Way back in the first ever post on Minijack I debuted the site with an image that I felt symbolized my unique approach to making music with apps: a photo of my pedalboard with my iPad positioned at the top left corner, alongside my trusty Electro-Harmonix and Line 6 pedals. What I was getting at here was marrying the analog and digital worlds, or perhaps just the hardware and app worlds, in a unique way to create some unique sounds. Now Digitech has introduced the first practical option for those who want to integrate the benefits of a touchscreen into their pedalboard – the IPB-10 Programmable iPad Pedalboard – and frankly, it looks stunning.
To be clear, let’s talk about what the IPB-10 ISN’T – it’s not just a controller for an iPad app like Amplitube. In other words, the actual effects/sounds aren’t being produced by the iPad. They’re being produced by the pedal itself, just like on any other Digitech multi-effects pedal. In this case, the iPad is basically being used as an interface to make editing the sounds and configuring the board much easier. This is a really great idea, since most multi-effects pedals justifiably have a bad rap as overly complicated and too difficult to tweak.
At a street price of $499, the most direct competition to the IPB-10 will come from other ginormous multi-effects pedals – like for example the Line 6 Pod HD500, which features 16 amp models and over 100 effects. But if you’re in the market for a multi-effects pedal and you already have an iPad, why wouldn’t you wait for the IPB-10? The only obvious objection is that an iPad is too fragile to bring on stage at a show, which is definitely a valid point. It seems as though the iPad is somewhat recessed in the IPB-10′s case, but other than that, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of protection here, which is a little odd since the rest of the pedal looks so rugged.
Of course, none of this really matters if the IPB-10 doesn’t sound good. And at this point, there’s absolutely no sound demos available – the only thing I could find was this Youtube video, which is pretty silly:
In any case, it’ll be very interesting to see how much demand there is for a product like this. At a street price of $499, it’s clearly aimed at a fairly professional user. To some extent, since the iPad is such a consumer-geared product, I’m surprised they didn’t come out with something a bit more basic and try to go for a $199 or $299 price point – at that level I think they’d sell like hotcakes – especially if they found a way to actually get them sold in Apple’s stores or on it’s web site, the way Apogee products are.
I also wish they had taken this product further – I personally would be more excited if the actual effects processing was happening in the iPad app, and if the IPB-10 was itself an iPad audio dock – more like the Alesis IO Dock combined with a pedalboard. That way it would be more of an open system, where you could constantly acquire new effects through in-app purchases. Maybe you don’t really NEED 87 effects – the system could ship with just 5 or 10 effects, and those who need more would buy exactly what they need.
The only thing I’ve seen so far that approaches that idea is the Dark Matter Audio DMA-1, which I haven’t heard anything about since it’s debut earlier this year – but then that doesn’t have the handy pedalboard controller. Of course, there’s also the Griffin Stompbox controller, but it’s much less robust and full-featured.
So while I probably won’t be buying an iPB-10, it’s a first step in the right direction (toward a more geeky future for live effects), and I definitely salute Digitech’s beautiful design. It’s interesting to see how Apple’s amazing design sensibilities are rubbing off on the companies that are building hardware peripherals for their products!
- Related posts:
Is the Dark Matter Audio DMA-1 the iPad I Secretly Always Wanted?
Guitar effects apps: Not just for guitar anymore
Time to take this show on the road
An oldie but a goodie: iPad Midi how-to video
iPad 2 announced, here comes the hardware…
Leave a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.
- Donut, 2D Looper from the Strange Agency, hits the App Store
- Epic Synth recreates the Juno 106 on your iPad
- Episode 4 of the Touch Sound Podcast is out!
- New Retronyms App – First Audio Demo
- IK Multimedia teasing new iOS-related hardware
- New 2D looping app coming from the Strange Agency
- Digitech iPB-10 Demo Video: Hear it in Action
- Been away….what’d I miss?
- If you haven’t already bought the Horizon synth…
- Little Midi Machine + Prophet = Inspiration!
- The perfect setup?
- Alesis iO Dock Unboxing Video
- Alesis Launches iO Dock, Offers Adaptors for iPad 2 Users
- Touch Sound Podcast: Episode 2 Available Now
- Episode 2 of the Touch Sound Podcast is coming soon