AmpKit has just released a Mac version of its awesome iOS guitar effect and recording tool. Lucky me, I’ve had a preview version for a little while now, and I’ve really enjoyed putting it through its paces.
Everything you get in the iOS app is there: pedals, heads, cabs and amazing presets for just about any style of guitar or bass. There’s the tuner, meters and metronome, plus the recording capability. It’s everything I liked about the iPhone and iPad versions, bigger and with all of the settings more easily accessible on one panel.
The Mac version comes with built-in recording tools (including non-destructive re-amping) and 23 backing tracks. You can choose any input and use any analog or digital interface with it. I tested with an M-Audio FastTrack and got great results, but I’m sure a more advanced interface (and nicer guitar) could get some great output. If you’re a GarageBand or Logic user, you always have the option of using SoundFlower to pipe the audio into your DAW of choice. I did it and it worked flawlessly.
The level of detail you can find in the controls is impressive. Put a Taos Rectifier stack together, set up the mic model and mic position, and then start tweaking channel, volume, drive, presence, bass, mid and treble until you find the perfect sound. Add a rack of pedals and control the settings individually. Start from the dozens of built-in presets and add save your own as you build them. You can even share your setups with other AmpKit users on Mac or iOS with a click.
For the nerds: almost every menu command has a keyboard shortcut, and they’re fully scriptable. If you’re into it (and I am), you can turn any input device into triggers for switching stacks, starting and stopping recording, and playing and pausing backup tracks. I have an extra Magic Trackpad, an iPad and a MIDI keyboard, which — combined with BetterTouchTool, BTT Remote and KeyboardMaestro — give me a ton of ways to trigger easily while I’m playing.
Short version: if you play guitar or bass and would like an infinite range of sounds without buying thousands of dollars worth of gear, take a look at AmpKit for Mac. For $49.99 you get more gear than you’d pay a few hundred for with similar apps, and more than you’d ever manage to collect in physical form. Add a decent set of monitors and you can rock out any time you want. Have a look.