Amplitube 2 for iPhone - App Review

Amplitube 2 by IK Multimedia is an awesome little app that allows you to convert your iPhone into a full on guitar rig. Their iPad version was recently featured in one of the new Apple iPad ads. The app has 3 versions currently - Amplitube Free, Amplitube LE ($2.99), and the full Amplitube version ($19.99). We are using the full version for this review to give you a complete picture of what's available.

To use this app, you'll need to purchase an iRig, which are currently priced at $39.99. You'll simply plug your guitar or bass into the iRig which then plugs into your iPhone or iPad. The 3rd outlet allows you to plug into the audio output of your choice. We just used a standard surround system (receiver) for this review. You're also free to use an amp or headphones, which can be great if you'd like to practice quietly. And hey, it's a lot easier to carry around the iRig than an entire guitar rig.

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When you first launch Amplitube, you'll see a plethora of different options. You can choose between different cabinets as well as add effects pedals. The full version of Amplitube comes with most of the effects pedals and tons of extras. You can also purchase more gear via an in-app purchase. We also purchased the four track recorder, which is not included in any version. We tested the iRig and Amplitube 2 with not only a surround sound system, but headphones as well. The results really were quite pleasing. In-app purchases are easy enough and add even more features to the app. They are also extremely reasonably priced when you look at what a new physical effects pedal would cost, for example.

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This app is great for anyone who wants to learn to play guitar but doesn't want to invest into a major setup right off the bat. It's also great for professionals who may travel a lot and don't want to always carry a full rig with them. The app also features basic tools like a built-in tuner and metronome as well. The song feature allows you to drop in songs from your iTunes library through file sharing. Then when you launch the app, you can play along with your favorite songs within the app. This is a great feature for wearing headphones and practicing when you don't want to disturb anyone else.

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The only down sides we noticed when testing this app was the cramped layout. I pulled my brother in on this review, as I do not pretend to be a master guitar player. He really enjoyed playing with this app and using it, but he was sometimes frustrated by the cramped layout. If you have an iPad that you carry around with you frequently, I'd suggest using Amplitube with the iPad over the iPhone. The layout is much more spacious and it's harder to press buttons on accident. He would frequently hit the wrong tab along the top when trying to toggle between effects pedals or other settings. This is one thing I'd like to see some improvement on in the next iteration. Other than that, this is a great app and one I'd suggest any guitar player to look over. If you aren't sure about buying an iRig just yet, check out the free version of the app and browse through what's available first. It's definitely a decent investment for anyone who wants to be more portable with their guitar or bass.


  • Easy setup with iRig
  • In-app purchase makes it simple to buy more effects on the go
  • iRig and app are reasonably priced for what they offer
  • The Songs option is a great feature that takes advantage of file sharing


  • The layout on the iPhone version is a bit cramped
  • The four track recorder is not extremely easy to learn, but once you figure it out, it's a nice feature to have

