Since the humble beginnings of the electric guitar, there has been a steady increase in the technology that surronds the instrument. Whether it be amps that have exceedingly become more advanced or the birth of digital effets pedals. There is no doubt that during the last 15 years there has been an acceleration in the availability of both digital offerings and more recently, the ability to modulate amps and effects. While recording studios were once both uncommon and expensive there are now software programs that give a home user the power to do things that weren’t possible in the huge mastering studios of the ’70s and ’80s. We decided to look at some of the emerging technologies and what they might mean for the future of music making.
Over the last several years there has been a distinctive rise in the number of programs that emulate amps, pedals and provide some pretty powerful EQ options. Over time these emulations have become more powerful and harder to tell from the real thing (which was proven by the ToneFiend amps vs. models contest). Of course, when you crank an amp up, there is a distinctive tone and grit that is hard to replicate. Still, the advancement in modeling has made these programs become more appealing. AmpliTube is a piece of sotware that is not only available for Windows & Mac but also for the iPhone. Using a special adapter you can plug your guitar directly into your iPhone and use it as an amplifier, turn on some effects and adjust the EQ. You can even use some Seymour Duncan pedals as our Power Grid and Shape Shifter are available through the AmpliTube Custom Shop.
It’s Kemper time:
One item that has been generating buzz recently is the Kemper Profiling Amp. The Kemper promises to capture the tone of a unique sounding amp by allowing you to record it and save its tonal DNA to an onboard hardrive. It comes loaded with a ton of profiles and you can download many more from the internet. The idea being that at the switch of a button you could go from a Marshall JTM45 to a Mesa Boogie or choose from hundreds of other options.
Guitar makers are taking notice:
Many guitar makers are now starting to incorporate digital technology and ways to connect it in some models. In this gutiar from Rick Hanes, it has a built-in option for an iPod touch with AmpliTube. At the touch of a button you could change to a different amp, add a pedal or make a change to the EQ.
Of course there are many more programs and technologies being developed than just these three, sometimes at such a pace it’s hard to keep up with them. Do you believe this will be a good thing for musicians, by opening up more options at affordable prices? Or do you think that the trend for digital and emulations doesn’t capture the character of the real thing?