iPhone App Directory

Guitar Interfaces and Apps

So here's my long awaited view on 5 different ways of getting your guitar into your iPhone. So what's the verdict?

PRS GuitarBud
This is a one of the cheapest cables and isn't great really. It doesn't look or feel like a guitar cable and the results as you'll see from the video aren't great.

Griffin Guitar Connect
The griffin cable is a better design and a heavier cable, but even so the response isn't brilliant.

The iRig is a very neat little device and using it with IK's AmpliTube app gave good results overall. Although there is some noise through the device. The app works well with the hardware and the range of guitar sounds you can get is fairly extensive. You can also try their free version of the app too to test it out.

AmpKit LiNK
This unit runs on 2 AAA batteries and is made by Peavey. It had a good feel to it and is a solid build. As with the iRig there is some noise through this device, but it is lower than the iRig. Using it with Agile Partner's AmpKit+ app gave good results and the app has a lot of possibilities. One thing we really liked with AmpKit+ was the ability to record your guitar dry and then alter the amp and effects setting later which worked really well.

Sonoma's forthcoming GuitarJack interface is the most expensive but is also the most solid in terms of build of all the interfaces. It also has simultaneous line in as well as a 1/8" jack which is unique, and in some ways it feels like this shouldn't be compared directly with the other interfaces.  It connects to the iPhone 3G or 3GS (not 4 or iPad) via the dock connector and works with their FourTrack app.

We couldn't test this interface under the same conditions as the others, and have been using a beta build of FourTrack which still has some bugs in it, but in separate testing the sound quality was excellent.

We're going to do some additional tests with GuitarJack in the next few days to give it a proper work out and also try the line in capabilities as well. So stay tuned for that.

So of the first four interfaces here's our verdict:

First: AmpKit LiNK with AmpKit+
Second: iRig with AmpliTube
Third Griffin Guitar Connect
Fourth: PRS Guitarbud

I plan to post some pictures of the spectrum analysis of the interfaces too in the next few days.

Hope you found that useful. If you've had experiences of any of these then please let me know.


Revere4 said...

Thanks for posting this. The various kits all seem to perform roughly as you would expect given their specs, though it's good to see them all in "test conditions", as it were.

Despite the much-discussed price and iPhone4 issues, the GuitarJack looks genuinely drool-worthy. I would still be very tempted if I was a full-time guitarist and/or had plenty of surplus cash...!

Chad said...

This is a great comparison review and I agree with Revere4 that the GuitarJack looks the best but I'm curious as to how (or will) it will work with Amplitube, Ampkit or any of the other apps that use the 1/8" input for their respective devices.

Also, on a semi-related note...anyone have any idea if there will ever be some type of USB to ipod connector adapter or any other way to connect things (such as an audio interface) to an iphone/ipad/ipod touch? Anyone savvy on how something like an MBOX would respond/react to the iphone OS? Im sure it's next to impossible at this point but how awesome would THAT be?!

soundog said...

Good review and comparison. It would be nice to have a "price/performance" rating; that is, which one(s) are the best bang for the buck.

And, what about app compatibility (do they each work with any app, or only the ones they sell)? If they only work with their own app, what is the total solution cost?

Anonymous said...

What about the griffin imic? Is this anygood

Unknown said...

Some people published DIY option for interface cable. At least you can build a cable equivalent to the PRS /Griffin cable. With a little soldering it seems one can build an interface cable that matches impedance.

Anonymous said...

The GuitarBud-style cable ones benefit from plugging the guitar first into something like an effects pedal then into the guitbud-thingy to iPhone to match impedance (or at least the intarwebz told me ;) )

Mcboy said...

Hey..many thanks!!

ashley said...

Hopefully you'll find the price comparison post as useful.

Mauro said...

What are the compatibilities with the other apps? I mean, using AmpKit with Amplitube, etc.

John Gowrie said...

@mauro - I use both Ampkit and Amplink apps and I bought the iRig interface. The interfaces are able to perform with any app that allows mic input through the 1/8 jack of the iphone.

Anonymous said...

I'd sure like to see a diagram for making this myself with good cable parts...

I don't have any Apple product, I'm only using the standard 3.5 jack, maybe one day we'll be able to use the micro USB port to input audio..?

(This blog is becoming really apple-narrowed, I find it quite sad)

kord said...

Nice post. as a guitarist and Pod/Pad guy, I love seeing this IO shootout!

Anonymous said...

I have the AmpLink and the Jam. The Amplink is nice, with very little latency but noisy. The Jam is very clean, sounds truer than the Amplink however has noticeable latency. My vote goes to the Jam, since you can remove the small latency issues later in mixdown.

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