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DIGITECH IPB-10 REVIEW

Posted on January 26, 2012 by Joe Stachowiak There have been 18 comment(s)

Digitech iPB-10This article was written by Absolute Music guitar expert Lee Williams and is featured in Issue 7 of our Absolute Music Magazine...

DIGITECH IPB-10 - BOX OF TRICKS

Even after all this time, there’s something about the word ‘iPad’ that gets us all excited. Stompbox pedals (for the most part) can come and go, but mention of a new unit that uses an iPad and a downloadable app as its interface and suddenly the tech-head in all of us (that’s the bit that watches Top Gear re-runs on Dave without ever getting bored and sets the Gadget Show to record every single week) gets wildly aroused.

So it goes with the latest invention from the FXperts (see what I did there?) at DigiTech with the iPB-10 multi-effects unit. As you can see from the pictures, it uses the iPad as an interface for the fully functional pedalboard, and as soon as we saw this crazy contraption, we knew (Smeagle-like) it must be ours, master.

Digitech iPB-10 Pedalboard

DIGITECH IPB-10 - GET SET GO

Out of the box, the iPB-10 is as simple as pie to get started with. Once you’ve downloaded the iPB Nexus app, it’s just so easy to set up and tweak patches by changing the settings on the pedals or adjusting the virtual knobs on the amps on screen. It’s just so much better to do this on the iPad than on those tiny screens and menus that are such a limiting feature on most other multi-effects devices I’ve used. It also means you can use your guitar to seamlessly jam along with iTunes and record directly to programs such as Garageband.

The iPB Nexus app gives a graphical representation of all the adjustable knobs on the various pedals and amps, but the sound processing takes place in the iPB-10 unit itself. You can get some super sounds from the amp models and choose from an array of pedals (all designed to look a bit like familiar products) to colour your sound. These can then be arranged in any order and swapped in and out with drag ’n’ drop ease. If you’re in any way famliar with any other guitar effects or multi-processors then you won’t struggle to get to grips with the iPB-10.

DIGITECH IPB-10 - SATISFYINGLY SOLID

What you might not be able to appreciate from the pictures here is the solidity of the unit. Not only is it a chunky size, but the iPB-10 is also robust with its metal frame and footswitches that give every impression of durability. The iPad is secured into the unit via a latched frame that clunks solidly closed, keeping the iPad snug and secure while leaving the screen surface available to prod and stroke at will.

Digitech iPB-10 Pedalboard Top View

Connectivity wise, the iPB-10 is extremely versatile with loads of input and output options. You can use your existing cables to plug in a guitar and then send the signal from the system out to an amp, PA, recording desk or headphones. The iPB-10 also includes a USB port for audio streaming.

There’s also a Stomp Loop that lets you include any much-loved ‘physical’ stompboxes into the signal chain and an Amp Loop that allows you to bypass the iPB-10’s amp and cabinet modelling stages and just use the preamp of your existing amp. This latter feature is particularly useful if you already have a great-sounding valve amp.

DIGITECH IPB-10 - TIME TO TEST

Sadly (for me) I am among the lower castes of society as I only have an iPad 1, which is what I used to test out the iPB-10. I’m happy to report that I had no difficulties getting or using the iPB Nexus app. The whole download process is easy for even the un-techie-est guitarist.

I tested the unit with several guitars, some single-coil and some humbuckers and was very pleased to find that the iPB-10 sounds were sufficiently transparent to allow the sonic qualities of (and distinctions between) a Strat and a Tele, for instance, to shine through. The iPB-10 was acting like a proper amplifier of the sound of the guitar itself, rather than simply throwing a bunch of reverb and effects on to the sound to create a generic, over-processed guitar sound that could be adjusted later.

DIGITECH IPB-10 - WHAT'S THAT SOUND?

With the Digitech iPB-10, you can have pretty much whatever sounds you want. If you want just the pedals and no amps, you can leave them off, or you can have the whole signal chain modelled right down to those effects that are going through the effects loop of your virtual amp and those that are going into the front end. I rather like the clean tones and found those to be particuarly good; they even held up while playing at considerable (window-rattling) volume!

DigiTech iPB-10 Connections

The ability to change the sound with ease is very welcome. The advantage of the addition of a clear graphical interface to a great set of amp models is that the sounds can be tweaked and adjusted so easily. There is a clear distinction between this and my previous effects units, where I found that the amp models were difficult to get at, let alone edit!

On some units it can be a right old faff to bring up the mids on an amp model and usually it’s easier to just go looking for a different patch. Not on the iPB-10 though, where you can respond to what you’re hearing and change the sound parameters so easily.

