By Chris Scott Barr
My life is generally pretty hectic between class, work and all the things in between and I sometimes like to take the stress volume down a notch or two with my trusty Les Paul Custom. The problem is it’s generally 3am or later by the time I have a chance to sit down and do such a thing, so cranking up a Marshall full-stack to 11 is not an option. That’s why when Peavey’s AmpKit LiNK, a portable electric guitar interface for the iPhone, came across our desks a few weeks ago I was immediately interested (and by interested I mean I went running around the office with a replica Highlander sword shouting “There can be only one… reviewer.”).
The AmpKit experience begins with the free AmpKit app (or it’s feature packed paid version AmpKit+) from the iTunes App Store. The application itself is very sleek, the primary interface is a virtual view of the amp head/cabinet, microphone and effects that you currently have set, giving you a good overview of all your settings. The interface also provides a number of preset configurations, a metronome and tuner, and an interface for recording clips and transferring them wirelessly to your PC or Mac.
The second piece of the AmpKit experience is the AmpKit LiNK device. Just plug the device into the headphone jack on your iPhone and then plug in your guitar (via standard guitar cable) and a set of headphones into the AmpKit LiNK. Next, select one of the presets from the AmpKit app and you’re ready to go. You can also use a standard 1/8in stereo cable to hook the device into your PC or Mac, a feature I found particularly useful for recording tracks in GarageBand. After spending a few days playing with the different amps, mics and effects I have to say I’m impressed by the overall quality of the sounds produced, particularly when considering the cost of the unit.
Which brings me to the final point on this device, with a price point of $39.99 for the hardware, the AmpKit LiNK is an affordable tool for any guitarist with an iPhone. New amps, effects and microphones can be purchased from within the AmpKit app for $4.99, $2.99 and $0.99 respectively which may seem a bit pricey when compared to other downloadable media. However, considering the costs of their real world counterparts and the quality of the sounds they produce, these prices are a bargain.
[ Peavey ]