Aloha! To continue the trend of not talking about the ukulele, but still talking about awesome stuff, I wanted to talk about the other instrument I play:
You thought I was going to say guitar, didn’t you? It’s true that I play guitar, but ever since I had to cram everything I owned into a tiny sedan to drive across the country when I was twenty, I’ve been living in small dwellings with an increasing number of people (“family” is how most refer to them). This used to be a problem for me as a guitarist because I still required amps to play on, and my favorite kinds of amps were bigger ones, so there was a lot of space being eaten up by my hobby that benefited exactly zero people around me.
But then I got a laptop that wasn’t horrible and was able to get AmpliTube for the first time. I started with AmpliTube 3 soon afterward, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I watched as the quality of their programming went up and couldn’t be more pleased as a customer. While playing or recording virtually was novel at first, IK Multimedia put a ton of effort into making their software sound good. You can especially mark the progress of virtual setups when you factor in touch sensitivity. It used to be that all virtual rigs were snapshots of a particular amp at a particular setting and there wasn’t much wiggle room for touch sensitivity. But as the quality of programming went up, so did the expressiveness you had control over. You could control the dirt in the signal with your picking and, as a result, there was an ever-shrinking NEED for physical amps and mics.
And now IK has come out with AmpliTube 4. They sent me the Deluxe version to try out, and I am a huge fan. Like I said, the audio fidelity has increased and so has the touch sensitivity. AmpliTube has never sounded more real and this a credit to their developers who went crazy making drastic improvements on their AmpliTube 3 and 3.5 models and releasing new pieces of gear. They’ve worked on making “hyper-realistic” tones that are identifiable and awesome enough to record with.
Which is just great for a guy like me. I can bring my laptop and guitar with me on the road and have access to all sorts of gear (the Deluxe version comes with 101 pieces of gear more than the standard version, but we’ll talk about that in a bit) and record whatever I want.
And the amount of control I have is staggering. Obviously, I can pick which amp I want to use, which includes any of the amps available in the AmpliTube Custom Shop (which is where I bought Orange, Mesa Boogie, and Dr Z amp expansions), but I can also select whatever cab I want, and then if that’s not enough, go through that cab and select the individual speakers in that cab for an even greater level of control. Then I can select the mic that I want to use, where I want to place it (as well as bring in an additional mic) and then even control the room that I’m in.
Just let that sink in for a bit. You can be anywhere in the world, from the biggest valley to the smallest closet, and record your material in a variety of room types, effecting the acoustics of the tone. How cool is that?
AmpliTube 4 has a ton of amps and effects on top of the mentioned abilities to control them to a pretty crazy degree, and they sound great, but I’m quick to say that this has the potential to not matter at all. Not one bit.
It doesn’t matter how great the software sounds, or how much control you have over it to make small tweaks to nail the sound that’s in your head if you can’t easily navigate the system.
Fortunately, if you have a grip on AmpluTube 3, you’ll have an easy time adjusting to AmpliTube 4. The interface is very similar and the changes are obvious and easy to identify and work with. It feels more like an EXTENSION of AmpliTube 3’s setup rather than a whole new program.
And for the people who didn’t have AmpliTube 3, it’s an easy program to get a grasp on.
It also plays well with digital audio workstations so you won’t have to work too hard setting up your sound before jumping back into your preferred DAW and getting to work recording. If you don’t have a DAW, AmpliTube 4 can act as an independent application and DAW with an 8-track recorded at your disposal. While this might not be a big deal to the folks that are already entrenched in their DAWs of choice, it should be a big selling point for the folks who are new to this whole thing. Getting in to a new program is already hard enough. If you decided to break away from physical amps and mics for the first time and get in to recording digitally, why on EARTH would you want to get in to TWO new programs when one would work, at least for a while?
So let’s sum up for now: IK Multimedia has made great strides between programs, the sounds are great, the control is fantastic, the interface is easy, and it comes with its own DAW.
Not bad. Should you buy it? Well, yeah. If you’re looking for a solid bank of virtual amps that you can bring with you wherever you go, AmpliTube 4 has PLENTY to offer.
That being said, there are two different versions of AmpliTube 4, so you have a choice to make.
The standard AmpliTube 4 is a great program with plenty to offer. The structure doesn’t change between the standard and Deluxe version, but the Deluxe version DOES come with 101 more pieces of gear. With this in mind, it’s not like the standard version is hobbled (which is a credit to IK Multimedia), but the Deluxe version just has MORE. So you get to decide how complete you want this software set to be. Personally, I’m a big completionist so the Deluxe version is right up my alley, but like I said: the standard version is more than adequate.
And it’s not like you’re LIMITED by the standard version because you still have access to the Amplitude Custom Shop.
What is the Custom Shop? It’s an a la carte option that allows you to buy specific amps, cabs, pedals, etc. Buy as much or as little as you want. It’s also where you can find officially-licensed gear like the Mesa Boogie set I talked about last time or gear from other companies like Ampeg, Orange, Dr. Z and more. Like booster packs to a starter pack, you can build the setup that you want piece by piece.
So what’s the price of these packages? AmpliTube 4 comes in at $119.99 and the Deluxe version costs $239.99.