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Entries in guitar (44)

Friday Fun: Audience Surprise at iPad Guitar Amp

Positive Grid sent us this video of guitarist Vali Caceres surprising his audience by turning up to a gig with just his guitar, his iPad and the JamUp app.  We think it sounds pretty great, so do his audience by their reactions. What do you think?

Tune-in Tuesday: New Guitar Music Made on an iPad

We are delighted to say that our Soundcloud group for iPad using musicians is still very active. There are some really fun, creative and sometimes quite bonkers tracks being shared by Soundclouders, if you haven't visited the group before please check it out.

Here are a few original tracks that have caught our attention in recent weeks and this time we've gone for a Rock theme:

Cannibal Rat Ghost Ship by Nathan Jon Tillett

We love this song "sitting somewhere between Iron Maiden and Spinal Tap, this one has the OTT tongue-in-cheek dial turned up to 11!".  Recorded partly on GarageBand for iPad using the Apogee Jam and iRig Mic (both highly recommended by the way) it is brilliant fun and an enthusiastic performance makes this one of our favourites.

Back To You by LoungeBots

As massive Back to the Future fans we were more than happy to see this (also tongue-in-cheek) tribute, just for the cover art alone. Made completely on an iPad too:

"Produced, recorded and mixed on iPads using NanoStudio, Auria, GarageBand, BeatMaker2, JamUp Pro and a variety of additional iOS synth apps."

Too Many Friends by Gaffbass02

Another original track recorded completely on an iPad using GarageBand and we think it sounds great as a demo. Here's what Gareth says about the recording of the song:

"I record this in my basement in an afternoon on an iPad 3 using an apogee jam to connect an sm58, and a cheap behringer condenser.  All drums, keys, strings etc are from the iPad, and there's no external EQ etc, just straight into the GarageBand app."

Bonus Track: Budda 30 demo by Derek Buddemeyer

Some great lead playing and a very tight arrangement in this short demo from Derek that perfectly shows off the authentic sounds you can get from apps like AmpKit on the iPad.

Over to You

We hope you liked listening to our selection of tracks but if wailing guitars isn't your thing don't worry, next time we will be focussing our attention on more electro driven tracks.

In the meantime you could always explore our Soundcloud group for hundreds of tracks from all genres, we are sure you will find something there you like.

If you would like to share your iPad created sounds please feel free to join our group and add your tracks or click on the 'Send us your sounds' link in the sidebar.  Thank you.

50% Off (Almost) Everything From IK Multimedia

If you have been holding off on purchasing that iPad app from IK Multimedia or if you have a new iPad that needs loading up with some of the best audio apps available for iOS, then now is the time to grab a bargain with 50% off everything except their two newest apps.  There is also 50% off in-app purchases!

Video: BIAS and GarageBand Play Nicely Together

Positive Grid are doing a good job of sharing tutorials and demos on YouTube of their new BIAS amp modelling app. If you don't know much about BIAS check out our review.

This video shows how to use your carefully crafted BIAS tone with Apple's Inter-App audio feature built in to the marvellous GarageBand. We hope you find it as useful we did.


Giveaway: Win a Copy of the Epic BIAS Guitar Modelling App

BIAS Logo

A couple of days ago in our review we told you how we were blown away by Positive Grid's new infinitely tweakable sound engine, BIAS for iPad.

Well, if you really fancy trying BIAS but haven’t yet splashed out on the app yourself, we have one free copy to give away.

All you have to do is:

1) Ensure you follow us on either Facebook or Twitter

2) Leave us a comment below that includes

a) Your favourite feature of BIAS (hint: check out the BIAS homepage)

b) Your email address in the comment form so we can contact you if you win (don’t worry, we are the only ones who see your email, it isn’t made public)

Important Info.

That’s it.  You must meet both criteria 2a and 2b above or, in fairness to other entrants, we cannot consider your entry.

We’ll randomly select one of the commenters below after 1900 GMT on the closing date Wednesday 20th November 2013.

BIAS Blows Us Away

“…We threw out convention and focused instead on how to create the most delicious tone in as many flavors as possible. The result is BIAS... - Calvin Abel, BIAS Product Manager

BIAS Logo

In our last post we told you about the upcoming release of BIAS and what amazing tone control was promised by the team at Positive Grid.

Well, we were invited to be in on the Beta program for BIAS and Wow! BIAS really does live up to that promise.  

BIAS has now been officially released and we think Guitarists are going to love this app, especially those searching for the perfect tone,.

If you care about your guitar tone and want professional results right there on your iPad, you will run out and get BIAS now. Here's why you should:

Infinitely Tuneable

As the above video demonstrates, BIAS makes your guitar tone infinitely tuneable to the finest degree possible. You have complete control over every part of your tone including:

  • preamps
  • tone stacks
  • power amps
  • transformers
  • cabinets
  • panel controls
  • mic selection 
  • mic placement

BIAS 05 Transformer

The great thing is you don’t need to be a sound tech or audiophile to understand this app and dial in your perfect sound.  We found it intuitive and easy to drag/tap our way to a sound we were happy with.

