1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Amplitube, Ampkit and GK amp: A kind of a review!

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Duke21, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    Hello there. While there is a hot debate regarding the Tube VS Solid State amps (as usual!) I thought about writing a little review about the Amplitube, Ampkit and GK software for iPhone/ iPod Touch/ iPad.
    I own and use all the 3 programs, and I use the paid versions.

    A few words about this kind of software. Many consider these applications as “garbage”, “waste of time”, “useless” etc.
    Form what I can say, these applications are simply revolutionary and amazing. Yes yes, they will never replace a SVT CL all tube head standing on a 8x10 cab or a nice SS amp such as the GK RB700ii pushing a 4x10 cab. But these apps never intended to do that.

    These apps are intended to be used when one must use headphones or when one have no access to an amp or a bass combo.
    I've at home an Ibanez 20w bass combo, a sansamp PBDR, a sansamp Oxford pedal, an EBS multicomp, Bad Monkey, zoom 506 (used as tuner) and a Grombass fuzz/ distortion pedal. I also have a Line6 Bass Pod XT pro.
    But even the 20w combo is too load sometimes for practicing home. Furthermore it is nice to have a “pocket-amp” to use while I'm traveling, playing in the hotel room, train etc.

    As I had a iPod Touch from before I decided to buy the Amplitube and later the Ampkit (pluss the iRig interface) as these apps are ridiculously cheap.
    I found these apps great for use from the first time. My Vox ampplug did not match the sound or the other options these apps had.
    Now, as my iPod is a 2gen one (rather slow CPU) I had some issues to use the built-inn play-along options both apps had. There also some gain issues/ noise, but still, I thought that the concept was promising. The sound of the SVT amp in the Amplitube was almost as good as the SVT in the Line6, but the interface was way better.

    Later I bought an iPad, and man, these apps with the iPad rocks. Larger screen, more CPU power etc resulted to very good performance, good sound with very little noise. I also bought the Fender Pack for Amplitube which is really nice. I also have almost all the effect boxes in both Ampkit and Amplitube. In Ampkit I also bought the Bassman amp module.
    Now I also bought the GK amp app.

    All apps work far better on the iPad then on the iPod gen2 even though all apps and specially Amplitube came with updates that resolved lots of issues on the iPod gen2. Less noise and better performance in generally. One can use the play along without any hick-ups.

    Here are my remarks for the apps (with focus on the performance on iPad):

    Amplitube: The overall best app. Great GUI and lots of modules for bass. I love the SVT amp paired with the 15” cab or the 4x12B cab. Also the Vox AC30 with 2x12”, 15” or 4x12B cab is great for more over-driven British tone. The Bassman 59 is also nice, paired with the limiter and the 4x10” cab one can have decent clean headroom or vintage dirty tone. Paired with my CV P and old rounds... vintage indeed.
    The Marshall guitar amp paired with the 1x15” cab and the Fender comp can give some nice dirty tone ala Cream and Jack Bruce. If one wants the Geddy or the Squire tone, well, the SVT with with the Tube Screamer or the Distortion box will come close.
    The Ampitube have a very good recorder: 8 tracks, with pre and post processing.
    The play along is good, BUT, one have to import the song into the program, directly form the iPod library. The file will be converted to a wave file, so in some way “waste of space”. But here you can play the song faster or slower. Really great for learning a song.

    Amplitube is going to come with GK and Orange modules in the future!!!! Can't wait!

    Ampkit: Almost as complete as the Amplitube, but the recorder is only one track, the play along have only start and stop, you can not stop in the middle of the song and start again. The file is played directly form the iPod library, thus not converted to wave. The Ampkit have som nice drum tracks to practice with. Overall, not as good as Amplitube for bass. But still nice software.

    GK: A simple amp simulation. I like it. It looks like a GK, sound like a GK. The software is “light” as there are no tuner, additional effect boxes or recording possibilities. The Play along is good. File played directly without importing/ converting to wave. One can stop in the middle and continue. But you can not play the song faster/ slower. The GK app is CHEAP!

    So, from my experience: If you want the overall app buy the Amplitube. It does ALL.
    If you want just an amp modulation with play along capabilities the GK is the answer. The GK lack a tuner, it should have this function!!!
  2. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Since GK is now in Amplitube, I wonder about the future of GK Amp app?

    I'd have to say though that iPod/iPad (or Similar) are the future of pre-amps.
    Along with small form factor PC's.
    And yes they will leave the old gear in the dust as they can do so much more than just emulate. They can do new sounds for new artists. Technology marches on.
  3. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    Maybe, I can't see the iPad replacing a SVT or even my sansamp PBDI in live gigs, yet. The apps are not as stable as a hardware amp or a preamp.
  4. F-Clef-Jef


    Nov 13, 2006
    Neenah, WI
    Do you think it would be possible to use Amplitube on an iPad live? Or still too much latency? I use a Pod xtLive at the moment, but I remember having an Amplitube demo a while back (on PC) and really liking the SVT models. I couldn't get the latency low enough to use it "live" though.
    Does having the Amplitube footpedal board work better?
  5. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    No latency which I can notice! I like the Amplitube iPad better then my line6 xt pro!!
    The Amplitube for pc will depend a LOT on the sound card, and most sound cards are crap for live playing.
    I'm gonig to try the iPad with Amplitube live through PA soon :)
  6. pbass888

    pbass888 Supporting Member

    Jul 8, 2009
    New York, NY
    I find all of these are noisy on my iphone for practice even after messing with the controls. Is that everyones experience? I tried the free versions that the op mentioned. Perhaps the paid version is the nice tone that the op was talking about... mine sounds like an old jazz record from the 1920's... lots of skips and pops and bass sounds dirty and pretty lame.
    I had good sound experiences with the vox amplug but I found it was rather flimsy.
    Any suggestions? Thank you for the review
  7. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    If the free version is noisy for you then so will the paid version. Same engine.
    Get hold of their support.
    Do you have the IK interface or just using the iPod input. You have some level matching. i.e. maybe Turn the bass up more, the Amplitube down.
    Make sure other things aren't running that are eating up CPU - hey just like a PC/Mac user would.
  8. rockin982


