|Since this is a computer-based program, it’s important to review the minimum system requirements. For Windows, it’s a Pentium 1Ghz/Athlon XP 1.33 GHz, 512 MB of RAM, Windows XP/Vista or later. For Power PC Mac, it’s an 866 MHz G4, 512 MB of RAM and Mac OSX 10.4 or later. For Intel machines, it’s a 1.5 GHz Intel Core Solo processor with 512 MB of RAM, running Mac OS X 10.4.4 or later.
Have you ever thought about taking your
laptop to a gig loaded up with cool guitar
sounds, but couldn’t figure out how to
control the setup? Well, IK Multimedia may
have a solution for you. StompIO is their
new USB floor controller interface that
packs a lot of power and flexibility for users
of Amplitube 2, Amplitube Jimi Hendrix,
Ampeg SVX and Amplitube Metal.
When first unpacking the unit, I was surprised
at how heavy it was. I thought,
“Wow, this is a lot of beef for just a floor
controller!” But quickly I came to realize
that it’s also a digital and analog recording
interface, Class-A DI and headphone
What you get in the box is the StompIO
hardware, a 3m long USB cable, a power
supply unit with interchangeable international
plugs, an expression pedal with
1/4” cable and all the software installation
discs. They also wisely include a printed
manual for both the StompIO itself, and
the X-Gear software: a nice, simple touch,
considering how many companies cheap
out on a hard-copy manual these days.
Now let’s examine the StompIO itself. It’s
an attractive, black and grey metal steel
enclosed unit with a useful top handle for
easy carrying. Its weight gives it a sturdy
feel and the foot switches all have nice,
easy action. Another smart touch is that
they labeled the inputs, outputs, etc. on
both the top of the StompIO (so you can
see them standing above it), and also
above the actual connections. Again, it’s a
small but important detail that pays off in
the heat of the moment.
The top of the controller features
a Volume knob for the Balanced,
Unbalanced and Headphone outputs, a
Tuner button that instantly displays the
tuner both onscreen and on the unit, and
an LCD display for Patch numbers/names
and editing functionality. There are three
input level LED’s—orange signifies LOW,
green (which should light up most of the
time) shows OK, and red is for HI. Below
the LCD display sit six knobs for editing,
and on the right of the LCD are Enter,
Exit, Next and Previous buttons.
As for the footswitches, there are ten of
them. Luckily, the footswitches are spaced
far enough apart for ogres like me with
big feet. The first bank features the Enter,
Exit and Tuner footswitches. Below these
sits another row of seven: the Bank Down in
Play mode, (or Page left in Edit), the Bank
Up (Page right), a Tap footswitch for tempos
(more on that later), and four switches (A-D)
for bank selecting (Play mode) and parameter
selections (Edit mode).
What does it control?
The rear panel of the unit features the
usual power switch and DC power socket.
I wouldn’t mind seeing an internal power
supply instead of a “ground wart,” but
that would have made it even heavier and
brought on more noise possibilities.
There are six external controller jacks, one
of which you use up immediately with the
included expression pedal. Note that you
can also choose to use third-party expression
or footswitch pedals. Then there are
MIDI ins and outs, a USB Host Computer
Connector and an S/PDIF digital out,
which outputs the same signal as the stereo
outputs. There’s also a headphone
jack that doesn’t mute the signal for other
outputs when in use.
There are left and right unbalanced outputs
(-10 dBv) for use in connecting to
guitar amps, as well as left and right balanced
outputs (+4 dBu) for studio output,
powered speakers or monitor and mixing
consoles. Balanced outs are important on
a unit like this because if you’re using it
onstage, you can drive the cables up to 200
feet or so without degrading the signal.
The Direct Out provides a clean, unprocessed
instrument unbalanced signal with
no separate volume control. This is the
output you should use when not using the
StompIO as the audio interface. Last is the
Class-A mono IN, where you of course plug
in your instrument.
Don’t forget that this unit uses A/D (analog
to digital) conversion when plugging in,
as well as D/A conversion on the output.
According to IK, they have used extremely
high-end components not only on the converters,
but also throughout the unit.
The basic StompIO setup is shown below
The main objective of StompIO, besides
changing patches and outputting sound
from the IK software, is to provide players
the ability to modify any software parameter
without the need for a mouse, monitor,
or keyboard. However, it can also be used
as an ASIO or CoreAudio class-A DI to a
The StompIO itself features several basic
modes. Play Mode is the default start up
setting, which lets you step through any of
the 4,000 patches (yes, you read that right).
Patches run from 000 to 999 with four
programs per (A thru D). When turning the
unit on, it will also automatically call up the
last patch you were playing—something I
grew to like very much.
Selecting or switching patches is simple.
Use the Bank Up/Down switches to select a
preset. You’ll see the bank number change
and begin flashing. Then press the footswitch
(A – D) to load the chosen patch,
and you’re in business. To set a Patch’s
delay-based Tempo, simply hit the TAP
footswitch four times (or more) at a quarter-
note rate. This is a great feature to have
when playing live.
Go to Page 2 for the rest of the review and rating.