BIAS 07 EQ

You can do things with this app that would take a long time to do or that would cost you a lot of money in the real world.  For example, you may not  bother to change a whole set of tubes or be able to switch to a different head or cabinet setup to fine-tune your sound, but you can do that in a couple of seconds with BIAS, all whilst constantly monitoring the sound as you make even tiny adjustments.

BIAS 06 Cab

Sound Launchpad

To get you started, BIAS comes loaded with 36 amp presets (28 guitar, 4 bass and 4 keyboard/vocal), including a lot of the most popular and well loved amps.  These sound fantastic as they are, but they are also a perfect launchpad for building your own sound, especially as they are categorised so you have an idea of what to expect.  Here’s the categories you get: 

  • Clean
  • Glassy
  • Blues
  • Crunch
  • Hi Gain
  • Metal
  • Insane
  • Acoustic
  • Bass
BIAS 01 Home
 

The quality of these amp models is very impressive.  Positive Grid’s USP for us is the warmth that their sound engine produces in comparison to the often harsh, digital, sound of some other iOS amp sims.  

The clean amps especially sound beautiful as long as you pare down the input from your guitar, but with our Epi Les Paul (no we can’t afford the real thing) the Metal and Insane amps ripped apart our speakers with the lovely, screaming yet smooth, distortion that you would hope to hear.

It is a bit embarrassing to admit, but there was a massive smile on our face as we heard these amp models for the first time, even excitedly chuckling at how awesome they sounded.  BIAS really does sound that good.

Custom Looks

It’s not just about the way your unique amp sounds either.  You can completely customise the look of your new unique amp setup.  You have control over every aspect of your amp’s design whether you want that traditional Marshall rock stack look or a classic Fender Tweed blues vibe, or a mash-up of both, you can do it with BIAS.

You can even change the panel style (behind the controls) and add your own custom image as the bezel for your amp head. 

BIAS 08 CustomPanel

Share It

Once you have found that killer tone and designed your amp’s look, you can tell everyone else about it by sharing it with them on Facebook. 

BIAS 09 Facebook 

This is what it looks like when you share it on Facebook:

1426604 10152088970331018 1631701762 n

Use It

When your sound is finalised and ready to go Positive Grid have made it a one-tap operation to send your whole amp (including its unique look) over to JamUp XT (Free) or their Pro version to jam live with.

BIAS 10 JamUp Integration

BIAS is also Audiobus compatible so you can use your unique amp sound in any app that integrates with the fantastic Audiobus platform, including GarageBand which you may already have for free if you have a new iOS device, an essential but still very welcome interaction.

Getting the Sound In

Of course, BIAS is compatible with pretty much any manner of iOS instrument input device, not just Positive Grid’s own JamUp Plug. A full list of the compatible iOS audio interfaces can be found at the bottom of the BIAS webpage.

We had no problem using it with iRig, Apogee Jam, GuitarJack 2 and of course the JamUp Plug.  All gave great results with only the difference between the devices themselves affecting the input levels (but that has nothing to do with BIAS). 

Recommendation and Win

We could go on, but it will come as no surprise that we are highly recommending BIAS for iPad.

Yes, it is on the expensive side for an iOS app at $19.99, but at the price of one decent tube for your amp BIAS will open up a world of easily achievable tone and we don't think you'll ever regret purchasing it.

You can find out more about the BIAS for iPad app at Positive Grid's website or go and grab it from the App Store now.

Plus, stay tuned over the weekend for your chance to win a free copy of BIAS - more soon.

Video: Think an iPad can't be used as a Live Guitar Amp? Think Again!

 

We have mentioned before the potential for your iPad to replace those hefty and bulky guitar amps you have to carry around with you to gigs as a guitarist.  Actual documented examples are less common than we would like, but here's one.

In the video above Gene Baker is using the brilliant JamUp Pro (or XT) app by Positive Grid as his 'Amp' (read our in-depth review for more on JamUp).  He is switching effects/rigs using JamUp's integration with the Bluetooth AirTurn pedal, allowing for live use as a virtual pedalboard.

Although the sound quality of the video isn't that great, guitarists will be listening out for the solo in Mean Gene Band's cover of the Aerosmith classic 'Walk this way' and we think it definitely passes muster.

What do you think?

iPad at NAMM 2013 - IK Multimedia

If you create music on or via your iPad, you need to know about some of the very cool stuff announced at the Winter NAMM Show that has taken place over the last few days in California.

There is a lot to get excited about as always, so in the next few posts we are going to highlight some of the shiny new tech announced for your iPad.

iRig BlueBoard

IK Multimedia had several new products to announce at NAMM this year, but this is the one that got us the most excited.  

As anyone who has tried it knows, switching settings or presets in the middle of a song using any of the iPad guitar FX sims is pretty tricky and worst of all, it means taking your hands off the guitar which usually requires adapting the way you play the song to allow time for poking at the touch screen.

