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Old 12th December 2019
Lives for gear
Snorktop's Avatar

I was innocent and nice when I first came here a week or two ago, but was immediately ambushed by Sim Cult thugs making a hobby of ridiculing those old analog curmudgeons who still use those obsolete thingies called amps because they fear technology, wanna look cool, and are still pissed about their lawn.

I am speaking on sims vs. amps in general, not trying to tell you your business or look down on you for using them. I hope you make plenty more money in music. And I hope you get tones from sims that make charred roadkill of my opinions.

Clearly I am from the guitar amp cult. I like digital synth, and digital recording well enough. That wasn't always the case - its improved massively, to the point of near transparency (not total). I don't feel guitar sim or digital processing has improved to nearly that level, and I doubt it ever can, simply due to the nature of the hardware and how it works. I could be wrong, but nothing I've ever heard makes me think so.

To me, amps are an intrinsic part of electric guitar. I am open minded, doesn't matter to me what is producing the sounds I want to hear. Nobody likes lugging around heavy cabs, or paying stupid money for vintage amps. All I care about is the sound. I don't care about the glowing colors - I've been burned enough, not sure I have fingerprints. Maybe I have brain damage from all the times I've been electrocuted by vintage gear and that is why I don't like Kempers.

Routinely, the sound of guitar amps produce tones so beautiful to me it literally brings tears to my eyes. Sims just don't do that. Like, I'm listening to Blake Mills on his old '55 tweed Twin, just this one simple riff, three overdriven chords, and I am sitting there weeping at how good it sounds. One close mic on it, no pedals. I listened to it over and over and over again. Then he solos, and the tone is the stuff of dreams. Timeless. And I hear it in my dreams. There is no way to simulate that. There is no "close" to that. It is what it is. It's fkin electric guitar.

It's not a close mic thing, its just the sound of the amp. They are all close miked. I'll put an extra mic the cabinet's frame to get bass and resonance. I have this one cab with some happy flaw - I don't fix the rattle & buzz, I put a mic on it. Miking the room adds some great stuff, but it's ancillary, doesn't change the sound of the amp.

Not sure what you mean by Kemper is the popular choice for guitar on record for many years. I've heard it on a handful of metal and hard rock albums, like the Kemper discography on their site. Heard it on some pop tracks. Heard Blink 182's last two albums. Heard a Motley Crue song with it. Heard a few more obscure blues/rock and alternative rock albums with it. Please excuse my ignorance, I don't get out of my own studio much. The thread dedicated to good Kemper recordings is strangely devoid of content.

I am not a big fan of using different amps for different tones, that is annoying, bulky and expensive. I've found the difference in clean and distorted tones between a Vox, blackface, Marshall, Mesa Boogie, Diezel, etc, can be gotten pretty closely from one great tube amp & cab, good EQ and a few pedals. I use a tweed (late 50s Bassmans into 4x12 vintage greenbacks), because I can make it sound like other amps, but other amps can't really sound like a tweed. I've worked many hours to get it sounding almost exactly like other amps, but better. Now I can just dial in. It is my Kemper, but with no tonal sacrifices. I use small, inexpensive tube amps for practice and experimentation, and though not nearly as intense (or loud), its still versatile, world class tone. That's why I recommend small amp for home recording - you can get some of the best tones on earth from it.

To me, the Kemper is kinda like the best digital distortion box ever made. It's much better and more realistic, but shares characteristics with any sim or digital box with canned guitar tones I've tried recently or in the past.

But hey, I could be dead wrong. It's rare, but it happens. Doesn't matter. I'd happily leap into a vat of fire for your right to rock on anything you choose to rock upon.


Last words from a "high priest" of analog:

There is a dumbing down of music, and society in general, into mediocrity, homogeneity, conformity. This is a real, Orwellian conspiracy which has been going on for a long time, working through the media companies, to control society, and suppress the threat that music can be. It's not just about commercialism - its about control. Media in general and music in particular are the most powerful tools to influence or control what people think, to one end or the other. They want the soul and individuality ripped out of music. If Bruno Mars was actually saying something to people instead of pushing shallow materialism, blingin and ballin, he would not see the light of day.

In a sense, musicians are soldiers, holy warriors, on the front line in the battle for humanity's soul. The electric guitar is one of the most potent weapons ever created. They would love nothing more than to see its lost art vanish from the earth. To those who carry it on, I salute you.