Though interfaces like the excellent iRig Pro Duo are great for bridging the divide between music creation apps running on an iPhone or iPad and an electric guitar, changing tones on the fly does involve taking playing hands away from the guitar to make a touchscreen selection. China's Tone Shifter has developed a box that places such control, and much more, at a player's foot-stomping disposal.
The 220 x 114 x 35 mm (8.7 x 4.5 x 1.4 in), 0.75 kg (1.65 lb) Tone Shifter 3 allows players to access music creation apps such as AmpliTube, JamUp, Cubase and Guitar Rig running on iOS devices (via the included Apple adapter), a Mac or a Windows PC. Guitarists can use the unit as a controller for the software running on the connected device, and select different tones or change the pitch by pushing down the four stomp switches up top, with the promise of zero latency operation. A backlit LCD display and LED status indicators provide a visual guide to modes and selections.
The interface supports recording and playback at up to 16-bit/48 kHz audio resolution, there's independent left and right inputs, each with its own gain control and clip indication, an integrated headphone amp and jack and independent left/right output jacks (with output level control) for connection to powered speakers or a guitar amp.
The Tone Shifter 3 can also act as a MIDI hardware controller via the MIDI input port, allowing foot control of such devices as the Kemper Profiling Amp, the POD 2.0 from Line 6, the Vox Tonelab and Fractal's AXE-FX2. In addition to mains power (the unit is said to be compatible with AC or DC adapters ranging from 7 to 18 V in either positive or negative pole position), the Tone Shifter 3 can be powered by the hardware it's connected to.
Tone Shifter has launched on Kickstarter to bring its interface to life. Pledges start at US$149, which represents a hundred bucks off the expected street price, and the unit comes in black, red or blue. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in May. And if you're wondering what happened to the first two Tone Shifters, the company told us that these MIDI only units are no longer in production.
You can see the pitch video below, and guitarist Haibin Ma performing his own composition after that.