Get a great deal on a simple iRig Guitar iPhone Interface

GearBest has a great deal on a simple and straightforward guitar interface that will allow you to connect any electric or electric/acoustic guitar to your iPhone or iPad iOS device. (You can use it with Android as well…)

You will need to have a device that still has a headphone jack or a headphone to Lightning Adapter, but once you’re plugged in there, the Amplitube iRig will let you tap into the power of any amp and effect modeling app like Amplitube, Bias, JamUp Pro or Apple’s own GarageBand.

To find the deal, follow this link to GearBest.

iRig Acoustic – A unique recording interface from IK Multimedia

irigacoustic_main_imageIK Multimedia, a pioneer in mobile music interfaces, recently released a very unique recording interface designed specifically for acoustic instruments and that is compatible with iOS, Android and Mac or PC desktops. The iRig Acoustic, unlike most acoustic recording solutions, is designed to mount easily directly inside the sound hole of your instrument. This fact alone takes a lot of the guesswork out of acoustic recording, as you don’t need to worry at all about proper mic placement.

Beyond the convenience of simple mic placement, the iRig Acoustic offers features that make for a really convenient approach. The mic itself features a compact design with a rubberized clip that hooks over the edge of your sound hole. There’s also a generously long wire that connects your mic to the device via a standard 1/8″ plug. The wire is very thin and light, so it’s pretty unobtrusive.

The design of the microphone capsule itself if probably where most of the magic happens. It’s a MEMS microphone, which stands for MicroElectrical-Mechanical System. The technology is actually borrowed from smartphone microphone design, so this is a really interesting adaptation.

The second piece of the puzzle with the iRig Acoustic is a companion mobile app, Amplitube Acoustic, that is designed for processing and recording sound from acoustic guitars or ukuleles. The app starts with a calibration process that lets you attune the microphone to your specific instrument. After that, you have the option to run your signal through a variety of virtual effects ranging from basic compressors and equalizers to more experimental options like body modelers. With the body modeler, you can make an orchestra model sound like a Jumbo body or vice versa. There is also a 12-string modeler and an effect to make your guitar sound like a bass.

The Amplitube app also has a recording function, but you can also pass the app’s audio over to a more full-featured DAW such as Garageband.

I’m sure what you’re actually interested in hearing are sound samples, and I recorded a bunch for you using both a guitar and a ukulele. Before I get to them, I’ll cover the one quibble I have with the design of the device. The rubberized clamp on the guitar is clearly designed to fit a majority of guitars with a regular sound hole and not-so-thick top. I happen to have an archtop guitar with a carved top, however, and the clip did not fit over the edge of the wood. I was able to use it by wedging the mic into a thinner part of the f-hole on the guitar, but it was not an idea setup.

Despite that, hopefully you’ll agree that the sound quality is great. The iRig Acoustic does a great job of capturing the unique voice of each instrument. Listen to the samples below and judge for yourself. The iRig Acoustic is available from major music retailers and you can find out more information on the IK Multimedia website.

Guitar – Loar LH700 Archtop

Guitar – Takamine OM-style Body

Ukulele

Sonoma Wire Works Releases Guitarjack Stage

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If you’re in the market for a high-quality audio interface and pedal controller for either your desktop or mobile devices, you will be interested to hear that Sonoma Wire Works has released the long-awaited GuitarJack Stage. The device transforms your Mac, PC, iOS or Android device into a full-on guitar amp and effects rig.

We’ve reviewed Sonoma’s GuitarJack interface here before, so you can be sure to expect a rugged design that delivers high-quality audio no matter what device you plug it into.

GuitarJack Stage lets you control your favorite guitar software on stage and in the studio with assignable knobs and foot switches. The aluminum chassis features a mono Hi-Z ¼” input for guitar, a stereo mic/line ¼” input for vocals or keyboards, 2 analog input level knobs with LED metering, an expression pedal jack to control wah, volume, or other effects, 2 line level ¼” outputs (left and right) for monitors, amps, or a mixer, 1 stereo ¼” output for headphones, plus 5 Knobs, 4 foot switches, and 4 LEDs to control MIDI enabled software.

