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Amp simulators
Old 7th December 2019
  #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
I was able to get John Mayer's personal TwoRock amp several years back
Wow, that is awesome.

I had a few Komet amps, really nice especially the Concorde. I've found that all modern amps are less warm and more brittle/trebley than the vintage amps. Maybe its me or my guitars, but a lot of my guitar life is spent rolling off highs and avoiding ice-picking treble. The Carr Rambler I had was the closest modern amp I've heard to vintage. Love Carr amps. But I sold everything except the '59/'60 Bassmans and '66/'67 Marshalls. And some Matchless HC30s mostly for reference and experimentation on a very solid, fairly uncolored modern tube amp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
Sadly, so much of that is lost once it's tossed into the DAW and played back through the monitors
Of course nothing can touch the actual live experience, but miking the cabinets (with great mics) and rooms in various ways, I haven't had much problem capturing enough of it to never lament what is lost. Often I get cool things miking it which I didn't hear live. The recorded sound is a different animal with different needs, and requires a different skill than playing an amp which instantly sounds awesome. But a lot of the same harmonic content is there, taken from a different perspective and media and harnessed in a different way.

I would guess, having zero experience with sims, the differences can be subtle or overt depending on what you are recording. And I imagine there are sounds you can generate with an amp and guitar you simply can't get with a sim. The reverse is probably true as well.
Old 7th December 2019
  #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorktop View Post
A vintage Marshall stack and/or a vintage tweed Bassman are a good baseline, since they are iconic, awesome sounding amps used and recorded by counless legendary artists.

I will describe some characteristics of these amps, and tube amps in general, which I doubt can be simulated. You tell me.

This is just my opinion and experience, so take it or leave it and try not to flame me too much.

The dynamics and responsiveness of these amps is extreme, it is like you are playing the tubes directly. They respond to every subtle nuance, slightest shift in volumes, in a very pleasing way. You can have the amp dimed to full fuzz, and still get crystal clean tones, depending on how gently you play it. This range of tones, from clean to slightly woolly to full on distortion, comes naturally with the softness or hardness of your playing, the EMOTION, in a very organic and satisfying way. You can use the volume knob on the guitar to add to this expressively. The wide range of tones along this smooth transition are all fantastic, and with the natural compression of this rig, just right in the pocket when you slam the tubes.

There is much more harmonic content coming through this amp/speakers than just the notes you play. There is a universe of overtones, undertones, sometimes feedback, filling the air. This creates shimmering halos and walls of sound which add magical, unpredictable content. Sometimes it sounds like other instruments are playing. "Did you put a synth track in the background there?". Nope, just guitar.

Playing this way, you can feel the air moving from the cabinets, you are surrounded by sound bouncing off the walls. Aside from the thrill and inspiration of this, it is adding harmonic content, with all that sound bouncing around, and interacting with the pickups, speakers and microphones.

And of course, the feedback is beyond belief. It changes depending on the position of the pickups to the speakers. The special effects and wild stuff you can do with the sound just has no end. I can just press a fret, not even strike the string, and hear a sound which will grow into infinite feedback and sustain. Bend the string, and it touches corners of sound which rattle the walls and equipment. It can sound like a humpback whale in heat. It can sound like anything.

There is infinite variation, and lots of cool random stuff. Past a certain level, the knob becomes more a gain than a volume, adding so many different levels of hair and fire to the tone. Slight changes open up whole other sets of options. Hitting the same note is hardly the same twice, unless everything is set exactly the same way, you are standing in the exact same position relative to the speakers, and hitting the string the exact same way. So many options for soundscaping.

With these amps, you never know what is going to make it growl or snarl or produce some crazy tone until you learn it with that particular guitar. How you gonna simulate sounds you don't even know the amp can produce yet?

Also, the warmth and just raw tone of these amps can't be overstated. From the range of thick, crystal, shimmery, chimey, soulful cleans, through the deepest and most satisfying woolly overdrives and fuzz, not sure any sim or profiler could fully capture the depth, grit, and WARMTH of it. You can roast chestnuts on it. It growls and moans like a living animal. So animate and percussive. And they sound amazing right out of the box, with no tweaking or effects, which is nice and saves time.

Especially paired with certain speakers (like 60s Pulsonic Greenbacks), there is a thump and percussiveness to it which really brings the thunder. A lot of that is in the speakers.

These amps have a natural compression, at all the right times and in all the right places, which is very pleasing to hear and a joy to play. The Thunder God never hurts you (any more than you want him to). The sound is so round, almost like a human voice, a perfect rainbow arc from attack to melting feedback.

I've found that vintage tubes make a huge difference and sound worlds better, at least in these vintage amps and in real tube boosts/preamps I use sometimes.

