Agile Partners, my favorite guitar app developers, has teamed up with Peavey Electronics to bring an all in one solution that turns the iPhone into a full functioning guitar studio. Peavey, who has been making quality guitar hardware for many years, has provided the hardware interface. In fact, I have a Peavey amp sitting next to me here in my office/guitar room. Agile Partners, who has revolutionized the guitar app for the iPhone, is providing the software solution. Together, this brings a full effects and amp studio with recording capabilities straight from the iPhone. No amplifiers or batteries needed. Simply plug in the AmpKit LiNK, fire up the AmpKit application and turn it to 11! Lets take a look at what this combination will bring to the table.
As I stated above, Agile Partners has developed two of my favorite IOS apps with GuitarToolKit and TabToolKit. Their applications have beautiful UI and are always polished quality apps. The latest release of AmpKit might just raise the bar even higher. Two versions of the application are available. AmpKit is a free app and will include the Peavey ValveKing amp with two cabinets and two pedals, two mics and a built in noise feedback filter. AmpKit+ is a paid application that costs $19.95 and includes three more amps, four cabinets and eight more pedals. The price is actually half the price of purchasing each effect separately. In-app purchases from the Gear Store will help build the effects library and allow each guitarist to build their own unique sound library.
AmpKit provides a complete guitar studio in one place. To navigate the application, simply tap the tabs at the bottom of the screen. My Setups is where a custom amp/effect combo can be built for a custom sound. Building a rig is as easy at a tap of the + button. The collection will also include any preset setups that have been altered. I have found myself tweaking every setup I use. The Presets tab opens a huge library of ready to go amp and effect combinations. Every sound from ultra clean to thrash metal is available so any style of player can find something to fit their music. Remember each preset is just a starting point. I tend to use them as a base then tweak them to my perfect taste. The recording tab is where all recordings as well as loaded backing tracks are found and can be listened to or shared via email. To open the Gear Store, tap the Add Gear tab. Each item is priced separately and the experience is similar to using the app store on your phone.
So far, we have seen a brief overview of how to navigate the application. The true strengths of the app are the small hidden features. First, this thing includes a possible huge library of amp and effect combinations. AmpKit includes 49 total components which is larger than similar apps. These include, 12 amps with 20 unique channels, 16 pedals, 13 cabinets and 8 mics. All of these components add up to include 60 preset setups. Each pedal and amplifier are completely customizable. Tap on the knobs to open a new window and adjust all of the available levels. Most of the amps have multiple channels for clean and lead as well as all of the other usual adjustment options. This feature alone means there really is an endless possibility of settings and sounds. To turn a pedal on or off, tap the button that would be stomped if it were a true pedal sitting on the floor. Since the effects and amplifiers are patterned after real hardware, the sounds are genuine and accurate. I now have endless effect possibilities and love it!
While a setup is open, tapping on the icon with a tuning fork and metronome will bring up some valuable tools. Set the bpm on the metronome with the dial provided. Just below is the tuner which is great since tuning on the fly is possible by leaving it on. The settings icon brings up options for the metronome and recording functions. The bottom left of this screen is, in my opinion one of the best features of AmpKit. The red button is indeed a record button! To record tap the button and wait until the timer begins then tap the same button to stop. Each recording will be saved under the My Recordings tab. I was blown away by the quality of the recordings. The app actually records two versions at one time. One version is what is heard through the AmpKit LiNK the other is a clean version. By recording a clean version, the app can allow the user to re-amp which means a different setup can be added without having to replay the lick. I mostly record things I am practicing and listen through to hear mistakes better. Once a recording is made, it can be shared via email and uploaded to CloudSound.
Now that we have taken a look at the awesome features of the AmpKit application, lets look at the hardware. The AmpKit LiNK is a high fidelity interface device for input and out put of a guitar, bass or any other instrument by plugging into the headphone jack of the iPhone. The other end of the hardware accepts the guitar cord and provides an 1/8 inch headphone jack for output. This could be to headphones, amps or powered speakers.
The unit measures 2 5/8 inches by 1 3/4 and only 3/4 of an inch thick. The 1/8 stereo plug is connected to a 17 inch cord which allows for plenty of room to move and use the unit. Opposite of the supplied chord are the input jacks for both the guitar and stereo out. The compact size and super light weight make the AmpKit LiNK completely mobile and easy to use.
Agile Partners and Peavey has provided us with a great solution for guitar and bass players to explore a studio worth of amplifiers and effects. Listen through headphones as a mobile setup or use the audio out to play loudly through speakers. The freedom is now yours to have a complete rig carried in your pocket. Agile Partners has provided an extensive and beautiful application and Peavey has provided stylish hardware that works perfectly. The combination is killer! Mix all of that with the ability to record and customize all components and you have a winner for all guitar players.
AmpKit LiNK: $39.99
What I Like: Very extensive guitar effects collection with recording coupled with great hardware. I can jam in silence for the rest of my family.
What could be improved: More time to play my guitar!