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Anything new/better in the effect/amp/cab sim world?
Old 29th May 2019
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Anything new/better in the effect/amp/cab sim world?

Hi guys,

I haven't had the time to spend much time online researching the subject lately, so I am curious about the newest developments in the amp/effect/cab simulation world.

I have been recording guitars for 25 years using the traditional methods, and still own and use all the proper pedals, amps, speakers, microphones and preamps to do it that way, I also record direct and reamp quite a bit.

I bought one of the first "kidney" pod from line 6 in 1998, and I guess I stayed somewhat happy with them because I own a Helix and the Helix native plugin which I use quite a bit by convenience, as well as scuffham sgear.

I have owned but didn't like the NI, waves and amplitube stuff.

I GUESS MY QUESTION IS: is there anything newer/better than the Helix or S-gear?

IMO the effects and modelled pedals of the Helix are great but I have always found the amps a bit sterile, even heavily tweaked and into quality IRs.

What do you guys think about Bias, Brainworx, Uad, Plini etc? Has anything come up that sounds better? More organic?

I should mention that I am looking for clean to lead sounds and everything in between but not as far as downtuned metal etc.

Thanks in advance for your comments! :-)
Old 29th May 2019
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fantomaz View Post
Hi guys,

I haven't had the time to spend much time online researching the subject lately, so I am curious about the newest developments in the amp/effect/cab simulation world.

I have been recording guitars for 25 years using the traditional methods, and still own and use all the proper pedals, amps, speakers, microphones and preamps to do it that way, I also record direct and reamp quite a bit.

I bought one of the first "kidney" pod from line 6 in 1998, and I guess I stayed somewhat happy with them because I own a Helix and the Helix native plugin which I use quite a bit by convenience, as well as scuffham sgear.

I have owned but didn't like the NI, waves and amplitube stuff.

I GUESS MY QUESTION IS: is there anything newer/better than the Helix or S-gear?

IMO the effects and modelled pedals of the Helix are great but I have always found the amps a bit sterile, even heavily tweaked and into quality IRs.

What do you guys think about Bias, Brainworx, Uad, Plini etc? Has anything come up that sounds better? More organic?

I should mention that I am looking for clean to lead sounds and everything in between but not as far as downtuned metal etc.

Thanks in advance for your comments! :-)
The Mercuriall and Fortin stuff is good,and Bias FX 2 was recently released.Hardware wise the Axe Fx III and Fractal's new FM3 $999 floor unit,which I'm on the waiting list for.
Old 29th May 2019
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Thanks for your reply, I will give a test drive to Bias FX 2, the mercuriall and fortin stuff is very metal oriented, not exactly what I am looking for but thanks!
Old 30th May 2019
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fantomaz View Post
Thanks for your reply, I will give a test drive to Bias FX 2, the mercuriall and fortin stuff is very metal oriented, not exactly what I am looking for but thanks!
The Mercuriall plugs I have are fairly wide range of styles.I have Re-Axis,which is a VST version of the Mesa TriAxis preamp,which are mostly Mesa Mark series channels,and Spark,which is a marshall.I would say the U530 is the most Metal,but I don't have it.Fortin is Metal oriented but still sounds great at lower gain settings.I just installed Bias FX 2 so I'm only just testing it now.Overloud just released TH-U which is very good as well.
Old 30th May 2019
  #5
I really like the new Kuassa Matchlock which is a Fender style ampsim, closest to an actual amp feel to me. I agree about the Line6 Helix, great effects but the amps are a bit sterile. I’ve played the Helix through a tube power amp and vintage celestial G12m and it really came to life.
Old 30th May 2019
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctms777 View Post
I really like the new Kuassa Matchlock which is a Fender style ampsim, closest to an actual amp feel to me. I agree about the Line6 Helix, great effects but the amps are a bit sterile. I’ve played the Helix through a tube power amp and vintage celestial G12m and it really came to life.
Thanks! I will check it out!

I sometimes use the helix live into the effect return of my mesa MKIV and it sounds pretty good, but it sorts of defies the purpose here... :-)
Old 1st June 2019
  #7
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fantomaz View Post

I GUESS MY QUESTION IS: is there anything newer/better than ... S-gear?
In my humble opinion, no.

The only thing I like better is running my tube amps through a Suhr Reactive Load and using the genuine Celestion impulse responses or Torpedo Wall of Sound with a WGS ET65 IR.
Old 1st June 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
 
bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dpsbb View Post
In my humble opinion, no.

