The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

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Anderton
KVR Expert
104 posts since 4 Mar, 2004
KVR Expert

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:25 pm

reggie1979 wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:38 am
Anderton wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:39 pm
abi wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:36 pm
I would love to hear your opinion on neural dsp archetype plini! it‘s the first time in years that i‘m impressed by amp sims. what do you guys think?
I'll download the trial and check it out after I finish writing up the PRS Supermodels, which is what's up next.

As I've said several times, I like amps for what they do, and amp sims for what they do. The PRS Supermodels fall either neither category, because they're amp sims that feel like amps, and have nothing else - no effects, no pedalboard, they're basically amp replacements. Just as Helix is great for doing what amps can't do, the PRS Supermodels are great for doing what amp sims can't do...details to follow.
Interesting. When I trialed them I wasn't impressed. Everyone is different.
Yes indeed! Just out of curiosity, what did you find lacking compared to playing through the amps they model?
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Anderton
KVR Expert
104 posts since 4 Mar, 2004
KVR Expert

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:30 pm

telecode wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:09 pm
Helix looks interesting. But me issue with Helix is i used.to be in the line 6 ecosystem. It's cool and interesting. But lots of unorthodox.tweaking of settings that never really existed in real guitar amp world.
This is a very good point. Line 6 completely jettisoned the "it has to have realistic 3D graphics" with Helix in favor of a more tech approach. There's also a lot of use of MIDI and parameters you don't find in conventional effects. This is exactly why it appeals to some people, and doesn't appeal to others.

Although guitar is my primary instrument and I've designed a lot of stomp boxes in my time, I play keyboards well enough to fool people into thinking I can play keyboards :) As a result, I'm comfortable with "synth think" as well as "boutique stomp box" think. I suppose one reason why I like Helix is because it covers both bases.
My educational website has launched! Read articles, see videos, read reviews, and more at https://craiganderton.org. Check out my music at YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit my digital storefront at https://craiganderton.com. Thanks!

reggie1979
KVRian
1417 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:35 pm

Anderton wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:25 pm
reggie1979 wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:38 am
Anderton wrote:
Sun Aug 18, 2019 5:39 pm
abi wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:36 pm
I would love to hear your opinion on neural dsp archetype plini! it‘s the first time in years that i‘m impressed by amp sims. what do you guys think?
I'll download the trial and check it out after I finish writing up the PRS Supermodels, which is what's up next.

As I've said several times, I like amps for what they do, and amp sims for what they do. The PRS Supermodels fall either neither category, because they're amp sims that feel like amps, and have nothing else - no effects, no pedalboard, they're basically amp replacements. Just as Helix is great for doing what amps can't do, the PRS Supermodels are great for doing what amp sims can't do...details to follow.
Interesting. When I trialed them I wasn't impressed. Everyone is different.
Yes indeed! Just out of curiosity, what did you find lacking compared to playing through the amps they model?
Demoing them again. They do feel great but they lack definition to my ears vs AT.

Still, even if I liked them a lot they chew up too many cycles. Usually I get one bar with about 4 guitars going but this is more like 3 and Reason really struggles to keep up with that. (I know I know, Reaper is better :hihi: )

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Anderton
KVR Expert
104 posts since 4 Mar, 2004
KVR Expert

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:34 pm

reggie1979 wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:35 pm
Demoing them again. They do feel great but they lack definition to my ears vs AT.
Try following them with EQ that introduces a broad, light boost (a dB or two) around 3.5 kHz. That's a "magic frequency" for increasing definition of just about anything - fingerpicked acoustic guitar, snare drum "thwack," amp sims, etc. Might help. Can't do anything about chowing down on the CPU, though, other than increasing latency - and that's no fun if you're a guitar player.
My educational website has launched! Read articles, see videos, read reviews, and more at https://craiganderton.org. Check out my music at YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit my digital storefront at https://craiganderton.com. Thanks!

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audiojunkie
KVRAF
2873 posts since 19 Apr, 2002 from Utah

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:11 pm

Reggie1979 said:

Demoing them again. They do feel great but they lack definition to my ears vs AT.

Still, even if I liked them a lot they chew up too many cycles. Usually I get one bar with about 4 guitars going but this is more like 3 and Reason really struggles to keep up with that. (I know I know, Reaper is better :hihi: )
Try this:

Bounce your recorded guitar track and amp sim effects to a new audio track (that contains the effects). Then remove the track that has your amp sim. Recorded audio (containing the amp sim affected audio) doesn't use much CPU.

