Samick Motherlode

December 2014
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Plugging Into the Palm of Your Hand: iPhone & iPod Guitar Interface Roundup

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Plugging Into the Palm of Your Hand: iPhone & iPod Guitar Interface Roundup

IK Multimedia iRig (with Amplitube)
The iRig has a simple design similar to Peterson’s interface. The compact device runs from its 1/8” plug to a larger barrel chamber that houses a ¼” input, along with a 1/8” input jack for headphones. Guitarists who have had experience with digital recording might have heard of IK Multimedia’s Amplitube modeling software, and they’ve developed a compact version of their popular software for use with the iRig on Apple’s touch-based devices.

The App Store offers three versions of Amplitube. One is a free version with a single, modern Marshall-influenced amplifier and four effects—chorus, wah, delay, and a noise gate. Registering the software unlocks a distortion pedal, which can be used to goose the front end of the amp to get some very high-gain tones. A second version costs $2.99, and is dubbed an “LE” edition. This version adds a wah pedal to the mix. Finally, there’s a full version that costs $19.99, with five amps, 11 effects, five speaker cabinets and dynamic and condenser microphones. The effects are certainly useable, with a couple being quite good. One in particular that I had a lot of fun with was the wah, which had three different modes. The first allowed me to drag my finger over the virtual footpedal and rock it back and forth, and the second put it into an auto-rocker mode, which reacted to my playing. Lastly, the wah could be put into a tilt mode, which rocked back and forth as I moved my phone up and down. This wasn’t very practical, as guitar playing a two-handed affair (unless you’re rocking out to some single-handed lead playing, a la “Thunderstruck”).

Amplitube also had a really neat feature for playing along with a song of my choosing. I connected to my wireless network and quickly uploaded an MP3 of AC/DC’s “Kicked In The Teeth,” and jammed along for a while, exploring the tonal range of the software’s included amplifier. The tone was decent, but not very versatile. After a while, I really just wanted a clean tone, and the range of the amp only went from mildly distorted to highly overdriven. Fear not, however, as Amplitube’s built-in app store offers four additional amp models, ranging from mid-‘60s-influenced cleans to a heavy, modern metal model. Thankfully, unwanted digital clipping was non-existent no matter the settings, thanks to the iRig’s internal circuitry.

MSRP: $39.99
ikmultimedia.com/irig

In this roundup:
Peterson iStroboSoft Adapter Cable (with iStroboSoft)
Griffin Technology GuitarConnect (with iShred)
IK Multimedia iRig (with Amplitube)
Sonoma Wireworks Guitar Jack (with FourTrack)
Peavey AmpKit LINK (with AmpKit)
PRS Cables GuitarBud Cable
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