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Entries in Live Performance (5)

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.

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?

Video: Dutch Band 'Rigby' Play New Single Live On Just Their iPads

It may not feel and respond like a real guitar, or bass, or drum kit or other instrument, but with the right app the iPad can sound like one if you play it well enough.

This is ably demonstrated in the video above by Dutch band Rigby, who you can see performing their new (Aha like) single 'One Life To The Next' [iTunes Music Store link] live on Vara, a National Dutch media network.

Instead of their usual instruments, the band travelled light with just their iPads, plugged into the radio station's sound board and they were ready to go.

We were very impressed with the result, what do you think?

App spotting will be rewarded with our deep respect. Leave a comment and tell us which apps you can see in the video.

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

iRig Mix for iOS Opens Up a World of Portable Audio

IK Multimedia are throwing their considerable weight firmly behind the iOS platform with their latest round of product announcements ahead of this year's NAMM show, starting next week.

The first of these we wanted to tell you about is the iRig Mix. Here's the trailer video which got our heads in a spin with the sheer potential of this device for the mobile musician.

Be sure to watch through to the end to see the multitude of ways iRig Mix can be used.

Check out the iRig Mix page for more demo videos of the device in action and details.

Needless to say, we are very excited at the prospect of this new device, what do you think of it? Let us know in the comments.