Or you could try (more extreme method):

If you are using up too much CPU with your whole project running while trying to record, Bounce your project to a stereo audio track, and import it into a new project. Then, record your guitar part from the new project (using your amp sims), and then bounce the guitar part down to a new audio track. Export it from your temp project and import the audio back into your full project.

As long as your computer has enough power to run a stereo track of audio, record your guitar, and run an amp sim, these steps should work--regardless of the DAW used. :-)
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reggie1979
KVRian
1417 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:26 pm

It's a great suggestion, but I don't like the sound as much as what I already have.

I'll have more of a play tomorrow, today was kinda more a "does it work" day :)

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Anderton
KVR Expert
104 posts since 4 Mar, 2004
KVR Expert

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:42 am

audiojunkie wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:11 pm
Reggie1979 said:

Demoing them again. They do feel great but they lack definition to my ears vs AT.

Still, even if I liked them a lot they chew up too many cycles. Usually I get one bar with about 4 guitars going but this is more like 3 and Reason really struggles to keep up with that. (I know I know, Reaper is better :hihi: )
Try this:

Bounce your recorded guitar track and amp sim effects to a new audio track (that contains the effects). Then remove the track that has your amp sim. Recorded audio (containing the amp sim affected audio) doesn't use much CPU.

Or you could try (more extreme method):

If you are using up too much CPU with your whole project running while trying to record, Bounce your project to a stereo audio track, and import it into a new project. Then, record your guitar part from the new project (using your amp sims), and then bounce the guitar part down to a new audio track. Export it from your temp project and import the audio back into your full project.

As long as your computer has enough power to run a stereo track of audio, record your guitar, and run an amp sim, these steps should work--regardless of the DAW used. :-)
The premix tip is a really good one when dealing with projects that have lots of plug-ins and virtual instruments. Back in the days when we were dealing with 2 MHz Pentiums, it was a savior of sanity :)

To complete the list of options, many programs let you "freeze" tracks. This does the bounce thing mentioned above automatically, renders the effect as part of the bounce, then disconnects the plug-in from the CPU.

Again, this doesn't reduce the plug-in's CPU consumption, but doing a "virtual removal" of the plug-in lightens the CPU load. And don't overlook the tip I mentioned previously of opening up the track and plug-in in a 96 kHz project, and rendering to audio at the higher sample rate before bringing the audio back into the original project. This can often improve the sound of a sim.
My educational website has launched! Read articles, see videos, read reviews, and more at https://craiganderton.org. Check out my music at YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit my digital storefront at https://craiganderton.com. Thanks!

guitarzan
KVRian
1152 posts since 3 Sep, 2005 from Outer Bongolia

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:18 pm

Power Amp Ramblings: Summary

I just wanted to try to get my current thoughts in order on this subject before being on my way. So here I attempt to strip away the parts where laguage fails me.

Power Amp Saturation: the power amp sections in guitar amplifiers seem to resist saturation. Part of the reason has to be caused by output transformer saturation and power amp sag, but another term I constantly wanted to throw in but felt technically unqualified to do so was "Slew Rate", that has to be doing some weird Wave Shaping during all this.

Power Amp Sag: power amp sag isn't just a volume drop. It has a feel of resistance under the fingers that seems totally absent in amp modelers. It pushes back, you engage with it. It reminds me of triggering an ADSR / VCA, which makes me think that as the power amp becomes more starved of voltage maybe it starts to behave more like a Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA), and the resulting Amplitude Envelope would, I suppose, be controlled by the fluctuations in voltage acting as an Envelope Generator (ADSR).

If you want to hear pure power amp overdrive and dynamics in it's rawest, most exaggerated glory — listen to Neil Young on the Live Rust album. It is a study in power amp abuse. Cortez The Killer is probably the peak overdrive event, but you'll gain additional insight by listening to the preceding tune, Powderfinger, to hear Neil heat up the amp.

Developers: Please find a way to model the power amp dynamics properly, especially in vintage tube amp models, because that's the whole point.

That's it.
Last edited by guitarzan on Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:22 am, edited 6 times in total.

reggie1979
KVRian
1417 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:33 pm

After a good play, I still feel like AT nails the effect of "real" sound vs. whatever.

There is a certain bottom, and I like the room/mic features very much.

So though everyone will not agree completely, I felt it necessary to express that. Hope it's on topic.........

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telecode
KVRian
1036 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:13 am

reggie1979 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:33 pm
After a good play, I still feel like AT nails the effect of "real" sound vs. whatever.

There is a certain bottom, and I like the room/mic features very much.

