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Entries in Guitarist (3)

Is the iRig BlueBoard the One We've Been Waiting For?

After being announced back in January at NAMM by IK Multimedia, the iRig BlueBoard was released a few weeks ago and we think this is probably the solution guitarists have been waiting for.   

For a long time we have been extolling the iOS Amp Simulation apps as a viable, more portable, alternative for gigging/recording musicians and we think iRig's BlueBoard takes a big leap closer to that reality (and it also works with your Mac!).

Switching it up (and down)

One of the most essential requirements of any guitarist's pedal board is the ability to switch effects on-the-fly and, to be honest, this was the least practical element of using a touch device in a live situation.  

Changing effects just before a solo in a darkened room was a hit-and-miss affair at best, especially when trying to quickly switch from a rhythm to a solo sound.

We haven't been able to try it ourselves yet, but we are hopeful that the BlueBoard, as seen in the video above, will enable us to do this with any MIDI compatible iPad app, including GarageBand, AmpKit, JamUp as well as all of IK's own apps.  

Likes and dislikes

We like the small and portable sizing that makes it likely to slip into a cables bag. The adjustable backlit pedals are going to be really useful in a live situation and we are fond of the blue too.

If we were being picky, the pedals themselves look a bit small, especially if you tend to wear clodhopper boots on stage.  We would have liked twice as many footswitches really (e.g. one row to switch Banks and another row for the effects switching) but the BlueBoard may have been less portable with 8.  

As it is, with some forethought into the patch setup and ordering of the Banks plus the use of one or two external expression pedals, e.g. a Wah, this will suit most guitarists.

Bluetooth 4.0 is supposed to be more efficient but we are not sure how long a set of 4 AAAs are going to last, although they should see you through at least a few gigs if not several more.

What do you think?

Are you a guitarist or other musician looking to use Amp Sims or iPad Instrument apps live?  Would you use the iRig BlueBoard in your live or studio performances?  Let us know in the comments what you think.

AmpDock We Think We Love You!

It is probably very wrong to get so excited about an iPad accessory before we have even seen it, but we felt the same way about the iO Dock from Alesis and their new AmpDock, designed specifically for guitar and bass players, has got us in a stupor again.

Basically a slightly cut down version of their iO Dock, Alesis have made the AmpDock more robust for live use. AmpDock features an enclosing cover on the fourth side so that you iPad isn't exposed on the top edge, as it was on the iO Dock.

There's also a handy little kickstand on the back to angle the AmpDock when it is sat on top of your amp and to allow clearance of the amp's handle. If you have ever tried balancing your iPad on top of your amp you'll know how useful and reassuring this feature will be.

But the main thing that got us excited was the inclusion of a pedalboard controller in the $299 price!

This is a great boon and means that, for the iPad-owning musician, AmpDock is ready to rock (or not, depending on your guitar style) out of the box without any further expenditure.

More details and specs below, after the teaser video from Alesis:

AmpDock Key Features

  • The first professional guitar processor to use your iPad or iPad 2 for signal processing
  • Works with GarageBand, AmpliTube, JamUp, and virtually any audio or CoreMIDI app
  • Includes a rugged pedalboard controller with program, effect, bypass, volume and continuous controls
  • Guitar Input 1 and switchable Mic/Line/Guitar Input 2; professional outputs, and MIDI jacks
  • Kickstand allows for stable positioning on top of guitar amps
  • Hinged door completely encloses and secures your iPad
  • Mountable to a mic stand using the Alesis Module Mount (sold separately)
  • 1/4" high-impedance guitar input and combo input for microphone, second guitar, or another instrument
  • 1/4" outputs with Guitar/Line impedance switch
  • Stereo auxiliary outputs for connection to external effects
  • Two assignable endless knobs to control parameters in compatible apps
  • Analog Input 1, Input 2, Main, and Headphone volume controls
  • MIDI input and outputs and USB MIDI jack for use with other controllers and MIDI software or hardware

AmpDock Specs:

  • (1) - High Impedance Guitar Input
  • (1) - XLR/ 1/4" Combo Jack for switchable for Guitar, Line Level, and Phantom Power
  • (2) - 1/4" unbalanced Auxiliary Outputs
  • (2) - 1/4" balanced Outputs
  • (1) - 1/4" Stereo Headphone Output
  • Ground Lift Switch
  • Class Compliant USB 1.1 and 5-pin DIN MIDI I/O
  • True Bypass

Kiss the sky! iFourmance, an amazing iOS band perform Purple Haze and rewrite the rule book

We have seen some pretty amazing iOS music creations over the last few months, but Purple Haze by iFourmance is easily one of the best yet. Watch the entire track and then remind yourself that every instrument is in fact an iPhone running mostly Guitarist, Bassist or Organist by the legendary MooCowMusic.

Mark Terry of MooCowMusic was so 'blown away by this performance' that he had to fire up his copy of Guitarist just to check that is was indeed possible to play that riff.

´╗┐You can pick up an entire album of iFourmance tracks on iTunes. The full album even includes a couple of video performances.

´╗┐Congratulations to both MooCowMusic and iFourmance for pushing back the boundaries of iOS music creation. It's hard imagine where all this might end up in a few years from now. Who would have thought that multi-touch would have such a huge impact on music creation? Actually, we did.