Developer: IK Multimedia

Price: $14.99 for Amplitube Fender, $39.99 for iRig
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1

iPad Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Amplitube is an app from IK Multimedia that works with the iRig hardware peripheral. The iRig allows musicians to plug in their analog instrument, most typically a guitar when used with Amplitube, and then listen to the output through headphones or other audio output like speakers or PA system.

The iRig itself is a $40 piece of equipment that is essential for connecting your real guitar or bass to the iPad. There are cheap radio shack adaptors that can adapt the plug size, but the iRig has circuitry to help minimize line noise, and allows for line level input like synthesizers and the like, in addition to the guitar or bass input. The iRig comes with instructions on what type of cables will help avoid nasty feedback, since the only kind of feedback guitarists want is the kind that comes from the effects boxes, not the cables or connectors. Aside from that, the iRig is as simple to use as it is to open the package. It plugs right into the headphone port on the iPad, and allows players to plug in a larger 1/4 inch instrument cable and a smaller 1/8 inch headphone jack (or adaptor for connection to a PA or amplifier). This functionality will allow it to be used with a variety of music apps on the iPad, and not just Amplitube.

Amplitube for Fender is, simply put, the best multi effect, amp modeling and recording solution for the iPad I’ve ever used. Running down the features, there are five classic Fender amps, including the famous Twin Reverb and Bassman LTD. The six included effects are all classic Fender boxes: Tape Echo, Compressor, The Blender, Phaser, Overdrive and Noise Filter – there is room to enable four of them at a time for a ton of different sound combinations. The sounds, to my ears, are classic Fender sounds — all what I expect from the Fender name and the Fender products I actually own. If the near limitless combinations of these six effects and their settings sounds daunting, Amplitube Fender includes twelve presets, ranging from names like Hot DLX to CleanDelay, Crunch-A to fast roto. All are great starting points to find that unique sound all my own.

There is a single track (expandable to 8 tracks for another $15) recording solution which is good for recording quick ideas for later expansion, but it’s not going to replace GarageBand any time soon, since there are no midi or loops included. What’s really great about the non-effects/amplifier section of the app is the practice area, which grants the ability to slow down any imported music to be able to practice tricky sections of music. As a longtime user of The Amazing Slow Downer on the Mac, this is a vital bit of software to have, and to have it within the app I’m already connected to is a huge bonus.

Honestly, there’s not much more to say about this app/hardware combo. It’s so easy to configure and use that I’m planning on using it on stage in the near future, as soon as I can grab an iKlip, a mic stand that lets iPad owning musicians clip their magical iOS device to the mic stand in front of them. Unfortunately, a review unit was not available at the time of this review, but it looks stellar. With a powerful enough PA system, I should be able to cut out the mess of cables and pedals that I need to drag to gigs with me, not to mention the back breaking Fender amp I drag to shows as well. Hooray for spinal health through technology!

I can’t recommend this hardware and software set up enough. Not only that, but musicians can also grab the $5 more expensive Amplitube for iPad that includes the Fender effects and amps, along with a bunch of others. Or either app for the iPhone, as well. Considering that ONE decent Fender amp starts at around $800, not including pedals or the like, the pricing here is a steal.


FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-02-17 :: Category: Music

Posted in: Hardware Reviews, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Music, Reviews

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