    Jan 27, 2004
    NJ, USA
    I don't know what I was doing wrong, but I bought the ampkit link and tried all those programs, and returned it because I couldn't get any useable tone whatsoever without a lot of clipping and distortion, using several different headphones/IEMs. And this was on a 1st gen ipad.

    I ended up getting the Vox Amplug, and while it doesn't sound like a TC Electronic rig, it's 10x better than anything I ever managed from the iPad. And I REALLY wanted to like the app. What could I have been screwing up so badly?
  9. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654 Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    Gk is not on Ampitube as of yet at least not on my version.
  10. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    In the custom shop.
    Official GK, Official Ampeg of course,
    360 preamp, Green, Fender Bassman, ...
    but there's a million more guitar amps - for some reason.
  11. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    GK is on amplitube 3. They have the 150b combo modeled.

    As far as digital modeling products go, amplitubes have been my favorite, amplitube fender and ampeg svx for bass playing specifically. I've tried guitarrig, line6 basspodpro and basspodxt, and amplitube has them all beat. Most of the sounds and effects on the line6 have to be tweaked a lot to get useful. The guitar rig was so so,, and garage bands amp simulations and effects sound lame and fake in my opinion.
  12. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    I find the iPad to run these apps WAY better than my iPod gen2.
    But while the GK app creates a bit more hiss than Amplitube and Ampkit, it is the app that runs lightest on resources. So I've never experienced any kind of skips and pops on that one.
    When you run the GK app, to have warmest tone with less hiss, turn the Horn almost off, keep the treble maximum on 12 (in the middle). Boost the bass to 3/4, Low mids on 12. Hi Mids under 12 for warm tone, a bit over 12 for more of that GK "bite".
    The G.I.V.E/ boost channel works very good, but cranking the boost way up (to get the GK growl) results more hiss. Keep the boost at around 12 and correct overall volume with the master. Also contour under 12 gives warmer tone/ rounder tone.

    Last thing keep your software updated! Both the OS and the app.

    On iPhone, I'll guess that putting the phone on flight more is the best thing to avoid noises and cracks, just like you will not want to put it on your cab or amp while it is sending signals.
  13. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654 Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    Yea, you are right. I was thinking about the iPhone/iPad versions. I didn't even know there was a desk top version. I just down loaded it and cant figure out how to get to recognize my sound drivers. Can anyone help?
  14. IK Obi

    IK Obi

    Apr 4, 2011
    Thanks! We do try hard and we have more gear models coming soon! :bassist:
  15. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    Would really love to see some less common ampifiers modeled next time, Univox 1011, hi watt and sound city bass amps, gk 2001 based preamp, maybe an alembic preamp, the peavey classic 400...
  16. IK Obi

    IK Obi

    Apr 4, 2011
    Noted! Thanks for the suggestions! :)
  17. Scubapig


    Mar 7, 2008
    Oh mate, totally. I get exactly that. I can't use it any more, it's that bad. Actually makes the bass sound out of tune, it's so muddy and noisy. Seems like only some people get this, though. I'm using an iPod touch 2nd generation. Don't know if that affects it. I get this on all the amp apps too.

    I know for a fact that the paid version is identical. That only enables more features, not better sound quality.
  18. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    Have you updated the iOS software, and the Amplitube? While the Amplitube on my iPod 2gen have more hiss than on my iPad, it was still that good for playing home, it convinced me to buy iPad. Amplitube on iPad is though much better, and I even use it as a preamp right into a power amp.!
  19. 30hrz


    May 13, 2007
    Bought the AmpKit Link for my 3GS and have been trying out the the three amp sims mentioned. The GK app has too much noise/hiss to be useful. With the AmpKit if you use the noise reduction to about 70% you can eliminate the majority of the noise. The noise gate pedal helps a tad as well. Not really liking the AmpKit Bass King amp that much. Sounds a bit thin. It's good enough though, I suppose. I do like the included backing tracks for jamming along. The Amplitube basic bass amp sounds the best (haven't tried the Fender '59 Bassman yet) of what's available and with the noise filter pedal I can eliminate all the noise.

    I don't know to what extent the powered AmpKit Link reduces feedback/noise over the iRig. I can't imagine the noise issue being more pronounced than what I've experienced. Tech 21 should do an amp sim app, that be pretty awesome.
  20. Duke21


    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    Try the Fender Deluxe amp or the Twin you find then both on Ampkit. Cab choise have great impact on the sound as well. I never use the noise gate pedal.

    I find the "bass" amp on Amplitube the king of the emulated on these 2 apps. The "bass" amp is an Ampeg SVT. Run it with the red compressor and the green overdrive pedal or the black distortion and you would be able to get really good overdriven sound, better than the Sansamp BDDI I would say.
    I also like the fender supersonic and the fender Jr. amps on the fender pack.