TiPb iPhone 4-star rated

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iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • Still waiting on version 2 to become available for iPad. SO MUCH easier to work with on the pad....
  • I'd like to check this out, but am thinking that the iRig seems a bit high priced. Does anyone know if there is another product out there that does the same thing...i.e., splits out the mic and the headphone signals to two seperate lines? If so, you could just buy a $5 adaptor to convert the 1/4" guitar line to 1/8" mini plug.
  • I found the AmpliTube iRig on eBay for $15.00 delivered. I received it today and am very happy with the purchase. The price included shipping and I received it in about 3 days through standard USPS. NOTE: many of these are shipped directly from China. However, there are a ton of them shipped from locations around the United States. This is not a tutorial for how to buy on eBay so if you choose this route I would highly recommend that you understand the rules as to how to protect yourself to obtain a positive experience with eBay.
    This is a very popular item on eBay. I checked Musician's Friend and missed a special for $30 as the price went up to $40. Amazon listed the item used starting around $10 (although most were damaged packaging for closer to $20.00. The best deal was a Buy-it-Now on on e-Bay for $15.00 shipped about an hour away from my home. The iRig is a popular item so you can choose the seller easily close to your location. I purchased mine within driving distance from my home which means that while the shipping was free the time it took to receive it sent via regular mail was about two or three days.
    The basic software is free and available from your iTunes App Store. There is no software with the iRig. My first concern was compatibility with my 4s. The package shows the iPhone 4 but not the 4s. No concern here - the basic iRig has not changed in the last few years. The software App has been improved and this is where you will find the most features - in your iPhone, iPad or iPod based on the version of the Application. Most of the upgrades and new features are in-app purchases. That means that once you register your iRig device, you have access to all of the stomp boxes, multi-track recorders and Amplifier heads, stacks and microphones directly from the the AmpliTube site on iTunes.
    My birthday is coming up (I'll be 62 years old - you heard that right ) and my granddaughter is gifting me the $20.00 full featured App. I purchased the four track recorder and will probably add the fender App package so long as there is no duplication in the features for the Amplitube full package.
    Getting down to initial use; I use a pair of Skull Candy 50/50 earphones and the sound is tremendous. If you tend to push the gain, there will be noise. You can cut the volume to reduce the noise or use the Noise stomp box to reduce the hiss. Clean or adding a nice bluesy sound - the iRig sounds great. I owned a 1965 Vibrolux Reverb (in 1966) and can tell you that this sounds like the real thing. The pedals are as good as any that you'll spend hundreds on. I'm not a pro any longer and am not planning on playing any gigs anytime soon. For a really great sound and a new hobby in my retirement years, this is the nicest (and most affordable) toy I've had in many years. And to think my granddaughter and my daughters talked me into buying my first Apple device - my smartphone the iPhone 4s. Isn't Technology wonderful?
  • looks like there are a couple other options.
    One by Griffin $29.99 (out of stock)
    Or build your own.
    A lot of guitarists might already own a few of the components to build this...I need to dig around my gear and see what I can come up with.
  • You'd think if you have to spend $40 for the hardware, they'd make the iOS interface free.
  • There is a cheaper alternative (~$24 + shipping) to iRig at kvconnection ( I've got one and it works great.
  • If you are a tinkerer and a do-it-yourself type of person, you can buy the adapters to build the cable for about $5.
    The key to the cable is the four-conductor 3.5mm plug that plugs into your device ... the rest are standard audio adapters.
    I used an AV cable from one of my old camcorders. This cable has the four-conductor 3.5mm plug on one end, and three RCA plugs on the other end. After that, it was a matter of getting an adapter to convert one of the RCA plugs to a 1/4" plug to plug into my guitar, and more adapters to convert the other two RCA plugs to a 3.5mm headphone jack.
    If all that sounds like too much work, then go ahead and just buy the iRig. I understand that the iRig has some noise reduction circuitry to reduce feedback on certain amp settings (although I think much of the noise can be reduced on a home-made cable by finding and using a well-shielded cable).
    Also, once you've bought the $40 iRig (or built your own cable), the same cable can be used with other apps as well, not just with AmpliTube.
    As for AmpliTube itself, I really like the new features.
    I'm just now learning to play guitar, and have found that learning to play is not enough. I need to learn about the gear also.
    AmpliTube lets me experiment and learn about different amps and sounds. Now when I'm ready to buy myself a real guiter amp, I'll have a better of what features to look for and what to buy.
