with a recommended retail price of $159.99, but you can find it online for around $140-$160.