AmpliTube Max is the maxed out version of IKMultimedia’s AmpliTube software which is designed as a stand alone programme or DAW plugin for Mac and PC. (There is a iOS version of AmpliTube available but it’s very much a separate piece of software compared to the PC version).
This review will focus on my experience of using it as a Mac user and if you watch my video review you’ll also see and hear some of it in action.
Amplitube Max costs around £470 usually but is currently on offer for £216 and so is by no means cheap however for the 300 pieces of gear you get (including some BIG names) it’s actually a really good price with the offer.
For your money you get.
- 88 stompbox models
- 80 amplifiers
- 92 cabinets
- 29 vintage and modern speaker models
- 19 microphones
- 24 rack effects
- 2 tuners
The software also has a built in recorder and looper which I’ll touch upon briefly.
On initial inspection the interface looks pretty complicated and to start with it is however after a while it all makes sense and is really quite intuitive.
The centre area (where you currently see an amp) changes depending on what you’re editing…so you see the racks, stomp pedals, recorder and all sorts here. The left hand side shows either the looper or recorder. The bottom has some extra controls (such as volume, record, tempo etc.) and the top has links to a preset browser and a few more things.
The preset browser is a great place to start as it gives you a feel for all the sounds built in and is a great place to search for a type of sound.
So let’s talk about some of the gear
Amps and Cabs
A good starting point is to choose your amp and cab (and you can choose these separately).
The amps include some big names such as the Fender Bassman 300 and the Orange Tiny Terror plus some Fender and Mesa Boogie models. These amps have all the controls the real thing would have and look and feel just like the real thing…I absolutely love the visual nature of this app throughout.
Once you’ve picked an amp you can move onto a cab.
The software will suggest a cab to match but you can choose from all the other available cabs too…then…if you want…customise the internal speakers in those cabs, choose one of two microphone types and move those microphones around, pick the room your recording in (and the ambient mics in that room) and then mix it all together…you could spend hours and hours just playing with cabs…it’s awesome!
Pedals, Racks and Inserts
When it comes to stomp boxes you can add up to six on each pedalboard and there are loads to choose from including some big names like the Fender ’63 Reverb or a Slash WahDist plus all the sorts of pedal you’d expect such as distortion, reverb, delay, was and loads more!
Like the amps you can customise all of these and twist dials and knobs until you get the sound you’re looking for.
Inserts can then be added between your rack and cabinet and include things like echo, compressors, reverb and pitch shift.
Then you have racks which come after the cab. Racks A and B allow you to add up to 8 such as delay, compressors, EQ’s and more!
Of course, the racks and inserts are all customisable too!
Finally there’s a couple of tuners!
There’s a normal tuner and an ultra tuner (which lets you do things like adjusting transposition). You can see the tuner in action and choose to mute or hear the audio.
Of course once you’ve set up your perfect guitar sound (and probably spend an afternoon doing it) you can save it and come back to it another time!
Next, let’s talk about the recorder and looper.
These features are very much secondary features and so I’m only going to briefly touch on these.
The recorder is an 8 track looper that let’s you easily record guitar, change the effects after recording and is a good way to get down some ideas.
The looper is a 4-track looper with an auto mode and is activated by the space bar or by clicking in the software. This is great for jamming!
You can save and export your recordings!
The DAW Plugin
Finally, the most exciting part of AmpliTube for me…the ability to use it within your usual recording software.
The plugin works with any compatible Mac or Windows DAW native compatible 64 bit applications…for me that’s Logic Pro X.
Loading the plugin to Logic is easy and it’s simply an audio FX on your recording channel and the plugin view is the same as the software (minus the recorder and looper). You can even access all the presets you created in the stand alone app.
Of course, once you’ve recorded some guitar or bass you can tweak the effects applied again!
For me, this is where the software comes to life because I can have the incredible sounds from AmpliTube Max with the power of my recording software.
So…what’s the verdict?
Let me answer that with 4 key questions and my answers…
Is it any good? – Absolutely! – IKMultimedia are brilliant at creating authentic sounding digital effects that cost a fraction of the real equipment. Companies like Fender and Orange wouldn’t be putting their name to something that didn’t have a high quality about it. AmpliTube puts high quality amps, cabs and effects in your hands and I’ve been blown away by just how customisable this software is.
Does it sound any good? – YES! – Not much more to add, it sounds incredible!
Is it worth the cost? – That’s a difficult question to answer because it isn’t cheap but if you’re likely to use it when recording guitar and bass (or even live) then the answer is probably yes…and whilst it’s by no means cheap it’s probably the same amount you’d spend on just one amp and a few effects.
Are there any downsides? – For me the main downside is that there isn’t a live mode like the iOS app has which means it doesn’t work as well with the iRig Stomp I/O as it could and you can’t transfer purchased content between iOS and Mac/PC versions.
I hope you’ve found this review helpful…if you want to hear some of the plugin in action then check out my video review.