I explored several options for getting the sound out, all of which worked well. First I sent the signal in to the clean channel of a valve amp, but I then found that it sounded very good and arguably better going into an acoustic amp with the EQ levelled off. That seemed to let the difference in the amp models come through more thoroughly. Most of the time I found myself sending the signal into a decent set of headphones with a nice long cable so that I could stand up and play.

I noticed that changing the sounds using the foot pedals was very quick. The image on the iPad screen changes as soon as a switch is engaged, so it’s immediately obvious what pedal you’re using. There’s no lag between engaging the pedal and hearing the change and the tiny lag of the image appearing causes no stress whatsoever.

DIGITECH IPB-10 - TAKING IT EVERYWHERE

I can imagine using the iPB-10 at rehearsals and smaller club gigs and I already know it’s spot-on for practice at home. Of course there are times (pub gigs where pints get spilled, heavy rock gigs where stamping feet can re-arrange my stompbox set-up) when you just wouldn’t want to put an iPad on the floor but that said, the unit still works without the iPad attached. Since the sounds themselves are produced by the actual unit, it’s just the visual editing you’d be missing. Or you could attach the iPad via an extension cable and place it anywhere (safe) you like.

We all know that the iPad travels well, so when out and about, in a café and on the train, it’s been great fun to build imaginary pedalboards from the array of pedal and amp choices available for use when I get home. On several occasions, I found myself trying to recreate the rigs of my fave players (use said iPad to waste hours on guitargeek.com) while waiting for meetings to start.

DIGITECH IPB-10 - A WHOLE NEW WORLD

In a nutshell, the iPB-10 is a great product that keeps delighting. My old multi-effects unit is definitely gonna get dusty! I have the good feeling that I’m only starting to get to grips with its potential - a good example is the recording functions that can be accessed via other apps on the iPad - but I’m looking forward to those vistas opening up.

The iPB-10 carries out its core function of delivering great guitar sounds and multi-effects very well and does so with a high degree of adjustability due to the use of the iPad, allowing you to create your perfect rig wherever you may be.

DIGITECH IPB-10 - TECHIE STUFF

• Chassis: Durable cast-metal
• Sample rate: 44.1kHz
• DSP section: Two audio DNA2 DSP processors
• Modelling: 87 effects pedals, 54 amps, 26 cabinets
• Simultaneous use: 10 pedals + 1 amp + 1 cab per set-up
• Presets: 100 user/factory
• Controls: 10 main footswitches, Stomp Loop, Amp Loop, Up, Down
• Compatible with: iPad and iPad 2

You can also read what our Online Editor, Joe Stachowiak thought of the iPB-10 by clicking HERE!

For more information on the DigiTech iPB-10 Programmable Pedalboard, click the link below:

DigiTech iPB-10 - More Info/Buy


This post was posted in Blog entries, Guitars, In-Depth Reviews, iOS Devices & Apps and was tagged with digitech, effects, guitar, ipb-10, pedal, pedalboard, programmable

18 Responses to DIGITECH IPB-10 REVIEW

  • can the ipb-10 do jam-a-long with mp3's? how do i use the " stomp/amp loop" buttons on the left?

    Posted on February 17, 2012 at 10:31 pm

  • Hi, thanks for the question. The Stomp and Amp Loop buttons are for enabling and disabling the Stomp and Amp loops. A Stomp loop allows you to connect one or more Stomp pedals to the iPB-10 and route the signal through them, and the Amp loop allows you to route the signal through an amp if you want. Just use the Amp and Stomp Send and Return connections on the back of the iPB-10 to connect stomp boxes and amps into your signal path. Check out pages 23 and 24 of the iPB-10 manual if you are still a little unsure as this includes a diagram that illustrates how to connect everything up: http://www.digitech.com/system/documents/267/original/iPB-10%20Manual%20v0.5.pdf?1317155015

    Just tap the switch to activate/deactivate these features. Feel free to ask if you are still confused though.

    Also, you can indeed jam along with mp3s whilst using the iPB-10. Just load up iTunes and select the song that you want!

    If you have any more questions then let me know :)

    Posted on February 20, 2012 at 11:21 am

  • Hi there! Can you help? I cannot reduce the volume when playing music from the iPad to play along to. If I use GarageBand I have to reduce he instrument track volumes to almost silent and I get away with it. However, the iTunes tracks in the music player are just too loud when I connect to my amp. I sent the same question to digitech but their advice failed. I'm sure I'm missing something.
    Thanks, Gary

    Posted on May 16, 2012 at 1:00 am

  • Is this just a general problem or does it happen in a specific app?

