Guitar Effects Apps Finally Coming to Android!
If you're an Android phone or tablet owner you've probably been frustrated seeing all the great virtual amp, effects, and cabinet simulator apps for iOS and wondered why they aren't available on Android.
Android Apps for Guitar
The problem isn't with software developers, it's actually Android itself which has caused the problem due to its inability to provide a reliable low latency signal path for audio. However, that problem is now being overcome...
Often called USB OTG for short, this specification which is now being supported by some Android devices running version 4.0 or later, can enable your smart phone or tablet to act as a USB host.
In short, this means you can now plug USB Audio Interfaces directly into your device, and then plug your guitar into the interface, and get the sound working with relatively low latency.
So far this is the leading Android App to take advantage of the USB OTG specification. The developer, Githara Studios, calls it a "Virtual Amp App", however it's primarily an effects app at this stage because it doesn't provide a range of amp simulations like many of the iOS apps.
Here's a list of the main effects that usbEffect has:
- Wah Wah
- Digital Delay
You can download the app from Google play.
Here's a demonstration of the app being plugged into an Android phone via a USB cable:
The Gear You Need
1. USB OTG Adapter
Because you'll be using your Android device as a USB host, you will need an adapter to plug in your audio interface. You can pick one up at your local electronics store or buy one at Amazon.
2. USB Audio Interface
As a USB host your Android device will only supply a limited amount of power - this means you will need an audio interface which either has it's own power supply, or one which draws very little current.
You can also find other options in Gearank's guide to the Best Budget Audio Interfaces.
3. USB OTG Compatible Android Device
You will need at least Android 4.0, but preferably 4.2.2 or later as they ironed out a few bugs in the OS. It will also have to be compatible with the specification (not all Android device are compatible) - you can find out simply by trying the free version of usbEffect, or you can check your device against this list at gsmarena.com which is reasonably up to date.
Another option is to install the USB Host Diagnostics App which will give you a complete rundown on your device's capabilities.
If you have any questions please submit them in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer them.
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