In my never ending quest to find a good sound I have discovered the iRig.
iRig is a cut down version of IK MultiMedia's AmpliTubes guitar amplifier emulation software designed for the iPhone/iPod/iPad. It's not perfect and requires a different way of interacting with it, but it has possibilities.
I don't want to make this an ad, so if you want to know more, follow this link AmpliTube/iRig.
I tried it out at a Port Albert gig and had it sitting on my music stand next the the pocket pc. The first thing that is different is that to turn on a 'stomp box' you don't use your foot, you have use your finger. Let me explain. You can have up to three stomp boxes selected at once. A lovely graphic of the effect is displayed that also contains the footswitch. The new trick to learn is the push the footswitch with your finger. Yes, this does break the flow somewhat, but I hope to work on my reflexes and master this action or learn Tai-Chi and use my feet!.
The guitar amps/speakers/microphones, etc, I haven't explored just yet, I've just selected a Fender Blackface that is run clean with a bit of reverb.
I've tried two of the effects live and they sound beautiful: Echo and Distortion. The echo is very clean and suits 'the Shadows' type of material. The distortion is very warm and controlled and the best I've heard for a decade or two. I'm not running it hard, but I'm quite happy with it.
All was going rather well until a half a hour before the end of the gig where the iPod announces "Critical! 20% battery remaining, recharge now." A bit hard to do when you're half way through a song. By the time I finished the song I saw the screen go black, great! Now what, no guitar? Plan B: I had brought along the charger for an iPod Classic, that will surely help me out. Alas, no! I plug it in and the iPod Touch happily informs me that it does not support the charger and shuts down again. Fantastic. Time for Plan C, I just plugged the guitar into the PA and finished off the night.
No one else probably noticed, but I was not pleased. I thought for sure it would last a four hour gig. Must be the fact that the screen is on all that time.
Great marketing Mr Apple. When you buy an iPod Touch you do get a USB cable but not the mains charger as is supplied with an iPhone. Oh well, there goes another $40 for a future purchase.
(two days later.)
Went to Officeworks and bought an Apple USB Power Adapter. Guess what? You also get a cable! It's turning into cable central here :) Reading the side of the box I find that it can charge just about anything Apple make including an iPod Classic. Pity it wasn't the other way around.
I would suggest that the application is almost completely useless because it is so noisy. You just have to assign the 'Noise Filter' stomp box to clean up the sound. This effectively means that you can only select up to two stomp boxes per preset.
As a side effect of using the Noise Filter you do lose some treble response, but you sort of make up for that by winding up the treble control on the amplifier simulator.
Maybe a newer version of iRig will resolve the noise issue?