The only thing I like better is running my tube amps through a Suhr Reactive Load and using the genuine Celestion impulse responses or Torpedo Wall of Sound with a WGS ET65 IR.
If you have the gear I agree... this is the ultimate way... I still use sims every now and again when I get something sent in as a DI and can make them sound great, but, for a primary sound (solos) or something tracked here it’s real amps, reactive load, celestion impulses
Old 1st June 2019
  #9
Gear Maniac
Yup. But when I'm in a hurry and want to get an idea down quick I go with S-Gear. Sometimes it's good enough to keep.
Old 3rd June 2019
  #10
Gear Nut
 

I like Peter Denenberg's words very much:

https://youtu.be/BBOPK80kcdA?t=560

"......we're making records with it. It's no longer, you know, a poor substitute. It is the tool that we use to make records."

With these sentences he was soooo 100% right and this is 10 years ago now.

I use many such tools, my favorites are Amplitube 4, GTR3, Overloud TH3 and since some months, Bias Amp 2.

A while ago, I still believed that if I owned a big studio, all these unpayable microphones, guitar amps and had time to try out different mic positions, different amps and different amp configurations all day long...... then yes.... THEN I would not use virtual amps and record e-guitars in the traditional way.

Meanwhile I don't believe this anymore. I guess I would try to record an electric guitar in this traditional way once only just to find out that the result is not better than using virtual amps.

I don't want to argue with you guys but I don't believe there are "better" virtual amps than Helix or S-Gear. They are just different.

Any of them can be configured such that they 100% match a REAL AMP, that they 100% sound like a REAL AMP.

I understand that some people are just used to configuring real amps, positioning mics and recording in the traditional way. Then that's the best way to go but I don't think you can say that you get a "better" sound out of the guitar in this way, it's just different. And you can also not say the sound is "more realistic" because there are so many amps matched by virtual amps and noone, come on, noone really hears a difference.

---> It's just a matter of taste.

https://youtu.be/LcN3nBLwtJY?t=13


You can check the Bias Amp 2 for instance. The times changed. You can match nearly any guitar amp with a virtual amp plugin nowadays...


Old 3rd June 2019
  #11
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by marco_well View Post
I like Peter Denenberg's words very much:
Any of them can be configured such that they 100% match a REAL AMP, that they 100% sound like a REAL AMP.
uhhhh... no.

I do not consider myself a cork-sniffer tone snob AT ALL but yes there is a difference between a real amp recorded correctly and ALL of the current batch of modelling gizmos.

What it really boils down to though is, are they good enough for YOUR ears? I would never tell someone their personal preferences are wrong but that blanket "100%" statement is just flat-out false.
Old 4th June 2019
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dpsbb View Post
uhhhh... no.

I do not consider myself a cork-sniffer tone snob AT ALL but yes there is a difference between a real amp recorded correctly and ALL of the current batch of modelling gizmos.

What it really boils down to though is, are they good enough for YOUR ears? I would never tell someone their personal preferences are wrong but that blanket "100%" statement is just flat-out false.
You would not pass a blind test.
Old 4th June 2019
  #13
Simply put the best current amp sims are the Kemper and the AxeFx. The Helix isn’t bad by any means, the in the box sim plugins like s gear are all pretty much alike. They all seek to emulate th sound of a mic’d up amp, so “the control room sound” rather than amp in the room unless you paint them with a suitable speaker and actually crank it. If that’s not what you’re after tha just grab a real amp, no need to overthink things.
Old 4th June 2019
  #14
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by marco_well View Post
You would not pass a blind test.
Maybe, maybe not. That does not prove your incorrect statement though.

Like I said, it boils down to what YOU like, not what someone on a forum tells you what you should like.
Old 13th June 2019
  #15
Gear Addict
 

I have done a lot of research into this tried all the big software Amp and cab sims and still don't like them. I use a guitar preamp (Victory V4 The Countess) with a Radial JDX Direct Drive on the end and I am very happy with the results. This method allows me to record the DI, the preamp with out cab sim and finally the whole stack at the same time.

I have tried using Two Notes wall of sound software (this is free btw) but I found it buggy as hell so ditched it after about testing for 3 months.

I play a Jazzmaster and the tones I use range from Robin Guthrie lush dream pop/shoegaze to thick fuzz driven distortion. I am very happy with this setup.

My Brother on the other hand is really into contemporary metal plays a 7 string and I would say is striving for that Tosin Abasi tone. He really loves the Line6 helix software and hardware and is producing some monster tones with that kit.

I would also try experimenting with recording the out put of some pedals DI'ed and then applying some sort of filter to them as all a speaker is really is a predefined filter which moves air molecules.

Guitar > drive/distortion pedal > audio interface > filter.

