Hey guys, it’s Brian from World Music Supply here again, and today I want to talk to you guys about a really innovative new pedal from Digitech called the iStomp. The iStomp is a pedal that allows its entire effect framework to be swapped out via any iOS 4 or later device running the DigiTech® Stomp Shop™ App.
Digitech has already done something similar to this with their IPB10 pedalboard, which used the iPad as the guts of a whole multi-effect board. Now the idea behind the IPB10 is amazing, have all of the flexibility of a normal pedal board but all you have to deal with is your iPad. However this faced a few issues, mainly, many guitarists are sort of stuck in their way as far as their “tones” go, and as such they just dont like the idea of giving up their favorite ten or fifteen year old pedals for digital recreations of them on a touch screen.
This is why pedals like the iStomp are invaluable for guitarists. You get all of the flexibility of a limitless number of pedals under your feet, but it only takes up as much room as a normal stomp box. This means that you can add a few new tonal colors into your chain without having to forgo your old favorites just to save space. The iStomp even comes preloaded with Digitechs infamous Redline Distortion from their RP series of multi effects, as well as the Total Recall delay available for free from the DigiTech® Stomp Shop™ App right from the get go.
The most logical thing I could think to do was swap out certain pedals in my pedal chain with the iStomp and see how it functioned in their place, for example, taking out my main distortion pedal and swapping it with the iStomp, or taking out my delay and using the iStomp in its place. This approach worked well, as the included Redline pedal has a great full sound, with plenty of ZZ top style swagger, and it cleaned up nicely with your volume knob, it actually sounded better then my road worn distortion box I’ve had for years now. The other available models sounded great too, with models of many famous pedals, like a Tube Screamer, a Dunlop style fuzz face, and of course Digitechs classic Deathmetal distortion. They all had a fresh feeling to them that always sounded spot on to what you hoped it would sound like. There were no digital artifacts or fake sounding cheapo models like you find on some lower priced multi-effect units.
Testing it as a Delay pedal was equally satisfying, as there are more then enough pedals available to fill in the role of my little old bucket brigade delay pedal. With plenty of digital sounding delays for a nice bright repeat, and plenty of analog sounding delays that quickly became personal favorites. My favorite was not the Total Recall as I had hoped, as its repeats are just too “true” sounding to me, as you let the delay signal get longer and longer, you end up with what sounds like five hundred guitars, as opposed to one guitar with a long delay. My favorite delay actually ended up being the vintage tape delay, which had all of the nice warmth that analog delays tend to have. As well the Tape delay had a nice slightly overdriven tone, which was one of the things that was so iconic of early tape based delay devices.
I tried out some of the more out there effects of the iStomp like the rotating speaker effect called the “Rotator”, a cool flanger called the “flanger affair”, the “sound-off” which acts like your toggle switch so you can do all kinds of Tom Morello style stuttering, and lastly the Octaver, all of which did their job splendidly. I was able to have a pedal board that was both expansive, and at the same time, familiar, which is a really cool feeling when you get right down to it. As it turns out what the iStomp really seems to be, is a trimmed down version of Digitechs much larger IPB10 interface, redesigned to work more as part of your signal chain, rather then the whole of your signal chain. The result is actually quite impressive, and really a lot cheaper then you would think as many of the pedals cost as little as 99 cents in the app store, so really you get a few dozen pedals for what one decent multi effect board would cost you, with all of the flexibility, and none of the fat.
At the end of the day, the iStomp does its job, each of the individual sounds are powerful enough to stand on their own, even without the added gimmick of it being a multi-effect pedal with sounds downloaded from their app store, as many of the sounds are worth atleast the price tag of the app and the iStomp pedal. For its ability to do everything, and still occupy as little space as a Boss overdrive, the iStomp gets a solid 10 out of 10.