Features: Amplitube iRig is meant to be a modeling practice tool for guitar and bass players, housed in the Apple iPhone or iPod Touch (a separate, similar version is also available for the Apple iPad). Based on the PC and Mac Amplitube software, the iRig is a bite-sized version, giving most musicians everything they need to practice at home or on the go, without having to lug around separate amplifiers or bulky modeling hardware.
Getting started with Amplitube iRig is very straightforward. The app is well designed and makes good use of the touch screen interface. You plug your guitar or bass into the iRig interface, using any standard instrument cable, and then the iRig cable plugs right into the iPhone. Once you launch the app, the app starts-up fairly quickly, even on an older iPhone 3G.
This edition of Amplitube offers 5 types of amplifiers, Clean, Crunch, Lead, Metal and a separate amp for Bass. They include five different speaker types, two different microphone types (dynamic or condenser), and eleven different stomp boxes. These include all the core stomps that would be found on most players' pedalboards, including overdrive, fuzz, distortion, delay, chorus, flanger and more. You simply dial in the rig that you want to play through, and start jamming.
There is no built-in recording, but you can connect the headphones/line-out jack to a mixer or recorder with ease, and have a complete recording setup in the palm of your hands.
Also, there is no way to quickly jump back and forth between settings mid-song, so this prevents practicing any songs where various tones need to be toggled throughout the song, but for straightforward practicing with a particular tone, this provides quite a bit for the average guitar or bass player.
The software does include a very handy feature from the full-sized version of Amplitube: the ability to import a song and play along with it, which helps tremendously for practice. Further, the software provides a built-in tuner and metronome, making this the perfect practice tool. // 9
Sound: The sound quality is impressive considering the diminutive size of an iPhone 3G, used as the test bed for this review. The iRig can be connected to headphones or powered speakers, and a very wide dynamic range is output, making this more than adequate for home practice and play. Some nuances of guitar playing shine through with good clarity, and overall the modeling software is as good as the full-sized versions of Amplitube. The same algorithms and software are probably used, as the sounds are very similar across the board.
As with many modeling software packages, a more experienced guitar player might notice some missing subtleties of an all-tube amplifier, especially sensitivity to pick attack and the blooms and trails and overall sustain of playing through some amplifiers, but this product seems to be geared most towards the player who does not want to invest in a standalone modeling amplifier, or a full out POD-style device, for which this is a great replacement. // 8
Overall Impression: Amplitube iRig is a great example of an iPhone app that you would never have anticipated when you originally bought your device, but it fills a great niche. For a home player (I.e. The traditional basement player) who has an iPhone or an iPod Touch, this setup is a very inexpensive, easy-to-use modeling package, allowing you to practice with a half-stack in the palm of your hands. // 8
- Shekhar Dhupelia (c) 2010