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ToneStack review – The new guitar app from Yonac

Yonac, the developers responsible for the excellent Magellan synth and Galileo organ emulator, have jumped right into the iOS guitar field, and recently introduced ToneStack. The pre-release teaser below showcased just what to expect from the new amp/effects modeler.

In a market already filled with great guitar apps such as JamUp and Amplitube, is there room for one more? Absolutely.

The basic edition of ToneStack comes with six amps & six cabs, along with 20 effects. Anyone familiar with guitar accessories will instantly recognize which amps and effect pedals are being modeled here - Marshall and Fender amps, along with a Pro Co Rat distortion, Boss Analog Chorus, and an Ibanez Tube Screamer, among many others. I instantly fell in love with the Echorex, and loved tweaking these knobs. I was getting all "David Gilmour/Live at Pompeii" with this one. The Octave Maker is a real standout, as well as the Spring Forward (reverb) pedal.

For a base package, this is a great setup. You could easily find some tones here to suit your needs. These effects do manage to really capture an authentic analog sound. The interface is very easy to use, and the layout is intuitive, if you've ever laid out a chain of pedals. If you're familiar with Yonac's other apps, the preset menu is instantly familiar. ToneStack comes loaded with 32 presets, but honestly I preferred starting from scratch and creating my own kits. Although, the 'Doom and Gloom' preset is worth a drive - big sound.

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Also included in ToneStack is an 8-track recorder (although only the first two are available with the basic model), and a "Tapedeck" that allows you to record and playback loops, which might be nice for working out solos or perfecting that riff. Both nice touches in the base model. ToneStack works in all three slots in Audiobus, and is an IAA-effect as well. The app is also universal for iPad and iPhone.

MIDI learn is also available with ToneStack. Honestly, I haven't really delved into this feature yet, but it allows you to control any amp or effects parameter via MIDI controller.  If you've got a MIDI footpedal, this will be a great feature for you.

As with the competitors, there are upgrade options to include even more pedals and amps. These bundles are grouped into similar genres, such as "Hard Rock", "Clean", "Metal", and so on. You can also purchase individual pedals and amps a la carte, but the wise spending would be purchasing the bundles.

Where ToneStack differs from its competitors is with the offer of "The Motherload". For the price of $49.99, you can buy everything that is on offer in Version 1.0. This is a tremendous deal, if you can get past the initial investment. The whole enchilada gives you all 24 amps & cabs plus 70 effects, and the full 8-track recorder functionality. Some of the additional pedals include the RotaryBox (rotary speaker emulator), the Cosmic Echo, which is a multi-head tape delay, and the PolyOct, which is a four-voice octave generator. The full list of amps & effects can be seen on the ToneStack site here.

So, you say you've already got JamUp or Amplitube. Why should I buy ToneStack? Well, there are a couple of key features of ToneStack that can't be found in the competitors. First, if you feel like you need more than 4 effects in your chain, how about 64 amps and effects? Of course, this is somewhat restricted to what your device can handle, but this is insane. But, why would I need that many amps and effects in my chain? Keep reading.

The big feature here in ToneStack is the ability to split your signal with the included ABY splitter. Thoughtfully, this is included in the base package, which is a nice touch. By splitting your input, you can run multiple amps or effects, and even continue to split those even further, if you'd like. This is great for creating two setups, panning them left/right, and getting a great mixed sound. I do feel like this feature of ToneStack is the big ticket item, and once you start down this path, you will find how much fun it is to fine-tune your tone.

With my reviews on iOS MARS, I always like to include an audio demo from someone other than the developer. That someone is usually me, but in this case, Florent Roux has already created a track using ToneStack that would blow me out of the water. Florent was kind enough to let me link to his track below. His tone on this one is just huge.

In summary, Yonac has done a marvelous job in creating ToneStack. Even as a huge fan of Magellan (one of the most underrated synths on the market) and Galileo, I was a bit skeptical to see them enter the guitar arena. But I really am impressed with this one. The sheer number of effects, many of them very "boutique", makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. Having spent far too much money on hardware pedals back in the day, and of course never owning all of these amps, it is a joy to have all of these in one app on my iPad. On a personal note, although having played guitar for over 20 years, I've recently become engulfed in the iOS synthesizer apps, and I've really let my guitar playing go. Picking up ToneStack and plugging in my trusty Epiphone Les Paul again has absolutely reinvigorated my love of guitar. Almost impossible to put a price on that - although thankfully Yonac has made it incredibly affordable to own the rig of my dreams.

If you're thinking about buying ToneStack, please consider clicking through our App Store link below. Thanks!

ToneStack (AppStore Link) ToneStack
Developer: Yonac Inc.
Rated: 4+
Price: $13.99 Download

 

 

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