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Appletell reviews AmpliTube v2 for iPhone

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Amplitube 2 Multitrack recorderCategory: Music
Seller: IK Multimedia
Requirements: iPhone OS 3.1.3 or later
Compatibility: iPhone
File Size: 29.5MB
Version Reviewed: 2.0.1
Price: $19.99
Age Rating: 4+

It’s been a little over 4 months since AmpliTube for iPhone made its debut on the App Store. Since then, IK Multimedia has been hard at work implementing improvements for the next version of their guitar processing app. Now, the fruits of their labors are available on the App Store. Let’s see what’s new.

Let it be known that AmpliTube for iPhone version 2.0 is a free update for all current app users. If you already have the app, congrats! Check the App Store and get your free update full of goodies.

For the rest of you, let me first direct you to my original AmpliTube for iPhone review, because much of the app remains unchanged. That said, a number of significant improvements have been made, so it’s definitely not the same.

The biggest new feature is a new 4-track recorder with Master Effects. With it, you can record your moments of guitar-genius quickly and easily. Your guitar is recorded at CD quality and can be exported directly to iTunes.

Each track has solo, mute, volume, pan, send, bounce, import and export controls. You can use the insert effects to apply the three effects and amp combo you have set up to any of the tracks.

Amplitube 2 Master EffectsYou can also use three Master Effects (Reverb, Equalizer and a Compressor) globally. This is probably the coolest part of this in app purchase. IK Multimedia will give you one track and no master effects for free. If you want it all, you’ll have to drop another $9.99 as an in-app purchase.

Do I think it’s worth it? Depends how often you strike genius and need to record at a moment’s notice, or how much you’d like to have a compressor and equalizer at the end of your chain. Since you can record one track for free, you might want to consider exporting it and dropping it into Garageband. You’ll have more control than on your iPhone, and you likely already have Garageband, so it won’t cost you anything. Although, it’s a bit more of a hassle, it’s free, but sometimes you just can’t replace the ability to record at a moment’s notice.

What I really think is more interesting and useful about this purchase are the Master Effects. Basically, along with multitrack recording, you get a compressor and an equalizer to throw at the end of your chain (reverb too). And if you’re limited by the three effect slots, this will help. When you consider that a similar compressor and parametric equalizer cost $2.99 each (and take up effect slots), this might be a steal at $10.

Like I mentioned, version 2 adds some more gear options for you to buy. There are five new stomp boxes in total: Compressor, Graphic EQ, Parametric EQ, Reverb and a Limiter. Each costs $2.99 in-app. I’m glad to see the compressor and Graphic EQ, as I’ve found both to be quite useful. The parametric EQ, Reverb and Limiter aren’t my thing, but again, you can pick and choose what you want here.

Amplitube 2 amp viewVersion 2 has something called “Speedtrainer.” This is a completely free add-in that gives you the freedom to import a track and slow it down or speed it up by up to two times without changing the pitch. If you’ve ever tried to learn a song by ear, this will be a very valuable tool for you. You can import songs using a variety of methods, but the simplest is to just import stuff from your iPod.app library on your iDevice. Files have to be converted to WAVs, but it’s no big deal. AmpliTube for iPhone 2 can handle up to 50 backing tracks, so get to it and learn some popular songs already.

One of the most significant updates in version 2 is the improved sound quality. You might not notice it at first, because honestly, this is the way it should have sounded to begin with. Tones are noticeably less muddy and quality is as good as you can find on the App Store. AmpliTube 2 for iPhone is now quite capable of being your guitar effects processor and amp simulator, even for recordings. It’s that good. But you’ll have to tweak your own presets, because you aren’t likely to fall in love with the built-in presets. It’s worth the extra effort, though. It’s amazing that an iPhone, an adapter and some relatively inexpensive apps can outperform hundreds of dollars of equipment from just a few years ago.

One last thing. If you’ve used the app before, you’re aware of the pop-up informing you to turn down your headphones because it could be loud. That’s not so shocking the 37th time you’ve opened the app, and now you can tell it to leave you alone. Thank God. Also, you can now attach names to your presets on the preset pad. I still don’t think this is ideal, but it is a step in the right direction. I’ll be satisfied on this front when we can share presets. I have a feeling they’re looking into it…

In short, IK Multimedia has added some genuinely useful features to AmpliTube for iPhone and done so without charging you for all of them. The Speedtrainer feature will likely become a valued tool for many users, while things like vastly improved sound quality, recording ability, named presets and the choice to get rid of that pesky popup warning will polish an already great app.

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