.Biz guest guest columnist Jim Dalrymple blogs about Apple products for The Loop. You can follow him on Twitter @jdalrymple. Also, as the video and audio below demonstrates, he clearly knows how to shred on guitar.
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iPhone and iPads have allowed guitarists to play and create songs virtually anywhere and at anytime, but more often than not there are trade-offs, namely tonal quality. Not any more. With the release of Apogee's Jam, guitarists can have both convenience and a rich, full-bodied sound.
Until now, instrument adapters for the iPhone and iPad have used analog headphone connections, which certainly work, but often gave the sound a general dullness.
The Apogee Jam, however, uses Apple's dock connector to deliver a crisp, digital sound straight from your guitar to the iPad. The Jam is capable of 44.1kHz, 24-bit analog-to-digital conversion
I tried the Jam using Apple's GarageBand for some clean tones and then switched to AmpKit for the high-gain metal tones. Even with the gain turned up, the noise from the guitar was minimal when going through the Jam, but the tone was solid.
I added distortion and delay pedals to my rig in AmpKit+ and while the noise level increased (that is what we're looking for with distortion), it didn't make the tone sound dull or too heavy on the bottom end.
The Jam is very simple to use. Just plug your guitar in the 1.4-inch jack on one end and the break out cable on the other end goes to your iPad or iPhone. There is only one control on the Jam itself, and that's to increase the gain of the guitar signal going into your device. There is an LED light on the Jam that turns red if your signal is too hot and stays green if you're signal is okay.
All other tone changes are done with whatever guitar software you are using.
You can also use the Jam with your Mac. That means you can buy one device and use it with you iPad on the road and your Mac when you get home. I've been shredding on my iPad and iPhone for the last week with the Jam, but with the best possible tone
Apogee's Jam costs $99.