Review of BIAS – An iOS Amp Simulator from Positive Grid

December 26th, 2013 No comments

I’ve been using my iPad on my pedalboard lately to try to get some new sounds as well as making it easier to interface with the sound system at my church. I’ve been using the iRig Stomp to put in into my effects chain. So when I got an email that Positive Grid was coming out with a dedicated amp simulator app, I certainly wanted to check it out.

The app comes pre-loaded with several categories of amp presets from ‘Clean’ and ‘Glassy’ to ‘Metal’ and ‘Insane’ with a few in between. Plus a few specialty amp types (like keyboard, vocal and bass). These are great jumping off points for just dialing up an amp sound and playing or starting to design your own custom amp. There are many options for switching out tubes, transformers and such. Setting gain stages and EQs in many spots in the chain. Obviously it is not limitless, but it’s pretty darn close.

I’ve been playing on BIAS for about 4 weeks now and have been pretty happy with it. I am on an iPad 2, so sometimes it does take several seconds for it to completely load a preset. I’ve been using the ‘Glassy’ amp models the most and front loading it with my analog pedals. So going Tuner->OD->Distortion->Delay->iRigStomp->BIAS->Direct Box. Overall I’ve been happy. The sounds are very nice, what you would expect from a modern amp simulator. I would say the only real downside is that just like a real amp, I do get a lot of hum and noise. especially on higher gain models. But that is to be expected. One item they could add to really make this software soar would be a noise eliminator effect that sampled the base noise of a certain amp/guitar setup and eliminated it. That would be gold!

BIAS does have a decent noise gate on it that works pretty well although I think it could be expanded a bit to make it a little cleaner. Certainly an area for improvement in future versions. Also the built in reverb settings are a little sparse, I would like to see more options there.

I realize that Positive Grid is looking for a dedicated amp sim here and they really seem to have a great version 1 product out here. I hope they keep developing it. There are a few effects though that ‘make’ certain amps, so adding some simple ‘amp related’ effects would be cool without having to run another app. Like Chorus, Tremolo and more Reverb options. But hey, There is always version 2 right?

So all in all, if you are looking for a good standalone amp sim for iPad, give BIAS a shot.

 

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IK Multimedia announces iLoud, the first wireless portable speaker designed for musicians

November 7th, 2013 No comments

IK Multimedia announces iLoud, the first wireless
portable speaker designed for musicians,
is now available

Now musicians can get studio monitor quality sound and power
everywhere from a compact wireless portable stereo speaker

November 7, 2013 – IK Multimedia, the leader in mobile music creation apps and accessories, is proud to announce that iLoud®, the first portable stereo speaker designed for studio monitor quality on the go, is now available from music instrument and consumer electronics retailers worldwide. The iLoud battery-operated speakers combine superior power, pristine frequency response and amazing low end in an ultra-portable design that makes it the perfect alternative to studio speakers for music creation, composition and playback on the go.

Loud and Clear

The iLoud speaker is indeed very loud. In fact, it’s 2 to 3 times louder than comparable size speakers — a blasting 40W RMS of power. But iLoud is extremely clear at all volume levels thanks to an onboard DSP processor and a bi-amped 4- driver array of high efficient neodymium loudspeakers, that provide accurate, even response across the entire frequency spectrum for unbelievable realism of sound. For deep bass response iLoud’s bass-reflex allows frequencies to go down to 50hz, an amazing low end for this small enclosure. iLoud is the ideal speaker for musicians and audiophiles who demand an accurate reproduction of a wide range of musical styles from rock, hip-hop and electronic dance music, to more nuanced and sonically demanding genres like jazz, classical and acoustic.

Ultra-Portability

About the size of an iPad and only 6cm (2.3”) thick, iLoud fits easily into a laptop bag or backpack. iLoud is powered by a high-performance Li-ion rechargeable battery with smart power-management features that reduce its power consumption so that it can be used for up to 10 hours without recharging. This makes iLoud the perfect portable speaker solution for mobile musicians.

Wired and Wireless

iLoud supports Bluetooth operation for wireless audio streaming anywhere and everywhere from a mobile device such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android smartphone or tablet for casual listening. For sound sources like MP3 players that do not have Bluetooth capabilities, the iLoud also has a stereo 1/8” mini-jack input for connecting line-level devices such as home stereos, DJ gear, mixers, MP3 players, and more.