As you can see, I find these amps & speakers to be really amazing. With other tube amps, even small, low wattage amps, it is much less intense, but pretty much every quality I mentioned is still there.
Fabulous. No one who loves guitar is going to argue with you! The difference between what you describe and playing a modeller is like the difference between a Harley on an open road, or driving a taxi in town. The thing is though, it’s hard to get paid for riding a Harley.
Having said that, the satisfaction of a decent fee and repeat booking makes up for it - and we can take the Harley out on our own time.
Old 7th December 2019
  #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
Who's willing to put their money where their mouth is? A listening test. Forget the idea of an emu properly emulating a tube amp, this would be "which amp sounds best?"
I'd be all into it.
The best way to make this work however would be a bunch of properly recorded DI guitar takes - which, in return, would mean that the "analog afficionados" would have to have their amps set up in a way suitable for re-amping.

Alternatively, we could come up with an idea for a few easy to play riffs, chords and licks that anybody should be able to play and then record them in whatever way one likes.
Old 7th December 2019
  #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
Fabulous. No one who loves guitar is going to argue with you! The difference between what you describe and playing a modeller is like the difference between a Harley on an open road, or driving a taxi in town.
I totally disagree. Modelers are every bit capable of the same things decribed once you play them loud enough. There's no oh-so-magic connection to the tubes or whatever. It just doesn't exist. It's physics, not voodoo.
Old 7th December 2019
  #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck View Post
I totally disagree. Modelers are every bit capable of the same things decribed once you play them loud enough. There's no oh-so-magic connection to the tubes or whatever. It just doesn't exist. It's physics, not voodoo.
That’s not what I meant.
He talks about randomness and unpredictability- which is fun, but I don’t want it when I’m getting paid to do a show. If I was the star, maybe, but few guitarists get to be the star these days.
Old 7th December 2019
  #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck View Post
The only real noteworthy "interaction" between an amp and a guitar is volume. Volume feeding back into the guitar from the cab, enhancing the strings to produce longer sustain and/or feedback.
Anything else is pretty much neglectable and voodoo at best.
The volume based interactions however work every bit as well with modelers in case you can turn things up as loud as you would with real amps/cabs.

Fwiw, I'm sure someone will come up with input impedances and such - but you can have that from modelers as well, even with greater detail (such as in being able to freely switch between input impedances).
I think something that cannot/should not be overlooked is the great tones that guitarists and non-guitarist alike can identify from guitarists like Clapton, Beck, Page, Hendrix, Gilmour, Van Halen, Johnson, Vai, Satriani, and countless others who did not use modelers. Granted the emulation tools weren't as available as they are today, but personally, I am not hearing of any modern day well known guitar hero's who are using emulators/modelers exclusively. Ones who can be identified within playing just a few notes.

As much as some people like to argue against them, tube amps are still very relevant today. To try and put them out to pasture as obsolete is a futile exercise at best. People are acting as if emulators/modelers are some sort of new technology. It's been out for decades. It is simply a convenient tool. Another way of creating art. Nothing wrong with that. We should keep in mind however that tube amps are not going away any time soon. I am amazed at what lengths people go to here to defend their way of doing things as the only way. Silly humans.
Old 7th December 2019
  #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
That’s not what I meant.
He talks about randomness and unpredictability- which is fun, but I don’t want it when I’m getting paid to do a show. If I was the star, maybe, but few guitarists get to be the star these days.
Well. I'm sure if you'd ask one of the rather wellknown tube amp afficionados such as Mayer, Bonamassa and the likes - I don't think they're using their amps because they're inpredictable. In fact, when you watch some rig rundowns, they're doing pretty much *everything* to keep their rigs reliable and predictable.

If you really want unpredictable sounds to fool around with, get some Chase Bliss stuff or JPFX or Caroline pedals.
Old 7th December 2019
  #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck View Post
Well. I'm sure if you'd ask one of the rather wellknown tube amp afficionados such as Mayer, Bonamassa and the likes - I don't think they're using their amps because they're inpredictable. In fact, when you watch some rig rundowns, they're doing pretty much *everything* to keep their rigs reliable and predictable.

If you really want unpredictable sounds to fool around with, get some Chase Bliss stuff or JPFX or Caroline pedals.
And yet they still use tube amps, interesting.
Old 7th December 2019
  #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck View Post
Well. I'm sure if you'd ask one of the rather wellknown tube amp afficionados such as Mayer, Bonamassa and the likes - I don't think they're using their amps because they're inpredictable. In fact, when you watch some rig rundowns, they're doing pretty much *everything* to keep their rigs reliable and predictable.

