The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

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reggie1979
KVRian
1387 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:23 am

Yeah, I dunno. Hasn't Bias and THU and Revalver done that stuff? Too tweaky for my taste personally.

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

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:29 am

guitarzan wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:14 am
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.
Does this mean you haven't tried things like the SuperModels, where Paul was indeed very much hung up on reproducing how the output transformer reacts? Maybe he's already done what you wanted, although of course, the physical amps themselves might not do what you want...in which case no matter how accurate the emulation, it won't matter.
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
1149 posts since 3 Sep, 2005 from Outer Bongolia

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:46 am

Anderton wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:29 am
guitarzan wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:14 am
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.
Does this mean you haven't tried things like the SuperModels, where Paul was indeed very much hung up on reproducing how the output transformer reacts? Maybe he's already done what you wanted, although of course, the physical amps themselves might not do what you want...in which case no matter how accurate the emulation, it won't matter.
I haven't tried SuperModels, but I generally associate PRS with hair bands, so pretty much the polar opposite of what I would normally consider. If there is a tweed-like amp in there with no negative feedback that can react at all like a real one, I would be interested and shocked. Seems way to gritty and down to earth for PRS though.

Jafo
KVRAF
1851 posts since 20 Dec, 2002 from The Benighted States of Trumpistan

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:02 am

Yeah, it's power amp saturation that we old dudes are after, and which largely disappeared in the '90s. I've tried putting compressors before and after ampsims to get much of that feel; it's a definite improvement, but it just isn't the same. I got the best results with ThrillseekerLA and the exe ampsims (which ISTR also modeled poweramp saturation), but I claim no competencies. Anybody with an actual gear budget (and decent ears) try this sort of thing?
Joy and kindness are acts of resistance -- fight the power!

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audiojunkie
KVRAF
2871 posts since 19 Apr, 2002 from Utah

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:07 am

antonkrieger wrote:
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 …
It's interesting that you mention the Cab-IR being key to sounding "realistic". I've mentioned above in this thread that I think the speaker/cab side of things gets much less attention in the modeling process than the amp. A lot of people who don't like amp sims don't even know about the cab component and ignore it or do it wrong and then complain that they don't like amp sims. The most common thing I notice is that they run amp sims into a real amp, and don't disable the cab simulation (like running the recorded output of one cab to the input of another cab), or they run an amp sim straight into a FR speaker and don't bother to use any cab sim. Either way, they end up complaining that it sounds like crap and they don't like it. :hihi: Cab-IRs are good, but I can imagine that there's got to be some less-static technology waiting in the wings to be invented, and then the difference will be like the difference of using an IR vs an algorithmic VSTs in the Reverb realm--night and day difference. :-) And just like IR vs Algorithmic reverbs, some people will refer one type and others will prefer the other type. But at least there will be choice and options. :-)
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guitarzan
KVRian
1149 posts since 3 Sep, 2005 from Outer Bongolia

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:23 am

Jafo wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:02 am
Yeah, it's power amp saturation that we old dudes are after, and which largely disappeared in the '90s. I've tried putting compressors before and after ampsims to get much of that feel; it's a definite improvement, but it just isn't the same. I got the best results with ThrillseekerLA and the exe ampsims (which ISTR also modeled poweramp saturation), but I claim no competencies. Anybody with an actual gear budget (and decent ears) try this sort of thing?
Some of my first posts at KVR were about using two compressors that same way — it does work somewhat, but it just won't go upsidedown like a genuinely stressed power amp — nothing at all like that. It looks like we might just have to keep on being way too loud for our own good.

Jafo
KVRAF
1851 posts since 20 Dec, 2002 from The Benighted States of Trumpistan

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:56 am

guitarzan wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:23 am
Some of my first posts at KVR were about using two compressors that same way
Oh yeah, that's where I got the idea from. Belated thanks!
It looks like we might just have to keep on being way too loud for our own good.
Alas. For other people, at least. lol
Joy and kindness are acts of resistance -- fight the power!

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audiojunkie
KVRAF
2871 posts since 19 Apr, 2002 from Utah

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:10 pm

guitarzan wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:23 am
Jafo wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:02 am
Yeah, it's power amp saturation that we old dudes are after, and which largely disappeared in the '90s. I've tried putting compressors before and after ampsims to get much of that feel; it's a definite improvement, but it just isn't the same. I got the best results with ThrillseekerLA and the exe ampsims (which ISTR also modeled poweramp saturation), but I claim no competencies. Anybody with an actual gear budget (and decent ears) try this sort of thing?
Some of my first posts at KVR were about using two compressors that same way — it does work somewhat, but it just won't go upsidedown like a genuinely stressed power amp — nothing at all like that. It looks like we might just have to keep on being way too loud for our own good.
The fact that you are bringing it up and explaining it is very useful, because it is bringing it to the developers' attentions. I know that it is something that has been complained about for over 10 years (possibly more), but at some point, some developer will decide to take a stab at it--as long as people continue to talk about it being a problem. :wink: It sounds to me like the Waves PRS Supermodels development team has been working on the issue, but just hasn't released the model that you are looking for. :)
C/R, dongles & other intrusive copy protection equals less-control & more-hassle for consumers. Company gone-can’t authorize. Limit to # of auths. Instability-ie PACE. Forced internet auths. THE HONEST ARE HASSLED, NOT THE PIRATES.

