App Update: Amplitube 2 For iPhone

I recently reviewed the Amplitube application along with the iRig hardware.  Check out the full review here.  The Amplitube app is a robust guitar effects studio used on IOS devices.  Version 2 has just been released and adds some exciting functionality to an already great app.  The ability to use my iPhone or iPad while playing the guitar has been a wonderful experience.  I can play privately in my home without annoying my family with the loud music and am totally mobile.  If I wanted to play silently in the past, I had to connect headphones to my amplifier which meant sitting in the same room it is located.  Now, I have a mobile effects and, in version 2, recording studio with me at all time.  Let’s take a look.

New to version 2:

  • New 4-track recorder with insert effects and 3 master effects
  • 5 new pedals/effects
  • New SpeedTrainer for slowing down/speeding up backing tracks
  • Greatly improved sound with DSP now derived from desktop versions
  • Now backing tracks are imported directly from iTunes on iPhone/iPod
  • New recording export using iTunes shared folders on your computer
  • New recording sending by email
  • New preset naming

I do have to say, the pedals included as well as available for in-app purchases have all been very well done.  Just like the physical hardware, the effects are totally customizable allowing for that perfect sound to be dialed in.  In fact, the in-app purchases are so easy and the effects are so good, I have to pace myself when adding gear to my Amplitube.

Amplitube 2 has improved the experience when working with backing tracks.  The tracks are easily uploaded now using the USB cable while syncing the phone.  Simply click on the Apps tab and then on Amplitube and an upload box will appear.  Choose the track and it automatically syncs to the phone.  Quick and easy.

Once the songs are there, they are easier to learn and practice using SpeedTrainer.  The technology slows down riffs all the way to half tempo.  Amazingly, the tone is unaffected by the speed change, so you can play along at a slower rate, but hear the correct audio.  I have seen similar products, but rarely included in such a complete application.  This is not only great for practice, but also for picking out tunes by ear.  The songs can also be added to the new four track recorder.  This is great for drum and bass tracks that you might want to play or sing with.

My favorite added feature for Amplitube 2 is the in-app purchase four track recorder.  To me, the ability to record while playing through the iPhone has been missing for the entire genre.  I am not a serious musician by any means and do not need a fancy, expensive recording rig, but sometimes I like to put something together for fun or to be able to listen to my playing.  This is now the perfect solution.  Here are the particulars:

  • 4 tracks with solo, mute, volume, pan, send, bounce, import and export controls
  • Track bounce feature expands the available tracks for recording
  • Insert FX allows you to use the entire AmpliTube chain of effects (3 stompbox effects + amp) on any of the tracks, live or imported
  • Master effects section with reverb (send FX per channel), parametric EQ and compressor (master channel FX)
  • Tracks can be imported directly from the song play along section
  • Mix-down can be exported directly in the song play along section

The best part of the recorder is that it works perfectly.  I was able to record and mix each track quickly and easily and without confusing desktop interfaces.  The recorder is an in-app purchase that will run $9.99 and only takes seconds to add.  There is not another way to be able to record using built in effects for that low of a price.

By swiping the bottom of the recorder, different features can be found.  Volume, pan, insert fx, and reverb are all customizable from these toggles.  The interface is simple, yet intuitive while providing the ability to mix the tracks for the perfect sound.  The red button just below the tape indicates which track is active for recording.  I am still playing with and mastering all of the possibilities with the recorder, but it has become a deal breaker when looking at the guitar app genre.  It is exactly what I was wishing for when these apps started being developed. If four tracks is not enough, the bottom right button will bounce all of the tracks to track 1.  Basically, combine the current recording and utilize the three remaining tracks to continue adding.  Now the recordings have virtually no limit.

The developers of Amplitube have really put together a robust update to an already fantastic app.  My only recommendation for all of the guitar applications was to add the ability to record and Amplitube2 delivers with the four track recorder.  I have not been a big fan of in-app purchases, but this genre is perfect for them.  Basically, each user can fully customize their phone to match their needs.  No need to buy a super expensive app that contains a lot of features that may not be used.  For more information, check out the IK Multimedia website here and the iPhone application here in the app store.

What I like: The addition of the four track recorder is huge in my opinion.  It works well with no latency.

What could be improved: Now we need some basic voice effects and an entire album can be created from the iPhone.

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About the Author

Travis Ehrlich
Travis is a high school teacher and coach in a small South Texas town. His love for gadgets began at a very early age, and he has been a cross between a jock and a geek for most of his life. He has two boys and a wonderful wife who lets him be a gadget freak. He is a Mac convert and has drank the whole pitcher of kool-aid! He is also an avid guitar player and loves the outdoors, especially hunting with both a bow and rifle.