IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Time review: A viable all-rounder in the delay pedal market

IK Multimedia’s flagship guitar effect software AmpliTube software has come a long way since its inception 20 years ago. Alongside this, IK’s product portfolio has evolved to include audio interfaces, keyboard controllers and all sorts of other studio equipment, and their latest products combine these.

IK has launched four new stompbox effects. All bearing the AmpliTube name alongside each model. The pedal under review here is the X-Time. As the name suggests, this is a model housing all the delay and time-based effects.

The pedal layout contains three footswitches, three endless rotary controllers and some basic parameter controls to adjust the sound. Each program bank contains two presets that can be turned on and off by pressing either the left or center footswitch. The right-hand footswitch on the X-time is the Tap Tempo function. To move to the next bank, you press on two either the right-hand two footswitches to move up a bank or the left-hand two switches to move down a bank. Alternatively, you can scroll through all the presets using the endless rotary controller to the right of the screen adjust settings to taste and save the resulting sound wherever you like.

Repeat after me

There are multiple different types of delay within the X-Time including all the usual suspects such as tape, analogue (BBD inspired), digital, reverse and ducking; but there are also some less familiar options including ‘Harmonic’ and ‘Arctic’ which add additional pitches to the repeats and bloom into a huge multi-pitched swell of delays respectively.

The headline effects here are the emulations of old hardware forms of delay – the tape and BBD effects. There are two tape emulations, a vintage and relatively modern tape delay. The presets that use these sounds range from the sound of a brand-new tape with pristine repeats and the repeats subtly losing frequencies reminiscent of a band-pass filter. The other extreme is the sound of poorly maintained tape machine with wide ranging modulation on the repeats as the tape moves over the head. The delays sound really good but doesn’t quite get dirty enough in quite the right way to truly emulate a really badly maintained machine.

The digital emulation is, as you’d expect, a pristine delay and offers endless repeats of the signal fed into it. The digital delay can still have modulation applied via the dedicated knob and, as with all of the delays, the filter knob removes high frequencies of the delayed signal so it’s possible to make the delayed sound less intrusive within the context of a mix.

IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Time

Out-there sounds

Some of the delay engines are a little more experimental in nature. For artists that like to use delay as a sound-design tool, the reverse delay and swell effects create some beautiful textures, that when combined with other effects such as reverb will create some lovely pad sounds.

Equally, the harmonic delays mix in additional pitches with the delayed signal to created thicker sounds and the Arctic creates a blooming delay sounds after the original sound that could be used for some creative textures as part of a performance with the wet/dry mix balanced correctly .

Stay in sync

As with all modern delay pedals, the X-Time contains a tap tempo pedal that creates tempo sync’d repeats. However, one negative is that it is very difficult to set sub-divisions to create, for instance, a dotted-8th note delay for some interesting rhythms with the delay. The X-time can, and will, do note subdivisions – but they are accessed by changing the whole pedal into a different mode and then they appear on the Time knob. But this is a very round-about system when it would be much easier to change one of the functions of the knobs to provide subdivisions in all modes.

IK Multimedia AmpliTube X-Time

Stay in control

The X-Time contains over 300 presets available via different banks. This is a lot to manage from the pedal interface, but fortunately IK Multimedia provide access to Librarian software. This means you can manage your presets and upload them to your pedal in the order in which you might need them. The pedal also includes a version of IK’s flagship AmpliTube software with an emulation of the X-Time included. This creates a hybrid model of working where you can create a sound in the AmpliTube and then upload to the hardware pedal for a gig.

The pedal includes a wide range of delay sounds and is great investment for anyone looking for a great all-round delay pedal. Delay pedals coped without note subdivisions for years – but a delay pedal this comprehensive feels like subdivisions should be more easily adjustable. However, this is a well-built and highly tweakable pedal that could make a lot of other delay pedals redundant.

Key Features

  • A wide range of delay types
  • Includes speaker cab emulation
  • X-Mode for each sound to increase feedback for self-oscillation
  • 300 Presets available
  • Works as an audio interface
  • Hybrid working with AmpliTube & librarian software
  • £299
  • Contact IK Multimedia
  • Buy: Sweetwater, Andertons

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