Amplitube is a pioneering, iconic product. Back in the 90’s they were among the first to experiment with software only amp and effect emulation. They really launched iOS simming back in 2010. And they are the really visible edge of the industry. if there is a guitar in an Apple ad, odds are it’s playing through Amplitube.

Bearing all that in mind, you always wished it was……just better.

Clunky interface, limited effects, no flexibility in routing, a terrible urge to gouge more money out of you every time you used it, and worst of all, it just did not sound very good.

Time had moved on and had not been kind to it. Ampkit quickly came along and sounded so much better, then Jamup raised the bar again. Tonestack give you huge flexibility and steller effects and Bias give you incredible access to astounding sounds.

Amplitube fought back – official Fender and Orange amp packs, Hendrix and Slash endorsements, but it all seemed creaky and old fashioned.

But now they fight back, Amplitube 4 is here with…..”the same amp and effects DSP as the desktop Amplitube 3″….”post amp effects”….”easy to browse amp and effects carousel” (at last!)….and other things too numerous to mention (and mostly followed by the words “In App Purchase”,)

So it all sounds good, but is it a Bias FX killer? Lets plug in my lovely old Ibanez Blazer (stop laughing there, much better than an 80s Strat I’ll have you know). I shall be reviewing the base package with the added amp packs but shall not be looking at the new IAP.

My first visual impression is that everything looks clearer and sharper. The top row of icons leads you to a metronome and a tuner – both strictly meat and potatos but competant. There is also a very easily touched link to the “Ultratuner”, for which IK would like £3.99, thank you very much. I would find that most screens would lead quickly to other IAP and that this would quickly get very irritating.

The next icon leads you to effects. Only 4 effects slots – and one of those would be the noise gate. Access is much clearer now, with a very attractive scrolling page which is a huge improvement. But 4 slots? Really, that is not good enough these days.

Amps work in the same way, with that nice, smooth scrolling selection page. Other than the selection page, the amp image you play with is pretty similar to Amplitube 3 and so is perhaps not the most efficient use of screen space.

Now come speaker selection. The PR has been all about dual mike selection and the ability to move the mikes to simulate a range of rooms. And you can do this. For an extra £7.99. Or £14.99 if you want the extra new mics and the looper as well. If you don’t pay the extra, then you are stuck with one mic in one position.

Now come a new feature, post amp effects. There are only two slots and a limited range of delays and reverbs to go in them. But it is something.

Other than that, things are remarkably similar to the old version – recording looks the same and the online store looks the same and is still charging remarkably  high prices for kit (£19.99 for the recorder and DAW?) There is a new looper that looks amazingly like Loopy HD but that is the only really obvious new toy involved – and of course it costs extra.

So some cosmetic tweaks, even more in your face IAP touting, and that appears to be that. But we don’t care about that do we! It’s all about the sound. IK say that every amp and FX has been remodelled with the desktop Amplitube  DSP so I’m hoping for massivley improved fidelity. Did I find it? I’ll tell you here tomorrow…..

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