IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3 for producers and beatmakers

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Let me first clarify some things:

I will be discussing AmpliTube 3 from IK Multimedia. That means this is the 3rd version of the product.

This product was created, in my mind, to give guitarist access to hundreds of their favorite or sought after tones for their guitars and basses.

If you’re not a guitarist, the amps, cabinets, stomp boxes, and fx are the things that give each guitarist or guitar part that distinct sound.

Different tools for different sounds.  What you may also know, if you frequent this site at all, is that I am absolutely NOT a guitarist!

So you may wonder why I’m doing this review.

For years, producers, beatmakers, and other musicians have taken various tools and equipment and used it in situations other than what it was intended for, to get quality, character, and sonic distinction.

Some like grabbing these same guitar stomp boxes to run their drums through, providing more “bite” or “crunch”. Others may like to run their synth through a wah pedal or looper…there really are no rules.

So with that in mind, I want to show, explore, and open your mind to why I think AmpliTube 3 is an absolutely indepenseable tool for producers and beatmakers, and any other type of musician, in addition to guitarist and bass players.

What exactly is AmpliTube 3?

I don’t plan to rehash all the same details you can get from the website, instead I want to give you my own take on what this is.

I never paid attention to AmpliTube before, at all….until I spent some time with the fine IK folks out at 2010 winter NAMM…thanks to Joe Destefano for the demo!

While the features of AmpliTube 3 where being explained to me, I immediately saw the usefulness in the context of beatmaking, production, and general fx processing, and not just for guitar and bass applications.

So do me, when asked “what AmpliTube 3 is” I like to say it’s a huge closet full of amps, speakers, mics, stomp boxes, and fx pedals for your musical abusing pleasures.

Okay, but what is IN AmpliTube?

Okay if you want to get technical there are 51 stompboxes and effects, 31 amp preamp & power sections, 46 speaker cabinets, 15 high end stage and studio mics, and 17 post amp rack effects.

So basically, a lot of stuff! Everything you could imagine using to shape, mold, and mangle your sounds with.

There some special technical terms like VRM (Volumetric Response Modeling) which basically ensures some killer rotating speaker fx, the ability to move the mics around the room in relation to the amps, as well as some ambience and room response things.  This all works together for a more realistic sound.

One thing they noted is that they didn’t just model the tone of the equipment, but they modeled they dynamic response of each piece of gear…so playing through each specific component actually responds the way the real component would…not just sound, not sure exactly what all that means? Just know it works together for a more expressive and realistic experience.

How easy is it to use?

This is where I think AmpliTube 3 really shines, having never used or tried any of the previous versions, I had no idea what to expect.

But I will say it’s very easy to dial in settings. There is a huge collection of presets in this thing, so if you know exactly the type of sound you want, you can go into that category and pull up combinations of speakers, amps, pedals and mics to give you that sound.

Or you can start from scratch and just start adding stuff together….I had fun doing both.  One of the new features is the ability to drag and drop the pedals and fx, I guess you couldn’t do this previously….well, I’m glad I came along now because it allows you to get some very unique tones just by putting the delay AFTER the wah instead of before.

They also updated it to be stereo instead of just mono, which shows they understand that we would like to use this on more than just a guitar or bass.  Allowing it to process stereo signals makes it easier to use it on keys, synths, and other sound which need to retain their stereo imaging yet still benefit from the sweet sexy goodness that AmpliTube 3 can dish out.

So what is the bottom line?

Look, I won’t pretend to know all of the amps, cabinets, and stomp pedal brands they put in here, guitarists and bassist will surely recognize the names. I’m not here to speak on all the technical specs which you can get from going over to the IK website and reading, which I suggest you do. ( http://www.ikmultimedia.com/amplitube/)

I’m here to let you know that if you haven’t paid attention to AmpliTube 3 because you’re not a guitar or bass player, then you’re definitely missing out.  This thing opens endless possibilities for you to quickly and easily create your own sounds and styles.

Maybe you don’t like to tweak synths or create patches from the ground up, but with AmpliTube 3 you can still create a unique sound simply by jacking around with the fx, pedals, mic placement, cabinets, and other settings inside.  Through this on your rhodes patch…and now you don’t have to worry about using the same exact presets as everyone else.

What to take those clean drum sounds and phatten them up? Run them through some of the vintage pedals, heck…throw some crazy distortion on em too and drive it up like you’ve lost your dang mind. The thing is, and for me this is important, the interface of AmpliTube 3 encourages and actually begs for your creativity.

They’ve made it so easy to just do your thing, without worrying about jacking things up…I honestly, never opened the manual once…because it’s just that easy to mess with. Drag a pedal, open an amp, pick a cabinet or whatever you feel.  Heck, you can spend time going through the  included presets…literally hundreds, and never get exhausted.

Not to mention you can trade/access presets from other users, as well as expand AmpliTube 3 with other IK packages like Fender, Ampeg SVX, Metal, and Hendrix.

It’s also friendly on the cpu because you can choose Hi, Medium, or Eco quality based on your computer’s power.

So the bottom line is I LOVE this thing, I look at it as an instrument as well as a multi fx unit.

I give this a full 5 subs without a question, it’s just fun and inspiring.

Go download the demo and see for yourself, I promise you’ll love it….

AmpliTube 3 is absolutely NOT just for guitar and bass players, it’s for ANYONE that wants to separate themselves and add unique sound, character, and super sexy to their sounds.

