Review: Digitech iPB-10 Programmable Pedal Board
While software developers have created some cool guitar apps for the iPad, they’re not exactly easy to use onstage due to the lack of foot controls and the fragility of the typical guitar-to-iPad audio interface. However, DigiTech’s new iPB-10 elevates the iPad’s live performance functionality to professional quality by using the device as a processing engine and command center for DigiTech’s impressive effects, amp and cabinet modeling software and placing it in a durable, roadworthy floor-mounted controller with heavy-duty footswitches, a sweepable control pedal and numerous output options.
The iPB-10 is essentially a floor-mounted controller that’s almost identical to the RP1000, but where the RP1000 has a central control section, the iPB-10 has the iPad, loaded with DigiTech’s iPB-Nexus app (it works with either version of the iPad). The beautiful, detailed visual representations of amps and effects, along with the ability to instantly control or modify settings and presets with the iPad’s touchscreen, is an incredible upgrade to the RP1000’s already stellar sound and performance.
The iPB-10 unit features 10 footswitches for selecting presets or engaging individual effects, up/down footswitches for selecting banks, footswitches for engaging or bypassing the Stomp and Amp effect loops, and a control treadle for volume and effects such as wah and Whammy. Rear-panel features include a 1/4-inch guitar input, mono effect loops for the Amp and Stomp sections, stereo 1/4-inch and XLR main outputs, a 1/8-inch headphone jack, a footswitch jack, a USB output and an output level control.
The heart of the system is DigiTech’s iPB-Nexus app, a free download that works only with the iPB-10 pedal board. The software gives you complete control over models of 87 pedal effects, 54 amps and 26 cabinets, and preset patches can consist of up to 10 pedals, one amp and one cabinet. Effects can be arranged in any order, and an infinite number of preset patches can be stored on the iPad. The controller gives you access to 100 presets at a time, which should be plenty for any gig. In addition, the iPB-10 lets you record directly into GarageBand and other USB-capable iPad recording apps, making the controller a great tool both on and offstage. Better still, the iPB-10 can operate without the iPad connected, so you can leave your tablet at home when gigging (just be sure you’ve memorized your presets, though).
With the iPad securely and safely locked into place and the iPB-Nexus app glowing on its screen, the iPB-10 is one of the coolest and most intuitive multieffect units available. It doesn’t ship with a manual because it doesn’t need one—just download the software into an iPad, mount the iPad into the iPB-10, and plug it in. The iPB-10 even charges up the iPad, so you never have to worry about its batteries running low.
Figuring out the rest is easier than operating an amp and a pedal board full of stomp boxes. If you want to adjust a pedal or amp setting, just touch it and the image pops up and expands to make parameter settings easier to see and manipulate. If you want to change the order of effects, just drag and drop them where you want them to be. The iPB-Nexus software makes excellent use of the iPad’s touchscreen, and the virtual models are as close to real-world effects and amps as possible.
The pedal, amp and cabinet models are similar to those found in the RP1000, including DigiTech’s Whammy and pitch-shifting effects, high-end Lexicon reverbs, dozens of classic effects and pretty much every amp and cabinet a guitarist could ever want. Thanks to its USB output, the iPB-10 also functions as a stereo digital audio output, allowing users to stream audio directly to DAW software.
Although the iPB-10 costs more than the RP1000 and requires an additional investment in an iPad (if you don’t already own one), its convenience and drag-and-drop operation makes it worth the extra investment.
THE BOTTOM LINE
By far the coolest iPad peripheral ever, the iPB10 sets a new high-water mark for floor-mounted multieffect units with its ease of use, awesome sounds and durability.
LIST PRICE $749.95
MANUFACTURER DigiTech, digitech.com