If you really want unpredictable sounds to fool around with, get some Chase Bliss stuff or JPFX or Caroline pedals.
I don’t really understand your point. I don’t use an amp for gigs, but I still like to play them for fun. What’s weird about that? They give me a buzz. Maybe the tubes give off positive ions, who gives a damn why we enjoy what we do enjoy?
Old 7th December 2019
  #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
I don’t really understand your point. I don’t use an amp for gigs, but I still like to play them for fun. What’s weird about that? They give me a buzz. Maybe the tubes give off positive ions, who gives a damn why we enjoy what we do enjoy?
Great big round of applause!!!
Old 7th December 2019
  #101
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Snorktop's Avatar
 

You guys are living in a different world than me, where you can make a better living using emulators than guitar amps, and real amps are a luxury used for fun, not by far the most widely used professional tool for recording guitar to this day.

The vast majority of professional guitar recordings are made with tube amps. Few producers/artists record guitar in the studio using Kempers. And it has been out for many years, plenty of time for the industry to test and adopt it.

Those who use it will tell you its easier to dial in a wide range of great guitar tones. Fewer still will say it sounds as good as the real thing. And I doubt any will claim it sounds better. And that is why it isn't that widely adopted - for most guitarists, sound quality is the top priority.


I would venture to say the most widely used machines to record guitar in the professional studio today are still vintage Fender tweed amps, vintage Fender blackface amps, vintage 60s Marshalls and JCM 800s, followed by Mesa Boogie and probably Vox amps. Way down the list, near the bottom, would be Kemper.


For my part, I have made a tremendous living playing and recording guitar out of Los Angeles, New York City and Atlanta without ever using an emulator.


Guys who claim an emulator can do all I described are inexperienced and full of crap. They also claim in private messages to me they are double black belts in Shotokan karate. Which is inferior in quality to Shaolin karate, and not used by as many professional monks.
Old 8th December 2019
  #102
Interesting post. Quite a lot of delusion about the music industry as a whole. Of course a "pro" studio entertaining a session musician is more likely to see an amp, but "pro" studios with session musicians make up a tiny fraction of the pool of recording sessions across the world, and outside of sound it's simply impractical for a guitarist to bring a digital rig. No, far and away more popular is the bedroom setup, with people plugging into an interface and gaining results in software.

Because most of the emus are plastic (I agree) doesn't set the bar for what software is capable. And this is where you get delusional, not to mention the live vs. recorded sound issue already mentioned numerous times. Compare recorded amps to recorded software and we have a conversation. Otherwise, you're just hanging too tightly to a belief that's inaccurate, and it makes you sound like you're uninformed, or biased against and/or afraid of technology. Changing people's words around doesn't help either. Based upon your quotes above, you do seem to cherry pick the data which suits your stance, though it's not relevant to the larger picture here.

Funny topic. Lots of fear and myopia.
Old 8th December 2019
  #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alrod View Post
I think something that cannot/should not be overlooked is the great tones that guitarists and non-guitarist alike can identify from guitarists like Clapton, Beck, Page, Hendrix, Gilmour, Van Halen, Johnson, Vai, Satriani, and countless others who did not use modelers. Granted the emulation tools weren't as available as they are today, but personally, I am not hearing of any modern day well known guitar hero's who are using emulators/modelers exclusively.
We are only at the beginning of modelers becoming a serious alternative. Just 10 years ago, they were hardly acceptable - perhaps minus the Axe FX - which however has been a nightmare to program, so it's quite obvious many people didn't like it.
Apart from the sonic qualities (which, IMO at least, are pretty much all the way there), for me, the single most important other aspect is usability. And there's no way around but to accept that right now, modelers fall extremely short (unless you're going through quite some hoops...).
Accessibility, at least when compared to the real deal, is absolutely lousy with modelers - and that is true for each and every one of them, minus a mere handful of one trick ponies only offering one sound at once (such as the Atomic Amplifirebox or the new Strymon Iridium).

Fwiw, I'm really astonished the analog-is-so-great folks haven't mentioned that very aspect much more throughout the recent threads. Because it's *the* single most relevant thing where analog amps and pedals still win hands down in many situations.
Being able to see all relevant parameters for whatever sound next to each other, ready to be tweaked in a WYSIWYG fashion is just fantastic.
IMO the lack of that very thing is one of the reasons why modelers don't sound great (or even bad) in many live situations - simply because people can't finetune their sounds quickly. As a rather simple example: Clean and clean-ish sounds not loud enough? With a real amp, I'd turn around and adjust the volume of my clean channel. Mission accomplished. With a programmable modeler, I would perhaps have to dive into some menu, adjust things there and re-save the patch. Then I'd have to select the next patch using a clean sound and do the same. And the other 15 patches using a clean sound. Impossible during a soundcheck already, let alone during the gig. Not even remotely an issue with any analog setup.
It's also the very point why modelers can't be used as intuitively as real amps and pedals. During the time it takes you to find the delay feedback knob on a modeler to start some live delay mayhem, the tune will be over.
And yes, I agree that this aspect of modeling completely sucks a$$. It's the very reason why I try to integrate a 32-knob MIDI controller into my setup, but unfortunately my modeler of choice doesn't deal well with that idea. I would as well like a whole lot more of switches on the floor controller UI. I wouldn't mind the extra size at all, give me knobs and switches until the cows come home.

