off the bat, it wasn’t hard to figure out what
the knobs represented even without resorting to sticking on the included label. From
left-to-right, it’s the same as a million other
OD pedals—gain, low, high, and level.
My first impression, seconds upon
engaging the Redline, is that it sounds
amazing. At lower gain levels, it starts
where a Tube Screamer would with the
gain more than halfway up. With the gain
set around 1 o’clock, I got a rich tone that
reminded me of a more articulate, but
less creamy version of my Digi Tech Bad
Monkey—one of the few non-boutique
overdrives approved by hardcore tone
freaks. When I went further and maxed the
gain, I was treated to some Soldano-esque
sustain. With this much gain, I was sur-
prised at how much control the pedal still
offered—it never got unruly or unmanage-
the transfer got cancelled, so don’t plan on
multitasking with your device while a trans-
fer is in progress.
is the iStomp for me?
If you already have a fully stocked conventional pedalboard, you might wonder
whether you’d really need an iStomp.
Well, one practical application is if your
live set has songs that feature effects that
are otherwise rarely used. For instance,
if you need an octave pedal for just one
song and a flanger for just one other, you
could simply put an iStomp in that pedal
slot and use your iPhone to swap pedals
out between sets. Doing this would help
save valuable pedalboard real estate and
cut down on signal-robbing cables. Sure,
it might sound inconvenient to whip out
your iPhone on a gig, and unless your set
Even if you don’t need any further effects
in your setup, consider the iStomp as the
ultimate backup pedal.
able. Turning down the volume knob on
my guitar with the gain maxed didn’t clean
up the tone that much. Rather, it just tempered a lot of the pedal’s aggressiveness.
Then I loaded in the CE Chorus, which
is based on the legendary Boss CE- 2. The
iStomp’s rendition wasn’t quite as lush as
my actual CE- 2, but it beat the original on
two counts: It was way quieter and it offers
the option of stereo outputs (the CE- 2 was
a mono pedal).
Next up was the DM Delay, based on
the Boss DM- 2. With the iStomp DM,
it was easy to get warm-sounding repeats.
Although it’s based on an analog delay, it
has more clarity than my vintage Ibanez
AD- 9 (I didn’t have a DM- 2 to compare
against), but without the sterility associated
with some digital delays.
Last, I checked out the Screamer, which
is based on the classic green pedal we’ve
all come to know and love. The iStomp
version was slightly harsher and had less
warmth than my Tube Screamer, but to its
credit, had more clarity.
The pedal transfers each took about 45
seconds and once done, you can disconnect
your Apple device. During one transfer I
checked an email that had just come in and
is timed right to accommodate the pedal
swaps, it might not be practical. Going
this route, you’ll also want to consider
where each of the iStomp effects will be
placed in the signal routing to make sure
that in each use, it’s located optimally in
the signal chain.
“Why not just get a small multi-effects
unit like the Digi Tech RP70 and not have
to deal with buying and transferring pedal
apps?” But the idea behind the iStomp is
that it’s supposed to look and “feel” like
a pedal, and in this regard, its interface is
certainly much more intuitive than the hidden menus and scrolling screens that plague
many a multi-effects unit.
Unlike the majority of pedals, however,
there is no battery option. The included
9V DC power supply must be plugged in
to engage the unit or to transfer pedals.
Against the advice of a Digi Tech representative who suggested I only use the included
power supply, I daisy-chained the iStomp
to my Bad Monkey using a Visual Sound
1 Spot—I did contact Visual Sound to
confirm that doing this wouldn’t harm
the pedal. I was surprised that both pedals
worked fine and there was no extraneous
noise. This certainly adds to the iStomp’s
I found that treating the iStomp as just
another pedal in the chain, rather than
looking at it as a pedal with endless swapping options, provided the most satisfactory
experience. Instead of spending my time
continually sampling sounds, I got the
most out of the iStomp by really working
with one pedal I liked for a good while and
incorporating it into my setup, knowing I
could swap it out, if need be. The iStomp
might not be for everyone, but if you’re
open to unconventional ways of looking
at a common device, the iStomp is worth
Ease of Use
Although the iStomp might seem gimmicky—and there’s no denying that there
is a bit of that element to it—the best way
to look at the device is as a single pedal
enclosure that can have its “guts” swapped.
One thought that ran across my mind was,
Great sounds to be had.
Swapping pedals might be tricky on a