Sound toys filters are really good for this, so is a 10 band graphic EQ.
Old 13th June 2019
  #16
Gear Maniac
there is WAY more to an authentic speaker sound than EQ. If what you are saying is true, then no engineer in their right mind would ever bother with going through all the trouble to mic a guitar cabinet. They would have discovered that a graphic EQ after a line-out from an amp is all you ever need fifty years ago and we would not be having this discussion.

The way tubes interact with transformers interacting with speakers, the power supply transformer contributing voltage sag, etc... even how speakers move differently when there is more than one of them in a box, and is that box open-backed or closed-back, is it sealed and ported, is it a detuned cabinet, is it pine or MDF? All of that together, and so much more, is what makes an amp sound like an amp.

Tweaking a tone recorded with a Jensen in a 1x12 open-backed pine cabinet with some EQ is NOT going to make it sound like a 4x12 cabinet loaded with Greenbacks.

I'm not saying what you like is invalid... if it works for you then that's all that matters at the end of the day, but it's not as cut-and-dry as you think.
Old 13th June 2019
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dpsbb View Post
there is WAY more to an authentic speaker sound than EQ. If what you are saying is true, then no engineer in their right mind would ever bother with going through all the trouble to mic a guitar cabinet. They would have discovered that a graphic EQ after a line-out from an amp is all you ever need fifty years ago and we would not be having this discussion.

The way tubes interact with transformers interacting with speakers, the power supply transformer contributing voltage sag, etc... even how speakers move differently when there is more than one of them in a box, and is that box open-backed or closed-back, is it sealed and ported, is it a detuned cabinet, is it pine or MDF? All of that together, and so much more, is what makes an amp sound like an amp.

Tweaking a tone recorded with a Jensen in a 1x12 open-backed pine cabinet with some EQ is NOT going to make it sound like a 4x12 cabinet loaded with Greenbacks.

I'm not saying what you like is invalid... if it works for you then that's all that matters at the end of the day, but it's not as cut-and-dry as you think.
You may disagree, however what I am saying is tecnically correct. At the end of the day the Cabinet is a filter, pick the filter you like the most. I think people have been recording just Amp heads and treating them after tracking for a long time. I think most of teh guitars on NiN's The Fragile were recorded this way, direct into a desk and then processed with the prcursor to NI's Reaktor.

Quote:
Tweaking a tone recorded with a Jensen in a 1x12 open-backed pine cabinet with some EQ is NOT going to make it sound like a 4x12 cabinet loaded with Greenbacks.
True but i'm pretty sure you could get a convincing sound if you recorded the Amp Head or the the send from the FX loop, apply the correct filter curve and add some good room reverb.
Old 13th June 2019
  #18
Gear Maniac
No, sorry it is not technically correct. Go do some research on how an amp works. How tubes interact with transformers, how transformers interact with speakers, how speakers interact with cabinets, how cabinets interact with the environment they are in, and on and on. Even how your DI box colors the sound in a small way.

I am NOT saying you can never get a sound you like without a real amp - I have stated before I use and like S-Gear, so I'm by no means passing judgement on sim users, but I AM saying your simulations and filters do NOT simulate every possible factor that goes into making a simulation sound "real."
Old 13th June 2019
  #19
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lethem View Post
i'm pretty sure you could get a convincing sound if you recorded the Amp Head or the the send from the FX loop, apply the correct filter curve and add some good room reverb.
But here's the thing... "a convincing sound" means something different to whomever you ask.

There is no way I am going to get a "convincing sound" using that method and that's because I know I can go one step further with a reactive load and a set of well-executed impulse responses and get a sound that is pretty much almost indistinguishable from a well-executed miced-up cabinet. The effects loop out is going to pale in comparison.

Let's not even bother to ask whether or not that head you are using gets its overdrive from the poweramp or the preamp... if it's the former nobody is going to think it's "convincing."
Old 13th June 2019
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Mikhael's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dpsbb View Post
But here's the thing... "a convincing sound" means something different to whomever you ask.

There is no way I am going to get a "convincing sound" using that method and that's because I know I can go one step further with a reactive load and a set of well-executed impulse responses and get a sound that is pretty much almost indistinguishable from a well-executed miced-up cabinet. The effects loop out is going to pale in comparison.

Let's not even bother to ask whether or not that head you are using gets its overdrive from the poweramp or the preamp... if it's the former nobody is going to think it's "convincing."
90% of guitarists get distortion from a little transistor box at their feet before the preamp...
Old 13th June 2019
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

Pignose>Cab IR.

