AmpliTube 2 arrives today with new effects, recording, bounce to audio, export/import, practice tools, and in-app purchase of extra stomp modules. I’ve been playing with a pre-release version for the last few days. Combined with an audio interface like IK Multimedia’s own iRig, AmpliTube 2 turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a handheld, pocket-able workstation.
But let’s step back for a moment and consider what that means. What would you want a device to do for your music if that device fit in the palm of your hand?
Last week, I raised the question of physical size, inspired by a great quote by Sasha Frere-Jones – there regarding listening, not creation, but just as apt. The message was, in short, size matters. An iPhone is not an amp. But an amp – a big box designed for the purpose of making lots of sound – is not an ideal practice tool. So, one of the clear advantages of something like AmpliTube is the ability to plug in a personal listening device and just practice, complete with effects and amp sounds, without disturbing others. AmpliTube 2 accordingly adds news practice tools, by importing sounds and allowing you to adjust speed of playback, ideal for learning tracks.
But AmpliTube isn’t just for guitarists wanting a pocket-sized practice amp. With AmpliTube’s beefed-up recording capabilities and effects, it becomes a handheld recording sketchpad, not only for guitarists but anyone wanting to record, well, anything. That has two advantages. It’s mobile, so you can record in a practice studio without opening up a whole laptop. But more subtly, it can be a tool better-suited to sketching ideas and building the raw materials of a track than a full-blown DAW is.
Think of it this way: you’re fiddling with a synth, or playing a quick guitar line, or making sounds with a toy you got off of eBay. Sure, you could immediately open your DAW, but then you’re in the mindset of a tool designed to build finished tracks. For play and exploration, staying away from the computer, and using something scaled to your hand that you can carry anywhere, can be a big boon to performance. As we saw with Moog’s Filtatron earlier this month, having a tool that not only records audio but adds some creative effects enroute can be a whole lot of fun. Now, you can add AmpliTube to the same category.