Plug and Play Convenience

iLoud also offers the ability to connect a guitar, bass or dynamic microphone directly to the speaker and process the sound with a multitude of real-time effects apps on iOS devices. It features the same circuitry as IK’s iRig – the most popular mobile interface of all time – and allows users to plug in guitars or other instruments and access AmpliTube or other audio apps on their mobile device for practicing, performing and recording. The input also accommodates dynamic microphones, making it possible to run an app like IK’s VocaLive for real-time vocal effects and recording.

Pricing and Availability

iLoud is priced at $299.99/€239.99 (excl. tax) and is available now from the IK network of music and electronic retailers around the world.

For more information, go to:

www.ikmultimedia.com/iloud

For a comprehensive collection of videos that showcases iLoud’s feature set, go to:

http://www.ikmultimedia.com/iloud/video

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IK Multimedia announces iRig BlueBoard

October 10th, 2013 No comments


October 10, 2013 – IK Multimedia — the global leader in mobile music-creation apps and accessories — is proud to announce that iRig® BlueBoard, a groundbreaking new wireless MIDI pedalboard for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac, which gives guitarists, bassists, vocalists and keyboard players hands-free wireless control of mobile and Mac music apps, is now available from musical instrument and electronics retailers worldwide.

 

Hands free – cable free

iRig BlueBoard is the first wireless MIDI pedalboard for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac that uses Bluetooth technology to transmit MIDI messages to control app and software functions and features. Musicians can use iRig BlueBoard to control parameters in their favorite music making apps — such as stompbox effects on/off, preset patch-switching on the fly, volume or wah control, or any other MIDI controllable function. Set-up is as simple as turning on the power and launching the iRig BlueBoard companion app and assigning the backlit pads to the desired control function.

 

iRig BlueBoard uses Bluetooth 4.0 (LE – Low Energy) technology to transmit the actions of its four onboard, backlit footswitches and its two optional external devices to the mobile device or Mac. Then, using the included iRig BlueBoard app (will soon be available for download from the App StoreSM) and software (download from the IK web site User Area), the Bluetooth signals are converted into MIDI messages and routed internally to the music app that’s running on the device.

 

The ultimate app control

Any music app or Mac music-software application that is MIDI compatible (the standard communication protocol for musical instruments) — such as IK’s AmpliTube, VocaLive, SampleTank, iLectric Piano, iGrand Piano or any other Core-MIDI-compatible app like Apple’s GarageBand, can be controlled wirelessly. iRig BlueBoard is also expandable — musicians can add up to two standard additional expression pedals or footswitches via the unit’s two TRS 1/4” expansion jacks, allowing for control of continuous rotary functions like wah effects, volume, EQ, gain control, etc.

 

For a guitarist or vocalist using a mobile multi-FX app like AmpliTube or VocaLive as a sound processor, iRig BlueBoard provides the foot-controlled functionality and convenience of a pedalboard, but with a form factor so compact and portable that it can easily slide into a backpack, a laptop bag or an instrument case.

 

Because it’s wireless, iRig BlueBoard puts musicians on stage without being tethered to their mobile device. The unit’s range is 10 meters (over 32 feet), giving players a great deal of mobility to roam the stage that would be impossible with a wired unit. Because the footswitches are backlit, they’re easy to see in all lighting conditions, even on a dark stage.

 

The fact that iRig BlueBoard uses wireless Bluetooth leaves all the wired ports of the device free, so they can be used simultaneously by interfaces or controllers that feature the 30-pin or Lightning connector, like IK’s iRig PRO, iRig HD, iRig MIDI or iRig KEYS, and adapters or microphones that use the device mini-jack such as iRig, iRig PRE or iRig Mic.

 

Ultra compact, ultra portable

iRig BlueBoard is extremely compact, light and portable, measuring only 27 cm wide x 9 cm deep (10.6″ x 3.5″) and only 2 cm (0.8″) tall. It’s extremely lightweight, but with a sturdy, stageworthy chassis and four footswitches made of soft-touch rubber and designed for durability.

 

iRig BlueBoard is battery powered using 4 standard AAA batteries (included), and because it uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), it draws very little power giving it extremely long battery life for extended operation.

 

iRig BlueBoard is compatible with iPhone 5 and 4S, iPad 3rd and 4th generation, iPad Mini, and iPod touch 5th generation. For Mac, it’s compatible with any model that supports Bluetooth 4.0 / Bluetooth Low Energy, like any MacBook Air, Mac Mini, or MacBook Pro that was released after June 2012.

 

As with other IK’s accessories, iRig BlueBoard is manufactured in Italy in IK’s own factory for the highest quality and reliability.

