iPhone apps and devices are a huge industry - everyone who knows Objective-Ooriented C are filling the market with various apps for your iPhone or iPod touch. The music industry is no different with quite a few different music applications entering the market every once in a while. I had the pleasure of fooling around with Sonoma WireWorks' GuitarJack the other day.
GuitarJack is a great little device that plugs into your iPhone or iPod touch. It allows you to plug in your guitar or a microphone and record directly to your phone or pod. It currently works with iPhone 3G, 3GS and the second or third generation iPod Touches. Due to a difference in connectors on the iPhone 4, 4th generation iPod touch or iPad the GuitarJack doesn't work with those models. But for all of you that haven't seen the need to update to your newest iWhatever, the GuitarJack and its companion app FourTrack might come in handy.
Some Outside Specs
- Sturdy - The GuitarJack is a sturdy little device, with aluminum housing so I'm sure it doesn't break easily. It's definitely built to last and since the device is great to use as a traveling recorder the sturdiness relieves the worry of your device malfunctioning.
- Two inputs – The GuitarJack has two inputs, a 1/4 inch plug for connecting your guitar as well as a stereo 1/8 inch input.
- Headphone Jack – In order to hear what you are doing, the GuitarJack comes with a headphone output.
The GuitarJack doesn't come with any apps, but it does work with a plethora of sound recording apps. I used their own FourTrack recording app to demo the unit and I was pleasantly surprised with the sounds I could get out of it.
The Taylor EQ app comes bundled with the FourTrack but it can also be downloaded for free to use with the GuitarJack. On their website they list a few 3rd party applications that they know for sure work with the GuitarJack, so I'm sure there are many others that can be downloaded and used instead.
After downloading the FourTrack app I was good to go. Everybody in software land played well together and my guitar was instantly recognized by the FourTrack app. There is a special input monitoring section on the FourTrack where I could set my initial levels and select between the two inputs I could control. I was pretty impressed by being able to switch from Lo-Z to High-Z as well as being given the option of putting a pad on the signal.
It's obvious that the people at Sonoma WireWorks have thought about all the various situations this thing might be used and accommodated for all of them. The ¼ inch input has a Lo-Z pad which can come in handy if you want to send a stereo drum signal from your computer. Everybody who has ever had to plug a Dj into a DI box knows that it's good to push those Pad knobs in before he blows out the speakers.
All in all it was really convenient to be able to set initial levels into the GuitarJack before doing any recordings, and the addition of variable impedance switches was just an extra bonus.
I was pleasantly surprised by the sound quality of the GuitarJack. I know the sound of my guitar through various pre-amps, PAs and the such so I was very pleased by the persuasive sound quality that came through my headphones. After getting a good signal without distorting the inputs I was happily strumming my guitar.
The FourTrack comes with the built-in Taylor EQ that that they developed with Taylor Guitars. The Taylor EQ is a free app that includes the GuitarJack control panel so if you don't feel the need to shell out an extra $19.99 for the FourTrack the Taylor EQ is a great alternative. I actually had a lot of fun playing with the Taylor EQ since they have different acoustic guitar presets that gave my acoustic guitar a few different makeovers. With six different guitar sounds and a built-in parametric EQ you can tweak your guitar tone to your heart's desire.
The FourTrack had quite a few extra features that made me realize how much attention to detail the engineers at Sonoma had given this little device. It comes equipped with a metronome that even has a few standard rock beats if you hate the sound of a click track (I do), which comes quite in handy when you are recording your ideas into it. Even just the tiny panning controls on the FourTrack's recording interface came in handy to give my small noodlings some definition and clarity. All in all, it's a very intuitive interface that comes with many more features than you would expect.
Have a listen to my guitar fiddling here which I exported directly from the iPhone. I had to bounce this from Logic to get it to MP3, and I made the same pan adjustments in Logic since the GuitarJack allows me to export each individual file instead of a master mix.
Obviously, nothing is going to make an acoustic guitar sound like an acoustic guitar except miking it up directly with a nice microphone, but the GuitarJack does a pretty good job of translating my acoustic pick-ups.
Summing it up
It's a great sounding little device and it's built to last. The sound quality is much better than if you were to plug your guitar directly into your phone, since the engineering of the device is built around maximizing sound quality as well as being able to communicate efficiently with the software you are using.
For iPhone and iPod users that are in need of a great little pocket recorder to record their ideas on the fly, I would definitely recommend the GuitarJack along with their FourTrack software. You can take your guitar anywhere and record your inspirations on the spot without having to drag a laptop or a microphone with you.
- Great Sound Quality
- Multiple inputs
- Compatible with 3rd party programs
- Doesn't come with any apps
For more information you can check out Sonoma WireWorks' website. And check out their promo video below: