Review: AmpliTube 2

An update to the mobile guitar amp with sound effects software. (December 7th, 2010)

You can create a host of sounds to use in various music styles. AmpliTube 2 adds a 4-track recorder, additional stompbox effects, and enhanced sound effects.

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Product Manufacturer: IK Multimedia Production srl

Price: Full $19.99, LE $2.99, and Free

The Good

  • Great for simple recordings.
  • Low audio latency.
  • Audio quality improved from v1.0.
  • Multitasking support.

The Bad

  • Expensive to purchase all features.
  • Lack of Retina Display graphics.
  • Battery intensive.

Earlier this year IK Multimedia launched AmpliTube 1.0, one of the first amplifier simulation applications in the App Store. I used the application soon after its release and was excited about the software's potential. With the introduction of a 4-track recorder, additional stompbox effects, and enhanced sound effects based on the desktop variants, AmpliTube 2 is one of the most handy guitar tools that can fit in your pocket.

amplitube2

AmpliTube 2 adds a 4-track recorder, additional stompbox effects, preset naming, input/output level controls, scrollable menus, high-quality export, and enhanced sound effects. One of the most important new features, the 4-track recorder, allows you to create basic multi-track guitar recordings, with additional support for using the device's built-in microphone for vocals and other instruments. Dubbed as an "app within an app," the 4-track recorder functions much like a classic tape recorder, with basic volume, pan, reverb, mute, and solo capabilities. Notably, the recorder also includes a bounce function that allows you to combine up to four tracks and save as one track. The inclusion of this feature allows you to add more than four layers to a recording when necessary.

Recording Interface

Recording Interface


By default AmpliTube only includes a 1-track recorder with reamping. The new four-track recorder costs $10 as an in-app purchase. This purchase also adds several mastering controls, including reverb and compressor controls, along with a basic equalizer. Together these tools make it relatively simple to create basic recordings with decent sound quality.

Mastering Interface

Mastering Interface


While it is unlikely that these recordings will become your next demo album, it is possible to achieve respectable sound, perfect for capturing musical ideas as they occur. If money is an issue, I recommend you spend the extra money here and skip out on the additional effects pedals for the time being.

Audio Import Options

Audio Import Options


IK Multimedia made the process of importing songs easier, because you can pull tracks directly from the device's iPod library or add them through iTunes file sharing. While there was nothing wrong with the original Wi-Fi implementation, the addition of these new import features makes it exponentially easier to add songs. You can modify any track added to the song library with the SpeedTrainer, the utility for slowing down a track for practicing purposes or export to a track in the 4-track recorder. The SpeedTrainer works well as a tool for slowing down tracks without changing pitch, however, you hear some distortion when changing tempo.

Presets Interface

Presets Interface


One of the biggest disappointments is the lack of Retina Display-ready graphics. When using the software on my iPhone 4 the pixels were obvious, which really took away from the product's feel as a high-end tool. This is more obvious when text is present, as the crisp edges exaggerate the lower quality graphics used in the software.

AmpliTube 2 is a significant update. The improvements made to the sound quality of each stompbox might be enough for most users, however, IK Multimedia went further, and the mobile application is closer in line with its desktop relative. The addition of basic recording functionality is useful for capturing song ideas the moment they occur, while the mastering tools allow simple recordings to have a very respectable sound.

For those starting out with the software ($20) and accompanying iRig hardware ($40) the investment is significant, however, it provides far more functionality then a practice amp that would cost twice as much. You can choose from 1 of 3 versions, AmpliTube includes 11 stompboxes, 5 amps + cabinets, and 2 microphones for $19.99, while AmpliTube LE includes 5 stompboxes, 1 amp + cabinet, and 2 microphones for $2.99. AmpliTube FREE includes 3 stompboxes, 1 amp + cabinet, 2 microphones. Any one of these versions makes a great holiday gift. When at home, I still use the desktop software, but AmpliTube for the iPhone gives me an excuse to get away from my computer, go outside, and record music wherever I am inspired.

Related Reviews:

AmpliTube iRig

Miroslav Philharmonik Orchestra & Choir Works

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor. Minor corrections made 7pm ET.

by Bradley McBurney


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