If you have read any of my other IK reviews, you may have noticed one common gripe, the inability to use IK products in a live situation. Keep in mind; this is almost always touted as a feature.
Well, it looks like someone at IK has heard my rants, or more likely, the rants of numerous other reviewers, bloggers, and of course, customers. IK’s latest release, the iRig Stomp has significantly advanced the feasibility of using IK products as part of your live rig.
The iRig Stomp is essentially a stomp box sized interface (smaller than a Boss, slightly larger than an MXR) that allows you to use any iOS version of AmpliTube as part of your pedal board.
-Lots or effects, little space: If you’re anything like me, you have a board setup with all of your favorite effects, but there are always a few lesser used pedals that get left at home. I know several musicians who will use a multi-effects processor in addition to their stomp box collection for the odds and ends. The iRig Stomp gives you the flexibility of a multi-effects processor in the space of an individual stomp box and an iOS device.
-It will take a beating: The build quality is easily on par, or better than several of my other name brand stomp boxes. It features a steel casing, heavy-duty switch, and true bypass. Additionally, it sports an 1/8th” headphone jack, making it ideal for late night jam sessions.
-Plays well with others: If you have been playing for a few years, you have probably amassed a large collection of gear (on the forums they call it GAS, Gear Acquisition Syndrome). Up until now, the majority of iOS and computer-based effects I have used are not designed to work with my existing gear. Not so with the iRig Stomp, I swapped out my chorus pedal (since I actually like the chorus included in AmpliTube Slash better), and have been using it with my analog pedals and amp, just like any other stomp box.
-Meet the newest member of the band: Most importantly, you can take it and use it anywhere! All you need as a clip to hold your iPod or iPad on your mic stand (IK has options for both, as do a bunch of other manufactures), and it is ready for your next gig. I also love that you can change the effects you are using based on the song; chorus, boost, delay, reverb, one swipe of your finger, and you have it. Keep in mind; you will want to create presets for each song you plan on using it for. I wouldn’t recommend trying to adjust effects while on stage, particularly on the iPod/iPhone.
-If anything can go wrong: As much as I love that you can change the effects you are using at any time, I also hate that the iRig Stomp requires an iOS device, proprietary 1/8” cable, and mic stand clip. There seems to be a lot of additional non-standard pieces required to use the iRig Stomp. If one of them breaks before a gig, it’s not likely that someone else in the band, or someone at the venue is going to have a spare lying around. The addition of the iOS device also gives you one more thing to remember to charge, and what happens if your grandma decides to call your iPhone in the middle of a face melting solo?
Clearly, these are all minor what-ifs, but are all certainly things to consider before taking the iRig Stomp to your next gig.
-It sounds good: But it doesn’t sound great. There is a part of me that hates to gripe about the sound quality you get with iOS versions of AmpliTube, because it is far superior to the 90’s multi-effects processor I used for years, but at the same time, it isn’t as good as a nice analog pedal. Some effects are great, others not so much, and that may change depending on your existing setup. Just be aware, the iRig Stomp probably won’t replace your current board/amp setup.
Overall, the iRig Stomp is pretty awesome. If you currently own an iOS device and you use AmpliTube, or any other amp/effects modeling software on it, the iRig Stomp is pretty much a no-brainer. At about $60, it’s right in-line with the cost of many other stomp boxes, but is much more versatile than your standard stomp box..
Enough with the typing, it’s time I get back to the important stuff, relearning my G n’R riffs… because you can’t have an iRig Stomp without a copy of AmpliTube Slash.
-”Guitar Guy” Tim
Questions/comments, send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Tim on Twitter: @GuitarGuyTim
Are you feeling left out Android users?
I’m writing this after the review because I am now using the iRig Stomp for purposes it was never designed for. Although IK MultiMedia doesn’t offer an Android version of Amplitube, I was able to get the iRig Stomp working with several third-party apps like GhettoAmp, Delay Effects, and gStrings. Please note that I did experience some latency issues. Obviously there are no guarantees when working with third-party software, but if you’re up for tinkering with gear, there definitely is potential.