For years, IK Multimedia has given guitarists the ability to build their dream rig or try out their hero’s setup without cramming a bunch of gear into their apartments – or emptying their savings account. Of the society AmpliTube modeling software offers the ability to use popular effects, amps and speakers via digital modeling rather than the hardware itself. But the application resides on the computer or tablet, so it’s not exactly the most practical thing to take on the road. Today, IK Multimedia is launching the AmpliTube X-GEAR line: a collection of four guitar pedals equipped with versions of the same effects available on rugged desktop software.
AmpliTube X-GEAR pedals offer options for distortion (X-DRIVE), modulation (X-VIBE), delay (X-TIME) and reverb (X-SPACE). The four pedals are loaded with 16 different effects and IK Multimedia has developed new algorithms for reverb and delay. The company claims that despite users having a different set of tools, each of the X-GEAR devices uses the same hardware and digital signal processing (DSP).
Because they are based on powerful software, IK Multimedia claims that X-GEAR pedals work well in the studio and on stage. With the desktop app (AmpliTube SE is included with the pedals), you can make changes and save settings, including up to 300 presets, to the hardware pedal as needed. With internal processing and upsampling up to 192kHz, the company claims that the X-GEAR pedals can give you the same “realism and response” as AmpliTube on the desktop.
Each X-GEAR pedal is housed in an aluminum shell with 24-bit / 192kHz converters to keep noise to a minimum and a frequency response of 5Hz to 24kHz. IK Multimedia claims that the frequency response combined with an analog dry path and selectable true or soft bypass will allow your guitar sound to go through without filtering. When it’s time to record, the X-GEAR pedals can act as a USB interface to a digital audio workstation (DAW). You can choose between wet or dry signals, use a stereo output for monitoring, and use full MIDI compatibility. On stage, pair any element of the X-GEAR range with an expression pedal and you’ll have even more control over each of the on-board parameters. There are also five speaker options on each pedal so you can connect them directly to a PA if needed.
X-GEAR pedals will go on sale in August for $ 300 each, but you can pre-order them now company website. This award puts IK Multimedia’s latest equipment just below multi-effects options like Strymon BlueSky and Mobius Pedals. One key difference though is that IK Multimedia is known for its mobile audio interfaces, MIDI controllers, and software plugins, while companies like Strymon are well respected in the guitar world thanks to their established track record. This is truly the first time that IK Multimedia has built what many consider to be “real” effects pedals, so it will be interesting to see if the company has managed to leverage its software expertise for this new hardware.
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