In the end, if I really wanted to pursue this, I ended up having to just buy everything. I knew BIAS at least sounds good, workflow and features lack not withstanding, so I bought all their bundles, I also grabbed Ampkit, but I kept running into mentions of Tonestack.
To break down what I really expected of the software, lets see:
#1: All the basic FX: Amp, dynamics, wah, EQ, time based FX, LFO’s, speaker cabinets,pitch shifters and harmonizers (not asking for the moon, this is all easily doable on computers not as powerful as an iPhone 5)
#2 The ability to control all these tones with MIDI
#3 Sensible routing and utilities: Tuners, MIDI map editors, CC editors, mixers and splitters, level controls, preset management, and I/O functions for dealing with the outside world
If I wanted to be a real stickler for #1, as far as I know, the only possible choice is Tonestack. Thankfully, their developer let me know what was in each bundle, but I ended up buying all the bundles anyway…Lots of goodies in there!
Not being initially too thrilled with the actual amp and especially speaker models in Tonestack, I kept loading up the different BIAS apps for basic tones. I was often rewarded with good sounding amps, and kind of bummed about the lack of FX. What was really unnerving was the insane feedback and noise I would get from some of the higher gain amps in all of the available apps. I would soon learn this is just a side effect of using the headphone jack as the I/O port. (Yeah, you vets were waiting for me to get to that part and were probably laughing the whole way through)
I have to say right here, that, in terms of features and included FX, Tonestack is very much closer to what I expected Amplitube iOS to be.
Upon being able to get borderline acceptable basic tones in all of the apps, I moved onto #2, control
What would surely be a basic starting point is a clean sound and a distorted sound. So In each app I made a clean preset and a dirty preset. No problem. Time to fire up the Blueboard and test it out! The Blueboard app seemed pretty simple to use, and it ended up connecting to each guitar app no problem.
So first, Amplitube. I figure, this is the app the Blueboard is made for, so lets see what it can do….Play some clean chords and hit the switch to the dirty sound…and BONK! Some weird noise burst and then wait….and wait….and wait…and yeah, finally, a few measures worth of time later, there’s the dirty sound. Hmmm…well, no problem I figured, probably just had to load both sounds into memory or something, so I hit the switch to jump back to clean. BONK! There’s the burst again…and wait….and wait….and wait…and finally, back to the clean sound. Ok so *in song* preset switching was not going to work in Amplitube. Let’s try the others