Saturday, April 14, 2012

Test: DigiTech iStomp

After the IPB-10 already tested in our columns, Digitech offers iStomp, a pedal for guitarists, whose primary function is modified via an iDevice. The manufacturer combines classicism and modernity for their ultra offer an innovative product. The question is whether they will be tempted by the adventure, a test that is not always the first that comes to mind when speaking of the fairer guitar ... rather conservative!

If Fender, Gibson, Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Ibanez, among others, are undeniably part of the vocabulary of guitar players, it is very difficult to convince them to broaden their horizons. However, Digitech continues on this path by offering a product capable of being inserted in their rig and their habits. The iStomp looks like a traditional pedal, presented in a metal box sober and solid workmanship. One can only note a height below average compared to what is usually found, which causes no functional impairment. The first observation, when taken in hand, is to note the absence of any screen next to the 4 potentiometers located at the top. In practice, it is the user who will decide what role each of them, according to the effect that it has assigned. This is indeed the highlight of this iStomp is the musician who decide his fate, permanently ... or not!

Side connections

The right side edge welcomes a pair of jack sockets 6.35 for receiving the direct signal from a guitar in mono, a mono effect upstream in the chain of effects (the rig) or the stereo signal of another effect, a chorus, for example. In this case, the user gets the signal processed by iStomp on the opposite edge to connect the two outputs of two separate amps.

In mono mode, only mono output amplifier is used to unique. The activation/ deactivation of the effect is through a standard footswitch, the firm contact under the foot. The power is entrusted to an external power adapter to connect the output side, not bulky, but mandatory. Indeed, nothing is planned to accommodate a cell or battery as is the case, most of the time, with effects pedals. If in itself it is not very troublesome, the guitarist must comply with the characteristics of this power if it wishes to include it in a pedalboard full, often supplied via a power supply with multiple outputs. Anyway, this is not the concern of the day, let us rather DSC connector (Digitech Smart Cable), a kind of like ADB, for fans of the range Apple Quadra and others ... It is through this port that the connection is made between the port and dock iStomp the iDevice, any time he knows the run iOS 4.
After the discovery of physical iStomp, it should go on with its iPhone App Store (or other) and then download Digitech Stomp Shop app. Therefore, the guitarist has to connect two devices via the DSC cord supplied, to power the pedal and start the app. The latter appears Shop tab active. The effects available in the virtual store are staged according to four families, Compressor / Pitch / Filter (five effects), Overdrive / Distortion (7 effects), Chorus / Modulation (7 effects) and Delay / Reverb (6 effects). Digitech offers two effects, Redline Overdrive, saturation quite tangy and Total Recall, a unit of stereo delay. These appear with a dimmed icon to differentiate the effects possessed other. A tap on an icon switches the effect in full screen mode, then triggering a new tap musical phrase; a riff can listen to the sound it again provides. In typing on the virtual button to activating effect, the user listens to the bypass, history compare the sound with or without. Two possibilities are opens; buy it immediately as in app purchase or try to tap on a Try. In this case, the transfer of the modeling is done immediately, thirty seconds is necessary to complete the operation. You will then be entitled to 5 minutes of use to make you notice, when you activated the effect. In addition, the pedal to the bypass and not use any more! Once satisfied, you buy it. The business model established by Digitech is announced, to have more effects is through the till to purchase integrated, not always cheap by modeling, the most interesting are often (always) the most expensive. However, as we can only use one effect with both iStomp, no need to acquire all, to draw from each according to his needs and the effects it already has, through other pedals. A tap on the info button information information on the allocation of physical buttons on the control son.Pour remember that, once the iPhone back in his pocket, Digitech offers in the box, self-nine skins sticky position below the buttons. Three other virgins are in addition to it note the usefulness of settings according to the intended outcome.

My Pedals tab lists all purchases, Settings allows for its part to perform any updates related to the effects and the app itself.

In practice

The two models proposed by Digitech bundle are not there for nothing. The overdrive Redline, although a little acid in my opinion, is ideal for rock sounds played in chords on crunches. It is possible to correct a little shooting through the proposed 2-band EQ.

Total Recall is a stereo delay and may in fact be positioned at the end of chain to attack two amps. Moreover, the effect provides a setting via tap tempo. It snaps from a support maintained at least two seconds on the iStomp switch, the LED activation is putting flashing.

To enter the correct tempo value, then simply tap the footswitch in rhythm with the music to accompany. Potentiometer delay time is in addition to select the time range if necessary.

Note that it ranges from 10 ms to 1 second. Among my tests (Strat plugged into a Blues Junior with a clean sound), I enjoyed Screamer, the TS-9 emulation which provides a very usable and smooth overdrive Blue Pearl Chorus, a stereo chorus or beautiful arpeggios ballads, note ginned pick.

I like a little less certain distos still have some charge in acute or special effects like Filter, use more than ad hoc. Again, tastes and colors ... Note again that each effect can be assigned a color on the pedal activation, freely assignable among nine choices, from a tap on LED within the heading My Pedals .

One regret, unable to hold more than one model, each new transfer erasing the previous one in the pedal.

In conclusion

This concept opens up new possibilities for guitarists. iStomp will address the lack of a desired effect "for just once in the evening," for example. Or to test different rigs, other positions within the chain or simply by what we love the sound produced by a given model and the possibility to work simultaneously with conventional equipment.

The only obstacle may be the base price which is iStomp the top of the basket for an effects pedal which must be added that further modeling. For the rest, very difficult to find fault with this product thoughtful, timely and fully functional.

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