 

Pricing and availability

iRig BlueBoard is priced at $99.99 / €79.99 MSRP (excluding taxes), and is available now from IK’s network of music and electronic retailers around the world, and from the IK online store.

 

For more information, please visit: www.irigblueboard.com

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Gear Review: IK Multimedia – iKlip Stand

September 1st, 2013 No comments

I received the iKlip stand (for iPad and iPad mini) from IK Multimedia for review and wanted to give you a quick run-down on it.

The first thing you will notice (after you follow the easy assembly directions) the iKlip stand is that it has a very sturdy feeling construction. The weighted base gives the overall stand a very low center of gravity which, even though it is on an arm, your iPad is not wobbling around. The slide in clip for the iPad itself is snug without being too difficult to use. I have used other iPad microphone clips that are more of a snap-in design, which make me a little nervous. But the device feels secure on this stand. The arm is comprised of a hinge joint and the clip is attached with a ball and socket joint that has an adjustable screw for tension, so you do have quite a bit of freedom in adjusting the level of the device and the angle at which you are viewing it.

in addition to the horse shoe shaped table top base, the iKlip stand also comes with a C-clamp style base that can be swapped out easily, for mounting the iKlip to the edge of a table or desk. Unfortunately you would have to remove the clip from the desk to be able to remove the rest of the stand from it. So leaving the clamp on the desk and popping the stand in and out is not an option, if you were wanting something you could easily take with you.

I’ve used the stand in two settings now. First I used it while I was cooking in the kitchen to watch some Netflix and the other is actually in my pedalboard rig. I run through my standard set of pedals:

Analog pedals, the iRig stomp, iKlip and Amplitube.
Sounds good to me.

Tuner -> Overdrive -> Distortion -> Volume -> Dual Tap Delay -> Memory Man -> Hardwire Reverb

Then I go into the iRig Stomp which then feeds into my iPad which you can see in the pic is on the iKlip stand. Then back into the iRig Stomp and out to a DI box. This worked out really nicely. It brings the iPad up off the floor away from my feet and leaves it in nice usable level. Also the base of the iKlip is thin, so it fits under the back of my pedal board. Overall this is a very nice stand. The one issue I would probably raise is the price, because at $69.99 it is not cheap. But, then again it does not feel cheap. This might be a case of paying for what you get.

 

Categories: Gear Setup, Pedal Reviews Tags:

IK Multimedia iRig HD and iRig Stomp

July 21st, 2013 6 comments

I recently received both the iRig HD and iRig Stomp from IK Multimedia for review.

iRig HD

I have had the standard iRig since just after it came out and while it is a decent unit, I’ve always felt like it was not really usable in a live setting. The main problem is that without using the noise filter pedal in AmpliTube, that there was too much digital noise, then when you used the noise filter it dulled the guitar sound too much by rolling off the high end and making the guitar sound muddy.

This is where the iRig HD comes in and does things a lot better. For one, the iRig HD is not a bi-directional I/O device, you are not sending signal in and out the same unit. It is simply an input device. This is great because it can focus on it’s one task. Converting your guitar signal. If you want audio out of your device, you can use a different interface. So in the case of iOS, you simply use your headphones out, or on Mac you could use headphones out or other external audio device if you have one.

This brings up another area where the iRig HD is very handy. It includes 3 adapters. A standard 30 pin iOS cable, a Lightning cable and a USB cable. So if you are using a Mac, iPad, iPhone or whatever, you can probably hook it up. It was nice to make this modular and not make them device specific. So you only have to get one of them for all your devices rather than getting the Mac version or the iPod version, etc.

One issue I do have with the iRig HD is that there is not a way to use it and have your iPad plugged in to power at the same time. This means that if your battery is running low, you are out of luck until you get a recharge. I’m not sure if someone makes a 30 pin splitter that would alleviate this problem, but it is a problem non the less.

For getting the most pristine signal on your devices for recording / practicing, I think the iRig HD is a great option.
iRig Stomp

AmpliTube to your pedalboard. Well you can with the iRig Stomp. The idea is simple, take the basic idea of the iRig and put it in a pedal box. Here’s how it works, you have 1/4 inch in and out much like a normal effects pedal. There is a footswitch that turn the pedal on and off. When the pedal is off, signal simply passes from the inputs to the outputs. When it is on, it send the signal to a stereo 1/8th inch I/O jack. Then with the included long male to make 1/8th” cable, to your iOS device. Using AmpliTube, you set up the sounds you want, then the signal comes back in the same cable. The pedal has a volume knob for you to equalize the return signal to your dry signal. There is a 2nd 1/8th” jack that you can use with a pair of headphones,

Being a ‘pedal guy’ I thought the iRig Stomp was an interesting idea. What if you could bring the power of

With this setup, you turn your whole AmpliTube rig into another pedal. So why not give it a go? I play guitar at my church. I generally run into my pedalboard, then to my Crate V33-212 amp that is in a backstage closet. I gets mic’d up back there. Since AmpliTube is not just effects, but also amp simulation, I though I would try to run from my pedalboard into the iRig stomp, into my iPad, then out of the iRig Stomp into a direct box.