External power is required only to charge an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, or reduce power consumption for compatible Android devices, while you play.

GuitarJack Stage is shipping now to U.S. addresses. Information on international availability is coming soon. Visit the Sonoma Wire Works website for more information.

BIAS FX for iPad

Ratings_1Positive Grid released BIAS FX today, an iPad app they have been teasing for the last few weeks. Invoking the name BIAS naturally got a lot of people excited, because their BIAS AMP simulator app is arguably the best amp simulator on iOS. I’m afraid a lot of people are going to be left scratching their head after paying $29.99 for this new app, however…

As soon as I heard about the new app, my immediate question was – How is this going to be different from Positive Grid’s existing multi-effects simulator app JamUp Pro? JamUp already lets you pretty seamlessly put a pedal board in front of a BIAS amp. Would BIAS FX let you pop open the virtual cases on the pedals and do a virtual Keeley mod on a virtual Tube Screamer? Would it revolutionize the sharing process? Would the sound quality be significant improved enough to warrant paying $10 more than I already paid for JamUp?

Having played with a review copy for a few days, I can tell you the answer to all of these questions is no.

BIAS FX promises “extremely intuitive operation” and unrivalled, component-level simulation with analog-like sound quality. While it’s not impossible to figure out how to add new effects and turn them on and off, there are icon-only buttons all over the interface that you have to guess what they do. If you’ve used other similar apps, you’ll figure it out on your own, but it wouldn’t have killed Positive Grid to put a few introductory slides at the beginning to help people get acclimated.

Perhaps most disappointing is that BIAS FX seems to have taken a step back in terms of integration with the BIAS AMP app. The app’s description on iTunes very explicitly states “12 classic BIAS amps, import any amp models from BIAS AMP.” Half of that is right. You can select from 12 built-in apps that are drawn from BIAS AMP and that can be edited just like BIAS amps. However, I see no way to import other BIAS amps into the BIAS FX amp slots. That’s hugely disappointing for me, because my favorite Dumble amp is not among the 12 they chose to include. Now, it is possible to plop a BIAS amp into the signal chain using Inter App Audio, but using that method does not allow you to use the dual amp setup BIAS FX is capable of.

What people will likely be most interested in, and willing to pay a premium for, is sound quality. If I was going to pay nearly $30 for another new multi-fx app, I would really expect the sound quality to blow me away. This does not. The dual amp capability is nice and certainly noticeable, but the sound, to me, does not sound radically different from JamUp. One specific example is the Acoustic Simulator. Positive Grid released an update last June that added an acoustic simulator amp that will honestly blow your mind. (If you haven’t heard it yet, check out the samples linked to from Our Review.) BIAS FX has an acoustic simulator too. You’d expect it to be at least as good, right? Nope.

And since they chose to create a new multi-fx app instead of just expanding on their already successful JamUp product, I expected somehow for there to be more choices in terms of the pedals you could choose from. There are not. By my count there are about 50 pedals available in JamUp Pro, when you include extra available as in-app purchases. At launch, BIAS FX only has about 28. My guess is they will add more, probably as in-app purchases, down the road, but right now it feels very limited.

It will be interesting to see what happens. It’s a brand new product, so there are likely some kinks to work out and Positive Grid has certainly shown they’re capable of great things in the past. For now, however, I’d hold off on buying this one. Stick with JamUp. It’s 75% off right now anyway, so it’s only $4.99.

GuitarJack Giveaway Contest Winners!

NewsCongratulations to Brent Stewart and Teresa Maloney-Smith, the two winners of our GuitarJack Model 2 Giveaway contest! Brent will be receiving the GuitarJack Model 2 USB and Teresa will have the great iOS compatible version.

Thanks again to Sonoma Wire Works for sponsoring our first contest!

We’ve already got another great giveaway on tap. The prize in our next contest will be a free copy of Positive Grid’s amp modeling and modification app, BIAS for iPhone! Stay tuned here and on social media for details about how you can enter the next GuitarApps Contest.

