Ik Multimedia is undeniably one of the leading companies of the 21st century for guitar and bass amplifier emulation, in the digital world. Founded in Italy (Modena) in 1996 with goals to help musicians, producers and songwriters, IK Multimedia has been providing hardware and software for home and studio recording. In 1998 they released their first product, the Groove Maker, which was a loop-remixing package. In 1999 they released T-racks, which is an analog desktop mastering interface. With the release of Amplitube 1 in 2002, they started growing and expanding. 3 years after that, because of fierce competition from companies such as Line6, Native Instruments and others, they released Amplitube 2, one of the most powerful and accurate amp modelling software packages at the time. That was its kick off point of the company to the digital music world. After the huge success of Amplitube 2, IK started releasing different high-end guitar and bass emulating software, including Amplitube Live 2, Amplitube Jimi Hendrix, Amplitube Metal, Ampeg SVX and Amplitube Fender. With all these products, they became very well known to guitarists who wanted to record at home and have a great sound, without having to spend thousands of £’s. With almost one-and-a-half decades of experience in sampling and emulating, IK were improving rapidly. IK have since brought out their new magical tool for the recording/performing guitarist, Amplitube 3.
Amplitube 3 is the most complete, most flexible and most powerful version of the Amplitube family. Many new features have been added and you are now able to work up to a 96 KHz sampling rate.
Integrated with 160 pieces of equipment and gear, both vintage and modern, it makes it possible to recreate any sound ever made. Breaking it down into sections, we have a huge collection of: pre-amplifiers, power amp-models, cabinets, microphones, stomp boxes, rack effect units, a noise gate, input volume, output volume and another innovation, a 4 track recorder/player, the speed trainer (Standalone mode). Another great thing about this software is that it can be used for live performance as well, if you have the out-board gear (Stealth Pedal, Stomp IO). You can also address parameters of a pedal using MIDI to any MIDI controller device with the “learn” message. As for the interface, if you do not own a soundcard, there is still a solution for you! The StealthPlug. With the StealthPlug, you are able to connect your guitar to your PC via the device’s ¼" jack socket, which converts the signal and sends your sampled guitar sound, out via USB. Amplitube 3 is fully compatible and can be a sound library for the presets of any other versions of amplitube (Jimi Hendrix, Amplitube Metal, Amplitube 1, 2, Live, Amplitube Fender) and Ampeg SVX, which is a dedicated bass sound interface. Let’s step into the Amplitube 3 world.
Amplitube 3’s interface looks slightly different to and better than Amplitube 2. There are the same root signal options (8 in total) but with a few new features where you can have a stereo signal going in, L+R in mono mode, or L and R in stereo routing. This is great if you want to use 2 completely different rigs, or you have a guitar with 2 outputs. The preset folder menu looks great, as you can now see any available preset on a board layout. The speed trainer is based on the bottom of the interface (where as in 2 it was on the top) and it features a 4-track importer/audio recorder. A new feature is the quality buttons that give you 3 options, Hi, Mid and Eco. So depending on the power of your PC/Mac, it can easily adapt to it without overbuffering. On the metronome, we also have a tap-tempo button. A Depth button is added at the noise gate section as well as Phase & Mix buttons in the selected module section. A MIDI button is added for assigning effect controls to external MIDI hardware. Overall the new interface is friendly and a lot more flexible than the previous versions.
Amplitube 3 is equipped with 31 pre-amp and 12 power amp models. In the pre-amp selection we can find all-time favourites such as Fender, Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Vox, Orange, Peavey and some modern ones like Randall, THD and some IK multimedia custom models .The emulation of all the models has been done very precisely. In the power-amp section we have a great range of Class A and B amps that are based, again in the most popular industry amps including again Fender, Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Vox and Peavey. A great thing is that you can combine any pre-amplifier with any power amplifier, choose the type of Valves you want to use and root the signal, either in mono or stereo mode to 2 different amp setups at the same time to introduce fatter sound or stereo effect patterns.
CABS & MICROPHONES
In the cabinet section we have a massive range of 38 cabinets starting from a 1x10” speaker to a load of 4x12’s, plus two 2x15’s” from vintage traditional cabinets to modern ones. In addition we also have 6 bass cabinets and 2 rotary speakers. In the cabinet section we have the option to use up to 2 different mics simultaneously, blending options, panning, distance, room size, on or off-axis and master output. We also have 12 microphones, which are the industry’s most popular ones, including dynamic, condenser and ribbon microphones. This variety gives us great flexibility and will help us to achieve the exact sound we’re looking for.
One of the most impressive sides of amplitube 3 is the big range of stompboxes. There are 51 stompboxes. The menu includes overdrive pedals, distortion pedals, delays, compressors, EQs, filters, fuzz pedals, modulation pedals, pitch pedals, volume, step slicer and swell pedals. By simulating pedals such as Boss, Pro co Rat, Marshall, MXR, VOX, Ibanez and many more, you get just a step closer to perfecting your sound by adding a little bit of more gain for your solos, or distorting a clean amp for a crunchy sound, making special effects with delay, chorus, pitch shifters, phasers and adding flanger to a metal riff. You can use 6 pedals in the front of each amp, so if you are using a 2 amp setup you get up to 12 pedals simultaneously. Everything is refined down to the finest detail and it sounds more real than ever before.
What would an 80’s guitarist be without his wall of rack units? The IK guys didn’t miss a thing. There are 2 independent rack models, featuring 4 stereo rack units each and can be combined in order to get 8 in total. There is a selection of 17 racks featuring delays, tap delays, reverbs, modulation, filters, graphic eq, parametric eq, tube compressor, pitch shifter, harmonist, step slicer, tuner and stereo enhancer.
SPEED TRAINER & 4 TRACK AUDIO RECORDER/PLAYER
How many times have you tried to transcribe that really fast passage and it’s just impossible to get it right before chewing the tape and making it go out of pitch or getting angry and throwing the CD out the window? In the speed trainer we can record or import audio to up to 4 tracks. The tracks feature controls such as solo and muting buttons, pitch change, tempo, volume and panning in order to slow down tracks, change key or listen to the left guitar or right channel in the background. It also includes a metronome for practicing and loop controls in order to loop a specific section.
Amplitube 3 is the most powerful weapon for the home/studio recording and performing guitarists. At a price of £270 you can have in-a-box, everything you ever dreamt of. A stacks of tones and combinations at your fingertips. It works as a standalone and as a plugin (VST, AU, and RTAS) software and Operating Systems (Win/OSX). Anybody already using other Amplitube versions should go and check out Amplitube 3. The upgrade from the older versions is cheap and if you haven’t tried or heard of Amplitube 3, you need to experience it now!
- Big Rhythm 800 (Blues-Rock)
- Brittish Copper 30TB + Compressor
- Clean Chorus 120 (Jazz)
- Marshall 800 (Custom Preset)
- Funk Flanger (Funk)
- Two Rects 2 (Metal)
Feel free to leave comments or opinions and I’ll try to answer any questions you may have. See you next time.