I’ll admit it, I loved my bog-standard, lug in the earphone socket Irig. It was cheap and, if you ignored the noise, the whistles and the clicks, it sounded good. Using this with my Jamup, Bias and Ampkit, I found myself using my old amps less and less.
But I wanted more, more! So yesterday my Sonoma Guitarjack arrived, hot from Paris (hello Woodbrass!). First impressions were, coool! The packaging was crisp and elegant and not onlike an Apple product. Opening it up revealed an object of singular beauty. The smoky chrome finish, the laser etching, the reassuring weight of it in your hand, it is – quite apart from everything else – a beautiful and desirable object and Sonoma deserve praise in commiting themselves to the investment this design must have taken. It is also made in the US, which, for me, does add to the mojo.
The Guitarjack has it’s own app, Guitartone, with a dozen or so classic amps and a dozen effects. To be brutal, the modeling is quite basic and it certainly presents no competition to the likes of Jamup or Tonestack. But the app does allow you to tweak the level of input volume and once you do that, it sets itelf for any other app you chose.
I turned on Jamup. Hang on though, it must be broken, it’s silent, so quiet, no hiss, no noise at all…… until i strum a D, and then the gates of hell open. The purity of the signal, and it’s quietness, is staggering after an Irig. The quality is so superior. The quality of the signal is so improved it is ruthless at exposing the quality of the base signal. An Epiphone LP 2 sounded quite flat but a Baja Tele……well, a Baja Tele through this is one of the finest experiences I’ve had with headphones on.
It also stretches the app you use as well, Jamup sounds great, Bias is vastly improved (as is Tonestack), Amplitube sounds very one-dimensional in comparison. Ampkit though, a package i’ve never liked, is transformed by the Guitarjack. The huge amount of headroom Guitarjack has drives the Ampkit in a way I’ve never heard before, and distorted tones are awesome, heavy as hell but with divine note seperation and clarity.
It is not flawless. The unit is designed so that a cable twitch will pull it away from your Iphone – Sonoma regard thsi as a safety feature. What this means is that you even look at it wrong, the interface will pull away, breaking the signal. A male-female 30-pin converter solves the problem so do not regard this as deal breaker.
So it’s beautifully made, lovely to look at, sounds epic and will make you and your playing sound so much better. Most apps love it and after using it, that old headphone connection is just not acceptable any more.
At full price, it’s not cheap, but it’s an investment that your playing will appreciate. A little masterpiece.