ToneStack Help Guide

Connections View

To add an amp, cab, or effect, touch the "FX +" button in the upper right corner and open the FX Browser. To read about each unit and its uses, touch and hold its icon in FX Browser.

To change a unit's position in the signal chain, select the unit's icon (it will light up yellow) and drag it where you want it. To pull up that unit's controls, double tap the unit icon. On the iPhone/iPod double tap anywhere outside of the unit's controls to return back to the signal chain screen.

To toggle the unit directly on the connections view, simply touch the unit's name underneath its icon. When the unit is on, the icon will have an orange background. You can also cycle between split modes this way when using an ABY unit.

To replace a unit in the chain, select and hold the icon. The FX Browser will appear.

To remove a unit, select the unit's icon and move it outside the signal chain area (you can move it above or below).

TIP: When adding a unit via the 'FX +' button, the new unit will be placed after the selected unit on the Signal Chain screen.

Setting Input Level Optimally

Access the Input and Output Audio Level sliders by selecting the Audio Prefs menu. If the audio input level is too high, the amps and distortions may over-distort. If the audio input level is too low, they may sound quiet and "buzzy." We recommend tweaking the input until you are satisfied with your tone.

TIP: you can monitor your current I/O levels with the displays on the AUDIO PREFS menu button.
TIP: ToneStack offers 3 types of output limiting you can choose from. Output limiting prevents undesirable digital clipping that happens when the signal is too loud. You can select the type of output limiting or turn it off all together by going to the Audio Prefs menu.

Setting Simulation Quality and Latency (Buffer Size)

If the CPU % gets too high (as displayed on the Presets Menu Bar) or audio is glitchy, try increasing the buffer size. You can also try lowering the simulation quality (this only affects amps, distortions, and pitch shifters). Older devices (iPod touch, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad 3, and iPad mini) are likely to use more CPU and may require buffer and simulation quality adjustments.

Accommodating Your Audio Interface

An audio interface that connects to the device's lighting port (or 30-pin port) is recommended for the best sound quality.

Audio devices that connect to the device's headphone jack are NOT recommended, as they cause feedback and suffer from inferior audio quality. ToneStack senses when a 4-conductor jack is plugged in and turns on "Automatic Feedback Reduction." If Feedback Reduction does not turn on, you can turn it manually on the Audio Preferences menu. You can also disable the automatic Feedback Reduction behaviour on the same menu. Stereo output to headphones or other apps is NOT available in "Feedback Reduction" mode, although your recordings inside ToneStack will still be in stereo.

If you're using a headset (i.e., headphones with built-in mic), you can turn off Auto Feedback Reduction.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: If you are not happy with the sound quality or feedback issues when using a headphone-jack interface, we remind you that neither is this app's fault. We do NOT manufacture these interfaces, but we use industry standard algorithms to minimize feedback/crosstalk so you can have an enjoyable playing experience. If you are still unhappy and for some reason seeing red, do not complain to us! Once again, we did not make the interface you are using: if you must, complain to the manufacturer who made the interface.

Presets: How to Save, Recall, and Share Your Setup

Access the Preset Manager by touching the preset display bar in the upper menu. Select a folder on the left-hand table, and then load a preset by selecting it on the right-hand table.

To save a new preset, touch SAVE AS on the bottom left. To save changes to an existing preset, touch OVERWRITE. To delete or re-order presets or folders, touch EDIT on upper right. When finished, touch DONE.

To remove all units on your setup, touch CLEAR. To restore factory presets, touch RESTORE on the upper right. This will reinstall factory presets in a new folder, and will not overwrite any changes you may have made to the originals.

You can conveniently share or import presets by touching SHARE. You can email your folders or presets, or even export them to iTunes File Sharing, where you can download them by connecting your device to iTunes. You can also import folders and preset files you previously uploaded to iTunes File Sharing.

To import a preset or folder via email, just go to your iOS Mail app, and touch the file icon to add it into ToneStack.

You can view most recently used presets by going to the "Recent" folder. You can view your favorite presets by going to the "Favorites" folder. To favorite or un-favorite a preset, simply touch the little star icon on its right.

(iPad Only) You can store a quick-access link to a preset in the ABCD buttons on the upper left of the screen. To store a preset, select it via the Preset Manager, and then touch and hold one of the ABCD buttons. It will flash a couple of times to indicate that the link has been stored. In the future, you can simply touch the same button to load that preset.

Presets also remember BPM data which you can optionally load by disabling the "BPM Lock" on the Metronome Control Screen. In addition, they also remember any MIDI mappings you created via MIDI Learn. For more information, please refer to the MIDI section of this help.

You can use MIDI program change messages to select presets in a given folder. For more information, please refer to the MIDI section of this document.


onSTAGE is designed for conveniently organizing and accessing your existing presets. It uses the familiar pad paradigm: each pad stores a link to a preset file which you can load by selecting that pad. Pads are organized into "Performance Groups", each of which holds 128 pads. You can use Performance Groups to organize access to sets of presets for different situations, for example a live gig or a certain song you are working on.

