As a professional musician, I consider myself to be skeptical of new equipment. I like simplicity, I like an easy set up both in the studio and on stage. Most musicians with money on the line would agree. The quicker you can get set up, play, and break down, the quicker you can get paid! For the casual musician, simplicity is key as well. Who wants to deal with setting up complicated equipment in the midst of learning a new instrument, or just playing for an hour or two when you get home from work? The short answer is, NOBODY! So, now that we have established that we all favor the simple things in music, let me introduce you to recording and digital effects on your iPad and/or iPhone!
Most of us know that if we need to tune our guitar or trumpet really quick, we can pull out our iPhone and use an app like Epic Tune, or Cleartune. Did you realize that you can increase the accuracy of these tuners by using the iRig? Plug this little adapter in, and play! It's so easy, and much more accurate than trying to filter through background noise. This thing is so simple, it's an adapter that is about the same size as your guitar slide. You plug this thing into the audio jack of your iPhone, or iPad and use it with the ever-popular Garage Band app, or with the AmpliTube app. It offers a quarter inch jack on the other end for an instrument cable, as well as a 3.5mm jack for headphones or any other monitoring system.
The applications for this device are absolutely endless! I use this thing on stage, especially for solo shows. AmpliTube comes with 11 built-in stompbox effects (delay, fuzz, overdrive, wah, envelope filter, chorus, flanger, phaser, octave, noise filter distortion once registered), 5 amps (clean, crunch, lead, metal, bass) with full controls, 5 speaker cabinets and 2 microphones (dynamic and condenser). So basically, AmpliTube comes with everything you need to cover virtually any style of music. Just like your traditional live setup, you get 3 stompbox effects running into an amp-head with effects plus cabinet and a microphone. I plug this thing into my PA system and use all the effects I want. This also provides a quick, and easy loop station.
But it doesn't stop there...AmpliTube also features a full featured expandable recording studio, plus some nifty tools to help you learn and practice your licks anywhere you go. The iRig is awesome for use with Garage Band as well. If you ever find yourself with an awesome idea, but no way to quickly get it into a studio you can plug in your iRig to your iPhone or iPad and quickly save that idea! I use this thing all the time to create rough-draft recordings to share with the studio guys in order to maximize the productivity of that expensive studio time. This is not going to offer studio quality recording, but it works as well as any home recording can offer.
This also provides an easy teacher for the musician that is still learning their instrument. With AmpliTube, you can upload songs from your iTunes library to play along with. This allows you to learn those songs that you want to cover, or the solo that you're having trouble learning. This also gives a beginning musician a model to play along with to better hone their instrumental skills. Use this with the "no voice" feature, and focus more on the guitar parts of any tune.
In essence, the iRig just works! It has made my life easier, and didn't hurt my wallet very much at all. If simplicity is what you're after, this is a must have. While it doesn't replace your stage rig, or your studio equipment, it enhances them. This can significantly cut down your studio time, and make your stage set up so much easier. This thing is definitely worth every penny that you will invest in it!