Features: AmpliTube Slash is a new release for 2012 and is just one in a multitude of products released by IK Multimedia this year for mobile music production, practice and performance. What you get with AmpliTube Slash is a guitar effects processor in a mobile form for your iPhone or iPad, as well as 2 emulated amps and in-app purchases available for a 4 track recorder and MIDI support. The amp models included are the Marshall AFD 100 and the Marshall JCM Slash Edition Silver Jubilee 2555SL with both running through an emulated Marshall 1960 4x12 cabinet. There are 6 Signature Slash Stompboxes included as well, the (Noise) Gate, Wah Distortion, Octo Blue, Booster, X-Chorus and /Delay. Also included is an extensive set of Slash's tone presets some for specific songs from GnR, Velvet Revolver or Slash's solo material - and some other general presets to get you going in the right direction. You can chain up to 3 effects together with the amp and then to the cabinet. Re-amping is available with the single track recorder or the in-app purchase of the 4 track recorder (which also comes with a master effects section to complete your own mobile mastering). Anything recorded in AmpliTube Slash can be exported via e-mail, SoundCloud, FTP or the File Sharing option through iTunes.
Inside the AmpliTube Slash app you can also play, with the included in-app player, songs imported from your music library or computer. From there you can slow down (up to 50% speed) or speed up (up to 200%) the tempo without affecting pitch, which allows you to learn or practice along with songs already in your music library. There is also a feature called No Voice that allows you to remove the lead vocals or guitar solos from songs in order to play along. There is a built in chromatic tuner and metronome, as well. AmpliTube Slash works with the interfaces sold by IK Multimedia which are currently on the market such as the iRig and the iRig Stomp, which makes it easy to use for practice, recording or performance. As far as the available guitar multi-effects processors for the iPhone and iPad available now, AmpliTube Slash is definitely at the top as far as being full featured and all around the highest quality, along with AmpliTube and AmpliTube Fender. For those already using AmpliTube for the iPhone, you can make in-app purchases of the complete set of Slash equipment, or each piece individually a-la-carte. Before using AmpliTube Slash I had used several free and less known effects processors for guitar that are available for the iPhone, and I had encountered weird limitations in the apps, or latency issues, or just a lack of options. With AmpliTube Slash I am still exploring all the features and possibilities. As a mobile guitar effects processor for my iPhone, AmpliTube Slash can't be beat. // 9
Sound: I've mainly used my Carvin DC145M (HSH pickup configuration) with AmpliTube Slash, but I've tried several other guitars as well to check out how much of the guitars actual tone gets through, as well as how it handles different levels of pickup output and playing dynamics. I play my Carvin either in the bridge position humbucker, the neck position humbucker, the neck single coil or middle single coil most commonly, depending on what type of music I'm working on at the moment. I also played an Ibanez Artcore AXD83P (HH pickup configuration) for the moderately low output humbuckers, and a G&L Tribute S500 (SSS pickup configuration) to test out some true single coils. I play a wide range of music and I normally list some arbitrary genres or whatever I have been doing lately, but just making the point I play music and I'm not super concerned with genre. If you have to know, lately I've been playing a lot of desert rock, thrash metal, some blues rock and I guess what you would call atmospheric sounds. I change it up fairly frequently short attention span. AmpliTube Slash is really meeting all of my needs at this point with a little tweaking to find the right sound. Something that makes AmpliTube stand out, including AmpliTube Slash, is that your playing dynamics are picked up really well, so you can clean up your tone by rolling down the volume on your guitar or even affect it by your string attack which means you can get a nice variety of sounds with this application.