    Posted on May 16, 2012 at 9:45 am

  • Hi,
    It initially happened with GarageBand but as I previously described I got around that by lowering the smart instrument tracks individually and the master volume on the app interface. On the iPad music player I cannot find any adjustment that is operable while connected the the Ipb10. It's impossible to jam along to anything in the music library it's so loud!

    Posted on May 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm

  • Hi,

    When you say the 'iPad music player', do you mean iTunes? Or the iPB Nexus app? Or something else? If so, you should just be able to use the master volume settings in the app to lower the volume as you see fit. I've got a feeling that I'm not fully understanding you though or have you already tried this and even at low volume settings, the songs are still too loud? If you have already tried this, does altering the volume in the app that you are using to play your songs make any difference to the overall volume at all? If the volume is set to minimum, does this stop the song from sounding?

    Posted on May 17, 2012 at 9:43 am

  • Hello again,
    1 or 2 updates back my iTunes app ceased to be the iPad music player. Now it is just a means to download. When this happened an icon entitled 'Music' appeared and that's where all my music is listed and plays. When the iPad is in the pedal board the volume control is not there.

    Posted on May 18, 2012 at 12:07 am

  • Hi - have you tried adjusting the 1/4" mix slider in the Settings menu of the iPB-10? Does this make any difference? Let me know if that does't work and I'll contact Digitech myself.

    Posted on May 18, 2012 at 10:41 am

  • Replied to your post again - see below - ran out of posting space in this conversation so had to start a new one!

    Posted on May 18, 2012 at 10:42 am

  • Hi Joe,
    I hav enow adjusted the slider and solved the problem. I didn't realise they worked the way they do. Thanks for your persistence!
    Regards,
    Gary

    Posted on May 21, 2012 at 11:03 am

  • No worries Gary, I'm glad that you're all sorted :) You know where we are if you have any more questions in future!

    Posted on May 21, 2012 at 11:10 am

  • Vova says:

    Hi,
    Can you explain me how to use looper, please.

    Posted on September 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm

  • Hi Vova, the Digitech iPB-10 doesn't have a phrase looper 'yet' as far as I'm aware. When I last spoke to Digitech they informed me that this was something that they are planning to implement in the future though.

    Posted on September 13, 2012 at 9:46 am

  • Hi, good to see helpfulness here:). Hope I can get your cool advise on best way to connect my Wah/Whammy so it's in front of the IPB-10 distortion. Then I have a modulated pedal that I know I can plug to stomp loop, but in this case, in edit mode - should I leave the stomp loop icon at factory default (after volume pedal for all presets)? Same question for the Amp loop icon, should it be left where it is right after distortion or overdrive on most all factory presets? I sometimes wish to use Amp loop without effects. My Amp (Line 6 HD 100) has a Pre Amp out / Power Amp In.
    Thank you!

    Posted on October 26, 2012 at 4:19 am

  • Hi Paul and thanks for the question - you can position both the Stomp and Amp Loops anywhere you want within the signal chain. Rather than explaining it step-by-step, the manual explains it all on pages 38-39. If you don't have a copy then you can view it online HERE. I hope that helps and that I understood your question correctly. If not or if you have any more questions then feel free to get back in touch.

    Posted on October 26, 2012 at 10:09 am

  • Neal says:

    The iPB10 looks really interesting and was looking to get one but looking at the lack of support from DT and updates for this unit is very off putting, I believe they have dropped the ball on this big time as there is still no Tap tempo, looper or any new pedal or amp models available free or other wise.
    Hopefully Line6 or one of the other big boys will come through with an ipad editing software solution......that will be the end of the iPB 10 as I see it.

    Posted on March 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm

  • carlo says:

    Hi, iv'e been using ipb-10 for six months now, and its very nice, i just want to know about the looper, is there a looper on a future update thanks hope to hear from you guys

    Posted on October 15, 2013 at 6:22 pm

  • Hi Carlo, I'm afraid that there is still no looper for the iPB-10 as far as I'm aware. When I last spoke to Digitech they told me that they were planning on implementing one but that was a LONG time ago. I'm afraid that I'm not sure what their plans are now but I'm not feeling too confident about that looper update anymore seeing as it's been quite a while since we've received any new info on it. Your best bet would be to contact Digitech Technical support who should know the answer to this. CLICK HERE to contact them. Sorry I couldn't be of more help this time but feel free to pop back on here and let us know what they say :)

    Posted on October 16, 2013 at 9:48 am