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.
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?
- 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
- Experienced some bad feedback while using distortion pedal settings
- Some rig names may be a bit more "fun" than they are descriptive
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iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.