The emulated amps, both the Marshall AFD 100 and the Marshall JCM Slash Edition Silver Jubilee, are very realistic and close to the sound of the original amps they are based off of. You may notice that AmpliTube uses the real names of the amps instead of clever hints of names that is because they are licensed which says a lot for the quality of their emulated amps. Lets talk about the effects they sound like real pedals, the controls are all accessible and easy enough to go between songs to tweak settings if you don't have your presets already saved. My favorite effect by far is the Wah Distortion and the reason for this is you can set it to a Tilt setting and the expression pedal operates by how my iPhone is tilted. I set it up for Tilt then place it on my left leg when I sit down and play, then I can just rock and tap my leg as I play to operate the expression pedal for the Wah Distortion, which is awesome. The Wah Distortion has knobs for Gain and Volume and a switch to go between off, on, auto and tilt. Just going over the other effects very briefly: The Gate is simply a noise gate, and it has a Level control and a switch for Full or Hiss mode. The Octo Blue is an octave fuzz effect with knobs for Output and Blend. The Booster is just a really straight up boost pedal, with a knob for dB to control the amount of boost. The X-Chorus, which is a really nice full-featured chorus effect, has knobs for Intensity, Width, Rate, Bass and Treble. The /Delay effect is a pretty decent delay effect with knobs for Level, Time and Feedback. While the pedals sound very good, I had to be careful when using them so they didn't sound overpowering. As a last comment on the sound, I don't think anyone would be able to tell that the things I've recorded with AmpliTube Slash were done with my iPhone it is a seriously nice app and is seriously affordable. // 8
Reliability & Durability: With a mobile guitar effects processor, the idea of durability is taken out of the picture because it is all digital and it can't get banged around, tubes can't blow, etc. As far as the reliability you do get the option to restore the application and in-app purchases via your iTunes account in case something happens to your device or you upgrade, etc. Regarding the integrity of the application itself, I have spent a LOT of time with it at this point and there have been no latency issues, no crashes no problems at all. I've been using AmpliTube Slash on both an iPhone 4s, and I also got the amp and effects models in my AmpliTube for PC. On my iPhone I have been using the iRig Stomp and the iKlip Mini to use Slash AmpliTube for jamming with friends, etc., and running the sound to one of my physical guitar amps. I have also used it a lot sitting on the couch practicing with the headphones while my family watches television. The app is extremely stable. // 10
Overall Impression: Some people are bigger fans of the new technology with mobile devices and pads than others. I probably fall somewhere in the middle. I'm not selling my guitar amps anytime soon in fact, I'm continuing to add equipment. I don't think mobile apps and devices should take the place of real equipment, but I do think they have their benefits and uses. Some situations to think about is people living in apartments with thin walls, college dormitories or a place with little space, then suddenly things like AmpliTube Slash are way more important. Someone who wants to record their own music but without the money for studio time or the money to put together a full home studio all of the equipment needed is available now, using your mobile device and you could theoretically put together a mobile recording studio (fairly inexpensively) with everything fitting in a messenger bag or iPad bag. If you were on the tour bus with a lot of bands these days you would find them playing through their iPhones or iPads, recording their demos for their next album, working on different arrangements, etc. Mobile guitar effects processors are a fairly new technology, but it has made great strides since it first came out and IK Multimedia's AmpliTube, AmpliTube Fender and AmpliTube Slash are definitely the best. Personally, AmpliTube Slash seems the best for rock, hard rock and most types of metal.
If AmpliTube Slash was stolen from me, it would have to mean my iPhone was stolen, and if that was the case, then I would just restore it when I replaced my phone no fuss. I wouldn't have to buy it again, but it would be worth it if I had to. I think my favorite feature of the application would have to be Wah Distortion pedal. I love the way you can control the expression pedal by just changing the angle of my iPhone. If I could wish for any feature I wanted to add to this app, it would be for the ability to make in-app purchases of equipment besides the Slash Signature stuff, which is something you are able to do with the standard version of AmpliTube. If you have the actual AmpliTube Slash application on your iPhone you can't make in-app purchases of other amps and effects, but if you have the standard AmpliTube 2.5 or higher version then you have the option to buy the Slash equipment, or any other equipment. It would have been nice for that to work the other way around, as well. // 8
- Brandon East (c) 2012