So, there you have it - while I love modelers for several things, I hate the accessibility portion. And IMO it's a lot more relevant for whatever results than whatever pseudo tube voodoo.
Old 8th December 2019
  #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alrod View Post
And yet they still use tube amps, interesting.
They already own them and they have their folks to take care about them. Easy.
Old 8th December 2019
  #105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck View Post
They already own them and they have their folks to take care about them. Easy.
Yes, and I think they are keeping them because they get what they want and need out of them. Personally if I could dump all my tube amps for an exact 1:1 copy I would. The cost savings alone would be worth it. I don't particularly like changing tubes, rebiasing, general repairs (which aren't often), etc. let alone lugging them around, but it's the price I am willing to pay for the personal tones that I like.

Trust me, when simulations are 1:1 (30+ years and still waiting), I will be selling my tube amps. Until then...

I find it odd that people try and change my mind as far as what tones & gear I should and shouldn't like. I have already stated that people should use whatever inspires them. To me this isn't or shouldn't be about winning a debate.

I am actually pretty reasonable. There are reverb emulations for example that made me sell all of my hardware reverbs. To me they, although not being 100% 1:1 clones, have a sound and flavor I really like. I totally get people who use amp simulations exclusivley, More power to them. I'm just not one of them.
Old 8th December 2019
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alrod View Post
I find it odd that people try and change my mind as far as what tones & gear I should and shouldn't like. I have already stated that people should use whatever inspires them. To me this isn't or shouldn't be about winning a debate.
Fwiw, I never try to change anyones mind (at least not when it comes to music related stuff). I just find it hilarious that so many completely out of this world statements are being made by several analog enthusiasts. As said above, I am having some serious issues with digital "items" myself, they're just not as accessible as other things. But all that voodoo-alike stuff - I mean, really, come on. There's no voodoo, it's plain physics. And all of these physical things can be modeled. In fact, most of them already are, the rest will follow quickly.
And seriously, if you like your stuff and it suits all your needs in terms of sound and practicability, by all means, keep it.

But then, this a thread about amp sims - as are some others in this sub-forum. The OPs want to know how to get the most out of them, might enjoy some tips and perhaps the odd sound example. But all throughout these threads there's the John Eppsteins and whom not, telling you how much modeling per se sucks. Which is absolutely counterproductive.
Old 8th December 2019
  #107
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eternalsound's Avatar
Being a "tube guy" my whole life, I never thought I'd do this, but Santa is bringing me this on Christmas. It is partially inspired by this thread too. I need a practice amp at band practice because I don't want to move my whole "tube" rig back and forth from gigs to practice. Having 4 channels on it, it fits right into what I need ...which was quite miraculous in itself too. It sounds decent to quite good and is the perfect tool I believe for my purpose with it. Welcome ..modeling (in context though).

VOX VT40X
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Old 8th December 2019
  #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck View Post
Fwiw, I never try to change anyones mind (at least not when it comes to music related stuff). I just find it hilarious that so many completely out of this world statements are being made by several analog enthusiasts. As said above, I am having some serious issues with digital "items" myself, they're just not as accessible as other things. But all that voodoo-alike stuff - I mean, really, come on. There's no voodoo, it's plain physics. And all of these physical things can be modeled. In fact, most of them already are, the rest will follow quickly.
And seriously, if you like your stuff and it suits all your needs in terms of sound and practicability, by all means, keep it.

But then, this a thread about amp sims - as are some others in this sub-forum. The OPs want to know how to get the most out of them, might enjoy some tips and perhaps the odd sound example. But all throughout these threads there's the John Eppsteins and whom not, telling you how much modeling per se sucks. Which is absolutely counterproductive.
I agree with you on the outright voodoo stuff. The physics... are still open to interpretation or at the very least inconclusive. Remember, will live in a world that has imitation everything. There are those who literally cannot tell the difference between a strawberry and artificial strawberry flavors. Sure science will throw up a paper showing that there are no perceivable differences, but to me that is simply another form of voodoo. The human condition, experiment, whatever you want to call it is unique.

All I know is that when playing live, I can tell the difference between real and modeled. I have done enough blind tests in front of people to say that with confidence.

When you are around something 25+ years, you develop a sense for and familiarity with it. That's not voodoo, it's experience, it's what you know.

Interesting tidbit.

Question:
Is it best to identify counterfeit currency by studying all the various counterfeit money in existence, or to study real currency? Interestingly, some will say it's best to study all the counterfeit currency. The "experts" however study the real currency. This actually makes it easier to identify the counterfeit currency since the imperfections jump out almost immediately (to an expert).