    I'm not a good enough guitar player yet to appreciate AmpliTube's 4-track recorder, but I do like the new feature to import music to practice and play along to. However, I wish that AmpliTube could access the songs that are already stored on my iPod. A few other competitive apps allow you to access the songs on you device. Those other apps are good to play along to any song on my iPod, but they don't have nearly as many sounds and effects that AmpliTube has.
  • This app is a must-have for guitar players everywhere. Great feature set!
  • @Alli
    a good rig setup is quite pricey. the adapter does have noise reduction i think (as someone else stated). as an example, a good effects pedal can cost between $80-135, JUST for a pedal, so to get pretty much an entire rig in an app for $20 plus a couple addons and an accessory, you're paying what you would for 1 pedal. When you put in perspective to what an actual physical guitar rig would cost, it's dirt cheap. this is a good idea for someone who's just learning as it's a LOT cheaper, or for parents who don't want to invest the money into a hobby a kid may or may not stick with, if that makes sense.
    and there is a free version, and an LE version, which are cheaper, but just don't come with as much of the gear, so you could theoretically get the free version and JUST download the add-ons you want for cheaper
  • Awesome App. I just wish I could learn how to play this damn thing... Been trying for years...
  • saw the irig at target the other day too.
  • Ahh! you demoed it but didn't play anything? Now I don't know how it sounds. Show me the different amp models, show me the sounds from the different pedal setups. Show me a Hendrix sound, A SRV sound. This is crying out for a part two. I have the Amplitube on the desktop. it's great but guitar is about tone and my constructive criticism would be you missed the most important part: how is the tone?
  • IMO there is a much better option available at the same price - AmpKit (free) AmpKit+ ($19.99) and the hardware AmpKit Link $39.99.
    Thw Link is just a better interface than the iRig, it has a longer cord (very useful with an iPad), and more importantly, it uses 2 batteries for an active circuit which reduces feedback and crosstalk especially in high gain situations. It is a better choice even if you use the Amplitube software.
    The software is also better, there is a greater variety of effects and amps (including multichannel amps). you can run more effects at once, and it allows for saving named presets.
    The company is also better. Amplitube was introduced as an iPhone app, than an iPad version was introudced ONE WEEK LATER at full price. They could have delayed the release by a week or sold a universal app to not screw early adopters, but they didn't. AmpKit has announced that their iPad app will be a free universal upgrade.
  • Hi, for those looking to DIY, note that any stated solutions do not do impedance matching which is critical in getting the appropriate guitar signal into the device. Ours has circuitry in it, as we've been making guitar interfaces for years.
    On that last note, we are no worse than any unit with batteries or whatnot (again, we've been doing this for years)- even a major magazine did a shootout of many solutions and found no significant improvement of theirs over ours with the battery. We have also been making guitar gear simulations for years in the software world and had 11 apps that actually produced audio in the App Store before the first version of AmpliTube in the App Store and believe that the experience shows.
    On top of the experience, version two has DSP code that is derived directly from our pro audio software AmpliTube 3 and T-RackS! So again, we draw from our experience to bring the best to the table and will continue to do so.
    Thank you for the reviews, the comments (although again I'd steer clear of DIY solutions that do not do impedance matching), and for allowing us to bring you tools like this to make music on the go.
  • Oops sorry if that's confusing, I should have said "no significant improvement of theirs over ours because of their use of batteries."
  • @Vito - Version 2 running on iOS 4+ (out for iPhone for a while now) allows you to import directly from your music library right on the device.
  • @Bob D - you still have a vendetta against us for that so your posts are expected - we offered JamPoints to make up for it for all that didn't want to run the iPhone version at 2x and felt slighted and apologies that neither was the solution for you.
    Your posts also continue to be inaccurate in your smearing - it was FAR MORE than one week between the releases. Quite a bit more too. Please don't alter facts to suit the argument. We'd be happy to discuss this with anybody who has a concern directly, we have multiple contact methods available.
  • @Peter -IK how soon till the new iPad version 2 comes out? I'm holding out on purchasing app till the next one unless it will be free upgrade for current owners. If that's the case, I'll get it tonight.
  • I already got the irig adaptor and it's great but I'm using the free iPad version currently. I want the 4 track recorder on my iPad but I don't want to run the iPhone version on 2x
  • @Peter-IK in FACT, I asked specifically on a forum where an IK representative was participating quite regularly whether there would be an iPad version and if it would be priced separately. Despite being quite present on a very large thread, my pre-purchase question went unanswered. Even after the fact, I suggested several options for you to do the right thing by your customers, from issuing promo codes for the iPad version for early adopters To a one day price cur publicized only to registered owners of the iPhone app. Either of those would have been fine, and there were other options, Your remedy (Jam Points) was to offer customers who had paid the full price for your app twice a discount on yet another later purchase. Those are facts, not opinions.
