My iOS Guitar Journey

Line6 has the Sonic Port, which looked best of all to me, no gain controls, and a truly stereo 1/4″ out on TRS, plus the stereo headphone jacks. Hopefully Line6 will send me one to try out. I did read a lot of forum posts that its output was too quiet, and though I don’t like the fiddly nature of the input gain controls on some of these devices, it does seem a bit scary not to have one at all.

After that we see a lot of dual use interfaces from the real deal manufacturers like Focusrite and Presonus. They seemed to be able to do both lightning and USB, including actual ASIO drivers. They also have real inputs and outputs and reliable gain controls…However, they need power, so maybe not as convenient. In all likelihood, I may once this experiment is over, get away from the iDevices and stick one of these last family of interfaces on a laptop, running software that I have no issues running at all (though really, I LOVE the way Tonestack handles the wah, and not 100% positive I can duplicate that in VST) and likely run SWS’s Live Configs with REAPER as the actual host.

If there are other interfaces anyone thinks I should know about, please let me know!

On the subject of outputs, as mentioned before, a guitar amp (unless it has a full range speaker input) is going to want the cabinet emulation off and a PA system is going to want the cabinet emulation on. Again, target market caveat. This didn’t at all seem to be on the forefront of developers’ minds in the interfaces or the apps and it needs dealing with. I’m not sure how you would actually do this in Amplitube iOS or Jamup. There are some workarounds I found in BIAS FX and Tonestack.

In BIAS FX, set a dual amp path, and open one of the amps in BIAS Amp, remove the speaker cabinet from it and send it back to BIAS FX. Again, documentation…ugh. Doing it the way it says in the Positive Grid instructions will not work, don’t hit the “Back to Bias FX” button in Bias amp! Click the icon on the right side of the screen instead that either looks like a pedal or will have the Bias FX icon. Unfortunately, this will cost you your in-preset ability to switch to a totally clean sound. This needs to be adressed, or maybe I’m not thinking hard enough.

In Tonestack, you can use the ABY utility to pan one side through a speaker and the other away from it, and using it in Y mode. Unfortunately, I cant think of a way to do this and not lose the in-preset switching capability. I would really really really love to see more splitting and mixing utilities in these apps.

For the time being, I guess I’ll have to stick with amps with full range speaker inputs, or those with a cab emulator output that is fed after the FX loop return…Lots of room for improvement here.

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