My point? If all you have ever known is real tube amps, (strawberries or what have you), the counterfeits if you will, are easy to identify. I can totally relate to that analogy.
Old 8th December 2019
  #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eternalsound View Post
Being a "tube guy" my whole life, I never thought I'd do this, but Santa is bringing me this on Christmas. It is partially inspired by this thread too. I need a practice amp at band practice because I don't want to move my whole "tube" rig back and forth from gigs to practice. Having 4 channels on it, it fits right into what I need ...which was quite miraculous in itself too. It sounds decent to quite good and is the perfect tool I believe for my purpose with it. Welcome ..modeling (in context though).

VOX VT40X
You must have been a bad boy!

Just kidding, I couldn't resist. Seems like a practical solution. I purchased a Line 6 modeling amp a few years ago for the same reason. Sadly my band mates at the time asked that I not to bring it to practice anymore. I will admit, it did sound horrid. Let me know what you think of the one you are getting.
Old 8th December 2019
  #110
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RicTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
Great description of what it feels like to play a solid amp! I feel the same way. I was able to get John Mayer's personal TwoRock amp several years back, and the first few minutes of playing that thing (into a TwoRock cab) still ranks as the pinnacle of my guitar playing history. You've described much of what I might have said. The dynamics. The drenched harmonics. The direct connection to the tubes, as though you were wired right into them. All of it was there. And more. And I've experienced similar feelings with a few other amps, too. A Schroeder DB9. A Komet Concorde. Sitting in front of the cab, the SPLs didn't hurt the experience.

Sadly, so much of that is lost once it's tossed into the DAW and played back through the monitors, and that's just how the game works. But that's what's being missed in much of this conversation. We have people comparing that live interaction with a great amp/cab to the less enveloping experience of playing an emulation through monitors. It's not comparable.
I agree and I'm continually astounded that with all the incredibly experience people we have in this forum so many discussions are sidetracked with this issue. Live in the room is not a remotely similar reality to the recorded final mix. It drives me crazy reading all the arguing back and forth because this simple issue is not addressed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
But the discussion is about the end product, and in that sense we need to compare what a recorded amp sounds like on the record vs. an amp sim on the record. Anything else is apples to oranges. Apples to meatloaf even.

Live, I'm going to go after the amp and cab, every time. But in a working environment, these days the amps tend to stay turned off because the end product I'm getting with Plini and S-Gear and F-59 (an excellent Bassman emu) is hard to tell from the real thing. And in some cases it's better (Plini has a habit of doing this).
Great post.

I record with a Kemper to a click for our local band album. I take my Kemper tracks to a studio. Live drums and live vocals are recorded. DI Bass and keys. Mixed then Mastered. I doubt anyone could discern the Kemper from a mic'd cabinet. I've had my Supersonic mic'd, recorded and mixed at this same studio and in a million years I could never tell the difference between my Supersonic and the Kemper. Maybe someone could tell the difference, but it would be a pretty rare person and everyone knows it doesn't matter.

By the way, my playing performances when recording with the Kemper are based on technically playing the parts. The "feel" of playing through a live amp in the room is less important to me when recording than it is nailing parts technically. A live amp does not help me. Actually I'm inspired to play and hear through the monitors what it will sound like when it's mixed and mastered. Sure I could see a live amp being a huge benefit in recording, but not for me. And yes I vastly prefer to play a live amp when just playing, but recording is totally different at least for myself.

I want to hear what it's going to actually sound like, and that is where my inspiration comes from in recording.
Old 8th December 2019
  #111
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Snorktop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicTone View Post
Maybe someone could tell the difference, but it would be a pretty rare person and everyone knows it doesn't matter
If that is the case, why doesn't everyone record with a Kemper in professional studios instead of so few?

Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
Interesting post. Quite a lot of delusion about the music industry as a whole. Of course a "pro" studio entertaining a session musician is more likely to see an amp, but "pro" studios with session musicians make up a tiny fraction of the pool of recording sessions across the world, and outside of sound it's simply impractical for a guitarist to bring a digital rig. No, far and away more popular is the bedroom setup, with people plugging into an interface and gaining results in software.

Because most of the emus are plastic (I agree) doesn't set the bar for what software is capable. And this is where you get delusional, not to mention the live vs. recorded sound issue already mentioned numerous times. Compare recorded amps to recorded software and we have a conversation. Otherwise, you're just hanging too tightly to a belief that's inaccurate, and it makes you sound like you're uninformed, or biased against and/or afraid of technology. Changing people's words around doesn't help either. Based upon your quotes above, you do seem to cherry pick the data which suits your stance, though it's not relevant to the larger picture here.

Funny topic. Lots of fear and myopia.
Claiming my opinions are based on fear, myopia, delusions, bias and misnformation is insulting disrespect, so you all will have to forgive the harsh responses. It is the opinion held by most guitarists and producers, so I guess we are all pretty fked in the head. I would like to know what delusions or misinformation you think I am under.

I am talking specifically about recording, in my post above and my response above that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicTone View Post
Live in the room is not a remotely similar reality to the recorded final mix.
I disagree. It is the source of a great track in the final mix.

