- Band Management
- Home Recording
- Live Sound
- Best Instruments
- New Music & Video
IK’s really embraced using iOS devices as a platform for their software, but in a lot of cases going from a tablet or smartphone to a practical live tool might be problematic; now their Stomp I/O gives the software a robust hardware platform to bring things to the next level.
With an all metal construction, it looks like a typical floor processor, albeit without the display and parameter selection areas. The empty real estate has a rubber coated area and lip to slide an iPhone, iPad or Microsoft Surface tablet in and connect to the device. There are four footswitches, with an expression pedal, along with Gain and Volume controls. The rear panel is pretty loaded for connection options like MIDI in/out, a 1/4”/XLR input, complete with phantom power. Two additional expression pedals can be integrated, and output can be by stereo 1/4” or a headphone connection. Connections to the tablet or smart phone as well as a USB out reside here, too.
Simply download Amplitube to a device and connect it to the Stomp I/O. Screen size might be a bit limiting, depending upon the device being used; the larger the screen, the easier it is to see (duh) and navigate the Amplitube app. Now it can work without a smart phone or tablet, just connect the unit to a computer via USB and since Amplitube 4 Deluxe is included, it turns your computer into your effects processor/preamp. Now it can work with a stomp box mode, where you call up a bank of pedals, and can turn the individual pedals on and off, like a real pedalboard. The other option is going into another bank of pedals. It’s a user preference, and it’s nice to see that IK gives that option. It’s not just for guitarists; there are plenty of options for bass players as well. Acoustic guitarists can run it with Amplitube Acoustic, which brings excellent EQ and tone shaping, as well as feedback elimination and effects. Don’t want to bring a 12-string for that one song in the set? Their 12-string emulator is quite good for this.
Vocalists aren’t left out either, as the input is a combo XLR jack — connect any mic, and it can simulate another completely different mic. Vocal effects go from subtle and ambient to extreme with harmony functions. The VocalLive software also acts as an 8-track recorder, and a 4-track looper. Super cool and useful.
Included is some post editing software, too: their T-RackS mastering and mixing. This makes the software package alone as flexible and functional as the actual iRig Stomp I/O itself.
The overall sound quality of all the software is what we’ve come to know from IK; flexible, easy to use, with no disappointment in practicality or overall quality. Dialing in some great guitar sounds didn’t take long, and there were plenty of options, without getting overwhelmed. It felt and reacted like a traditional pedalboard, or multi effect preamp/processor/emulator. Plugging into an amp, or going direct into a computer, it sounded great, and at times seeing this big box connected to a tiny iPhone made us chuckle. This could easily be a fly rig to home recording rig solution. In a sense, the simplicity of getting it going was almost overwhelming and may make pedal junkies re-think the entire pedalboard concept.
The downside is while Amplitube has tons of great amps and effects loaded out of the box, there are a plethora of effects and amps that are not included, that are licensed by the original manufacturer. There’s also no way to audition or try them out. It seemed like every effect or amp that piqued our interest wasn’t available without making an additional purchase. It’s also great to see IK go beyond the Apple device platform, with the PC and the Surface tablet, but would be great to see it also work on Android devices.
That said, IK brought the power of the pedalboard into a whole new world of options. And considering it also doubles as an audio interface, this could be the all-in-one solution today’s recording guitarist didn’t know they needed. Very highly recommended.
Well made, very easy to use, flexible. TONS of usable software.
Some “name brand” effects/amp packages cost extra.