Count The Beats: A closer look at Amplitube 2.0 for iOS
A few weeks ago, IK Multimedia released Amplitube 2.0, the next iteration of its guitar effects and amplifier emulator app for iOS (don't forget, you need the external iRig piece of kit, too). It's only been about 5 months since version 1.0 came out, but when we got word that version 2.0 was in the works, we got pretty excited.
Update 2.0 brings 5 new stomp boxes (additional in-app purchase required), a promise of improved sound quality, a 4-track recorder and master FX section with 3 effects (in-app purchase), the SpeedTrainer as well as the ability to import songs from your iPod library, and a few other tidbits, too.
The nice thing is, you can download a free version of 2.0, like version 1.0. That means you get the improved sound quality, SpeedTrainer, and the ability to import your songs from your iPod library at no extra cost. However, the bulk of the new additions in 2.0 are only available through in-app purchase. The question is, are they worth it?
Click the "Read More" link below to find out.
Since we took a rather close look at the iRig and version 1.0 of Amplitube back in June, we're just going to look at the new features available in Amplitube 2.0 in this post.
5 New Stomp Boxes
Kicking us off, there are 5 new stomp boxes available to purchase at £1.79 each. If you bought the full version, you already have 11 stomp boxes (delay, fuzz, overdrive, wah, envelope filter, chorus, flanger, phaser, octave, noise filter and distortion, once registered). That's already a pretty big arsenal of effects. So what are the 5 new boxes? Reverb, parametric equalizer, a six band graphic equalizer, a limiter and a compressor. With these effects, on top of all the other pedals, it's really mind boggling to think of the different possibilities of tone you can get. Particularly with the equalizers, you now have wide control over the tone you are producing.
At £1.79 a pop you can't help but feel it's a little pricey -- not in comparison to the real-life physical counterpart of course -- but still, a little pricey when you consider some of the best apps on the App Store only cost £1.79. However, we suspect if you've already forked out for the full version, the urge will likely be too great for you to resist going the whole hog... and we won't look down on you for it either. To have such a comprehensive collection of pedals in the palm of your hand is a rather satisfying feeling.
The 4-Track Recorder and Master FX suite with reverb, equalizer and compressor
In the free version of Amplitube 2.0, a single track recorder is included. If you're jamming away and suddenly hit upon a gem riff, there's no doubt you'll want to record it there and then so you don't forget it. And that's exactly what the recorder does for you (not to mention the too cool for old school cassette tape display -- the little wheels spin when you hit record or play!).
But what if you want to build on that idea even more? Perhaps you want to layer up on the riff or put in a counter rhythm part? Well, that's where the 4 track in-app purchase comes in. Again, a great idea that's hard to turn down -- and IK Multimedia knows it! At £5.99 it sure isn't cheap, but you can record up to four tracks each with individual volume level, pan and solo / mute settings. Add in your master suite of effects (reverb, compression and equalizer) and the ability to bounce down your mix to high-quality audio or mp3 (and send it to your band mates / grandma via e-mail), and you've got yourself a a rather comprehensive mini studio for recording those scratch pad ideas, and the ability to easily share them.
Having said that, we did find the recorder to be a little on the simple side in terms of functionality, but this is an amp and stomp box app after all, not a recording studio.
SpeedTrainer is a great feature (one of the most requested features that I've heard of) that lets you import songs from your iPod library and play them from within the app at the tempo / speed of your choice. Basically, if your learning a guitar part in a particular song, import it into the SpeedTrainer (up to 50 songs can be imported), select the guitar setup you want, then play along at a speed best suited to your ability. This is a great way to listen to a guitar part as well as learning to play along with one. Best of all, this feature comes in the free version of Amplitube 2.0. If you're looking to brush up on your guitar playing, you can't go wrong with the SpeedTrainer.
Apparently there's also improved tone with DSP parts derived from Amplitube 3 and T-Racks 3. We're not sure about all the technicality behind it, but we did feel like things were sounding particularly warm and crisp.
Alone, the free update of Amplitube brings fantastic features like SpeedTrainer and the single-track recorder. It's a great addition to an already solid app. As for the in-app purchases, we feel they're a little on the steep side in terms of price. However, if you've already paid for the iRig hardware adapter, chances are you'll love what the in-app purchases have to offer -- especially the 4-track recorder.
If you enjoyed the first version of Amplitube, you'll be pleased with what version 2.0 brings to the table. Though those in-app purchases are expensive, if you're an Amplitube / iRig fan already, it makes sense to go the whole way and make the most of the app in its entirety.
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