Sonoma GuitarJack: First Looks and Gallery

As a guitar player and tech lover, any chance I get to cross those two worlds is welcomed with wide open arms. So, when I spotted Sonoma Wireworks’ GuitarJack for iOS devices, I chased one down just so I could try it out. The GuitarJack is the latest in an ever-growing list of appcessories that transforms your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch in to a guitar effects unit, or mini recording studio.

The gadget itself is beautiful. Its chunky, industrial, metallic feel mimics that of a heavy guitar pedal and should give most active performers some reassurance that it can’t be easily broken. The smoked chrome finish is perfect. In terms of inputs and outputs, on one side is a 3.5mm microphone input, on the other a 1.4-inch jack input for your guitar, and a 3.5mm stereo line out/headphone socket. It fits on to your iPhone using the 30-pin dock connector situated at the top. All in all, it looks flipping fantagmagastic.

Using it is simple. Plug it in to your iPhone, and download the compatible apps. Thankfully you don’t have to go searching for them. A pop-up appears on screen to inform you that you have no compatible apps. You’ll then get the option to download one, and it takes you to a list within the App Store of all the programs that the GuitarJack can utilize. The free ones include the Taylor EQ app, and Sonoma’s Pre-Amp modelling program: GuitarTone. FourTrack and StudioTrack are both paid downloads from the App Store, but offer a mini-recording studio experience for those who don’t want to shell out thousands on professional gear.

The GuitarTone app provides much more than just guitar effects. You can also adjust the levels and settings for both inputs, individually or collectively. There’s also a mixer for your outputs. On to the interesting stuff: the effects. It comes with 15 “pedals”, 15 amps, and 15 cabs as well as 4 different virtual microphones – as long as you’ve purchased the GuitarJack itself.. The selection ranges from clean to downright dirty, tweed amps, metal amps, phasers, delay, and all the rest. You can buy extra packs within the app. There’s an extra selection of pedals, amps and cabs (each in-App purchase costing $9.99).

I gave the app a quick whirl, considering it’s a free app, it does offer quite a lot. But, the overdrive effect I wanted was in the second pack of effects, that would cost me extra. Personally, I think if you’re spending $149, you should get access to everything on the GuitarTones app. But, that’s my tight-fisted side talking. This accessory is awesome, and is a must for anyone who wants to marry their guitar-god side with their tech-nerd persona. Can’t wait to give this thing a proper go later in the week. GuitarJack can be purchased through Sonoma’s online store.

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  • http://www.joshspadd.com/ JerenYun

    Was there any interference or signal noise when you were using this device? I have an iRig but get quite a bit of noise when my guitar is plugged in, even with airplane mode activated on my iPhone.

  • airmanchairman

    Of course, this gorgeous gadget is in its second hardware iteration, so what you are reviewing is more accurately known as Guitar Jack 2.

  • DanielCodella

     @jerenyun Hello Jereyun, this is Daniel Codella of Sonoma Wire Works, makers of GuitarJack. Unfortunately, anything that plugs into the headset jack will be very noisy, mono, and prone to crosstalk (that is when the output gets recorded on the input causing tracks to bleed onto each other). That is why we designed GuitarJack as a dock connecting device. No crosstalk, stereo recording, the lowest noisefloor possible, and the cleanest signal.
     
    Rolling Stone magazine even had this to say:  “GuitarJack remains the top-of-the-line instrument-to-iPhone interface…impeccable sound with no discernible noise. Its solid aluminum body also has a 1/8-inch input for a microphone, so you can record on two tracks simultaneously, using the company’s FourTrack or StudioTrack app.”
     
    The full list of specs can be found here: http://www.sonomawireworks.com/guitarjack/#techspecs
     
    Thank you so much for your interest!

  • http://www.joshspadd.com/ JerenYun

     @DanielCodella Thanks for the reply on the GuitarJack.
     
    I may have to try this out. I do use a dock-connected FM transmitter in my car and, while I know there is some interference from stray FM signals, the connection itself also affects the signal. If this truly can provide a clean signal, then this may be how I’ll finally use my iPad at a show.
     
    Thanks again for getting back to me.
     
    -Josh