AmpKit update – Agile Partners add new features in v.2.2

Download from iTunes App StoreAmpKit logoKeen iOS-owning guitar players will already be familiar with Agile Partners AmpKit+ iOS guitar amp sim app. I’ve reviewed the app, Agile’s LiNK HD guitar interface (made in collaboration with Peavey) and various updates to AmpKit in the past. AmpKit is one of a crop of very good iOS guitar amp sims and, if you are just getting into your iPhone or iPad as a rather cool platform for music technology, it is well worth checking out alongside the obvious competition.

AmpKit has been around on the iTunes App Store since 2010 and, as such, is one the ‘oldest’ iOs music apps around. It is a universal app supporting both iPad and iPhone in a single purchase and has support for background audio, Audiobus and MIDI control (suitable MIDI hardware permitting). The core app – at UK£13.99 – includes four excellent amp models plus a range of cabs, effects and microphones so you can put together a wide range of tones. There is also a huge range of IAPs that allow you to expand the sonic potential if you want more choice.

What’s new in 2.2?

Version 2.2 of AmpKit+ hit the App Store a couple of days ago. Aside from the usual set of minor fixes and tweaks, this sports a number of new features. These include new export options for your recordings (for example, via iMessage and AirDrop) and improvements in the SoundCloud connectivity. There are also additional MIDI features that can be exploited to control things like the tuner and metronome.

AmpKit+ now supports IAA and there is a very neat IAA transport strip provided bottom-left when used in this mode.

AmpKit+ now supports IAA and there is a very neat IAA transport strip provided bottom-left when used in this mode.

However, perhaps the two stand-out additions are support for inter-app audio (IAA) and a set of new ‘Unlock All’ IAP bundles. While AmpKit has worked well with Audiobus for quite some time, it’s great to see the additional IAA option now also available. Having given this a quick run through using Cubasis as my IAA host, it seems to work very smoothly. I was able to place AmpKit as an audio effects (insert or send) within Cubasis and apply it to a DI’ed guitar part to dial in the guitar tone required.

Having frozen that first track, I could then release AmpKit, add it to a second track and repeat the process, etc…  to build up my various guitar layers in a demo project. You can, of course, return to a specific track and ‘unfreeze’ it to apply different amp settings (‘re-amping’) if you need to tweak the sound of a particular part at some later point so this is a very flexible way of working.

AmpKit worked very smoothly within Cubasis as an IAA effect.

AmpKit worked very smoothly within Cubasis as an IAA effect.

Agile Partners have added three Unlock All Bundles to this version of AmpKit. There are Unlock All Amps and Unlock All Pedals and both of these are priced at UK£20.99. Both of these represent a considerable saving on buying all the individual IAPs in a particular price category. However, the combined Unlock All Amps & Pedals – at UK£34.99 – brings even further savings (around 60%) on the individual prices. You end up with a collection of 30 amps, 30 pedals, 25 cabs and 8 mics to play with, so plenty of choice in terms of creating your ideal tones whatever musical style you like to play.

Fancy a whole much of new (virtual) guitar kit?

Fancy a whole much of new (virtual) guitar kit?

Spoilt for choice

Given just how many very good guitar amp modelling apps there now are available – BIAS, Amplitube, JamUp, Mobile POD, ToneStack, Flying Haggis, StompBox and AmpKit+ itself – guitar plays are perhaps only second behind virtual synth fans in terms of the choice the App Store now offers. As a user, this is great to see as it creates a healthy dose of competition to keep these various apps moving forwards.

AmpKit is a very creditable choice amongst this lot – particularly if you are a fan of Peavey amps (you know, the real thing that comes in a big box and it very loud) – and, while the base app at UK£13.99 gives you plenty of tonal flexibility, the full Unlock All IAP in v.2.2 could keep you busy for days….

AmpKit+


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    Comments

    1. This update doesn’t do much for people who are already invested in a fair amount of IAP’s for AmpKit – the bundles and individual amps/effects remain at full price and, in my opinion, a little over-priced.

      However, a couple of positive things I noticed about AmpKit+ that I appreciate upon re-installing it: (1) The new IAA input functionality is a nice plus for working in apps like Auria, Cubasis, and AudioShare – most of the other guitar apps still do not have it. (2) While I don’t think the app has quite the sound quality of JamUp, ToneStack, and BIAS, it seems to demand fewer resources than those apps. In fact, I recently tried to run a preamp only setup into IR (impulse response) files to simulate a guitar cabinet…ToneStack resulted in a stuttering mess, whereas AmpKit+ ran it like a champ. So, that might be an advantage on older devices. It’s still a very good amp modeling program, overall.

    2. Great looking app. Makes me want to buy an iPhone just to try it.

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