Seller: IK Multimedia
Requirements: iPhone OS 3.1.3 or later
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
File Size: 14.5MB
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Age Rating: 4+
The free version is really just so you can see that the app works really well, though it does come with three stompboxes, an amp+cabinet combo and two microphones. The LE version allows you to save some money by not buying all of the available stompboxes or amps, but still including some equipment on top of the free version. It’s great for anyone who has relatively simple tastes in guitar processing. And then there’s the full version, which comes with everything that is currently available for AmpliTube for iPhone. That means 11 stompboxes, 5 amps, 5 cabinets and 2 microphones. You can expect more equipment to be coming in the future, which will be available for individual purchase inside of the app.
Amps and cabinets are customizable. You can turn most of the standard knobs that you’d expect to be able to edit. You can either touch the control directly and adjust it by sliding your finger up or down or use the more precise bar to the side of the screen. If you can’t see the knob you want to change on an amp, you can swipe left or right to move the panel. The screen is pretty cramped, and if that bothers you, you’ll have to get the iPad version (when available).
In terms of flexibility, this isn’t the same as Amplitube on the desktop, but it’s very impressive for an iDevice. For instance, you can’t move the mic around to have it model the speaker from different angles. But what might be surprising is that you can use up to three stompboxes at once. And you really can’t perceive any delay.
Now, after you’re done tweaking and you’ve found the sound you’re looking for, you can save your presets. There’s room for up to 36 presets, but no room for labels. Sadly, there’s no way to back these up or share them. It’s also a little puzzling to me why there isn’t just a folder structure built in to accomodate more than just your favorite presets. I doubt the iPhone is really limited in how many presets it could actually store. It is quite handy to have quick access to your 36 favorite patches, but I think you should not only be able to store more, you should be able to back them up and share them with others online.
There are a few other tools built into AmpliTube for iPhone as well. There’s a tuner and a metronome (two very useful tools). There’s even a way to import backing tracks so you can practice like you have a whole band in your iPhone. Plus there’s a way to play some prerecorded, but unprocessed, guitar tracks. This is particularly useful for either testing the free version or showing off the app to others when you don’t have a guitar or your iRig.
Obviously, there are some compromises here. After all, it’s an iDevice app and it has to do the best it can with limited hardware. The screen is packed with controls and information, and there aren’t as many effects and amps built in as any normal equipment-hungry guitarist might want. But IK Multimedia is primarily a software company, so there will definitely be more amps and effects to purchase down the line.
And if the screen size bothers you, just wait for the iPad version. Not only will it be more spacious, it will have more features. It will be interesting to see if any additional features make their way to the app for iPhone 4 only, since it has the same processor as the iPad but with more RAM.
But there are some really obvious things that should be improved. Knobs should interact like knobs, not like sliders. iOS supports multitouch gestures, so there’s no reason why you can’t turn instead of slide; it’s just more intuitive. I have no issue with the sliding bar on the right, in fact, I really appreciate it being there. It’s more precise than the knobs. I just wish knobs worked like knobs.
Like I said before, there needs to be a way to store more presets and a way to share them. Not everyone is a wizz at creating great patches, so it’d be nice to be able to download some made by the community. Also, it should be easier to save a patch that was previously saved. Currently, you have to delete the patch and save it again. Thankfully, these issues aren’t show-stopping.
Actual performance is great. I found it pretty easy to dial in the most commonly sought after sounds. Obviously, you’re limited by the number of effects you can use at once and which specific ones are actually included.
But I think most users will be able to find a sound they like. More often than not, when people are given limited options, you end up being surprised at how much stuff you actually need to sound great. Even I had a pretty easy time approximating the sound I normally play with, and I’m pretty picky. It’s not the same at Amplitube 3 on desktop, but it’s close enough for me to be very happy with it when you consider what it’s working with.
Actually, I’m pretty amazed that my iPhone is quite able to be my guitar processor.
Overall, AmpliTube for iPhone is an amazing tool that may actually change the way you process your guitar, especially on the go. We’ll definitely be looking forward to an iRig adapter that uses the dock connector and the iPad version of AmpliTube.
But this is already a great product combo, that only seems like it’s going to get better. It’s crazy to think that everything you need to sound great now fits in your guitar bag.