    What MIGHT be considered an opinion is that the iRig is far poorer than the AmpKit Link at feedback (again, I own both). You trumpet one magazine that says the iRig is no worse, I could give you many other reviews that disagree, and I would encourage anyone to play through both and make up their own minds, I do not think you would be happy with The results.
    I would suggest that you examine what you have done, figure out how not to do it again, and spend less time on spin and more on fixing the problems.
  • @Peter - IK - Thanks for the tip about importing directly from my devices music library. I upgraded to AmpliTube v2.0 on my iPod a few weeks ago, but just haven't had much time lately to really work with the app, let alone much time to pick up my guitar. I'll take a closer look the AmpliTube 2.0 and it's new features.
  • @Peter - IK anything about amplitube2 for ipad release date? i can hardly wait the new presets.
    request: please lower or eliminate the distortion of clean sounds of humbucker pups, thanks.
  • I have noticed if you play clean fingerstyle, the volume on an electric can be lacking. Increasing the set up gain can cause noise, but that is expected. Using any active pick up guitar is fantastic. My CEC sounds great in clean amp mode with a little delay, and reverb. All around it is a great app. The iRig works well. I have seen it for $29.95. Target now sells it, most likely $39.95, but no shipping. One thing, once you get the iRig, you can use it with other apps like Ampkit, 4Track, iShread, and others. You are not always in front of a pc when you have ideas. This makes Amplitube worth it. I have the free version, and bought a few pedals along with the full multitrack. that suits my needs better than the full version. I still get the free updates, and agree the iPad is a better interface.
  • For all asking, the version 2 for iPad should be released this month. It is being tested now and is great, we think you'll really like it.
  • Peter-IK
    Thanks for replying to these posts on this blog. This product sounds interesting and fun! I've been a non-pro guitarist for, well, a few years, and have used various effects boxes for mostly acoustic guitars with pickups. Does your product work well with acoustics (Martin HD-35 with active pickup) - that is, are there specific acoustic effects? Also, I'm wondering if I purchase the iPad update now, is the update to 2.0 that you mentioned, free?
  • Larry, there will be a free update to V2 on iPad if you purchase the current iPad version now you are OK. Note that we will, just like with iPhone V2, also add the recorder and 5 stomps available as in-app purchases at the same time along with the massive free updates (including the awesome DSP update with DSP derived directly from AmpliTube 3 and T-RackS which makes the sound quality gap even wider).
  • Peter-IK
    Thanks! Downloading the full iPad app now, on my way to get the iRig from my local Best Buy. I've used some multi-effects boxes (Sony, Yamaha) and a few pedals (Boss), so this is going to be fun!
  • So let me get this straight.... With Amplitube i will have to pay for both versions (ipad+iphone), even when version 2 comes out!? Excuse the french but that's bullsh*t. No way i'll pay two times for the same app. That's ripping people off, IK wont get any money from me for sure.
    I'll just wait for AmpKit to release their iPad app instead. Until then i'll just play arund with the free versions.
  • vekktarn - as stated before, the iPhone app runs on the iPad and does not require an additional purchase. The separate app (which is why V2 for iPad is not yet out) for iPad is its own app and purchase. Most of the top music apps including some of the darlings of the App Store like ReBirth (and many of the most popular apps out there) are the same way. You can play Angry Birds blown up 2x or but the HD version when you get an iPad, to cite one popular non-music example. If one can find value in paying for a separate app on a separate device to fling birds around or to slice fruit, surely the top guitar gear sim can be valued too?
  • @APimpNamedGoldy We were trying to not making a 30 minute video. As far as a clean sound and all the goes it sounds amazing as long as you remember your playing with a phone as your amp. It not gonna replace my real rig but on the go its a pretty good practice tool.
  • The Amplitube 2 is a very exciting applications made for the iPhone. This application convert your iPhone into a full on guitar rig, isn't that amazing! Currently this application is launched in 3 versions that are Amplitube Free, Amplitube LE , and the full Amplitube version.
    Amongst these the second and the third applications are paid. If you want this application then you will have to purchase a iRig. How to use? You just have to plug your guitar in the iRig and then plug it into the iphones or the iPad. You can get the output from any speaker system.
  • If I buy the full version and get an iPad later in the year I will get the app on there for free??? Without having to re buy all the pedals, 4 track etc?. Also can someone explain to me what it is that is so much better about the paid version than the free one when u have to buy all the extras anyway. How much more does the paid version offer? Someone said there is an app where if u buy the full version then u get all the pedals bar none. Why can't amplitube offer the same thing ?
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