Real amps Vs profiles: IK Multimedia's Tonex pedal impresses in a blind test

The IK Multimedia ToneX Pedal completes the ToneX ecosystem and offers players an unlimited range of sounds
(Image credit: IK Multimedia)

IK Multimedia's Tonex might have arrived at the amp profiling party later than its competition, but it's making it count if this new Andertons blind test video is anything to go by. 

The pedal impressed in an amp profiling test with Lee Anderton and Danish Pete Honoure recently, alongside leading profiling amp modellers with the Neural DSP Quad Cortex, Headrush Prime and Kemper Stage

The Tonex pedal offers three different modes for profiling amps and pedals that take varying amounts of time to process; Andertons chose the standard mode. Unlike its competition, Tonex is more of an ecosystem; it also requires a reamping unit (in this case IK's Tonex Capture), an interface and the Tonex software to capture gear profiles – you don't use the pedal itself for that.

Tube amps profiled on all the units for comparison included the Victory V140 and Friedman Little Sister. The process can take a while with four units involves – as this video demonstrates – but does that process equate to the detail to 'fool' pro player Pete? 

Neural DSP Quad Cortex

(Image credit: Future)

"I can't overestimate quite how long it took us yesterday to do the profiles," says Lee as the duo returns refreshed the next day for the actual blind testing part of the video. 

Spoiler: they all do well because Lee notes that, "In here they largely sound the same". Imagine how tough it is for the rest of us listening and trying to form an opinion! 

"I think the one I like is not the real amp," says Pete throwing a curveball in. 

Of course, your specific environment, needs and situation is everything with guitar gear – and it makes the idea of coming down hard on either side of the digital Vs tube argument redundant to some extent. Some things are better for certain applications through practicality.  So the Andertons studio isn't a live stage, or a quiet headphones practice session late at night in your house.

Having said all that, Tonex is Pete's joint first choice as his preference alongside the more expensive Neural DSP Quad Cortex. 

Find out more about the IK Multimedia AmpliTube Tonex Amp Machine Modelling pedal at Andertons and Sweetwater

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.