“The sounds of classic tube amps and mic’d speaker cabinets in a standard stompbox”: Boss takes the fight to Universal Audio and Strymon with its smallest amp and IR pedal to date, the IR-2

Boss IR-2
(Image credit: Boss)

Boss has announced the IR-2 Amp & Cabinet pedal – a streamlined, stompbox-sized version of its fully fledged tube amp and cab sim pedal that could offer a tempting alternative to some the pedal amp market's most popular products.

Back in 2021, Boss bolstered its 200 Series with the IR-200, which represented yet another option for guitarists looking to ditch their tube amps, and who were on the hunt for a pedalboard-friendly unit that offered class-leading Impulse Responses and models in their place.

Now, the Japanese effects specialist has condensed this amp and cab catalog even further and placed it into the IR-2 – a compact impulse response loader stompbox with a standard Boss pedal form factor.

Promising “the inspiring sounds of classic tube amps and mic’d speaker cabinets in a standard stompbox”, the IR-2 comes loaded with 11 amp types and cabinet Impulse Responses from Celestion Digital.

It’s worth noting that, though these factor IRs and amp models are ready-matched by Boss, users can draft in third party IRs using the IR-2 IR Loader. For its smallest-ever amp pedal, Boss has also recruited an advanced DSP, 32-bit floating point processor and 96kHz sampling rate.

Particular highlights from the amp and cab list include Twin (which is inspired by a Fender Twin Reverb), Tweed (which is inspired by a ‘59 Fender Bassman) and Diamond (which takes cues from the Vox AC30).

Other classic amp models include the ‘59 Marshall Super Lead-inspired Brit, the Soldano SLO-100-based SLDN and the RFIER, which is modeled after the second channel of a Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier.

The list is completed by five Boss originals: Clean, Crunch, Hi-Gain, Brown and Modded. Each of the above is paired with a range of 4x12” Celestion IRs, which includes Vintage 30, G12M-Heritage, G12K-100 and others.

The amp models can be selected by way of a master control knob, which shares the top panel with three double-function parameters that are responsible for Gain, Treble, Level, Middle, Ambience and Bass.

Joining the 11 amp and cab models is a generous suite of connectivity options. As well as IR loading, the USB-C can be used to send the sound of a complete rig to recording software, while a rear-mounted headphones output also allows for easy sound monitoring.

There’s also a send/return loop for placing modulation, delay and reverb effects after the amp sounds if desired, a TRS return jack for supporting stereo operation, and a Channel Select input for using a third-party pedal to switch between two amp/cab tones. You can use the onboard footswitch to swap between sounds, while holding it down bypasses the unit completely.

Certainly, the IR-2 offers a pretty impressive feature set for those who might be looking for a smaller amp and cab pedal to squeeze into their rig, and at $199, it's also temptingly affordable – more affordable, notably, than the $399 Strymon Iridium.

The IR-2 is available now. Head over to Boss to find out more.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.