One of the best things to come out of the late 70’s punk rock explosion (aside from great bands like the Ramones, Clash, and Sex Pistols, of course!) was the proliferation of affordable multitrack recording decks. Suddenly, instead of singing and strumming their latest tune and hope the band would figure out what to do, aspiring songwriters could prototype a song in its entirety — vocals, instrumentation, arrangement — and, with a little careful engineering, use it to create a finished tune they could press onto vinyl and sell at their next CBGB’s gig.
Technology marches on: four-track audio cassettes gave way to Pro Tools, and suddenly those budding Jimmy Pages and Phil Spectors had an entire recording studio (complete with software-based echo, EQ, and signal processing) crammed into a desktop computer. Now the process shrinks even further, as digital recording and effects pedals make their way to the iPad environment.
Griffin Technology’s contribution to tablet-based music making is the Stompbox system (US$99.99): a union of stage-ready footswitch controller, connector cable, and a free starter version of the iShred Live app. The cable plugs both the footswitch and your guitar into your iPad; the app includes an amplifier simulator (with overdrive for that heavy-metal grind) and three effects stompboxes (delay, modulator/flanger, and noise gate) that can be switched in and out with the footswitch. (Other FX modules can be purchased in-app.) There’s also a built-in metronome and tuner, 48 user-defined presets, and even a looping sampler. Oh yeah — in consideration of your neighbors and your thin bedroom walls, there’s also a headphone jack…
Check out our hands-on review below: