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electronic MUSICIAN

IK Multimedia AmpliTube Custom Shop

August 19, 2011

IK-CustomShop
The Amp aisle from the Custom Shop; note the just-purchased T-Rex Mudhoney and Nu-Tron III poking out from behind.

Build your rig, one model at a time

IK Multimedia doesn’t just have new models, but a web-only Custom Shop that sells all IK models—amps, cabs, effects, and rack processors—so you can create your own rig, a piece at a time, based on your needs and finances.

If you don’t have already have AmpliTube 3, download AmpliTube 3 Free. It has all of AT3’s functionality—it’s no “lite” version—and includes four amps, five cabs, three mics, nine stomp effects, two rack effects, and a digital tuner. No, it’s not the full version’s 160 devices, but it’s enough to make some cool noises.

Then, check out the custom shop and buy “credits” ($1/credit, dropping to 60 cents in bulk). You can download anything and audition it for 48 hours, every two months. If you like something, buy it—prices range from five to 20 credits, which don’t expire. If you already have AmpliTube 3, included models will show as having been purchased, while other models have the “Try or Buy” option.

Let’s Go Shopping

IK put some real thought into the shopping experience. You can browse all models in a particular meta-category (like Amp, Cab, Stomp Box, etc.) or by more limited categories (like only Clean Amps), and mix ’n’ match across the AmpliTube line—download a bass effect from AmpliTube SVX, or a cab from AmpliTube Metal. There’s info and a full-size image for each model; new additions are noted, and there’s a list of top sellers so you can see what other people thought was worth the bucks.

Armed with 125 credits, I hit the virtual aisles. The first thing you notice about this shop: No one is playing “Stairway to Heaven” badly, at 127dB. We’re off to a good start.

The current top-selling amp is the Soldano SLO-100, so I started there. I hit “Try,” and a few seconds later, it was loaded in AT3. (Note—Custom Shop has to be open in your browser during the trial period.) As it’s boring to watch someone shop, I’ll keep it short: I went for the Soldano for its outstanding leads, Orange Tiny Terror for chunky rhythm, the crushingly brash Orange RockerVerb 50, and the Fender Princeton for its vintage vibe (tough decision between that and the Fender Champ, tough).

IK recommends amp cabs, and they’re only five credits, but I went for the T-Rex Mudhoney stompbox. (Try it with no amp, the 4x12 Modern M3 cab, and a rack parametric stage with a 6dB cut at 2300Hz and Q=7—all honey, no mud.) After testing out the Nu- Tron III, I had to have it, too—it nailed that soul sound of the ’70s.

All the new models are worthwhile; there’s no “fi ller.” Some, like the Soldano, add something significantly different to the roster of models. Others, like the Nu-Tron, add a variation on existing effects. (AT3’s existing envelope fi lter lacks the Nu-Tron’s “snap” or down drive option.)

Did I have fun? You bet! The new models are excellent, and the Custom Shop concept gets a major thumbs up.

IK MULTIMEDIA CUSTOM SHOP
VST/AU/RTAS MODELS
MODEL PRICES VARY

STRENGTHS:
Well-organized shopping experience. Anything can be tried out for 48 hours, every two months. Good descriptions of models.

LIMITATIONS:
Applies only to AmpliTube 3 and AmpliTube 3 Free. You need to keep your browser open while trying models.

ikmultimedia.com

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