Appletell reviews AmpKit+ for iPhone

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AmpKit+  iconCategory: Music
Seller: Agile Partners Technologies, LLC
Requirements: iPhone OS 3.0 or later
Compatibility: iPhone (Universal update planned)
File Size: 39.2MB
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Price: $19.99
Age Rating: 4+

Guitarists have no doubt had some promising apps thus far on the App Store. Apps like AmpliTube for iPhone, PocketAmp, and iShred Live have given us hope for what is possible with guitar processing and amplification emulation. Now, Agile and Peavey have teamed up to produce what I consider the best and most versatile guitar app yet: AmpKit+.

AmpKit+ amp displayAmpKit+ is similar to AmpliTube for iPhone in that it needs a guitar adapter to get your guitar signal into and out of the app. Thankfully, Peavey makes their own, called the AmpKit LiNK. And you’re going to need it, too, because AmpKit+ goes where no other app can: 11.

Okay, it doesn’t really go to 11, but the idea is the same. High Gain amplification is something that isn’t done too well on any other app I’ve tested. It always sounds muddy, or just not quite good enough. That’s partly due to an engineering problem with having your input and output go through the same cable out of the headphone jack. This creates feedback for many adapters, but the AmpKit LiNK performs like a champ. You can read my full review, but suffice it to say it’s the best so far, and you absolutely need it for this app to work as advertised.

There are many things that make AmpKit+ the best guitar amplification app out there, but let’s start with the most obvious: high gain. You simply can’t get this kind of sound out of the competition; at least I haven’t been able to. If you love distortion, you will be very happy with AmpKit+. The first time I tested this app, I let it load the first preset and I was in love. I’ve been searching for this simulated guitar tone for years, and I seriously never thought it would come from an iPhone app. I didn’t even change presets for at least a half an hour. I just loved it. But alas, I did change presets. The things I do for you…

AmpKit+ presetsThe next preset was great, too. Honestly, the presets on this app sound like someone actually spent a lot of time creating them and tailoring them for specific playing styles. Who’d have thought? These are not presets from which you start—things that obviously still need help. No, these are presets you can actually use without any tweaks necessary.

A large reason that the presets are so awesome is because of the gear powering them. Peavey and Agile have teamed up on this one, and it’s a glorious victory. I’m not going to go down to the absolute bottom here and talk about the modeled amps simply because I don’t know each amp like that. What I can tell you is that it doesn’t matter, because they are amazing. Agile says each amp is modeled down to the actual circuitry, not just the tones. And you have ample choices. Then you can feed your amp into a cabinet. Don’t forget to feed your signal through some effects beforehand, either. Oh, and how about which specific microphone you’d like to mic the cabinet with and where? The level of customizability here is insane. But wait, there’s more.

Unlike other apps that limit your creativity at one to three pedals, this app takes them all. Seriously, you can string them all together if you’d like and it will spit out “audio” with very minimal latency. I’m not saying you should, because honestly, it sounds like garbage. Remember, the most simple solution is often the best. The point is that you can use as many pedals as you like and not worry about the app trying to keep up. That’s amazing. I wonder how long it will take them to allow you to mix your guitar signal through more than one amp running independently of each other.

AmpKit+ controlsAnd somehow there’s still more. This app is jam-packed with features. For instance, you can record your playing with superb quality and upload it to your computer or share via email. But what if you later decide that the mic really needs to be placed just a little differently (because you can do that)? No problem, audio is recorded both wet (with effects) and dry (without). That means you can re-amp. All you have to do is tweak your preset. So, if you played the guitar part of your life but screwed up the preset, you don’t have to worry at all. You also don’t have to worry about hitting your preset limit, because there isn’t one. Make as many presets as you like.

About the only thing I can find wrong with AmpKit+ is not even a bad thing. The app comes with more than enough gear, but there’s the Gear Store in the app that allows you to purchase even more. It’s incredibly tempting. Even with the gear that comes with the app, you could still easily spend around $100 more on amps, effects and mics. The extra stuff is a little pricier than I expected it to be, but the features and audio quality of this app make it possible for you to do some serious recording with your iPhone. So, it’s not like you’re just buying a toy, you could actually use this on stage and in the recording studio with great results. Maybe the price is justified. I do think they’d sell more if stuff was cheaper, though.

AmpKit+ is without a doubt the best guitar app that I’ve had the pleasure of testing. The only thing that’s keeping me from liking it more than the desktop version of Amplitube 3 is the fact that it’s confined to an iOS device. I’m told this app will receive a universal update, making it much more usable on the iPad in the not-too-distant future, sans charge. That gets points in my book because many apps release both iPhone and iPad versions to keep users paying, but these guys are not being greedy. Agile and Peavey have a real winner here. I’m hoping they take this app and create a desktop version as well, because I am in love.

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  • Claudio C

    They (Peavey and co.) already have a desktop software for Amp (and effects) simulation:
    it's called "ReValver"

  • Ryan

    I can honestly backup everything said in this review. For the last couple weeks, this has been my main amp (along with a logitech dock) for use at the fine arts center where I teach, and it hasn't once let me down. The tones are amazing. I can dial in any sound I want, and usually that means simply tweaking some of the presets to better suit my needs. The support team has also been very responsive to comments and suggestions.