Ease of Use: The iRig Stomp is as simple as plug and play. You use the included cable to hook the iRig Stomp to your iPhone or iPad, and it can be powered by a 9 volt battery or a conventional guitar pedal power source. It is effectively a compact sized stomp box with one knob for controlling the level of output. You run your guitar into it with a standard 1/4" guitar cable. From there you can output it to headphones (or even a set of computer speakers), or you can run it out to a guitar amplifier, a set of active monitors or a P.A. System using a pair out 1/4" outputs. Running it to your amplifier, you can even use it with your existing effects pedals. There is just the one stomp button, which is basically an on/bypass switch and the level control. The manual is very simple and straightforward. It comes in the shape of a small booklet that would fit in your back pocket, but really there are only a few relevant pages as most of it is the same instructions in several languages. The important thing to remember when running it through your guitar amp is that the signal still passes through the pre-amp and it is best to start with the cleanest most transparent setting you can to get the best results.
What the iRig Stomp does is uses the amp and effects emulation from any of the AmpliTube software (classic AmpliTube, AmpliTube Fender or AmpliTube Slash) and outputs it to headphones, monitors, guitar amp or PA system. This makes it supremely easy for you to practice or gig with, and easily using the presets on your AmpliTube software for easy changes between amp and effects models. You can also adjust the amp and effects settings in real time if you need to tweak a preset and have a free hand. There are also accessories to clip your iPad or iPhone to a mic stand the iKlip for the iPad and the iKlip Mini for the iPhone which makes it very easy to navigate between your presets while practicing with your band or gigging. I personally reviewed the iRig Stomp with my iPhone and the iKlip Mini and it is super easy and convenient to move between presets using your iPhone on the mic stand. // 10
Sound: I tried the iRig Stomp out first with just a set of high quality earphones and got great results. With some lower quality earbuds the tone was still good for practicing. I was using a Carvin DC series guitar the entire time. I also ran the iRig Stomp through some computer speakers, then through several guitar amps. I tried the iRig Stomp through a Fender Rumble, a Fender Bronco 40, a Peavey Transtube 212 EFX and a Blackheart Little Giant. I got good results with each these amplifiers on the clean setting of the amps. With too much gain on the amp it will distort the signal from AmpliTube in a bad way, so you have to be careful, but with some playing around I did use it to get some more aggressive tones with just a tad of gain on the amps. On a clean setting you can get a pretty honest AmpliTube tone through the iRig Stomp. The sounds possible are only limited by the version of AmpliTube you have, and what amp models and effects models available to you with the software.
I used the iRig Stomp almost exclusively with AmpliTube Slash on my iPhone 4s. I was able to get very convincing tones from the factory presets of famous Slash songs. I messed around and was able to get most of the tones I already used jamming with my friends set as presets between the AmpliTube Slash and the standard version of AmpliTube. While jamming, it was fairly easy to choose my next preset for the next song. I used a Wah pedal and the iRig Stomp in my signal chain while jamming and was able to get pretty much all of my tones, and discovered several awesome tones I hadn't used before. After jamming with friends I played around with some other pedals in a signal chain with the iRig Stomp and I was able to get some good results. // 10
Reliability & Durability: As far as the durability goes, this is a tough built compact stomp box. I can't realistically see anything happening to it that would damage it short of slinging it down on a concrete driveway... That would probably take more than one try. The battery life on it is respectable because I've used it exclusively on a 9 volt battery except for a 2 hour or so stretch where I had it plugged in with other effects on my board. I've used it on the battery power somewhere around 20 hours without any problems. If you don't like the possibility of a battery going dead on you in the middle of a gig or practice, then just use a power supply or carry an extra battery no big deal. I would absolutely depend on this pedal without a backup. The iRig Stomp is a tool that gives guitarists the freedom that a lot of DJs are just learning to appreciate. The only equipment needed for a gig is your iPhone or iPad, and the iRig Stomp you just plug into the PA at the venue with some 1/4" cables. Basically, unloading your gear can be as simple as your phone in one pocket, your guitar case, and the iRig Stomp in your guitar case or another pocket. // 9
Overall Impression: I play a fair variety of music, such as overdriven blues, classic rock, hard rock, thrash metal, Grunge and post-grunge to name a few. I just like music and like playing music. The iRig Stomp is able to get every tone I could want effortlessly, and with an easy preset system built into AmpliTube, it is simple to save your presets and call them back up. I've been playing guitar for about 6 years this time around (played for a couple of years a long time ago with a big break in between), and I have constant "gear acquisition syndrome". At any given time I have somewhere between 3 and a dozen guitar amps in my house and a half dozen or so guitars. Right now my main equipment is my Carvin DC series and my Orange Jim Root Terror. I use my Blackheart Little Giant when I need transparent cleans. While I hesitate to say that AmpliTube and the iRig Stomp can compete with a good tube amp, I do acknowledge that what little difference there is, most music fans couldn't tell the difference. On top of that there isn't any loading and unloading heavy equipment for practice and gigs and that is definitely an incentive to try the iRig Stomp out especially at the price point it is available at. If my iRig Stomp was lost or stolen, then yes, I would replace it as soon as possible. There aren't really any products on the market that do exactly what the iRig Stomp does, so there wasn't anything to compare it to as far as how it stacks up against competitors it has no competitors. // 9
- Brandon East (c) 2012