Lately I have found myself wanting to quickly capture riff ideas and thought why not use an iPhone app, as luck would have it I was chatting to the guys at Audio Products Group here in Australia and they asked if I would like to test the Peavey AmpKit LiNK iPhone and iPad guitar interface so now all I had to do was install Agile Partners AmpKit app on my iPhone.
AmpKit is a fully featured amp modelling application with many amps, stomp boxes and mics to choose from, when you initially download the free app you get the Peavey ValveKing head and cab and 2 mics, Workhorse 57 and Germann 87 (I don’t think I need to explain what those are based off!), you also get a Noise Gate and the Elevenizer (think Ibanez TubeScreamer) stomps. All of the parameters for the amp and pedals are very easy to tweak just by touching them to go to the edit screen as you will see in the video example above, you can also choose to have the mic positioned on or off-axis. On top of this functionality you can also record too and even set a metronome as a click to play along too, a clever feature is that when you record the app saves the dry version of the recording session too so that you can re-amp at a later date if you wish.
Of course the real power of this app comes from the many amps, effects and mics that you can purchase as add-ons, now this can get a little pricey so Agile have created some previews so that you can be sure it is the sound you are after before you purchase. I decided for the review to buy the Peavey 6505+ and the Colonel (based off a classic Marshall design) which cost AUD$7.99 and AUD$5.99 respectively. You can also buy bundles such as the Power Pack which includes 6 amps/cabs and 8 stomps which will save you money. One of the cool under-the-hood features of AmpKit is the Audio Copy integration which means you can cut and paste a recorded session into another application such as Sonoma Wireworks FourTrack (I believe Sonoma developed the AudioCopy technology). Another under-the-hood feature is the ability to send your saved session (or recording) either to email or straight to your SoundCloud account.
The AmpKit LiNK is a very compact unit that houses 2 AAA batteries, simply plug your guitar into the guitar input, your headphones go in a mini jack input and then the output into your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch. You can easily adjust the input and output levels in AmpKit and save it individually for each of your saved setups in case you use different guitars or the amps are reacting differently to your guitar signal.
As you can see in the video above the Peavey ValveKing has usable clean and distortion sounds but obviously by spending some money on different amp models and mics you are going to get better results as you can tailor the app to your style. I really wanted to have an amp to record some metal riffs so the 6505+ seemed like the perfect choice, after choosing the Colonel I think I probably should have gone with one of the Fender style amps for a clean bluesy sound but I might get a few pedals as this amp seems like a good base amp for overdrive effects. Overall I was really impressed with the amp modelling quality, easy editing and expansion possibilities and I think this will become a very useful tool.
If you are in Australia and interested in buying a Peavey AmpKit LiNK please contact Audio Products Group.