Top 15 Amps, Effects, Recording and Tools Apps

Guitar World goes in deep with 15 of the best amps, effects, recording and tools apps.


The mobile version of the leading modeling software features up to five amps, five cabinets, two mics and 16 stomp box effects for full digital amp emulation on your mobile. Just plug in via the iRig interface adapter and shred away. Record ideas via a built-in recorder with re-amping capabilities, and then export them as high-quality audio files or MP3s. The hardware also provides a headphone jack, so you can turn the amps to 11 without worrying about annoying parents, girlfriends, boyfriends or the dog. IK Multimedia; AmpliTube FREE, Free; AmpliTube LE, $2.99; AmpliTube, $19.99


At the heart of this app — an iOS version of TC Electronic’s PolyTune pedal — is the company’s polyphonic tuner technology, which allows the user to tune all six string simultaneously. Simply strum across the strings and PolyTune will tell you which ones need adjusting, making for fast and easy tuning of your instrument. The app also offers Needle and Stream chromatic tuning modes as well as a feature called MonoPoly, which recognizes whether you’re sounding one or more strings and responds with the appropriate mono- or polyphonic tuning mode.TC Electronic; PolyTune, $4.99


This awesome app from Peavey and Agile transforms your smartphone into a virtual amp, effect board and recorder with great sound and a huge range of options. The free version comes stocked with a two-channel Peavey ValveKing amp and two pedals, cabs and mics, while AmpKit+ piles on more gear, with extras available for purchase in the app store. Also available is AmpKit LINK, a high-fidelity, feedback-eliminating interface that connects your ax to your iOS device and can be hooked into headphones, speakers or a PA. Agile Partners; AmpKit, Free; AmpKit+, $19.99; AmpKit LINK, $29.99


A collection of virtual instruments, Band includes guitar, bass, drums, piano and more, allowing you to create a full song from scratch. Instruments can be recorded, overdubbed, edited and mixed down, as well as individually raised, muted, panned or soloed. For those in need of instant gratification, you can even add in the glorious roar of a virtual crowd. One of the first, and still one of the best. MooCowMusic; Band, $3.99


Turns your iOS into a virtual four track, with recording in true 16-bit, 44.1kHz quality. Users can record up to four tracks of audio, with the ability to adjust volume and pan each individual track as well as drop in at any point in any track. Ideal for cutting on-the-go demos, which can then be downloaded as separate WAV files to your home computer and imported into the recording/editing software of your choice. Sonoma Wire Works; FourTrack, $9.99


Old-school meets new-school with this iPad-only app (not searchable on your iPhone, by the way), a virtual recall of Tascam’s revolutionary early Eighties Porta One recorder. Record one track at a time using the built-in mic, monitor your sounds on authentic-looking VU meters and use the cassette position counter to track your place in the mix. Revel in all the vintage goodness, even as your songs are saved as WAV files and loaded into iTunes for modern-day accessibility. Tascam; PortaStudio, $2.99


When it comes to mixing and mastering, it’s always handy to have an RTA — real-time analyzer — at your disposal. Studio Six’s RTA features an incredibly clean layout, in both octave and 1/3-octave band sizes, as well as various decay and speed modes, calibration and other features. It’s the first, best and most accurate mobile RTA app on the market—and also a great app to have in your pocket when mixing live sound. Studio Six Digital; RTA, $10.99


This iPad-only digital effect unit features 17 modules, including custom amp EQs and seven types of distortion. StompBox enables the user to build customized effect racks and access them as individual patches, with the ability to chain up to 12 simultaneous effects. A nice and useful feature is the virtual foot controller, which provides access to all patch parameters and amp settings as well as quick shifting between patches. 4Pockets; StompBox, $19.99


Users of the StroboStomp already know that Peterson is synonymous with top-of-the-line strobe tuners. iStroboSoft is a fitting addition to the company’s legacy, essentially a mobile version of its incredibly precise StroboSoft 2.0 software. Simple to use, with a slick and intuitive layout, iStroboSoft tunes quickly and easily with 1/10th-cent accuracy and offers a host of extra features, including noise filter, drop/capo modes and calibration. Guitarists be warned: you no longer have an excuse to be out of tune anytime, anywhere. Peterson Tuners; iStroboSoft, $9.99


A complete music production app that combines a piano keyboard, a 128-track sequencer and note editor and, most impressively, up to 90 studio-recorded instruments. Instruments, which use sampled rather than synthesized sounds, are controlled via the 85-key virtual keyboard, with each tweakable via a variety of options and effects. Furthermore, the keyboard can be split into two rows, making it possible to play or record two different instruments simultaneously. Xewton; MusicStudio, $14.99


For years you’ve been playing “Stormy Monday” in G when, suddenly, your singer decides — onstage — he wants to jam it in F. Whip out this trusty app and you’ll be up and running in no time. The simple interface allows you to transpose a key in either numeric steps or semitone form as well as choose between numeric and written, and sharp and flat notes. Jouni Erola; Transpose, $0.99


“Tailored” for use with the manufacturer’s line of acoustics, this app offers a range of EQ presets to complement signature Taylor body shapes, including Grand Auditorium, Grand Symphony and more. Or customize your own settings using the six-band parametric EQ. Other features include iPod playthrough, monitor level adjustment and a compressor/limiter. Recommended for use with Sonoma’s GuitarJack interface. Sonoma Wire Works; Taylor EQ, Free


A virtual “capo” that is also a useful practice tool, this app allows you to adjust the pitch of a song to match the tuning of your guitar as well as slow down and loop difficult sections of music. For quick reference, Capo will drop markers at specific points in songs, enabling you to find and return to trouble spots. Additionally, a Voice Reduction feature targets and lowers vocal frequencies, making it easier to focus on guitar parts exclusively. SuperMegaUltraGroovy; Capo, $19.99


A metronome — and so much more. In addition to keeping you in time, Tempo can be customized down to each beat and sub-beat, making it possible to program complex tunes with multiple time changes. In addition, the app offers a variety of tempo sounds (including digital, analog, shaker and click), presets (for custom time signatures and rhythms), and a large bright display for easy viewing. Frozen Ape; Tempo, $1.99


A simple, cheap and straightforward practice, rehearsal and performance tool for musicians, GigBaby! includes a metronome, a four-track recorder, a drum machine and a cool setlist manager service that allows you to organize songs by name, tempo and key. Its network-sharing device lets you exchange audio tracks with band mates and friends in order to construct full songs. ioMetrics LLC; Gigbaby!, $0.99

And since we're on the subject of apps, check out the Guitar World Lick of the Day app. Read about it here.

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Guitar World Staff

Since 1980, Guitar World has been the ultimate resource for guitarists. Whether you want to learn the techniques employed by your guitar heroes, read about their latest projects or simply need to know which guitar is the right one to buy, Guitar World is the place to look.