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Cheat Sheet: IK Multimedia Amplitube Family

By Craig Anderton | January 1, 2009

ABOUT X-GEAR

X-Gear is a “shell” that hosts the four AmpliTube variations (AmpliTube 2, AmpliTube Jimi Hendrix, AmpliTube Metal, Ampeg SVX) so that you can mix and match components from these versions. XGear also allows for control with the Stomp I/O foot controller, which also provides full MIDI control. Except as noted, the following tips apply to X-Gear and all AmpliTubes.

CHECKING THE CURRENT VERSION

Click on the I button toward the lower left corner and look for the version number on the splash screen that appears. If the IK website user area has a more recent version, download and install it.

BEST POSSIBLE SOUND QUALITY

Click on the Preferences button in the lower left. Check all Oversampling options (if present), as well as High Resolution. Caution: The more of these you check, the harder your CPU has to work.

CHANGE MODULE ROUTING

All except SVX: Eight series and parallel routing options are available for the Stomp, Amp, Cab, and Rack modules. To choose a routing, click on one of the eight buttons to the right of the preset name.

CALLING UP MODULES

The buttons below the routing diagram change the GUI to show Tuner, Stomp, Amp, Cab, and (all except SVX) Rack modules.

PARALLEL EFFECTS SETUPS

All except SVX: Routings 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8 place the two “pedalboards” (with six effects each) in parallel. 1, 3, and 4 place the pedalboards in series.

PARALLEL CABINETS

All except SVX: When using a routing with parallel cabinets, adjust the stereo spread by clicking on each cabinet block in the routing diagram and adjusting its pan control (along the bottom strip of controls).

MATCH CONTROLS

All except SVX: The EQ Match and Amp Match switches choose the default amp and EQ sections for a particular preamp. SVX: Match chooses the default speaker cabinet.

USE A PHYSICAL SPEAKER CABINET

X-Gear: To use X-Gear as a front end for “real” speakers, in Preferences select Cabinet Global Bypass; any cabinet used in any patch will be bypassed. AmpliTube: Click Bypass on the Cabinet module for any preset you want to use with a physical speaker cabinet.

MIC AXIS

Regardless of which mic you use, the Off Axis sound is more “filtered” than On Axis, which has more bandwidth and presence. The Off Axis sound can be “sweeter” for some applications.

PHASE AND MIX CONTROLS

X-Gear, SVX, Metal: These controls work together to simulate miking an amp while taking a direct feed. The Mix control goes from cabinet mic only (counter-clockwise) to pre-cabinet, post-stomps direct sound only (clockwise). Due to the time delay between the direct and miked sounds, the Phase control affects the tonality when the mix control mixes both together. Negative values delay the direct signal, positive values delay the cabinet signal.

TUNING MONITOR

For a quick tuning check, if the Tuner module has been turned on, then the Tune window along the bottom of Amplitude shows the note being played (even if the Tuner doesn’t have the focus). The bar graph shows whether the note is on-pitch.

ADVANCED TUNING

Calling up the Tuner module shows a higher-resolution meter (calibrated in cents), and displays the tuning deviation in cents. To tune silently, enable Mute. To change the tuning reference, click on the display that shows the default of A=440Hz, and use the QWERTY keyboard backspace and cursor controls to enter a new value between A=425 and A=455Hz.

TAP TEMPO

There are two ways to set tempo when appropriate: Go Settings > Preferences and click on the Tap button. Or, on your QWERTY keyboard, hold Shift and tap the “T” key.

RECALL PREVIOUS SESSION UPON OPENING

Go Settings > Preferences and check the “Reload previous session on Startup” box.

MIDI EXTERNAL CONTROL

X-Gear only: Although all AmpliTube family members can be automated within a host, only X-Gear allows traditional external MIDI control in stand-alone mode. MIDI can control volume/wa, preset up/down, stomp effect on/off, and Wharmonator (Whammy pedal; part of AmpliTube Metal). To do this, go Settings > Audio/MIDI Setup, and under MIDI input, specify your MIDI control source. Then click on the MIDI button, click on the parameter you want to control, click on Learn, and then move the controller or switch. When finished, click on OK.

STOMP I/O MIDI CONTROL

X-Gear only: For external control over parameters in stand-alone mode, the Stomp I/O foot controller allows for extremely flexible assignments and is highly recommended.

HOST AUTOMATION WITH X-GEAR AND METAL

The other family members use traditional VST-style automation: Enable Write, move controls, then enable Read to play back automation data to those controls. With X-Gear and Metal, you need to assign particular X-Gear parameters to up to 16 parameter numbers. These parameter numbers are in turn exposed to the host for automation. Stomp I/O can also create automation data.

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