I was pretty surprised at the sound that I got. I did not have tons of time to tweak my sound, so I dialed up the basic crunch amp and set the volume low to simulate the base tone that I usually shoot for with my amp. Pretty clean, but with a bit of breakup. Since I had my American Special Telecaster, which does pick up nasty levels of noise in that space, I turned on the noise filter. This certainly dulls the tone a bit, but I was able to brighten it up a little with the amp EQ.

Overall it sounded pretty good. Certainly a viable option to replace the amp if the need be. It is definitely nice to have the amp knobs at arms reach instead of having to ‘set it and forget it’.

If I were to use AmpliTube on the iPad for live settings, I certainly wouldn’t use it for all my effects. being able to turn effects on/off with my foot or tap in tempos on certain pedals is a must for me. I could use presets, but again, switching presets is a 2 click process. I would certainly have some usability ideas for IK if they were to ever ask me. Now to be fair, IK is coming out with the iRig BlueBoard which is a BlueTooth pedalboard that will control IK programs on iOS and mac. Perhaps I get my hands on one and see how that works.

Another thing to consider from a purely logistical standpoint is using something like an iKlip. I just had my iPad on my music stand under my music. This was fine until I managed to reset my settings (I think I loaded a preset) right before we started our set. So yeah, that wasn’t cool.

I need to fire up the Studio section of AmpliTube still and will be reviewing that in a follow up post soon.

Other Ideas & AmpliTube Custom Shop

Another option would be to run the output of my last pedal into the iRig HD, into my MacBook Pro. Then run AmpliTube Custom shop. Then using a 2nd D/A converter that I have run the output to the sound system. Custom Shop has a lot more options than the iOS version of AmpliTube (rightly so). There is a vast library of amps and effects that you can purchase. You can also try out individual models for 72 hours which is good, because credits will run you between $1 to $0.50 depending on how many you buy at once. Most ‘normal’ amounts of credits 20-80 credits, they are about $1 a piece. For reference, of the 8 delay pedal models, they range from 10 credits to 15 credits, amps run about 30 credits, speaker cabinets are 5 credits, mics are 5 credits. So using the 72 hour ‘try’ period is a good idea lest you drop a bunch of cash. The much better way to go would be to spend about $100 on one of the collections and get many more models for the price.

The free core of the software does come with a modest set of models. Enough that if you were running some ‘real’ pedals in front of the interface, you could use it in a live setting. But again, would definitely need some external controls, because in the middle of a show, the last thing you want to have to do is mouse around the screen to change settings or presets.

In Conclusion

iRig HD and iRig Stomp are similar products that fill a slightly different space. The iRig Stomp is a great way to either use AmpliTube as another pedal on your board, or use it as an amp replacement so you can run direct. While the iRig HD gives you a cleaner way to connect your guitar into your iPad, iPod or Computer digitally without relying on the crummy D/A conversion that generally happens in the mic in jack on your device.

I would certainly recommend either of these devices if someone were looking for a way to get a little more digital in their rig or extend some sonic options that may not otherwise be available.

On the software end, there are still drawbacks to using it live, but I think IK is aware of that and hopefully some of their hardware offerings in the future will address these issues.

 

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So yeah, I won’t deny, I’m a f…

February 4th, 2012 No comments

So yeah, I won’t deny, I’m a father of 7 and I like to cook for my family. I’ve started a blog about some of the… http://t.co/PTOLp0Pd

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How many guitar (or other inst…

November 17th, 2011 No comments

How many guitar (or other instrument) instructors do we have out there in Pedalboardplanner land?

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So what is everyone’s take on …

November 9th, 2011 No comments

So what is everyone’s take on the new Tone Print beaming from TC Electronic?

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Went to a showing of the indep…

October 29th, 2011 No comments

Went to a showing of the independent documentary Broke* last week. A film about ‘making it’ in the music… http://t.co/g3qD12Mi

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4 New pedals from Empress adde…

October 25th, 2011 No comments

4 New pedals from Empress added! http://t.co/uhBg3pVQ http://t.co/fysZDQbE

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