DigiTech iPB-10, $480
Plug-and-play interfaces for guitarists like the iRig are great for practicing or tracking demos. But when it comes to playing live, the iPad tool we most enjoyed was the Digitech iPB-10 programmable pedalboard. It’s a big, brawny floor unit, but the brains are supplied by your iPad, which is held in place with a big bracket on top (so keep your beer out of splash range).
Using the free iOS app (iTunes link), you can design a virtual rig — choose from dozens of amps and cabinets, and over 80 individual effects — and map individual settings and sounds to each of the 10 footswitches. You can save entire banks of effects and sounds (up to 100 fully-customized virtual rigs) and swap between pedalboard settings with just a few on-screen taps.
Setting it up is easy, and configuring the pedals is dead simple. But the system is rather impractical if your tunes require a lot of mid-song knob twisting — bending over to swipe and pinch at the screen may make you miss the tactile feel of traditional pedals (though you can also loop in any of your existing effects). It’s especially well-suited for set-it-and-forget-it players, and the expression pedal gives you some hands-free control. Plus, every guitarist will have fun geeking out by building rig designs ranging from the practical to the extra-whacky.
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