Getting into any hobby is bound to be expensive. That’s especially true about getting into music: it’s cheap and easy enough to get an acoustic guitar and learn your way around it, but if you want the full experience and go the electric way, you have to make a pretty big investment in equipment, and even worse, once you start with a few pieces of gear, it’s hard to stop looking for more new additions to improve your sound.
That’s where AmpKit comes in. It started off as an iOS app that allowed you to plug in your guitar and gave you access to a lot of cool amps and pedals that would otherwise be really expensive to own. Well, recently AmpKit made its way to the Mac, and today we’re going to take a look at it. Interested?
AmpKit is a pretty complete app that can simulate a number of amps, mics and pedalboards with your plugged in guitar. AmpKit will pretty much work with any input signal it gets, whether its your guitar being directly connected to your audio line-in or through a more complete USB or FireWire audio interface. If you don’t have a guitar around and want to work with the app, AmpKit also provides a few samples that you can loop in order to get the feel of how your amp setup might turn out.
Under the settings you can select the input and output of your preference as well as set their gain and configurate a noise filter. Once you’ve setup your guitar appropiately, you can start jamming out with the many amps that the app has.
AmpKit comes with an impressive number of preset setups, which range from a simple “Rock and Roll” sound to a weirder “Wahmatronix 6000”. If the preset amps don’t cut it for you, you can create your own setups and choose everything from the amp, to the cabinet, pedals, and mics to get the sound you are looking for.
AmpKit puts at your disposal 22 different amps, 28 pedals, 28 cabinets and 8 mics for you to setup in huge number of combinations. You can also of course get into each of your active devices and play around with the settings to increase the gain, volume, effect level, color, depth, speed or whatever your gear lets you adjust.
The AmpKit devs say that each piece of their gear is meticulously modeled after real-life equipment. They even used some well-known brands like Fargen and Peavey to model and name some of their amps, although you might also find a few other fictional brands that resemble well-known amps like Marshalls, Mesa Boogies and Fenders.
As far as pedals go, there’s a little bit of everything around. Some are also modeled after real-life equipment, such as Rocktron, while others resemble pedals of brands like BOSS. In the 28 pedals that AmpKit includes you’ll find some normal ones for wah, distortion, vibrato, chorus, reverb, overdrive, as well as some others for noise filtering, reduction and removal; and everything in between.
Just as well, the variety of cabinets and dynamic and condenser microphones that the app has, can make up for some very interesting combinations in sound, making it much easier for you to find the adequate sound that you’ve had spinning in your head for days.
Tip. If you’d like to check out more of the gear included in the app and the inspiration behind them, you can check out this link.
If you want to record with your setups, AmpKit gives you a number of tools to do so. You can import songs to back you up, and with the help of those backing tracks along with the tuner and metronome included, you have the necessary tools for recording your tunes right inside the app. And if you don’t like how your setup ended up once you are done with it, you can even re-amp it with pretty much zero effort.
When you are happy with your finished work, you can export it “dry” or “wet” to a .wav file. Wet means the recording will be saved with all of the AmpKit effects, while the dry export will save the recording as it is.
AmpKit has truly impressed me. I am by no means a proffessional musician, and I don’t work with fancy and expensive professional tools, but from my experience with lower-end DAWs (and similar) like Garageband, I can say that this app has proven to be very easy to use, fairly cheap and tons of fun to play around with. The sounds that I can achieve with it are beyond surprising, especially since my interface is quite cheap and I could never get the same sound with other similar apps as I did with this one.
For any aspiring musician on a budget, AmpKit gives you access to some of the coolest equipment around for a moderate price.