Finally: one USB cable, one guitar, one computer — you’re done.
I’ve been watching for this one for a while, and at long last, it’s here and shipping. Brian Moore has taken their excellent iGuitar line of digitally-equipped guitars, and added class-compliant USB, via the new iGuitar.USB model. Plug it into a USB jack, and you have instant access to your sound in recording and effects software, no drivers required. Fully bus-powered, so you don’t even need a power brick. Unlike Gibson’s so-called “digital guitar,” what’s great about the iGuitar.USB is that you can connect a single USB cable between your guitar and your computer for audio: no breakout boxes or multiple cabling required.
We looked at this device earlier with Andy Ihnatko’s custom-built iUke ukelele, which crammed the same tech into a uke. Andy was blissfully happy with it, plugging it into the effects in GarageBand. As for the guitars themselves, they have a sparkling reputation, as a couple of readers here have previously noted.
What about MIDI? Unfortunately, that does still require a breakout box, though again your best way to go is the iGuitar. Since Brian Moore includes an optional 13-pin RMC port (a special connection designed just for the purpose), you can connect it to a box like the Roland GI-20 USB box and control your soft synths via surprisingly accurate MIDI tracking.
Bottom line: this thing is more likely to be useful than Gibson’s digital offering, and, unlike the Digital Les Paul, the Brian Moore guitars are actually shipping. Sorry to beat up on you like this, Gibson, but my money is that this is what most “digital guitarists” will want.
Oh, and before you start hollering that FireWire is a better option, it isn’t, necessarily. USB can have extremely low-latency operation, and works without drivers. That latter point alone is worthwhile — imagine having to carry a CD with drivers in your guitar case. No, thanks. Of course, while there’s lots of feedback on the non-USB Brian Moore guitars, we still have to see how this performs in person; stay tuned.