Provides: adapts a 1/4 inch signal to an iDevice’s headphone port
Developer: IK Multimedia
Minimum Requirements: iDevice
You already know AmpliTube in its desktop format, but now IK Multimedia has slimmed down their amazing guitar software to run on iDevices. It’s called AmpliTube for iPhone and, along with the iRig adapter, it might just replace your guitar processor completely. I’ll start this dual review with the iRig.
AmpliTube iRig is an instrument adapter specially designed for iDevices. It takes your guitar, bass or other 1/4 inch input and converts it to a format that is optimal for an iDevice line in. The iRig plugs you guitar into your iDevice’s headphone jack, and still allows you to connect your headphones. One side gets the instrument in, and the other has an output. You could also use this as a line out to an amp or PA system. It looks pretty simple, but it’s more complicated than just a 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch adapter. IK Multimedia says that the iRig not only converts a guitar or bass cable to the standard 1/8 inch cable format, it also shapes the signal to best take advantage of an iDevice headphone port. If you used a standard 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapter, you’d get pretty crappy results.
But, as you might guess with an adapter that uses the headphone port instead of the dock connector, it’s not perfect. There’s no question that it gets the job done, but it leaves something to be desired. The first problem is that the adapter connects to your headphone port with a fairly short cable. Think about a guitar cable attached to an adapter attached to your iPhone. If you plan to put your iPhone somewhere on a desk or your lap, you’re going to get frustrated. In my experience, my guitar cable pulled at the adapter (and thus, the iPhone) pretty aggressively. It might have helped to have the cable between the iRig and iPhone be longer than three feet, instead of a few inches. I’d like to at least have enough slack in the cable to have my iDevice on my desk and the adapter laying on the ground where it won’t pull so badly.
Also, the adapter can be noisy at times. It’s even noticeable if you’re going for a clean sound, but higher levels of distortion can bring some unwanted noise. There’s an effect built into AmpliTube that tries to alleviate this noisiness, but it would be nice to not need it. And finally, you only have one choice of output: a standard headphone jack. It would be nice for the iRig to come with adapters to allow you to plug it in to your real amp or mixer.
If you’re anything like me, then you’re really wishing that there was a dock connector version of the iRig. I’m told it’s coming, but don’t expect it to be at the same price point. The iRig is currently a fairly good compromise between price and audio quality. If you want higher quality, you’ll have to pay for it. But until then, this is as good as it gets. I do still think the iRig could be a tad bit cheaper, since you’re really only interested in it because of AmpliTube for iPhone.
Buy the iRig Adapter
Now, let’s move on to the star of the show, AmpliTube for iPhone.