So though everyone will not agree completely, I felt it necessary to express that. Hope it's on topic.........
Are you referring to Amplitube 4? What's the CPU hit compared to Guitar Rig 5 or S-Gear?
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Anderton
KVR Expert
104 posts since 4 Mar, 2004
KVR Expert

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:03 am

reggie1979 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:33 pm
After a good play, I still feel like AT nails the effect of "real" sound vs. whatever.

There is a certain bottom, and I like the room/mic features very much.

So though everyone will not agree completely, I felt it necessary to express that. Hope it's on topic.........
Absolutely on topic! It underscores my point that amp sims are as different as real amps. There will be people who like Marshalls and don't like Fenders, and people who like Fenders but don't like Marshalls.

It's refreshing to hear your opinion about AmpliTube, because there are people who trash it...you know my opinion, because it was the first sim I discussed :)

What I like about the PRS amps is that they really sound like PRS amps. When I want that sound, I can not only get it, I can get an excellent version of it. But of course, there will also be times when I want a lead, and AT will be by far my sim of choice. I also have some GR leads I can't get with any other sim.

To me, that's what makes amp sims so cool: We have all these amazing choices that simply didn't exist when all we had were physical amps.
My educational website has launched! Read articles, see videos, read reviews, and more at https://craiganderton.org. Check out my music at YouTube.com/thecraiganderton, and visit my digital storefront at https://craiganderton.com. Thanks!

antonkrieger
KVRer
1 posts since 16 Jul, 2019

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:45 am

Hi folks, nice discussion … first I like to say, I am an "virtual guitarist". Not even with a keyboard but tormenting the pianoroll in my DAW. So I cant say, if an amp-sim "acts" like a real amp or not. :)
I tried a lot of sims – and nothing was really satisfying to me - until summer 2019. There are a lot of nice things:
PRS supermodels, Fortin namless and NTS, Ignite Emissary …
I have no need for a standalone - so I can build my setting as I want. (for high-gain metal-tone, kind of extreme-metal)
At the moment I use a setting like that:
Rhythmguitar: PRS Archeon (Cabs turned off) => Lancaster Pulse (with some free Cab IRs f.i. faIR - Modern Rock, some stuff from Ola etc.)
Lead: Emissary (poweramp-section turned off) => Ignite TPA-1 => Lancaster Pulse
The TPA-1 allows to control sagging, response, feedback … and it sounds "lively" in my ears.

I think, the most important thing to a "realistic" sound of a guitar amp sim, will be the Cab-IR …

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Gamma-UT
KVRAF
4887 posts since 8 Jun, 2009 from UK

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:07 am

guitarzan wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:18 pm
Power Amp Sag: power amp sag isn't just a volume drop. It has a feel of resistance under the fingers that seems totally absent in amp modelers. It pushes back, you engage with it. It reminds me of triggering an ADSR / VCA, which makes me think that as the power amp becomes more starved of voltage maybe it starts to behave more like a Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA), and the resulting Amplitude Envelope would, I suppose, be controlled by the fluctuations in voltage acting as an Envelope Generator (ADSR).
I agree voltage sag is a vastly underrated aspect of mimicking analogue behaviour.

The Waves PRS actually has a sag setting under the tube icon, though I can't speak to its accuracy.

Have you tried putting Airwindows PowerSag somewhere in the amp/cabinet chain? It's not ideal to have it sitting in front or after the amp itself but might go some way to addressing the problem. I've found it handy in front of some stomp emulations.

reggie1979
KVRian
1417 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:17 am

telecode wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:13 am
reggie1979 wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 7:33 pm
After a good play, I still feel like AT nails the effect of "real" sound vs. whatever.

There is a certain bottom, and I like the room/mic features very much.

So though everyone will not agree completely, I felt it necessary to express that. Hope it's on topic.........
Are you referring to Amplitube 4? What's the CPU hit compared to Guitar Rig 5 or S-Gear?
Similar unless you are running dual amps, then it is more of course.

guitarzan
KVRian
1152 posts since 3 Sep, 2005 from Outer Bongolia

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:14 am

Gamma-UT wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:07 am
I agree voltage sag is a vastly underrated aspect of mimicking analogue behaviour.

The Waves PRS actually has a sag setting under the tube icon, though I can't speak to its accuracy.

Have you tried putting Airwindows PowerSag somewhere in the amp/cabinet chain? It's not ideal to have it sitting in front or after the amp itself but might go some way to addressing the problem. I've found it handy in front of some stomp emulations.
I stopped using amp modeling software years ago when it became apparent no one was going to finish the job, even though I was an early adopter and very actively interested.

Without much better power amp emulation, they're not amp modelers, they are just pre-amps. I like the Yamaha THR10, but only at the end of a pedal chain that includes a power amp and output transformer.

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