Amped Review: Digitech iPB-10 iPad Driven Pedalboard

Very pretty to look at.. and the sound?      27/10/11

No flash plug


   QuickTime (MP4)  | iOS MP4
7:32 mins

 


At Musik Messe this year, Digitech unveiled the iPB-10; an iPad programmable pedal board.
This was not a silly move by any stretch of the imagination, the legion of iPad-bearing musicians is ever increasing, and there are a number of companies inventing apps to help you read music, process your guitar sounds, and even process your vocal sounds. With decent sequencing and recording software available for iOS, it now looks as if the iPad is catching up with the humble laptop (remember when they were cool?) in terms of convenience and audio processing.
 
When I first plugged in to the iPB-10, I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. I love the idea of it, the fact that you can spend all day tweaking your sounds and building preset banks for gigs is a guitarist’s idea of heaven. It also has a recording interface, which means you can plug into your computer via USB and record your riffs into your favourite DAW.

The first thing I did was to scroll through the banks like a kid at Christmas. It’s nice to sound like Satriani (in terms of tone, not playing) one minute, and then Hendrix the next minute. We all do it! But then you scratch beneath the surface and realise that Digitech have literally modelled all of your favourite amplifiers, cabs, and effects pedals. You realise that the model of the Tube Screamer reacts in a very similar way to your actual tube screamer when you change the tone setting.
It’s hard to drag yourself away from it once you’ve started, in very much the same way that a great video game will make you never ever want to leave your seat ever again… ever.

The only fault I can pick with the general ‘tone’ of the DSP is the crunchy distortion sounds. Crunch is hard to model with digital distortion, as nothing really ever comes close to the sound of 4 pre-amp tubes beginning to overload ever so slightly as you increase the dynamics of your playing. The heavier sounds were brilliant though, and this is probably down to the distinct lack of need for mid harmonics in heavier distortion sounds.

I much prefer the DSP and interface on the iPB-10 to almost any other similar unit, my only single issue is with the price.

It’s obvious that Digitech have to make some money. They are aware that once you factor in the cost of an iPad then this setup becomes expensive, but what are they supposed to do? Decrease their profit margins whilst Apple maintains theirs?

I think the answer is that this only makes economic sense if you already own an iPad. Sweetwater offer a bundle (iPB-10 and iPad 2) for just under $1000, perhaps if you could find a cheap bundle, then the iPB-10 would be a good purchase!

Features:
  • Drag and drop pedalboard design
  • Arrange pedals in any order
  • Touch screen control
  • 87 pedals
  • 54 amps
  • 26 cabinets
  • Drag and drop footswitch assignment
  • Real-time view of pedal settings with direct access to pedal control
  • Up to 10 pedals, 1 amp, and 1 cabinet can be added to a setup
  • Unique setup assignable to each preset
  • Infinite number of presets, 100 footswitch accessible
  • Store, organize, and rate presets using My Tones library
  • Compatible with iPad2 and iPad
Pricing £499 /$749.95

 

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