To link a pad with a given preset, first load the preset by accessing the Preset Manager on the upper menu bar, and then simply press and hold the pad until it flashes. The pad will display the preset's name and its source folder in the Preset Manager.

Scroll the pads area to view more. To reorder or clear pads, simply touch the EDIT button.

On the iPad, access different performance groups by the table on the left hand side. On the iPhone, access them by touching the group display name button on the onStage area upper left. Create new Performance groups by pressing NEW, and delete them by touching DEL (iPad) or EDIT (iPhone).

onSTAGE also has a "LOCK" feature that prevents accidental changes to the signal flow. Activate/deactivate the lock by touching the LOCK button. When activated, this feature will lock the units in the signal in place, and touching anywhere on a unit's icon will cause it to turn on or off.

onStage pads are also selectable via MIDI program changes. To enable this feature, go to SETTINGS -> MIDI, and specify onSTAGE as the destination for MIDI program changes.


You can use the Tapedeck to record you ideas on-the-fly, or create loops that you can play along with. To start or stop recording, press the rec button. Turn on the LOOP toggle to enable looping. Use the IN and OUT buttons to punch in loop start and end times -- you can view the in and out times on the counter display. Press CLEAR to reset in and out times.

Use the Count-In Measures selector to specify the duration of count-in before recording starts. Use the Rec Measures selector to record a set number of measures in the current BPM and time signature (TIP: you can access time signature settings by going to the metronome control screen). For return to unlimited recording time, choose "INF" using the Rec Measures selector. If you want the metronome to automatically turn on when recording starts, turn on the Auto Metronome toggle.

Set the output volume and stereo balance using the VOL and BALANCE knobs. Use the FX SEND knob to specify how much of Tapedeck's output is routed through the ToneStack's FX/Amps signal chain. At fully counter-clockwise, none of the Tapedeck output passes through the FX. At fully clockwise, all of Tapedeck's output is routed through the FX chain.

Use the SHIFT selector to enable Time Compression/Expansion or Pitch-Shifting. Specify the amount of the effect using the AMOUNT knob. Time Compression/Expansion speeds up or slows down the playback while retaining its pitch; Pitch-Shifting changes pitch without affecting playback speed.

Touch the FILES button to access the audio files browser. Here, you can load a file to Tapedeck, as well as copy, paste, import and export audio files. You can also access songs you bounced using inSTUDIO.


inSTUDIO is a built-in eight-track recorder/mixer that allows you to create your own multi-track recordings, and then mix and share them with minimum hassle. It includes such advance features as dedicated FX inserts for each track, two sends and a master effects insert group, as well as two exclusive effects for inSTUDIO use. The first two tracks are included in the app - access to all 8 tracks and advanced features is available as an In-App-Purchase.

To record into a track, first turn on that track's ARM button and then hit the record button in the main control area. To stop recording, press the rec button again or the stop button. You can also press the pause button to stop recording and freeze the playhead on its current location.

To rewind or fast-forward during playback, press the REW or FF button. When finished, press it again. To do the same when playback is off, press and release the REW or FF button for a short jump, or press and hold to seek continuously.

Each track has options that allow you to load or paste audio into it, clear all its audio data, or copy the audio it contains. To access them, simply press the track's numeric indicator near the top of its control strip.

You create, save, duplicate or rename your project by accessing the inSTUDIO MENU. Here, you can also select to bounce or mix-down your project. You can also access and share your previous bounces by selecting "Browse/Share Bounces".

You can use any unlocked effect, amp or cabinet as an insert on any track. To access a track's inserts and send controls, touch the FX button on that channel's strip. To add an FX as an insert, touch the '+' button above the inserts box, and select your desired effect. To remove an insert, touch and drag its rectangle outside of the inserts box. To reorder inserts, simply touch and drag their rectangles. Turn an insert on or off by the power button in its rectangle. To access the insert's controls, simply double tap the rectangle.

You can use the two sends to conveniently group and process multiple tracks simultaneously. Some examples include applying reverb or compression to more than one track at the same time. Each send has its own inserts group, as well as dedicated panning and level. You can access the sends by pressing the FX button located on the main inSTUDIO control strip on the right. For each track you wish to process through a send, use the track's Send 1 or Send 2 knob to specify the amount of signal routed from that track to the send.

In addition, inSTUDIO features a master inserts group: effects in this group are global, meaning they are applied on the summed output signal from all the tracks, just before the final output. The master inserts are particular useful for adding final compression or equalization to a mix.

If you obtained the full version of inSTUDIO, you can also set count-in and tempo preferences. All of these are accessible in the MENU area. In addition, the "Load Tempo Data" switch allows you to reload the BPM and time signature info saved with the project the next time the project is loaded.

TIP: if you don't want BPM data to change when you load a preset during your inSTUDIO session, turn on the "BPM Lock" feature by going to the metronome control screen.


