Hands on with iRig Stomp and Amplitube Slash
IK Multimedia, makers of iRig MIC Cast and iRig MIX have done it again with the upcoming release of the iRig Stomp. Paired with their app, Amplitube Slash, you get a fantastic combination of function and form for the musician.
There are many options for the tech savvy musician who wants to combine effects from their electronic devices to their guitar, voice, or various other musical instruments. If you take an app like Amplitube Slash, which allows you to apply Slash’ (yes, the Slash) pedals and amplifiers to your guitar licks, you can really rock out while in a studio setting or while sitting down playing the guitar. It seems that it would be slightly more difficult to use the app while standing if you had to repeatedly reach over to tap the phone to apply the right effects. Not impossible and not that difficult but still, for those looking to keep their hands a little more free, the soon-to-be released iRig STOMP could really help.
This is the first stompbox guitar interface for the various iDevices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) and comes from IKmultimedia who seems to be developing a huge, comprehensive set of equipment and apps for musicians who like to mix their tunes with their other electronics.
To test out the iRig STOMP, I employed the assistance of an experienced guitarist and all around great guy, my dad. He seemed to be the perfect candidate since he’s experienced, he is familiar with the iPhone and he’s looking for equipment to help create, mix and publish his music.
We purposely did NOT look at any manuals or pre-test any of the software or hardware. I like to see how intuitive are the devices and apps we test, so going in blind seems to be the best approach.
We broke out the iRig STOMP (Ikmultimedia.com/irigstomp) and made a few observations. The iRig STOMP feels sturdy but still light. The INPUT knob is large enough to be controlled with your foot. The icons are all easily recognizable and it was clear what needed to be plugged in to which jack. The main input is for the guitar and uses the standard 1/4” size jack, the main output to your amplifier is also the standard 1/4” and the in/out connection to your iDevice is the 3.5mm. All of these are nice because there are no special adapters required to connect. In fact, the connections are almost too easy. I kept looking at the set up wondering what I was missing because I assumed I’d need an input from the iPad and an output to the iPad. But then we plugged in the guitar, the amp and the iPad. The power light came on, we started up Amplitube Slash and started playing. The STOMP was EASY.
Amplitube Slash was slightly more difficult to grasp at first. The basics were very easy – we were able to start applying effects quickly but the UI on the recording tab was confusing after we started recording our first set of sounds. We didn’t realize that the buttons along the bottom were toggles and “lost” the cassette view that we were looking for. After some trial and error we figured it out but it was one of those things that we couldn’t tell easily from the UI or the help menu. On the positive side – the stompbox effects are great and work perfectly with the iRig STOMP.
We were able to chain together the effects and turn them on and off with ease (using the iRig STOMP). Plus we were able to record tracks which were easily exported to iTunes. The in app purchases can really make this app even more of a winner – Example, if you’re laying down multiple guitar tracks you have to have the 4 track recorder ($5.99) it comes with the Master FX which allows you to apply additional effects and tuning to what you’ve already laid down. The price is not bad and you don’t have to have it but this is a nice add on.
We played with the app for about an hour and were able to achieve all the basic functionality with relative ease. Also, we noticed NO latency with the effects. As I look back at the app now, there are a many features we didn’t explore:
- 30-Pin digital audio support
- MIDI support (available via in-app purchase)
- Audio copy/paste
- Export via E-mail, SoundCloud, FTP or File Sharing
- Slow down or speed up the tempo of imported songs without affecting pitch (-50% to +200%)
- Powerful preset system to manage presets and favorites
The iRig STOMP can be preordered at IK Multimedia for 59.99 and Amplitube Slash for iPhone is 14.99 – if you start comparing prices on what it would cost to chain together 3 or more stomp boxes for the same effects you’re looking at potentially hundreds of dollars. With no apparent latency issues, this set up is a great value given that could be used in a live setting.
All in all, this set up was a pleasure to review. We were able to figure out and use all the basic features without having to look up information in the manual. The STOMP and Amplitube Slash worked as advertised and seem to be a good value for the dollar. So, this seems to be another couple of winners for IK Multimedia.
9/5/12 updated with link to iRig page.