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IK Multimedia Ampli-Tube Review

(I) was quickly reminded what a great plug-in/effect Amplitube is!

Prior to this review, I have had some experience using IK Multimedia’s Amplitube. Recently, I had the opportunity to “plug” it in again on my iBook 700/Mbox mobile Pro Tools LE system and was quickly reminded what a great plug-in/effect Amplitube is! To use Amplitude in “real-time,” I made a few tweaks in Pro Tools LE. I turned the Mbox mix to about 2-3:00 o’clock and set the Hardware settings in Pro Tools LE Setup menu to the lowest latency setting (256 samples). This was definitely a usable setting and off I went into the Amplitude universe.

I hadn’t used Amplitude in a while so I downloaded the newest presets from IK Multimedia’s impressive website (users can also post their own). Creating a small Pro Tools LE session with just a few tracks, I instanced Amplitude on Audio Track 1. The user interface is very easy on the guitarist not to mention the musician using Pro Tools. Essentially you have 3 sections: Amp Settings, Stomp Box Effects, and Post Effects. The Amp settings were divided logically into Pre, EQ, & Cabinet model settings with controls to add Tremolo and Spring Reverb. I found out that you can play for hours just in this area coming up with new setting based on models of industry standard amps like the Fender, Marshall, Vox, & Boogie lines. Also, there are quite a few cabinet selections and mic options such as dynamic/condenser & close mic/distant switches. I found a cool Fender setting with Tremolo based on a Super Reverb and moved on to Stomp boxes. Here you have emulation of a Wah-wah, Chorus, Flanger, Delay, and Overdrive – all reminiscent of their 70’s MXR counterparts. You can also automate all these parameters in Pro Tools LE. Very Nice! Finally, Post FX: Parametric EQ & Reverb were probably the most useful to me. These were very nice additions and not cheesy at all. The Reverb quality was perfect for more modern guitar sounds and styles like glassy Eric Johnson Strat parts.

The real highlight for Amplitude for me was trying out the presets. I went to the plug-in settings pull down menu to find the amp sound divided by Amps, Bass (yep – you can use Amplitude for bass as well – Jaco settings, etc…), FX, and VIP guitarist presets. Most of my time was spent in the VIP folder for just the sheer instant gratification. These presets were really good and make the plug-in immediately usable with a lot of points of reference. Just pick a favorite sound / artist / style, SRV, Hendrix, Carlos, etc. and tweak your parameters from there. I can guarantee that just about every player will find something very usable in this manner. The presets are very good. You can obviously use Amplitude on other tracks such as vocals to produce great special effects as well!

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