Griffin is no stranger to the guitar iOS accessory market, having released their GuitarConnect cable over a year ago (check out the product review). GuitarConnect was so enthusiastically received that Griffin has branched out to help make guitarists outfitted with iOS devices even more functionally appealing with the release of the StompBox. Coupled with the iShred LIVE (free with in-app add-ons) available from the App Store, the StompBox promises to make the lives of performing guitarists easier.
The StompBox has the same weight, look and configuration as most typical multi-switch foot-stomping pedals. Weight and floor grip is especially important when in the throws of a wicked solo that needs the effects changes at just the right time to accentuate the emotional resonance trying to be achieved with the sound. Missing a switch press because of a slippery foot pedal is about as good as no pedal at all. Fortunately, Griffin knew this and designed the StompBox with a heavy, rock solid base lined with a floor-grabbing rubberized bottom outline. The four foot switches themselves have that nice, push switch feedback letting you know the switch was depressed. Any of you familiar with in-line effects boxes will feel instantly at home with the feel that the StompBox provides. Overall, the outside shell and general hardware aspects are just what I would expect from a purpose-built, dedicated guitar switch. So kudos to Griffin for getting that tactile sensation just right.
Without an application that listens for and reacts when these buttons are pressed, the StompBox would be an expensive doorstop. Fortunately its integration with iShred LIVE puts the virtual experience of a powerful effects processor literally at the tap of your foot. Because the switches are assignable, they can be used to trigger the various virtual foot pedals available from iShred LIVE in-app purchases. Of course, that means you'll need to spend a few more dollars rounding out your library of iShred LIVE in-app effects purchases.
Now for those guitarists interested in using the StompBox on a regular basis, I strongly recommend using IK Multimedia's iKlip to hold the iPad during practices and performances. It helps keep the GuitarConnect cable out of the way and literally elevates your iPad to the torso-level touch-interface sweet spot when playing either sitting on a stool or standing up.
So is the Griffin StompBox worth the hundred dollar asking price? If you're not a live performer and only occasionally noodle around with your electric guitar, probably not. But if you're a dedicated student of the six string electric and/or you play live gigs every weekend, the StompBox coupled with the iPad and iShred LIVE will make your life much easier. It collapses a basketful of effects switches, cables and the jigsaw puzzle of various plug configurations into three easy to set up hardware components, allowing you to quickly setup for sound check and break down for load outs within minutes. That leaves players with the ability to focus on playing instead of on the hassles of configuring and testing hardware. Party on, StompBox!
Manufacturer: Griffin Technology
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars