Top navigation

REVIEW: IK Multimedia's AmpliTube 4

REVIEW: IK Multimedia's AmpliTube 4

Not that many years ago, if you were a home studio-based musician and you wanted to record an authentic sounding guitar part for a track, there were a couple of things that you needed.

Firstly, a computer with enough processing power to handle the audio, something akin to a machine straight from NASA HQ. Secondly, very understanding neighbours. And perhaps most importantly, a decent guitar amp/mic setup in which to record the tone.

Back in the dark days before the digital revolution, there just wasn’t a way to practically record guitar without it costing a fair amount of cash and lots of frustration/slamming head on desk moments.

Until that is, the invention of Line 6’s POD, which was something of a revelation when it came to recording guitars. All of a sudden, musicians had an array of amp tones and effects that sounded reasonably authentic (well, sort of). Since then, the software revolution has continued and if you’re a musician that records at home or in a studio, chances are you’ll have heard of AmpliTube from leading Italian music technology company, IK Multimedia.
Article continues below

Advertisement

AmpliTube has been giving guitarists an edge in the studio since 2002. The newest version, AmpliTube 4, continues to build on the success of previous incarnations and was launched at the end of 2015.

First off, it looks great, although the layout can be a bit daunting initially, but by plugging in a guitar and messing around for a couple of hours you soon get an idea of how the amps/effects and cab models work with each other.

Important to note, AmpliTube 4 works as both a standalone program or a plugin, which is great if you’re looking for an amp simulator to noodle away on without having to go through your full studio setup, too.

The software can be broken down into seven various elements: classic British amps, of which there are five models (Brit 8000, Brit 9000, Red Pig, Brit Silver, Brit Valve Pre), five cabinets (4x12 Brit 8000, 4x12 Brit 9000, 4x12 Red Pig, 4x12 Brit Silver, 4x12 Brit 30), a specific ‘cab’ room with a choice of 29 custom speaker selections, and six various rooms to select from, Ultratuner, Acoustic Simulator, Microphones and the standalone eight track Recorder/DAW/Looper.

There are also a ton of other amps, cabs and effects that can be purchased through the Custom Shop setting within the software, which is a great idea, but also a bit annoying as certain presets don’t include amps/effects/cabs and miss them out of the chain completely, which I’m guessing is to entice the user to buy the add-ons. That said, you can get around this by creating your own chain of amp/cab and effect, and this is where AmpliTube really shines.

Every amp tone really is incredible, and by adjusting the mics to the cabinet, and even changing individual speakers within each cabinet, an impressive range of sounds can be created, helped by being able to visually see and hear the change in tone within the interface.

The cab section allows the user to select from six different recording rooms, each with their own particular sound; Big Live, Booth, Garage, Studio Studio B and Venue, with Dynamic and capacitor microphone options available against each cabinet (two mics in total). The microphone models can also be upgraded to many other variants through the Custom Shop setting, which is a nice touch.

Each microphone can be moved around the room for further tone enhancement, and mixed through a smart mixer within the interface.

The tuner is also an excellent addition, very easy to work with and delivers tuning accuracy to 1/100th of a cent, helped by a flashing line across the interface that’s very effective and helps you get your instrument of choice right on the money.

The Acoustic Simulator works in the same way as you would expect a stomp box simulator to behave, taking the highs and lows of an electric guitar signal and making them more rounded and ‘acoustic’ sounding. It’s never going to be a substitute for actually recording an acoustic guitar with a decent acoustic microphone, however the simulator creates an interesting tone, and the ability to be able to blend this with the original tone is a nice addition.

The Recorder and Looper function offers an eight-track DAW, enough for musicians to catch ideas ‘on the fly’ or loop ideas back to practice other melodic ideas across. A nice touch here is that the original recordings can be played back in different speeds, allowing you to practice new riffs, etc.

AmpliTube 4 wins against its competitors with the sheer versatility that the software has to offer, with the cabinet section especially adding to the authenticity of tones available. From jazzy clean to full-on dirty rock and metal, AmpliTube 4 offers it all, and a bit more besides.

AmpliTube 4 is available now from IK Multimedia with an RRP of €179.99. Find out more at http://www.ikmultimedia.com

Tags: ik multimedia , amplitube , Software , Reviews , Amplitube 4

Follow us on