Edit Mode is where you do the tweaking. To put the unit into Edit Mode, simply step on the Enter switch. From there, you use the various buttons to navigate through the menus, offering the ability to change anything from cabinets and amps to Global input levels. Yes, it certainly takes some getting used to, and at first, I often found myself just going to the mouse and doing it manually like I’ve always done. But the objective was to learn how to use it on the floor, so I persisted.

It does become quite simple to stomp through a variety of sounds until coming across one to build upon. From there, selecting the various cabinets, mics and effects is what makes this product so useful. However, even after learning how to control the parameters with my feet, I still found it easier to combine that technique with a mouse. Maybe you can’t teach an old dog too many new tricks, but that’s how I feel.

Aside from simply tweaking amps, you can also dig into the control menu, which is where you assign any of the expression pedals, knobs and switches. This unit can also go quite deep. Certain things, like Sequence patch switching mode, are critical to understand if you’re playing live, as you don’t want to stomp up to patch 2,344 during a show. Once things are in place, you can easily setup up to 16 custom-ordered sequences, with up to 999 patches in each.

The X-Men
StompIO is truly about the integration of software and hardware. The core software provided with the package is called Amplitube X-Gear. X-Gear is essentially a shell that houses Amplitube 2, Jimi Hendrix, SVX and Metal (and future realeases). All these software programs live within a single interface, which means you can mix and match anything (amps, cabinets, mics, stomp boxes, etc) within the bundle. The number of choices available borders on overwhelming. There are over 150 modeled pieces of gear in total. There are two separate software pedalboards available, with up to six pedals on each. You can actually run them all together into a single amp; 12 pedals can be strung together for a massive chain. There are 26 different amps, 26 EQ stages and 11 different power amps. Any of these can be mixed and matched to make custom sounds. As for cabinets, there are 33 different models, and a variety of microphones. There are also two separate rack systems available, with up to four modules in each (and they can be ganged into a chain of eight). Like anything else, some sounds are better than others (even after tweaking), but you can really get some killer tones with this unit. Another great feature in X-Gear is what they call the Speed Trainer. It’s a playback device that lets you drag and drop songs into it and alter their pitch and tempo. You can also set loop points, and I found it great to drag in drum loops to practice to. It makes you want to play, which is always good in my book.

StompIO, in conjunction with the Amplitube software, is a powerful combo. The variety of sounds that can be achieved and controlled from the floor is impressive. Whether you are comfortable having a laptop run your rig in a live situation or not is a personal issue, but this package is certainly up for the task. Aside from its live application, it can be a powerful tool for studio-based DAW recording—with both guitar and bass. The fact that you can use it with Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, live and in many other ways makes it far more than a one trick pony.
Buy if...
you want a flexible, powerful controller interface that effortlessly integrates hardware and software.
Skip if...
emailing and web surfing stretches your computer skills to their limit.

MSRP: $1049 Street: $899 - IK Multimedia - ikmultimedia.com