IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Gear pedals: What is it?
The X-Gear quad of multi-effect digital stompboxes have something of the completist’s catnip about them.
The neatly styled yet robust anodised aluminium casings each house a DSP powered core of 16 effects algorithms backed up by 300 preset slots (50 factory), eight rotary encoders, three footswitches adorning the top panel.
There's also MIDI I/O, USB interfacing for preset management and recording interface usage and expression/dual footswitch control.
Not to mention, a comprehensive set of global and preset based parameters to tweak until the end of time.
IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Gear: X-Drive
X-Drive’s 16 algorithms include modelled classics (Fuzz Face, Big Muff Pi, etc), some essentials (booster for IRL amps, valve overdrive) and a bitcrusher.
There’s a great deal of control on offer for each effect from three-band tone controls and gating/compression to model specific alterations, and the high sonic quality is matched by responsive playability across the board.
The X-Mode, holding the current preset footswitch down, provides a signal boost which is a lovely addition for solos and lifts when used live. Fuzz, fizz, roar or just a little crunch, X-Drive has it all covered.
IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Gear: X-Vibe
Like X-Drive, X-Vibe mostly carries modelled classics such as the MXR Flanger Doubler, and Univox Uni-Vibe. The non-name brand algorithms include chorus, rotary, tremolo, step slicer and step filter.
The preset banks carry two slots to correspond with the two preset footswitches as the third is on Tap duty.
Also like X-Drive there is more flexibility here than any of the ‘real deals’ and it runs most of the gamut of modulation effects, sounding full, fruity and ever so swishy the whole way.
Setting an expression pedal to the modulation speed control is a must.
IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Gear: X-Time
X-Time, along with X-Space, does not carry models of real-world units, but this is no loss when delving into its smorgasbord of delay/echo.
The tap footswitch and BPM/MIDI clock sync mean perfect timing is on the menu, but the modulation parameters and expression pedals can just as easily warp these excellent delays into something less regimented.
The X-Mode maxes out the feedback on each algorithm which is a simple but oh-so-useful performance tool.
The analogue/tape delays bring the lushness, whilst the Dual and Pattern conjure up complexity and the Pitch, Harm and Arctic open the effects space of many a boutique digital delay.
IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Gear: X-Space
X-Space, much like the Eventide Factor pedals, is likely to find work outside of guitar world. The Room, Chamber, Plate and Spring algorithms, when kept short, can really lift a source without smearing or swamping, though when lengthened they can all produce stunning results.
Adding expression pedal action to the mix can either help your instrument ride the ’verb or warp it into something more colourful. At the lengthy end there’s so much to space out with, from the epic (Church and Hall) to the modulated/magical (Magnetic, Ethereal, Bloom) to the pitchshifting twinkles of the two Shimmer effects.
The presets are a great place to start, but the detailed parameter set of each algorithm allows for more tailoring than Savile Row.
IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Gear: Verdict
Each X-Gear pedal offers a mix of flexibility, sound quality and creative range that, for the price, is hard to equal.
The high-quality effects are made more useful by the host of features packed in around them, from the multi-function footswitches to the USB interfacing.
Guitarists may be the primary market, but for synths, keyboards and reamping these are pedals that can keep giving.
MusicRadar verdict: The X-Gears offer extensive feature sets packed around top-notch effects that cover all bases without skimping on tone or tweakability.
IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Gear pedals: The web says
"There are all these sounds that you’re just not hearing on other pedals."
Skunk Anansie guitarist Ace, MusicRadar
IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Gear: Hands-on demos
IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Gear: Specifications
- Four DSP-powered effect pedals covering distortion (X-Drive), reverb (X-Space), delay (X-Time) and modulation (X-Vibe).
- CONTACT: IK Multimedia