If it sounds great live, it can sound great recorded. All of the things I mentioned, the tone, the dynamics, the harmonics, the feedback, the wildnesss, the character, the animation and percussiveness, is recorded. All or most of the harmonic content is there, albeit taken through microphones instead of your ears. Often I get cool things miked that I didn't even hear live. I do not agree that it is lost. Of course its different than live, it has to be harnessed in the context of functional recorded tracks. Sometimes you want to try to recreate the live experience with it. Sometimes that is not your intention at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
far and away more popular is the bedroom setup, with people plugging into an interface and gaining results in software.
Even in the studio, some of the best guitar recordings are done on small amps at lower volumes. Especially for clean tones, there is absolutely no question you can get world class tones at home using an amp at low volume. World class distorted tones can also be recorded on small tube amps at lower volumes. Cheaply and easily.

While software guitar emulators have no doubt become more popular in home setups, not so sure they are more popular than guitar amps. The question is, are they creating better recorded electric guitar tracks, or worse?

If it is the latter, that is not progress, it is regression. To some extent emulators promote homogeneity, mediocrity, lack of originality, and lack of soul. Antithetical to great music.

Last edited by Snorktop; 8th December 2019 at 12:40 PM.. Reason: too harsh
Old 8th December 2019
  #112
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RicTone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorktop View Post
If that is the case, why doesn't everyone record with a Kemper in professional studios instead of so few?
Tradition.

I'm not here to argue and I appreciate your post(s). My experience in mixing and recording is in television and not music, which I've stated before, and so my music recording experience is always defined in individual posts.

I've mixed over 600 network television shows for Fox, NBC, CBS and networks all over the world. I've mixed shows and recorded VO in the best recording studios and post facilities.

There are standards in TV post production just as obviously there are in music production. Tradition keeps the ball going in business.

Specifically I'm saying in a final master only a rare ear could possibly discern a Kemper from a live mic'd cabinet. Actually, technically no one actually could discern the difference because the Kemper is the sound of a recorded amp. Obviously however there could be unknown factors that would ultimately give the Kemper away, but I'm not aware of any.
Old 8th December 2019
  #113
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RicTone View Post
Tradition.
This!

Guitarists are the single most conservative bunch among musicians I know of. The epitome of "sound design" was already reached in 1970 for most of them. This is true for both amps and guitars.

Might even have a social component. Cranked Marshall full stacks make up for a decent penis extension - a modeler played through a single 10" FRFR monitor? Not so much...
Old 8th December 2019
  #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alrod View Post
Question:
Is it best to identify counterfeit currency by studying all the various counterfeit money in existence, or to study real currency? Interestingly, some will say it's best to study all the counterfeit currency. The "experts" however study the real currency. This actually makes it easier to identify the counterfeit currency since the imperfections jump out almost immediately (to an expert).

My point? If all you have ever known is real tube amps, (strawberries or what have you), the counterfeits if you will, are easy to identify. I can totally relate to that analogy.
It's an interesting analogy to be sure.

But what if I just don't *want* my modeler of choice to accurately mimic the real deal?
See, I have been playing tube amps for over 35 years by now. Quite some of them, ranging from cheap to rather expensive, from old-fashioned to modern, from clean pedal platform to almost-metal overdrive. After all, this is what I make my living from, so you gotta know your tools.
Whatever, I guess it's fair to claim that I know a decent tube amp sound. And of course I can tell the difference between a modeler and a real tube amp every time when playing them live.
But: I could make them to sound and behave indistinguishably close to each other. All I would have to do is to play them through the same cabinet. I know this because a mate had things set up for pretty much direct A/B comparisons, using a various tube heads vs. a Kemper through a neutral solid state power amp.
Ok, back to: What if I just don't want my modelers to sound (or behave) like real analog setups? Because, I really don't!
I have a love-hate relationship with guitar cabs - and for the most part, hate wins hands down. After all, there's a reason why there's all the Deeflex things, the "donut" speaker rings and what not. Heck, Bonamassa is hiding all his cabs behind plexiglass.
In many aspects, guitar cabs simply suck. The best one for clean sounds will likely sound a** for heavier driven tones and vice versa. They suffer from horrible speaker beam. And they also suffer from pretty bad dispersion angles. In addition, while not being relvant in this discussion, most great sounding ones are large and sort of heavy. To make any of them sound as best as they can, you need a stage with no restrictions regarding your cab placement, too.
In a nutshell: There's not much to like about them and unlike you're playing in a top act, you will rarely ever be able to enjoy them under ideal conditions. Same goes for recording, at least as long as you don't have access to a proper studio facility or build yourself some isolation stuff.
Bottomline: I *absolutely* prefer this part of the modeling realm to not be the same as in the real world.

