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Offering a more portable alternative to an analogue pedalboard, IK Multimedia’s iRig Stomp I/O is jam-packed with clever features. The ability to run all your pedals from an iOS device is something the space-conscious will appreciate. The controls are well-designed, doing a good job simulating a digital version of the knob-twiddling that pedal-heads crave.
The Stomp offers plentiful connections round the back, with balanced stereo output, MIDI Ins and Outs, and a ¼” headphone connection, as well as ¼” connector for guitar or phantom-powered mic. There’s also the option to connect extra foot switches, making the iRig an incredibly versatile hardware controller and audio interface.
Amplitube is well-known in the amp simulation/guitar plugin market, and their software has been growing in reputation for many years. Amp modeling is based on famous gear by Fender and Orange, with IK’s own models standing in as simulations. Cab models are in 3D with excellent fidelity, with options to adjust mic placement and blending. The quality of the official amp modeling is excellent, but some users may baulk at having to purchase official amps in the app.
Unfortunately, a lot of the effect options are also limited by in-app purchases. The included effects range from compressors to delays, but often only one of each type, with limited controls. Strange omissions from the stock collection include a reverb pedal, and an acoustic simulator (which are available as in-app purchases). There’s not too much room for experimentation with a limited choice of pedals at your disposal. If you don’t mind paying a little extra, there are custom tones from the likes of Brian May and Joe Satriani available also. For those with simpler tastes, they’ll find excellent quality pedals more concerned with tonal quality rather than variety.
The Stomp is built like a tank, with a rugged metal construction that is clearly built to take a beating on the road. It’s still a lot lighter than an average analogue pedal board, but the sturdy frame of the unit means that the pedal switches are built to last. The expression pedal is stiff and heavy, and will probably need some playing in, but seems well-integrated into the unit. The only chink in Stomp’s armour is the connectors on the back (DC power, USB, and Lightning). They aren’t the tightest and don’t seem secure enough to go the distance on the road. Those who want to take the Stomp travelling may need to consider spare cables.
In its price range, the Stomp offers excellent value for money with its sturdy and well-built frame and copious connection options. IK claims its bundled software is worth up to $800, as there is a wide range of bonus content to consider. From Amplitube to Ableton, as well as the T-RackS VSTs, there is a wide range of software that greatly expands upon the value of the unit itself.
The iRig is advertised as being made for iOS devices, and ‘compatible’ with Windows. I tested it on an iPhone 6 and Windows laptop. The iPhone performed excellently, with no noticeable lag, and an easy setup. If I had a choice of iOS devices, an iPad’s larger screen would be preferable, but the iPhone can do the job if screen size isn’t a concern. Windows drivers did not work on either my PC or laptop, so mileage may vary, and its probably best to use the iRig as originally intended - on iOS devices.
With a wide range of features, a pretty solid construction, and a reasonable price-tag, the Stomp fills a unique niche. If you’re using an iOS device, looking for a portable alternative to a conventional pedalboard, the Stomp offers a fresh approach. Though its range of effects and amp simulations is slightly lessened by the in-app paywalls, there’s still enough here to experiment with. The well-designed looper function, and the ability to send MIDI signals to your DAW and use the unit to control MIDI devices add further appeal. If you value quality tone, great amp simulation, and having a flexible, robust pedal unit with great connectivity, the Stomp will be an essential addition to your gig bag.
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