All the FX and Amp units in ToneStack are conveniently MIDI learnable. The collection of MIDI assignments for a unit is called a "map", as it maps controls on your MIDI hardware to particular knobs or switches in ToneStack.

To start out, you 'teach' ToneStack MIDI by a feature called "MIDI Learn". You can access this feature by going to App Settings -> MIDI and turning on the MIDI Learn (Units) switch. After that, all you have to do is select the ToneStack parameter you want to map to and then manipulate an element on your MIDI controller that you intend to use. If you have an iPhone, double tap a unit icon on the Signal Chain screen to pull up its MIDI learn interface. If your MIDI device is connected properly, you should immediately see a MIDI CC number, as well as a channel ID on that ToneStack Parameter. When finished, just tap DONE on the upper right (iPad) or turn off MIDI learn via the switch you turned it on with (both iPhone and iPad).

To access advanced MIDI learn features, double tap a control element on the Units Control Screen. This will pull up a dialog where you can manually enter CC/Channel information. You can also specify minimum and maximum MIDI values for a continuous paramater: this is useful in situations where you want to use the full range of your physical MIDI controller, but want to control a narrow interval of values in a ToneStack parameter.

Continuous ToneStack parameters also provide an optional STATE CONTROL feature. This feature is convenient in situation where you want to be able to control a parameter and toggle the unit on or off using the same CC. With STATE CONTROL turned on, an incoming MIDI value of 0 will turn off the unit. When MIDI value is increased, the unit will automatically turn back on. This is particularly helpful when using expression pedals with units like wahs and pitch mods: when the pedal is in fully heel-down position, the unit will turn off. To turn unit back on, simply depress the pedal slightly.

For binary parameters (i.e., toggle and switches), you can also choose between LATCH or MOMENTARY control types. In LATCH mode, the MIDI controller is assumed to send two different values for the on and off states. In MOMENTARY mode, the MIDI controller is assumed to send two different values on button-down and button-up. In either case, the messages are handled to work correctly with toggles and switches in ToneStack.

Each unit can have a default MIDI map that loads whenever you add it via the FX Browser. To save a default map, simply press "Unit Default: SAVE" after programming your unit, ensuring that one of the unit's MIDI Learn controls is selected (it will be red). To load the default map to a unit, select one of its parameters and then touch "Unit Default: LOAD".

You also have options for loading MIDI maps you created in the past. Every ToneStack preset saves the MIDI mapping data you programmed for it. If you want to load the MIDI mapping data in that preset whenever you load the preset, leave the "Load CC Map From Patch" switch under MIDI setting in the on position. If you want the units to inherit from the 'Default Map' we talked about above, put this switch in the off position.

You can separately specify what happens when you add a new unit via the FX Browser. If the "Load Unit Default on Add" switch is on, each new unit that you add will inherit its MIDI assignments from the default map. In the off position, each unit will instantiate with a clear map -- i.e., no assignments.

ToneStack also allows you to control certain app assets with MIDI. These include tuner, metronome, and audio levels controls, as well as sequential folder and preset selection. To learn these controls, touch MIDI Learn (App Controls) under MIDI settings menu.

In addition to up/down program changes, you are able to use standard MIDI program change messages to select a ToneStack preset, or use program change messages to select pads in an onSTAGE performance group. You can activate MIDI program changes by going to the MIDI settings menu. You can also specify which channel you would like to receive program change messages on.

To increase versatility, ToneStack has separate MIDI In on/off stiches for Phsyical/Networked and Virtual MIDI connections. For example, with Virtual MIDI In off, ToneStack will ignore MIDI messages from other virtual MIDI apps, but will still recognize phsyical or networked MIDI messages.

Go to MIDI DEVICES menu under MIDI SETTINGS to specify whether you wish to receive MIDI or clock messages from each individual MIDI device or network. These preferences are retained so they could be restored the next time the same device is connected.

To use ToneStack with a physical MIDI clock, or a MIDI clock from another app, put the Use Internal Clock switch on the MIDI Settings menu in the off position.

Other Tips and Tricks

  • METRONOME: SETTING SYSTEM TIME SIGNATURE AND BPM - Touch the metronome icon on the upper menu to access settings for the time signature, and to manually set the BPM. Turn on the BPM LOCK to prevent presets from loading their BPM data when they are selected. You can also toggle the metronome and set its volume.

  • TUNER - To enable the tuner, touch its "ON/OFF" symbol on the upper menu area. To open the full-screen tuner, touch the magnifier glass symbol next to it. In the full-screen mode, you can specify A4 and also drop or increase the tuner with 1/4 step increments. Use the MUTE toggle to enable silent tuning.

  • KNOB RESPONSE AND BEHAVIOR - You can go to APP SETTINGS in the SETTINGS menu (accessible on the lower screen) to change how fast knobs react to your touch. You can also select to control them through a linear, fader-like touch or a rotary touch.