Who remembers the DigiTech iPB-10? No? Well, it was a programmable pedalboard released back in 2012, and featured integrated iPad housing so you could use the tablet’s touchscreen as a controller for the unit.
It never really took off and was discontinued. But now, IK Multimedia has revived the idea of a pedalboard/iPad combination. However, this time it’s the pedalboard that’s the controller and the iPad that provides the sounds...
The iRig Stomp I/O features a bay where you can position your device (an iPhone, an iPad, or a Microsoft Surface) and use it as a pedalboard to control the AmpliTube app.
But, that’s not all that the unit does. It’s a 96kHz/24-bit USB audio interface/MIDI controller for any host and software. You can use it to record audio into your DAW or as a standalone MIDI controller, sending MIDI messages from its MIDI out port.
It’s a robust metal unit with four footswitches and a pedal treadle. It also offers a combi input (with switched 48V phantom power) for a guitar or microphone. Output is via a L/R pair of standard jacks or a stereo headphone socket. The device bay is basically a rubber-lined at area with a lip that slips over the edge of your device for a firm hold. Connection to an iOS device is via a lightning cable (included) and you simply plug your guitar in and get the fully processed AmpliTube sound at its output.
The unit is ready for action straight out of the box, as it comes with a package of IK Multimedia guitar-and vocal-processing software - that the company says is worth more than $800. It includes versions of AmpliTube for Mac and PC, as well as iOS, and a recent upgrade means that all versions of the app now have a new Live mode. This mode interacts directly with the device, boasting a screen display for quick and easy editing. Depending on the device’s mode, it displays four numbered presets in a bank or four stompboxes.
Preset mode lets you use the footswitches to select the presets and to change the 32 banks. Stomp mode lets you switch up to four stompboxes in a preset. Holding down footswitches 3 and 4 changes from one mode to the other. You can also use the footswitches for tap tempo, to call up AmpliTube’s Tuner and to engage and operate its Looper. Besides wah and volume duties, the treadle can be assigned to various parameters as can up to two additional external pedals or switches.
It may seem a bit of an oddity, but IK Multimedia seems to have got it right by providing an upgradeable unit, with a balanced set of features that allow a range of uses. Coupled with your iOS device, the iRig Stomp I/O becomes a handy self-contained package for practice with headphones - but also provides the practical means to use AmpliTube on stage with the minimum of fuss for anyone who chooses that route.