Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

September 20, 2011 • Reviews

iPhone and iPad App Review: AmpKit 1.2

I became excited when IOS apps started utilizing guitar functions. We can tune our guitars, look up tabs, learn new licks and even play them through our devices. Basically, your iPhone or iPad can make you a mobile musician or studio with little equipment to carry. Peavey teamed up with Agile Partners and brought us AmpKit which basically turned an IOS device into an amp modeler, multi-effects processor and pocket recording studio. I reviewed the initial release here a little over a year ago. This Tuesday, Agile Partners kicked up the already awesome application with the 1.2 release. I was fortunate to get a jump and try out a copy a few days early. As you will see, it is still the same great product, with some robust improvements and added features. Let’s check it out.

Make sure you buy the Peavey AmpKit Link so the application will be useable. The Link is the audio interface that is needed to connect a guitar through the IOS device and listen through headphones or PA system. The Link is well made and works flawlessly compressing the sound and information into useable audio. Find out more information and find dealers to purchase the AmpKit Link here.

AmpKit 1.2 is a huge release featuring next-generation tone and simulation improvements that deliver by far the best-sounding, most realistic guitar tone on iOS. With dual-stage amp simulation, convolution-based cabinet simulation, adaptive input compensation, a significantly upgraded Noise Gate, and solo and mix output shaping, V1.2 gives you massive tone improvements regardless of your playing style.

There’s also a slew of exciting new gear in AmpKit 1.2:

  • Budda® Superdrive 30 Series II, a US$5.99 amp available for a limited time for only US$0.99.
  • Fargen™ Olde 800™, Super Collider™ and Hot Mod™ Baby Blues amps.
  • Rocktron® Zombie Rectified Distortion® and Cottonmouth Fuzz® effects.
  • Sonic Edge J&J Overdrive and Tumbleweed Clean Boost & Compression effects.
  • Two great new models of classic high-gain amps, the Sultan Rack 88 and the Uber Xtreme 101.

Be sure to check out AmpKit’s Summer ’11 Pack which bundles all the new gear in V1.2 — 6 amps, 6 cabinets and 4 effects — for only US$9.99, saving you over 80% versus individual gear prices.

Agile maintained the great features of 1.1 but have improved the app with the 1.2 release. I will not rehash my old review of the initial product but will review some of the new features that I find important. My favorite improvement is the addition of solo and mix output shaping. Basically, version 1.1 was designed to be used with headphones or recording software. While it sounded great, the frequencies were not created to play through an amplifier or PA system. The guitar audio played well with mixing and backing tracks but was missing some of the bass and fullness of playing solo through speakers. This was never a deal breaker, but kept guitarists from using an iPhone cranked to 11 in their bedroom or on a stage. With 1.2, a simple toggle button will switch the frequencies from Solo to Mix with ease allowing the app to be used in all situations. Couple that with dual-amp simulation and the overall sound quality is much improved. Dual-amp simulation basically utilizes the advanced processors of the newer IOS devices to double the simulation fidelity and make the sounds push harder.

Another of my favorite Agile Partners’ apps is TabToolKit which allows users to search, find, save and use guitar tabs. Yes, I am a cheater sometimes, but then again, I am not a trained guitarist, but play by ear. When I was using AmpKit, I had to use my iPad to look at tabs for chords and words. That is not a bad set up at all, but I did not always have a second device with me to use both apps. AmpKit 1.2 has added multitasking which allows for the audio to be played in the background. Perfect for reading lyrics or music while playing. The options menu has a toggle button just above the mode to turn multitasking on and off.

For guitarists who like to record, whether to critique themselves or actually creating music to be shared, AmpKit has added the ability to mix down multiple instrument tracks. Once a wet guitar track is layer down on a backing track, users can now repeat the process over and over basically making AmpKit perform as a multi-track recorder. I can see this being a fun feature for amateurs like myself and a true power tool for accomplished musicians who can now build tracks while on the road. I love the fact that I can listen to myself play in order to improve as well as play along with multiple guitar parts to get a true in the band sound.

AmpKit 1.2 truly takes the next step in transforming your IOS device into a true guitar tool box. Play virtually anywhere through speakers, headphones or even a PA system. Record and refine tracks on the go and share them with anyone almost immediately. New effects and amp products have been added with even greater control so guitarists can always find that perfect sound. I think AmpKit 1.2 is perfect for any level of guitar player whether a bedroom hobbyist such as myself all the way to an accomplished songwriter or professional musician. Agile Partners has listened to their user base and strived to update their product to bring us the essential guitar application for IOS devices. Check out more information on the exciting upgrade here at their website. You can download the application here in the app store for free or check out AmpKit+ for $19.99 which comes equipped with a wide variety of amps and effects right out of the box.

What I Like: The 1.2 update has created a wonderful tool for any guitarist not only for sound but also recording. The new features make the app usable in almost any situation.

What Needs Improvement: With work and kids, I do not have enough time to play my guitar and explore the app further!

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