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Review: Griffin Stompbox for iShred

About.com Rating 2 Star Rating

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Griffin Stompbox

© Griffin

The Griffin Stompbox combined with iShred Live promises to turn your iPad into a full-fledged guitar multi-effects package complete with foot pedal for fast effects switching. But while it's a great idea, unfortunately, the Stompbox falls short of this dream.

Griffin Stompbox Features

  • 4 switches that can be used to control effects in iShred Live
  • Expandable via an 1/4" input for adding a wah-wah pedal or volume control
  • Includes the Griffin GuitarConnect Cable for connecting your guitar to your iPad

Griffin Stompbox Review

I have to admit, I really wanted to like the Griffin Stompbox. I was an early adopter of AmpliTube and the iRig system, and while I loved the ability to plug my guitar into my iPad and use it as a multi-effects package, I found the entire system to be not quite ready for prime time. And since one of my chief problems with the AmpliTube/iRig combo was the necessity of tapping the screen to change effects, the Griffin Stompbox sounded like it was on the right road.

Good idea. Not so great execution.

Honestly, the worst part about the Stompbox is the inability to use it with anything but iShred Live. Not that I completely dislike the software -- the sound produced by iShred Live is about on par with what you get out of AmpliTube -- but the app itself seems to have problems. For example, I couldn't get rid of a huge amount of feedback when using the included amp's overdrive on anything but the lightest setting. Curiously, the same equipment plugged into AmpliTube had no problem, and I even tried iShred's iPhone app and I didn't have this problem. So whatever the issue, it seems to be centered on the iPad version of the app.

I also didn't feel the app really integrated with the Stompbox as well as it should. For example, I could hold my foot down on the second switch to bring up the presets menu in order to switch between totally different sets of pedals through the Stompbox, but if I manually opened the presets menu on my iPad, the Stompbox wouldn't control it. Also, if I move through the pages of presets and get to the end, it doesn't loop back to the first page of presets, which is also annoying.

Stompbox is solid, if not altogether practical

The Stompbox itself is very solid, and I felt as if I could really slam my foot down in the heat of the action and it could take it. The fact that you can hold your foot down to switch the controls from effects to presets to metronome means you can really control iShred Live with your foot, which is great because your hands will probably be busy.

I also liked that the included GuitarConnect cable had the headphones input jack next to the 1/4" output that goes into your guitar. This is a much better arrangement than the iRig, which requires that you stay close to your iPad. Unfortunately, GuitarConnect really doesn't take advantage of this, giving you only a 6 foot cable. I'd love to see a 15 foot version.

And ultimately, it's the price tag that really holds this accessory back. At $50, I could see this being an excellent purchase for those who want to do a little jamming in their den without getting all of their equipment out. But at $100, I just don't see it. The system certainly isn't show-ready, and isn't really up to speed for true practice sessions, making this more of a home device. And for the same price, you could get a Korg Pandora mini multi-effects processor that is about the same size as an iPod and comes with a lot more sounds than is available in iShred.

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