DigiTech iStomp Pedal for iOS by augustus green
The iStomp is the second offering from Digitech to offer iOS interaction next to the iPB-10 I reviewed last year. This time with support for the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad running iOS 4 or better. This is a much smaller device, a single stomp box enclosure with an AudioDNA™ 2 DSP chip at the heart. Otherwise you've got 4 knobs, true stereo I/O, a Digitech logo-shaped LED fixture and a single stomp switch. The bottom is lined with rubber so it would work well on a slippery surface. No battery slot in favor of a 9V power supply jack but does include the AC Adaptor (nice). The only other things left in the box are the 30-pin cable for connecting your iOS device and a set of die-cut stickers so that you know what each of the knobs do depending on what stomp you have loaded. What it doesn't include is the iOS device required to get the most out of this pedal (obviously). However, it does come preloaded with the modern Redline Distortion stomp so that you can get playing right away.
Like a child, I pulled it out of the box, plugged my guitar in and started jamming right away. I was really impressed with the Redline Distortion effect. It's a very modern distortion with Gain, Level and HI/Lo EQ knobs. At extreme settings it made my guitar feedback like Hendrix. Even at modest settings it was pretty face-melting. I was very pleased with the clarity of the digital processing. It sounded rich rather than the murky tones normally associated with digital distortion. That must mean that it has high quality digital to analog converters and a good DSP chip.
It was time to get into the iOS bit. The idea is that you download the effects pedal software for each individual stomp box model from the iOS device to the pedal one at a time to essentially turn the iStomp into the desired effect pedal. I downloaded the free Stomp Shop app, which is a free app available in the Appstore used to store all of your effect pedal options, in a matter of minutes and plugged the 30-pin cable from my iPhone 4S to the iStomp. The individual stomp boxes range from $5-$10 and take about 30 seconds to download. I noticed that the Total Recall delay was free so I figured I'd give it a shot. It sounded very clean and considering that it's description described it as being a modern digital delay it sounded exactly that. I really liked that it had a ducking function that allows you to set a threshold of how loud you want the delays to be while you are strumming. This is great for strumming rhythms where delay is desired but without muddying up the signal.
I'll admit seeing that the Stomp Shop had 20 stomps to choose from made me a bit A.D.D. You get a 5 minute timer displayed on your device before the effect is disabled. I must have tried every pedal in the shop but some standouts included the DOD fx25 Envelope Filter, Octaver octave pedal, Rodent, and Vintage Tape delay. Another cool feature of the app is the ability to change the LED color to virtually any color you want. I suppose this would help if you had multiple iStomps. Imagine having 4 or 5 of these babies that you could always be changing what effects live inside. Digitech plan on updating, expanding and improving the effects constantly so that your iStomp/s will never get old. I find the concept of having interchangeable, adaptable, and upgradable stomp boxes to be extremely exciting and futuristic.
I really like the new iOS-centric line from Digitech. They are really taking advantage of a modern iOS driven culture. More importantly, they are doing it well. The sound quality of the iStomp and iPB-10 is stunning. The adaptable, upgradable interface is exciting. They are really pioneering something that I expect a lot of other top manufactures to jump on in coming months. The iStomp knocks it out the park and leaves an open door for potential. I can't wait to see what other stomps they model with this format.