Hands-on Review of AmpliTube 2.5 (now 2.6!) and Amplitube Fender 1.2

IK Multimedia recently released major updates to their AmpliTube and AmpliTube Fender amplifier simulation apps for iOS devices, which I wrote about here. If you follow Gear Diary, then you know that aside from a quick blurb we seldom do a ‘deep dive’ on a ‘point release’ update … but this time there was a reason! Read on and see if the new AmpliTube is for you!

The Hype:
• Full MIDI Integration. This feature allows users to control AmpliTube Fender 1.2 via standard MIDI controllers using an iOS MIDI interface such as iRig MIDI. This allows to remotely switch presets or to control each knob, switch or controller on the interface with a physical controller. The feature is available as in-app purchase and it is free for iRig MIDI users.

• Support for all 30-pin Audio Devices. AmpliTube Fender 1.2 now supports digital audio input/output via the 30-pin connector with compatible standard core audio devices.

• Redesigned Recorder section. The new recorder section of AmpliTube Fender 1.2 now includes a Loop function for looping sections of recorded material, a new visual Metronome and a quick access Tap Tempo button.

• New Mixer section. A new mixer interface has been added to the recorder allowing easier control of master reverb send, channel level, pan control, mute and solo buttons, plus an FX button for applying the AmpliTube signal chain to the recorded material on the individual channels. This feature also allows “re-amping” of tracks to get that perfect tone or to apply different creative techniques to the material post-recording.

• New Copy/Paste function. Now users can copy or paste audio materials to and from other apps that support this feature, or copy the content of one channel in the mixer to another channel easily.

• Restore in-app purchases. By using the new Restore Purchases feature, simplifies the update process for users that has purchased more gear via in-app purchase.

The Reality:

As I have mentioned before, Gear Diary has been covering AmpliTube since it launched over two years ago for a single reason: it absolutely rocks. After using it for a couple of years it is easy to get complacent and forget just how much the app brings to the table.

Even in the free version, you get an amp simulator and standard speaker cabinet, along with three different ‘stomp boxes’ with popular effects and a host of other tools. So, for free you already have a quality amp simulator with great sounding effects.

Over the last couple of years IK Multimedia has focused on a few different things: broadening their offerings with the Fender and Slash (with Marshall amps and effects) branded products as well as adding more amps and effects to the core AmpliTube; adding new features and by improving the quality if the apps in terms of speed, sound and stability.

For the ‘2.5 release’, they have done ALL THREE! And it bears repeating – this update is free.

In terms of app quality, I immediately noticed a decreased launch time, faster response times, and fewer crashes when really pushing things. If nothing else, I would have immediately been thrilled simply by the leap in productivity afforded by these improvements. With the new iPad and all of the excellent ‘prosumer’-grade music apps, you can easily forget you aren’t working on a full-sized computer.

Broadening the offerings comes in different forms. First off, from AmpliTube Slash you can now access all of your effects in the standard AmpliTube – but not in AmpliTube Fender, which I assume is due to licensing restrictions. But within the standard AmpliTube I was now able to load up presets from Fender and Marshall amp-kits, use Slash effects and so on. Also, the recorder section has gotten a huge update in two parts: you can create loops which is amazing for playing multitrack songs with yourself.

The recorder functionality feels much more like a full studio machine, with the ability to chain in effects, mute and solo tracks and so on. It makes the AmpliTube products capable as a stand-alone DAW (digital audio workstation), particularly with the support for 30-pin (and USB) audio interfaces. Adding to the usefulness is the ability to use copy & paste audio, which I will mention more under ‘new features’.

And finally there are all new features. These include the support for audio interfaces just mentioned, the new mixer interface, restoring in-app purchases, and AudioCopy functionality. AudioCopy is a great feature as it allows you to record using the awesome sound quality of AmpliTube and then stick that audio into any other app that supports the standard. Restoring in-app purchases is another convenient feature, as it will scan your account and re-download all of your items.

The mixer interface adds tremendous depth to what has increasingly become a robust recording system. I detailed how with all of the additions to the recording system – including the mixer – AmpliTube is beginning to take on the functionality of a full-featured DAW.

Since I was writing this IK Multimedia released version 2.6 of AmpliTube. It adds new gear in-app purchase, such as the Soldano SLO-100 and Ampeg B-15R amplifiers, and the T-Rex Moller, Metal Distortion, and Big Pig stomp boxes. Since these are all sound-based, I have added a short video to walk through them all. Suffice to say they all sound great and expand the sonic palette considerably. The only downside is that the five items quickly add up to more than $20 – so it would have been great to see an ‘ampkit’ discount package similar to what we’ve seen for the Fender and Slash items.

As you use AmpliTube more and more you will likely want to add to your sound arsenal. Since AmpliTube has been available you could buy add-ons to expand the sounds through new amps, or buy the full version for $19.99. This version includes the full set of amps and effects, as well as many more presets, tools and a digital recorder with mixer. The iPhone version was originally released with several different versions, but with in-app purchases taking over they now focus on that revenue method.

One final thought: these update support all of the 30-pin audio interfaces, but in the wake of the iPhone 5 launch and the Lightning connector, it remains unclear what will happen with audio adapters; IK Multimedia has been great about supporting new stuff and I have no doubt that will continue.

Here is my hands-on video of the AmpliTube update, followed by a look at AmpliTube Fender, and finally a look at AmpliTube 2.6 gear:

Review: AmpliTube and AmpliTube Fender

Where to Buy: AmpliTube for iPad and AmpliTube Fender for iPad

Price: $19.99 each (free version also available)

What I Like: Sound quality unmatched in iOS guitar apps; Excellent performance and stability; incredible feature set even in free version; great balance between free, paid and in-app content; each new version adds value

What Needs Improvement: 2.6 Update new gear doesn’t have a money-saving ‘bundle’ price

Source: Publisher provided review sample

Categories: Music Diary, News, Reviews

Tags: , ,