IK Multimedia's focus on guitarists was again evident at the recent NAMM show; they spun off various components of the guitarist-friendly Axe I/O interface launched at the previous year’s NAMM as stand-alone devices (the Z-Tone DI box and Z-Tone Buffer Boost tone-shaping pedal). There was also a cut‑down version of the Axe I/O, the £264.99$249.99 Axe I/O Solo (for comparison, the original Axe I/O was £369.99$349.99 at launch). The I/O Solo (above) offers two inputs and three outputs compared to the original Axe I/O’s two ins and five outs, and loses the built‑in tuner, one of the original Axe I/O’s two mic/line inputs and one of the two Hi-Z inputs. Otherwise, though, most of what made the Axe I/O an appealing interface for guitarists has survived unscathed, including the choice of a 'clean' Class-A input stage and a JFET-based input for warmer tones, the Z-Tone adjustable input impedance tone-shaping and the bundled version of AmpliTube 4 that ships with it. Overall, it sounds like a pretty good deal for anyone that liked the look of the original Axe I/O but couldn't quite afford one.
IK also followed up last Summer’s AmpliTube Brian May with a Windows-, Mac- and iOS-compatible library of guitar processing and modelled setups designed to replicate the pedals and amps of another axe hero — this time the ‘guitarist’s guitarist’ Joe Satriani. Five modelled stompboxes (including wah, octave and overdrive emulations) and three amp models (based on the artist’s favourite Marshall, Peavey and Scholz amps) feature in AmpliTube Joe Satriani (above), which can be used as a £101.49$99 stand-alone application within IK’s AmpliTube Custom Shop or as a DAW plug-in. The iOS version offers all the same features and can be purchased for $24.99 online from within AmpliTube CS for iOS devices.
Aside from guitar-related tech, IK also launched an affordable and very compact two-channel audio and MIDI interface for Mac/PC and Android and iOS mobile devices, aimed at recording musicians and podcasters. Despite its diminutive size, the £210$199.99 iRig Pro Duo I/O (above) features newly designed mic preamps, 48V phantom power, low-latency direct monitoring, 'combi' inputs for use with quarter-inch jacks and XLRs. It can be powered over USB, with twin AA batteries, or via an optional PSU, and is also bundled with IK software and sample content worth over $500!
Perhaps IK’s most SOS-friendly launch at NAMM was the company’s first convolution-based acoustic environment emulation. Sunset Sound Studio Reverb for IK’s T-Racks (above) captures the impulse responses of various environments at the famous studios in the heart of Hollywood, including the live rooms and isolation booths from Sunset Studios 1, 2 and 3, as well as the studio’s three echo chambers, two vintage plate reverbs and one spring reverb. For more about Sunset Sound Studio Reverb, see the video interview we conducted with IK at NAMM. The software costs £269.99£249.99, although if you manage to sneak a purchase in before the end of March, you can get it at the introductory price of £159.99$149.99.