Music app review – Amplitube by IK Multimedia gets Audiobus

Amplitube logoAmpliTube for iPad - IK MultimediaWhen it comes to music apps for guitar amp modelling, iOS musicians are now spoilt for choice and, as I reported a week ago, one of the more prominent apps in this category – AmpKit by Agile Partners – added Audiobus support to its feature list in a recent update. Hot on AmpKit’s heels is IK Multimedia’s Amplitube (see the original review here), with both the iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad versions getting Audiobus as part of the v. 2.9.5 update released today.

That's a nice sight - Amplitube now has Audiobus support.

That’s a nice sight – Amplitube now has Audiobus support.

While music apps like Amplitube, AmpKit and JamUp Pro have always been excellent practice tools for guitar players (or even performance tools in a pinch), the addition of support for A Tasty Pixel’s Audiobus is a big deal for recording musicians as it allows your guitar tones to be passed directly – via Audiobus – to whatever recording software you are using. As part of an overall iOS-based recording workflow, this makes life so much easier.

On the bus

The Audiobus control strip in Amplitube.

The Audiobus control strip in Amplitube.

While I’ve only had a few hours to experiment with the Amplitube update, my initial impression is very positive. Amplitube can be used in any of the Audiobus slots – input, effect or output – and this provides some interesting possibilities. You could, for example, use the recording capabilities of the app via the Audiobus output slot or, more typically perhaps, have Amplitube as an Audiobus input while you record in apps such as Auria or Cubasis. Being able to place the app in the Audiobus effects slot, however, means you could use it to send the output of a synth app through a monster guitar stack on its way to your DAW if that’s the kind of thing that cranks your audio handle.

I tried some basic recording with both Cubasis and Auria. In both cases, Amplitube seemed to behave very well and I had absolutely no problems recording the Amplitube outputs to tracks in either of these DAWs. And very nice it sounded too :-)

What else?

amplitube as effect

Amplitube can also be used in the Audiobus effect slot – overdriven synths anyone?

While Audiobus support is perhaps the highlight of the update, IK Multimedia have also added the ability to select which input to use when you have a multichannel audio I/O device hooked up to your iDevice’s dock connector. This ought, for example, to solve the problem I noted when reviewing the iTrack Solo audio interface. Again, this is a very welcome feature.

Do note that the iPhone and iPad versions of Amplitube are still separate apps. Incidently, as far as I can see, the separate Amplitube Slash or Jimi Hendrix versions of the app (as opposed to the same amps that can be accessed as in app purchases within the standard Amplitube app) have not yet been updated. Hopefully, they will follow shortly.

In summary

It’s great to see a steady stream of the more prominent iOS music app developers embracing the Audiobus concept. With so many apps now Audiobus compatible, A Tasty’s Pixel’s protocol is, almost by default, becoming the ‘standard’ for getting music apps to co-operate in terms of passing audio between each other. IK Multimedia seems to have a done a good job with getting Amplitube ‘on the bus’ and, alongside the new input selection options, v.2.9.5 is a very welcome update.


AmpliTube for iPad - IK MultimediaAmplitube for iPad is available from the iTunes App Store and now features Audiobus support.

AmpliTube - IK MultimediaAmplitube for iPhone is also available including Audiobus support.



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    1. Alan Beadle says:

      Hi John

      Thanks for another really useful review. Just out of interest, when you review guitar amp sims, do you listen on headphones or speakers, and do you play the iPad through an amp?

      I’m always a bit confused about using an amp simulator when I’m playing through an amp!

      Kept up the great work!

      • Hi Alan, generally I have my iPad hooked up to a pair of studio monitors. However, given the fact that most of these apps include guitar cabinet modelling, unless you bypass that, things might get a bit odd tonally if you then pass the signal though a further set of guitar amp speakers…. Direct into a PA system would be a better bet if you wanted to get your amp modeller going in a live context I suspect. Best wishes, John

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