Amp and cab modelling, USB interface and headphone out: Boss seems to have thought of everything with its compact IR-2 pedal

Boss IR-2
(Image credit: Boss)

Boss is scaring us now: every time we think they might be winding down on the tour de force of new gear releases in 2023 they pull another one out of the bag. We can't think of a single brand that's had a year for releases like this.  And the latest is a big one, but it's also small: the IR-2 Amp & Cabinet Pedal packs the features into its compact size with amp modelling, direct recording and a headphone out. 

The IR-2 is the more compact alternative to 2021's IR-200 and is a showcase for the amp side of Boss's modelling that we have seen in larger unit like the GX-100. It features 11 premium guitar amps and cabinet IRs provided by Celestion Digital. Run into a PA, FRFR cab, your DAW with USB-C or straight to cans with the headphone out.

At $199 / £179 with those last two features, it's a certainly competitive prospect from a top brand. Indeed even some of our favourite modellers for tones don't have headphone out or direct USB recording connectivity. It feels like Boss is very much in touch with what players expect and want from an amp-modelling pedal in this era. You can also upload third-party IRs to the pedal too with the IR-2 IR Loader app.

Boss IR-2

(Image credit: Boss)


Another pedalboard rig-friendly feature is an onboard effects loop for adding modulation, delay and reverb effects into the chain after the pedal's amp sounds. The TRS return jack also supports stereo operation for passing the sound of stereo effects to the IR-2’s audio outputs.

Audio quality is assured too with advanced DSP, 32-bit floating point processing, and a 96 kHz sampling rate.  We think Boss potentially has one of its biggest winners here in what has been a vintage year. Imagine what 2024 might bring! 

 IR-2 Amp & Cabinet Pedal is available to order now from retailers including  Guitar Center, Thomann, Andertons and Gear4music

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.