Fwiw, I also prefer lots of other things to not be the same as with the real deal. There's no unexpected hum, no tube wearout, no different room climate making things sound different, etc.
Plus, I have never been after "authentic" or "iconic" tones. The first thing I often do with guitars is to change their PUs, the first thing I often did with amps was experimenting with different tubes. Modeling allows me to do large parts of that without any extra expense.
In addition, it also allows me to go for unusual things that you couldn't do easily in the analog realm, such as running an amp top into an overdrive pedal (there's all the unpredictability some folks are praising so much, straight out of the box). I can sample a spoon and abuse that sample as an IR. Or I can create speakers with characteristics that don't exist in the real world. It's all straight there. And I love all that.

Last edited by Sascha Franck; 8th December 2019 at 01:51 PM..
Old 8th December 2019
  #115
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck View Post
But what if I just don't *want* my modeler of choice to accurately mimic the real deal?
This should be a sticky on every emulation related thread! I couldn't agree more with you here. Some guitarists and engineers are simply looking for an alternative, a different flavor, something with less maintenance, a smaller footprint. Who are we to judge

But in the true GS fashion (I think GS loves it because the drama makes people come back $$$), you have the arguments "emulators are just as good. You're an idiot if you believe otherwise." or "Tube amps are better, you're an idiot if you use emulators"

I have made it no secret that I personally prefer real tube amps. That's my choice. It's what I like. On the other hand, at the risk of getting flamed, I went as far as posting a snippet of me recording without an amp. I felt given the context of the mix it was usable. Not my ideal tone, but usable nonetheless.

Recording direct into a mixing board is nothing new. Some of the most popular classic songs with great guitarists were recorded that way. I actually prefer this method to using emulations which is why I suggested it to the OP. It is clear that he is wanting an alternative to a real amp.

Anyway, thanks for your post. I totally get it.
Old 8th December 2019
  #116
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Snorktop's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck View Post
This!

Guitarists are the single most conservative bunch among musicians I know of. The epitome of "sound design" was already reached in 1970 for most of them. This is true for both amps and guitars.

Might even have a social component. Cranked Marshall full stacks make up for a decent penis extension - a modeler played through a single 10" FRFR monitor? Not so much...
Great guitarists and producers are not successful because they care about tradition. Or dick size.

I don't care one lick about tradition. Hard enough to make it this biz without dwelling on nonsense. All I care about is my family, and creating the best performances and recordings that I and the artists I work with are (super)humanly capable of. And like, world peace and social justice and starving babies and dolphins and sh!t. In 1970, my mother was 11 years old. Nostalgia has nothing to do with it. It is all about sound. If I felt I could retire all my amps for a Kemper - hell yes I would. I'd sell them all to pay for Sascha's karate lessons.

In the mastered recordings I've heard, the more common and unmemorable the Kemper guitar part, the more it blends and the harder it is to tell the difference. Power chords. Background rhythm. Little boring filler riffs. But even then good ears usually can tell. Works best for mediocre, derivative music. Always rhythm, never hear complex leads with it in a full mix. Probably works ok for metal rhythm with all that heavy distortion and bass to hide behind, but even then, the real thing is much better.

I have yet to hear one mastered recording with inspiring, immersive or innovative guitar work which really stands out or grabs you (played solely on a Kemper). Please, link one and I will happily eat crow.

Blink 182's latest album is the pinnacle of Kemper recording. You can keep it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck View Post
In many aspects, guitar cabs simply suck. In a nutshell: There's not much to like about them
What the hell kinda electric guitarist doesn't love a good speaker? Have you ever played through a good speaker? If you did and didn't love it, you should go back to the dojo and meditate.

Are you Bonamassa's illegitimate son and this is some ploy to get more plexiglass?

Last edited by Snorktop; 8th December 2019 at 04:05 PM..
Old 8th December 2019
  #117
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grannis's Avatar
we seem to be getting past the normal GS BS to some rational debate...

Objectively, both options must have something going for them, or you wouldn't get folks evangelizing on both sides that theirs is the best way.

I do think Sascha is 100% right about one thing - it is very hard to get a modeller sounding good - you really need a good in-depth understanding both of the digital world and the analogue world, and the interfaces are a pain. The impedance matching issue causes a lot of people to fall at the first hurdle, but there are more awaiting the intrepid explorer! This causes a lot of folks to dismiss them out of hand for their own use. That's fine, their choice, no biggie, I would never in a million years try and persuade them to change.

What gets me mad (and Sascha even more than me) is those same people, who have failed to get digital working well, tell those of us who have mastered it that we are deluded. That we can't possibly be doing what we do. Of course they can cite a 100 examples of digital sounding crap, and great players using analog, but this does not prove it's not possible, it only demonstrates that it's not easy.

