Gear Reviews

Product Review FOLLOW UP With Damian Erskine: “AmpKit VS PocketAmp”

Product Review FOLLOW UP With Damian Erskine: “AmpKit VS PocketAmp”
Damian Erskine

Ampkit  VS  Pocket Amp

So I’ve gotten quite a few messages since posting my review of Peavey’s Ampkit software for iPhone.  Some were praising the software and some said, “what about Pocketamp??”.  I also happened to be invited to test out PocketAmp as well, so I thought I’d follow up with a comparison of the two.  I can say that I enjoyed both very much, but there are some definite pros and cons involved with each so, if you have yet to purchase an app like this for your iPhone, hopefully this will help you decide between two of the star players in the arena!

Both apps offer an array of sounds and effects and both allow you to play along to tracks of your choosing. Since, for the most part, these two apps do the same thing so I’ll simply break down the differences between them.

Where they stack equally:

Both require a cable of one sort or another to work and the AmpKit AmpLink works incredibly well.  It is even recommended on the PocketAmp website, actually.  Both offer a range of effects, but keep in mind..  NONE of the given effects are going to replace that pedal board on stage.  If you’re looking for live implementation, while, yes, it’s possible, I don’t think you’d be happier than with the real thing.  Both make good PRACTICE amps.

I experienced no latency with either app (running on my iPhone 3GS and/or iPad 3G).

Where I think Peavey’s “Ampkit” takes the lead:

Ampkit does offer a bit more for your money (especially if you use the FREE version which, for me is completely adequate).  In addition to amp modeling you get a tuner, metronome, the ability to record yourself playing and the ability to string MULTIPLE effects together.

Personally, I also think that Peavey Ampkit sounds better.  Especially when using the EQ effect pedal with 10-band EQ, I was able to dial in a noise-free and totally acceptable sound easily.  The Pocketamp was a bit noisy and thin sounding for my bass.  Granted, guitarists may have a different experience.

Where I think Pocket Lab Works “PocketAmp” takes the lead:

While both offer the ability to play along to tracks of your choosing, PocketAmp REALLY got this one right.  PocketAmp gives you access to your ENTIRE iPod library and offers the ability to fast forward, rewind and pause.  AmpKit forces you to pre-load your tracks one-by-one via your computer over WiFi.  And, once loaded, you can only play and stop!  This is a monstrous draw-back for me as I would primarily use the software to shed new tunes on the road and to have to start a song over to try and get that one bridge section again would drive me insane.

PocketAmp is also iPad friendly.  Both will, of course run on the iPad but PocketAmp is a universal app while AmpKit will only run in the small iPhone sized window.  However, there really isn’t that much to navigate with PocketAmp, so the big screen doesn’t really add all that much.  I do wish that AmpKit was a universal app.  There are far more controls and things to navigate with that software and Peavey would serve us well to let us run it on our iPad in full resolution.

So there you have it.  Either app will do you right in the end so it boils down to what you really want to use it for.

If it’s just for playing, possibly recording, tuning and practicing to a metronome with a decent sounding app through your phone then I’d probably go with AmpKit.

If you will be practicing to actual music from your collection, than I would go with PocketAmp.

If you want to use a score reading app on your iPad and use your phone to play along with?  You could go either way.

PocketAmp will run you $2.99 for the univerasal app (which gives it to you on both your iPhone and iPad if you desire).

AmpKit will run you $19.99 for the full featured version or FREE for the lite version (the only difference is the amount of pre-loaded amps, effects, etc..  you can buy those all separately from within the app, tho so I would start with the free version and see what you really need or want from there).

Check out the website links above to check out some demo videos and screenshots.  Happy practicing!!


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Gear Reviews
Damian Erskine

Damian Erskine is not your ordinary bass player.  While not touring, Damian hones his chops with some of the best jazz and latin musicians the West coast has to offer.  Damian is known for his ability to fit into any musical situation and his extraordinary reading and improvising skills.  Damian has played in the studio or on the stage with the likes of • Peter Erskine • Teri-Lynn Carrington • Gino Vannelli • John Ellis • Shawn Pelton • Sveti w/ Marko Djordjevic • Luis Conte • Brandon Ross • Les McCann • Jeff Lorber • Vardan Ovsepian • Charmaine Neville • Jessy J • Luis Perdomo • Tony Furtado • Kate Schutt • Bobby Torres • Alan Jones • Patrick Lamb • Dan Balmer • Klezmocracy and many others as well as being featured on the "Shed Sessionz Vol. 1" DVD. Whether playing as a sideman or with his own group, he is known for his rock solid bass work, virtuosic solos and thoughtful chordal abilities. Visit Online: Youtube CDBaby Twitter MySpace

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