In all honesty, I almost didn’t do this review….because then that meant a lot more producers and beatmakers would know the power behind this tool! No seriously, once I tried it I had to tell anyone that would listen because I felt that many may be missing out on a great tool.

check it out, let me know what you think. http://www.ikmultimedia.com/amplitube/

23 Comments

  1. +1 on I don’t play guitar(haha). But my outlook is the same as yours, why not check it out anyway. I’ve demoed their Ampeg SVT and the Hendrix joint and they are both excellent. I could never get any friends and family who play to plug in, but the guitar and bass patches I ran through it sounded convincing to them. Running drums through distortion is definitely good fun.

    All the stomp boxes are the same style of fx cats use in a DAW(chorus, delay etc.) so these amp sims are real easy to get good results.
    Plus most people here prolly do hip hop, what could be more hip hop than putting shakers and claps etc. in a guitar amp? 🙂

    Reply
  2. As a guitarist and bass player, I’ve always loved the Amplitube gear. I think its best understood in comparison with the NI offering Guitar Rig.

    For a guitarist, the comparison would be Amplitube is like having some really damn nice valve amps, and some great old analogue stomp boxes. Good saturation, phat valve warmth, and classic overdrives and wah type stuff.

    Whilst the Guitar rig is like having a Line 6 amp and a really massive digital effects rig like , uh, a Zoom or something.

    Depending on what you dig in a guitar sound is what you’ll go for.

    For me I’ve always prefered the Amplitube setup, because it sounds damn real and warm. You can just hook in and you’ve got a big fat old marshall or fender jazz tremolo amp , and some nice old stomp boxes.

    Thats not to say NI guitar rig isn’t a great product, its very very powerful and has a huge array of kit, but to my ears it sounds a little digital and precise. But if I want some serious ear acrobatics its the best choice.

    The significance for a beat producer would be like the old school scenario where you have a DJ or whatever with his turntables or drum machine rigged through some cheap boss delays and stuff for hands on tweaking and spazzing of beats. Remembering that arangement is usually with guitar pedals (and maybe a keyboardists filter pedal), amplitube is probably the rig of choice for getting that setup, particularly if its hooked to a bunch of controller knobs like one of those cheap beringher BCF type things.

    But yeah, I’ve still got the original Amplitube and I’m raising my funds to upgrade.

    Reply
    • @shayne, thanks for that response bro, great insight. That’s what I really love about amplitube, it just has BITE…I can find so many uses for this it’s not even funny, it will easily become one of the few fx I go to constantly…it’s just so versatile.

      Reply
  3. Nice review bro. Just a heads up…owners of Amplitube 3 can upgrade to Amplitube 4 for $149.00 for a limited time.

    You know how I do Joe…being that I play the guitar I had to get it lol.

    It lets you incorporate all the amps and presets of your amplitube 3 right into amplitube 4. Also they have a pedal that you can use with 3 & 4 called the Stealth pedal. Works OK when using settings like wah, volume, LFO, etc in the software and it doubles as a audio interface if anyone interested.

    As always thanks for keeping me up to date with your reviews.

    Reply
    • @stargaze, it has 3 settings you can choose from, so I like that, I ran it on eco during the video since I had so much going on and it never ate up the cpu, there is a medium and high setting too.

      Reply
  4. @shyne: thanks for the insight I was wondering about the comparison between the two.
    @SJ: thanks for the post, it kind of makes me wonder “damn…perhaps I should’ve gotten that IK bundle instead of Komplete..hmmm” I have to be careful to not fall under the tempting gaze of “gear-lust” as they say. But hey if IK does a competitive crossgrade at a no brainer price it’ll be PB&J for me at lunch for a few awhile.
    Here’s food for thought: run maschine as vst in you daw, use Amplitude/GuitarRig as a bus/insert fx, switch maschine to midi mode to controll fx in real time…sound like a good time to me.

    Reply
    • @jamari, I feel ya J! I don’t think the IK bundle is a replacement for Komplete honestly, as NI has more real synth whereas IK is all sample based. IK has some dope sounds no doubt, but they don’t have any actual synths, everything is sample based.

      That said….

      AmpliTube is the JOINT 😉

      Reply
  5. AmpliTube 3 is nice, but………

    Aight, New DAW!!!!

    Joe, I been working with Studio One for about a week and I must say I am very impressed. Drag and drop is so intelligent it’s stupid. Very fast work flow. I want to say I found a new DAW but I want to run some serious sessions with it. I have to give it about a month. I am still a true Pro Tools guy but Studio One is on point for production. I want to see what they do with 1.5, and I also gotta change some key commands. After that, I’M SOLD!!! Your thoughts??

    One

    Reply
    • @mistawil, Ha! you saw that studio one in the video huh? I love it man, never was a pro tools dude nor have I ever wanted to be. Studio One is the daw for me, especially when it comes time to record vocals. Everything is right there, it’s clean, and the workflow is lovely.

      I’m waiting for the update too, but I still know when I build/purchase my new music pc, the main daw will be Studio One 64 bit version.

      It’s sick

      Reply
  6. Studio One is the shizz…it came with my FS Mobile and it only took a few hours to figure out that I had finally found the DAW workflow I was looking for. Its got everything I need except that I have to do a paid upgrade if I want to use third party vsts or 64bit. Being that I mostly rock hardware I love it. After I upgrade it Ill start looking into some of these VST more seriously…Ive probably had amplitube le included in at least two products ive purchased but never bothered to load it up…ive had more than my fair share of computer/software issues that has caused me to be more than a bit hesitant to try things…things have come along way though in the last few years-unfortunately my 2005ish computer isnt really one of them : )

    Reply
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