It may be it's a coincidence, but maybe not, that Sascha and I are both predominantly live players. We are also both in Europe, where space tends to be more limited. This was a big part of my decision to move away from physical amps. It was a journey for sure, but the end result is absofrigginlootly worth the effort. I can achieve a breadth of tone that a guy with one amp can not. Rare indeed are the examples (like enorbet's) where I could not match the tone of an analog setup. My versatility gets me plenty of gigs.

I can't speak for Sascha, but I am also extremely experienced in digital technology in the broader sense - I have 30 years of experience, a masters degree and a deep understanding of computer modelling, so I know with total credibility what is possible with computer modelling. That is NOT to say that the art of the possible has been achieved in guitar modelling because it is a very special case where the models only have couple of milliseconds to "do their thing" before latency becomes an issue, so they take shortcuts. But when the digital manufacturers stop trying to emulate speficic amps, then we will start to see a real step change.

For the sake of full transparency, I do not use 100% digital gear - I have a valve preamp in there because I like it better for some tones, but real cabs and power amps are history for me.

So, don't use digital if you dont want to, but don't make unsubstantiated claims from a position of ignorance either. (This was not aimed at any one individual)
Old 8th December 2019
  #118
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JayTee4303's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
we seem to be getting past the normal GS BS to some rational debate...

Objectively, both options must have something going for them, or you wouldn't get folks evangelizing on both sides that theirs is the best way.

I do think Sascha is 100% right about one thing - it is very hard to get a modeller sounding good - you really need a good in-depth understanding both of the digital world and the analogue world, and the interfaces are a pain. The impedance matching issue causes a lot of people to fall at the first hurdle, but there are more awaiting the intrepid explorer! This causes a lot of folks to dismiss them out of hand for their own use. That's fine, their choice, no biggie, I would never in a million years try and persuade them to change.

What gets me mad (and Sascha even more than me) is those same people, who have failed to get digital working well, tell those of us who have mastered it that we are deluded. That we can't possibly be doing what we do. Of course they can cite a 100 examples of digital sounding crap, and great players using analog, but this does not prove it's not possible, it only demonstrates that it's not easy.

It may be it's a coincidence, but maybe not, that Sascha and I are both predominantly live players. We are also both in Europe, where space tends to be more limited. This was a big part of my decision to move away from physical amps. It was a journey for sure, but the end result is absofrigginlootly worth the effort. I can achieve a breadth of tone that a guy with one amp can not. Rare indeed are the examples (like enorbet's) where I could not match the tone of an analog setup. My versatility gets me plenty of gigs.

I can't speak for Sascha, but I am also extremely experienced in digital technology in the broader sense - I have 30 years of experience, a masters degree and a deep understanding of computer modelling, so I know with total credibility what is possible with computer modelling. That is NOT to say that the art of the possible has been achieved in guitar modelling because it is a very special case where the models only have couple of milliseconds to "do their thing" before latency becomes an issue, so they take shortcuts. But when the digital manufacturers stop trying to emulate speficic amps, then we will start to see a real step change.

For the sake of full transparency, I do not use 100% digital gear - I have a valve preamp in there because I like it better for some tones, but real cabs and power amps are history for me.

So, don't use digital if you dont want to, but don't make unsubstantiated claims from a position of ignorance either. (This was not aimed at any one individual)
Latency vs depth...leading to shortcuts.

A useful simplification indeed.
Old 8th December 2019
  #119
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The thing that is most astounding is the analog afficionados jumping into pretty much any thread about modelers and what not, telling folks that modeling is pointless. Usually along with some myths about the greatness of whatever inpredictabilities, the supernatural crossfeedback between your guitar and some glowing tubes (which, at least by default, aren't anything mystic but rather build for reliability and predictability, which they have a great track record of, being used in spaceships and what not).
Now, these folks may celebrate and praise their analog godesses as much as they like, maybe one day I'll even join them and have a bit of fun. But what I certainly won't do is to jump into a thread about tube amps and tell people they should rather get rid of them because they all suck anyway.
Really, it's pretty much the same as jumping into a veggie forum only to tell people they should rather get some real meat.
Old 8th December 2019
  #120
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grannis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck View Post
The thing that is most astounding is the analog afficionados jumping into pretty much any thread about modelers and what not, telling folks that modeling is pointless. Usually along with some myths about the greatness of whatever inpredictabilities, the supernatural crossfeedback between your guitar and some glowing tubes (which, at least by default, aren't anything mystic but rather build for reliability and predictability, which they have a great track record of, being used in spaceships and what not).
Now, these folks may celebrate and praise their analog godesses as much as they like, maybe one day I'll even join them and have a bit of fun. But what I certainly won't do is to jump into a thread about tube amps and tell people they should rather get rid of them because they all suck anyway.
Really, it's pretty much the same as jumping into a veggie forum only to tell people they should rather get some real meat.
I agree, but to be fair, on the thread about “Better Bedroom Tones” you were pushing digital very strongly. Of course digital an option there too, but some folks will get better results from an amp because it can be easier to dial in.
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