Ampkit+ for iPad - app review


YouTube Link

Ampkit is a guitar rig emulation app available for both iPhone and iPad. For this review, I was using the Ampkit+ iPad version and had access to all the extra add-ons and packages. It's worth noting there is a free version of the app as well. Hardware wise, you'll need to pick up the Ampkit LiNK in order to connect your guitar to your iPad or iPhone, available for $39.99. This is similar to the same process as Amplitube 2 and the iRig which I took a look at earlier this month.

Click through for a video demonstrating sound quality, some thoughts, and how I think it stacks up against the competition.

[iTunes Link]

The first thing I noticed upon installing Ampkit+ for iPad is that it's a universal binary. Seeing as the paid version is currently $19.99 in the US app store, it's nice to see you have the choice to run it on your iPhone and/or iPad without paying twice. Amplitube 2 has two separate apps, so if you have an iPad and an iPhone, you'll have to purchase both if you want to use both versions. Amplitube 2 is also currently $19.99 for the full version on both iPad and iPhone.

As far as what's available within the app, you'll see exactly what you'd expect. You have the ability to scroll through several different presets as well as create your own rigs. You can then save them in a favorites list for future use. While filming the video, we didn't have trouble finding sounds or rigs to match what type of sound we were looking for. If you can't find it, you certainly have the option to build your own custom rigs.

One issue I did notice with Ampkit that we never experienced with Amplitube was bad feedback. We tried both apps with headphones, surround sound systems, and standalone tower speakers. We never received any bad feedback with the Amplitube + iRig setup. We did, however, experience some annoying feedback with Ampkit + LiNK. This typically only happened when applying distortion pedals. It didn't happen very often but we could never find an explanation as to why it would do this sporadically.

When it comes to the regular app, I preferred the layout of Ampkit over Amplitube. In Amplitube's defense, I did use the iPhone version while I had access to the iPad version of Ampkit. I didn't enjoy how cramped the Amplitube layout was on the iPhone. I downloaded the iPhone version of Ampkit as well just for comparison. The layout just seems to be a bit more thought out than Amplitube's is. When it comes to software, I think Ampkit is a more pleasing experience.

The hardware comes out about the same, minus the feedback issue we experienced with the Ampkit LiNK. When it comes down to it, I think you'll have to decide which application you enjoy using more. If you're debating between Ampkit and Amplitube, I'd say download the free versions and play around. Whatever app you feel more comfortable navigating, that's what you should use. Cost wise, you'll spend a bit more on Amplitube if you want the iPhone and iPad version. Hardware costs about the same so if you're only looking for a rig emulator for use on a single iOS device, it comes down to preference.

Any of you guys tried out Ampkit? What are your thoughts?

Pros

  • General app UI seems well thought out
  • Rigs are easy to set up and customize
  • App is a universal binary, unlike other competitors, one purchase will get you access to both iPhone and iPad versions

Cons

  • Experienced some bad feedback while using distortion pedal settings
  • Some rig names may be a bit more "fun" than they are descriptive

TiPb iPad 4-star rated

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Allyson Kazmucha

Help and how to editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Ampkit+ for iPad - app review

9 Comments

There's a lot more to this app than Ally went through, but at least you heard some of the sounds it can get. I did notice that the distortion that she was talking about was caused by too hot an output level when you could briefly see the levels at the bottom of the app. I'm using this app with a great pedal called NSP Breakout Box which allows you to hook up easier to a standard guitar rig or PA - http://www.newsignalprocess.com/. AmpKit is easier to use for the most part than Amplitube, and the ability to see the pedals as you would on a real pedalboard makes it easier to use than a POD. It doesn't quite sound as good as a POD to my ears, but it's so cool to be able to get these sounds anywhere you go out of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

You seem to have all but ignored the recording capabilities in the review. Both apps offer single track recording by default and Amplitube offers a 4 track recorder via a $10 in app purchase, but its not very good and a nightmare to use. Ampkit supports audio copy and paste so I can easily copy a recording from Ampkit to a multi-track mixing app such as Sonoma Wire Works excellent FourTrack. There I can build an entire song with multiple guitars, vocals, drums etc. Audio paste allows me to bring mixes back in so that I can record over that as a backing track if need be. Another benefit of recording in Ampkit is that each recording is stored in both wet and dry versions, meaning that I can tweak the sound after it was recorded.

I played with this app for over an hour at the recommendation of this article. But feedback occured at anything above very quiet levels -using headphones!!- even after adjusting input and output gain. I
t's also extremely noisy. Really obvious why the noies gate is the first free pedal.
Neither Amplitude, PocketAmp nor iShred exhibit these problems.
I really wanted to like it. It seemed to have several nice features. But the feedback problem is too promonent for me to do anything but delee the app.

O have both ampkit, and amplitube. Seems like there are more problems with the ampkit link as opposed to iRig, but ampkit customer support is quick to help get you going. Both have noise problem if cranked up in the high gain. You can turn on airplane mode, and use the noise gate. I do get a better sound using an active pickup guitar. If you have amplitube on your iPhone, you have to buy it again for the iPad. Not to sure about ampkit. I do like ampkit better, but wish it had a built in multitrack recorder. They wii add it in a future update. They wanted to get copy paste first. It works great importing into 4 tracks. Lot of potential in ampkit, and good customer support.

I bought the Ampkit Link and downloaded the Ampkit free app.
I get feedback squeal on most settings except clean.
I then tried Amplitude free and use the Ampkit link to connect to my iphone.
result? no feedback!

That is because Ampkit uses lots of gain compared to Amplitube's farting distortion. And that's why Ampkit is the best app there is. I have all the effects, amps, even all the mics of Ampkit 1.2 . it's just awesome. if you're serious about Ampkit playing it live with no feedback get an apogee or alesis iO dock. though there are several external DAC and foot control pedals coming for iOS. I am still waiting.

I experienced the feedback problem as well. But the tone is just unmatched compared to anything else I've tried. AmpliTube has a very cramped sound, similar to what I get out of the main out on my Line6 Spyder II, and the distortion and overdrive pedals are not very inspiring. So, in order to get the best out of AmpKit, I tried solving the problem. The output level seems to be the culprit; turning this down seems to eliminate the feedback. Now, this sucks if you have your headphones plugged into the output (such as my Sony earbuds plugged into the output of my iRig), but you can always boost the signal later. I've been thinking about connecting the output to a main in on my FireBox and boosting the signal some there, but unfortunately I don't have my computer that will allow me to accomplish the task at the moment. It's worth experimenting with though. The only other problem I could see here is if the net output signal has background "fuzz" related to signal noise, making the end signal sound weak or muddled, but I haven't tried yet so I can't say if this will arise or not. I'll get back to y'all once I know.