Foot controllers are the natural solution to this problem and this is not the first Bluetooth foot controller for iOS we have seen, but it might be the nicest looking.

The BlueBoard ($99.99 / €79.99) is a wireless MIDI controller (so it should work with most MIDI apps you have on your iPad.  It is advertised as working up to about 30ft away from your main iPad rig, so you could set it up on the other side of the stage for those spotlight solos whilst retaining some control over your virtual pedal setup.  It will also work with your iPhone/iPod Touch and your Mac if you have one.

Check out the video below and the web page for more details, suffice to say, we want one very badly!

iRig HD

More than just an update for the much loved (and to be honest still default for us) iRig guitar interface, the iRig HD is another device altogether.  

iRig HD a 24-bit A/D convertor, with thumbwheel adjustable pre-amp on the device and digital noise reduction plus many other features, but what really stood out for us is that this device can be used with your Mac too via an interchangeable cable that features USB, 30-pin and Lightning dock connectors.

This is for us a brilliant feature that means purchasing less cables or audio devices for musicians who use both iOS and Computer based processing/recording apps.

We have yet to hear what it really sounds like, but we are really keen to find out and we will be looking out for some good samples in the near future.

More details again on the web page and in the video below:

We are always interested to hear what you think and what announced products you are looking forward to seeing (or maybe just adding to your wishlist).  Let us know in the comments below.

Shred Like Slash On Your iPad

IK Multimedia continue to bring great sounding, and fantastic looking, guitar goodness to your iPad with their new AmpliTube Slash for iPad, a special edition of their iOS guitar effects app.

The official trailer below shows what some of the equipment included in this special edition sounds like (we're loving the OctoBlue):

IK Multimedia are rightly proud to note that Slash apparently uses the iRig and the iPad / iPhone Amplitube app on the road to capture ideas and practice his riffs.

Check out this overview with Slash himself demoing the sounds:

What more can you want? At a fairly reasonable £6.99, we're off to the (in)app store now.

Amazing Joe Satriani cover played in the new GarageBand for iPad

At some points in this video it is hard to believe you are listening to a guitar simulation, played on a touchscreen computer by YouTube user TelevatorMuzak (a.k.a. Francis). It's a track we are very fond of anyway, but we also think it is a remarkable demonstration of what can be done with the right know-how and a lot of musical talent.

We contacted Francis to find out about his musical interests, creating music using GarageBand and the improvements that version 1.2 brings.

iPad Creative: Tell us something about yourself and your love for music making.

Francis: I've been making music (or just mere 'sound like things' when I was younger!) as far back as I can remember, from banging pots and pans to finally, real instruments. Although I've been in bands, I'm not really a band guy. I mostly enjoy making solo post-rock music, like modern acoustic guitar fingerpicking and solo piano, and probably that's why I enjoy making music on the iPad.

iPad Creative: What do you think of GarageBand for the iPad?

Francis: Oh, I'm really stoked with the iPad GarageBand. I usually do recordings on DAWs but this app is just so liberating for me because the playable instruments are self-contained. I think Apple nailed it with their accelerometer velocity sensors. The instruments are remarkably expressive. One thing I didn't really like about other iOS music apps before GB was exactly this, everything sounded robotic and electronic (which may sound good with some genres) but Apple took it to the next level with the expressive range of the instruments. So now, I could sneak convincing recordings on the couch, at work, in my car, on the toilet, LOL, pretty much anywhere, without lugging around extra equipment. Granted, it's like learning new instruments altogether, but once you get the hang of, it's satisfying what you can create.

Again, I'm not a band kind of guy and I'm mesmerized by the idea of performers doing all the parts amazingly on their own despite the limitations of their instruments and that precisely what's so challenging but rewarding when working with the iPad GarageBand app.

iPad Creative: And your take on the improvements that arrived with version 1.2?

Francis: I think it's great they took it to another level. The note editor opens it up further for everyone, all you need is a good ear. I'm glad I could transpose notes now especially with the guitar sound since in the old version, it was a bit limited in range.

It's also convenient for tweaking the parts a bit. You don't have to nail each riff each time. You could just go in and shift a few notes in time and pitch if you mess up. But as with any synthetic music, there's a danger of sounding too synthetic, so real-time expression is still important if you're aiming for that sort of thing. I think Apple provided iPad GB with ample expressive tools to make your songs subtly nuanced.

iPad Creative: Besides GarageBand, what other iPad apps excite you, for music creation or otherwise?

Francis: Pretty much any app that will take the leap from the desktop to the tablet excites me. I like how Apple keeps the iPad versions of their software clean and simple so as not to take away from their more powerful desktop versions. They're more like spontaneous sketchpads than real workstations but, of course, that might change in the near future.

Francis has something very interesting in the pipeline, we'll bring you more news soon. In the meantime listen to this stunning cover again, particularly the last couple of minutes. Just think, this was produced on a computer that some people claimed would be the death of creativity. Fortunately, that argument has been well and truly quashed.

Further reading: TelevatorMuzak