IK Multimedia’s Latest Guitar Interface – The iRig PRO

Ratings_4IK Multimedia was one of the first hardware and software developers to embrace the iPhone and iPad as viable music creation platforms and have, since releasing their introductory instrument interface the iRig in 2010, produced a whole family of products aimed at making it easier to create music on iOS devices. They have consistently improved upon the original iRig by creating devices that offer different input options, such as the iRig Mic and iRig Keys, and by improving upon the basic design and sound quality of the iRig by creating the the iRig HD, a truly digital interface that plugged into the Lightning connector instead of the headphone jack.

The latest member of the iRig family, the iRig PRO ($149.99), improves the guitar/instrument interface yet again, by expanding upon both the device’s input and output connections. The iRig PRO comes complete with a full complement of cables to connect to all iOS devices, MIDI controllers and your Mac or PC. Continue reading

The GuitarJack Giveaway!!!

NewsThanks to Sonoma Wire Works, we are excited to be giving away not one, but two extremely high quality GuitarJack Model 2 interfaces! In a contest running now through May 31st, two fans of the GuitarApps Facebook page will be selected to win. One winner will receive a GuitarJack Model 2 iOS interface. A second winner will be selected to receive a GuitarJack 2 USB interface that can be used for Mac, PC or iOS (camera connection kit required to connect the USB model to iOS).

The value of each GuitarJack is $199, so this is a great opportunity to win a studio-quality interface for your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or desktop computer!

To enter, simply head over to the Contest Entry Form on the GuitarApps Facebook page. You must like our page before you enter and you will receive one additional entry for every friend you refer that enters the contest after you, so be sure to share with your friends.

The GuitarJack 2 is a fantastic, studio-quality interface that lets you connect your guitar or other instrument with a 1/4″ jack. We’ll be posting a review of both models we’re giving away within the next few days, so you’ll be able to listen to some sound samples and hear what we mean. We’ll also be taking a look at Sonoma’s amp and effect modeling app, GuitarTone. One of the only iOS apps to offer dual cabinet setups allowing for really unique tone.

Thanks again to Sonoma Wire Works for sponsoring the GuitarJack Giveaway Contest. For more information on the GuitarJack and Sonoma’s other fine products, visit their website.

Get the Best of Both Worlds! Win an Orange Tiny Terror from IK Multimedia

NewsOne of the most common complaints I hear when I talk about digital amp simulators, iPhone or otherwise… is that they are no replacement for a good old fashioned tube amplifier. Well, IK Multimedia is giving you a chance to have the best of both worlds. To celebrate the release of their new app, AmpliTube Orange for iPhone and iPad, the company is giving away more than $2,200 worth of gear and apps – including the extremely popular (and very non-digital) Tiny Terror amp from Orange.

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Plug In Your Guitar…

NewsNo, really… plug in your guitar… straight into your phone! It’s possible now, thanks to a versatile guitars being produced by Fender Guitars.

We’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last few years reviewing hardware interfaces that allow you to bridge the gap between your guitar and your phone. Now you can plug your guitar straight into your iPhone or iPad without the need for an extra piece of hardware. And if you’re connecting to a desktop computer, you have even more options.

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Guitar Interface Shootout – iRig PRO vs. Ampkit Link vs. JamUp Plug

Ratings_4Not long after developers started to create apps for the iPhone and iPad, guitarists recognized the power of iOS devices for mobile music creation and an immediate demand was created for interfaces to help bridge the gap between a guitar and an iOS device. One of the first to market was the iRig from IK Multimedia, a relatively simple device that plugs into the headphone jack and essentially splits the guitar input and headphone signals much like an Apple headset with built in mic.

The basic iRig, and other similarly designed interfaces work just fine and tend to be priced between $20 and $40, so they are great for quick mobile creation. The main drawbacks of these simple devices, however, are sound quality. Because they are unpowered devices passing input and output signals past one another, there tends to be a lot of signal noise and they aren’t always capable of handling high gain input favored by some players. iOS recording devices are capable of much higher quality and interface designers responded by continually improving technology and creating a whole range of devices at different price points and with different capabilities.

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