There is no need to do that reactive load wank.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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elambo's Avatar
This is blowing some people's minds, and it's definitely worthy of that impression. Try the demo, but have the cash ready.

https://neuraldsp.com/products/archetype-plini/
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
I'm tired of analysis paralysis. I keep on vacillating between my lunchbox tube head, with its cab-emulated direct out, and my floor-based digital modeller. It takes time away from creativity and productivity. It is true that blind tests can be a humbling experience, and it is the reason I have not given up on digital modelling.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
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Ragan's Avatar
 

The online demos are all mediocre and the presets are horrible but Overloud TH-U is the best sim I’ve ever heard. I’m right now comparing it to the Kemper (this is the third time I’ve bought one, trying to make it viable to my ear) and I’ve tried all the usual suspects and also bought and returned the UA OX (not as good as the Kemper) and various load boxes. TH-U is better than any of them.

I don’t know what they’re doing differently but it’s something fundamental.

Forget presets. Just load up the Vox or Bassman with an Ownhammer IR if you’ve got it. It’s a different animal in a different league.

This is coming from someone who’s just been recording amps for 20 years and who’s ears have never been sold on any other sim.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragan View Post
the UA OX (not as good as the Kemper)
?? The OX is a reactive load with IRs and effects, designed to be used with hardware amps. It relies on the signal from your amps, and in fact makes no sound without that, and it's not a direct competitor for the Kemper. If you have great amps, the OX passes that through to your recordings, and it does so extremely well. If your amps struggle to please the ears, so will the OX, but it can hardly be blamed for tone as the load, IRs and effects are top notch.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
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Ragan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
?? The OX is a reactive load with IRs and effects, designed to be used with hardware amps. It relies on the signal from your amps, and in fact makes no sound without that, and it's not a direct competitor for the Kemper. If you have great amps, the OX passes that through to your recordings, and it does so extremely well. If your amps struggle to please the ears, so will the OX, but it can hardly be blamed for tone as the load, IRs and effects are top notch.
Thanks for the rundown on OX features.

It’s absolutely a competitor to the Kemper. They both promise realistic sounding versions of your amps that you can record silently. And in my view they both come up short, but the OX comes up short-er.

Sounds pretty plastic and simulation-y. Very fun toy but the simulation leaves a lot to be desired sonically.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
Gear Nut
 
BCProject's Avatar
 

Fascinating how electric guitar players cling to The One True Way to make a noise. The guitar amp & cabinet is a variation of a 60-year old PA design.
How about opening your mind a bit and allow some experimentation? Judge with your ears.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
Lives for gear
 
elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragan View Post
Thanks for the rundown on OX features.

It’s absolutely a competitor to the Kemper. They both promise realistic sounding versions of your amps that you can record silently. And in my view they both come up short, but the OX comes up short-er.

Sounds pretty plastic and simulation-y. Very fun toy but the simulation leaves a lot to be desired sonically.
You'd be very much in the minority with that opinion as the OX has received incredibly positive reviews, one of them coming from me. I've never used a Kemper first-hand, but have been recording guitars for decades, with mics, Palmers, IRs, silent speakers, etc., finding small increases in quality over the years. All methods, including mics/cabs, have been retired since getting the OX. If it's not sounding up to snuff you have to look at the amps, because the load, IRs and effects are top-notch. But, yes, there are other variables contributing to its sound and that's where I would have looked (I'm assuming you no longer have it).
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCProject View Post
Fascinating how electric guitar players cling to The One True Way to make a noise. The guitar amp & cabinet is a variation of a 60-year old PA design.
How about opening your mind a bit and allow some experimentation? Judge with your ears.
Bingo! Our brains get in the way of our ears because we tend to seek a Gold Standard as *we* imagine it -- some live or recorded tone we heard in the past which we consider Mecca -- and if the new product doesn't deliver THAT sound it's not top brass. We like what we like, but I agree that an open mind is a big advantage.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
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bgood's Avatar
Amp sim, load box and IRs, mic’d Cabs... use what you dig...

I have a few Fender and Vox digital modeling amps, own just about every amp sim... I also have a wall of tube combos and heads here (I’ve picked my poison with reactive load box and IRs) but I also always record a DI from the pedal board, too.... when I track I play through a cab in the room with me that I don’t mic.

With all that sh|t to choose from during mixing it’s dealer’s choice... I’ve done the dance where you load up every digital version of a Twin, Champ, Bassman, Boogie amp that I have and compare it against the real gear in the room and I what I find is this.... playing through the stuff (real amp through a cab vs robot through studio monitors) the real deal always feels better... no latency, the cab is slapping against your bunghole... with pre-recorded DI tracks through studio monitors it’s a game of inches where in blind a/b I doubt anybody could reliably pick one from the other

Use what you can afford and don’t let anonymous internet people guilt you into thinking you’re doing it “wrong”... because at the end of the day, there’s not one listener who will know if you’re use Amplitube or Stevie Ray’s personal Dumble
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