guitarzan
KVRian
1149 posts since 3 Sep, 2005 from Outer Bongolia

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:42 pm

audiojunkie wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:10 pm
The fact that you are bringing it up and explaining it is very useful, because it is bringing it to the developers' attentions. I know that it is something that has been complained about for over 10 years (possibly more), but at some point, some developer will decide to take a stab at it--as long as people continue to talk about it being a problem. :wink: It sounds to me like the Waves PRS Supermodels development team has been working on the issue, but just hasn't released the model that you are looking for. :)
Yeah, that's really the only reason I'm posting — plus I thought Craig Anderton was the only man alive who would understand my "stressing the power amp enough sends you into a quasi CV analog synth mode of operation" theory.

I'm fine personally — I have all manor of pedals and power soaks and puny amps and stuff, but there is something going on when a power amp really flips out that no one understands yet, it is very powerful and expressive, and if you could model it, you could control it and that would begin a whole new era.

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

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:16 pm

guitarzan wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:42 pm
Yeah, that's really the only reason I'm posting — plus I thought Craig Anderton was the only man alive who would understand my "stressing the power amp enough sends you into a quasi CV analog synth mode of operation" theory.
I totally get what you're saying, I just don't know if current algorithms/computer power are up to the task in the way you want...

Anyway, it's time for some heresy since I'm just kind of wired that way :) (If everyone here was saying sims were the only way to go, I'd be talking about why tubes are great.)

I'm finding more and more that I want to use complex analog filtering instead of cabinet IRs, which usually sound kind of "filtery" to me (one reason I like the PRS SuperModels so much is they don't have that sound anywhere near as much as other amps). I even wrote an article about filtering-based emulation for Native Instruments' blog.

This all started back in the mid-80s when I wanted to create a speaker emulator the original hardware Quadrafuzz. I analyzed various cabinets and tried to imitate their response in as ideal a way as possible, but the results always sucked.

My main source of info was Don Lancaster's Active Filter Cookbook, and I was following all the advice on how to construct "proper" filters. Then one day it hit me: cabinets aren't proper filters! I went back and re-designed the filters for maximum phase shift, the worst passband ripple imaginable, etc. That's when it started to sound right. If there was anything I could do to make the response less ideal...I did it. Problem solved!
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
2871 posts since 19 Apr, 2002 from Utah

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:46 pm

Anderton wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:16 pm
guitarzan wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:42 pm
Yeah, that's really the only reason I'm posting — plus I thought Craig Anderton was the only man alive who would understand my "stressing the power amp enough sends you into a quasi CV analog synth mode of operation" theory.
I totally get what you're saying, I just don't know if current algorithms/computer power are up to the task in the way you want...

Anyway, it's time for some heresy since I'm just kind of wired that way :) (If everyone here was saying sims were the only way to go, I'd be talking about why tubes are great.)

I'm finding more and more that I want to use complex analog filtering instead of cabinet IRs, which usually sound kind of "filtery" to me (one reason I like the PRS SuperModels so much is they don't have that sound anywhere near as much as other amps). I even wrote an article about filtering-based emulation for Native Instruments' blog.

This all started back in the mid-80s when I wanted to create a speaker emulator the original hardware Quadrafuzz. I analyzed various cabinets and tried to imitate their response in as ideal a way as possible, but the results always sucked.

My main source of info was Don Lancaster's Active Filter Cookbook, and I was following all the advice on how to construct "proper" filters. Then one day it hit me: cabinets aren't proper filters! I went back and re-designed the filters for maximum phase shift, the worst passband ripple imaginable, etc. That's when it started to sound right. If there was anything I could do to make the response less ideal...I did it. Problem solved!
I think you really hit on something that explains why Cab IRs, while good, aren't the best. Currently, cab IRs are too static--they are using convolution for the most part. Just like Convolution reverbs vs Algorithmic reverbs, they both have their strengths and weaknesses, but convolution is very static, while algorithmic is very much alive. As I know you know, :hihi: convolution is good when trying to capture static things--like a room's ambience, for instance, but not good for living, breathing (read: moving) reverb. Algorithmic reverb recreates the "movement" (for lack of a better word) and the changes. I think this "movement" is one of the areas that is missing in current amp cab models, and one reason why I think amp modeling is going to keep getting better. Imagine the great technology we have now, further advanced with the amp modeling that Guitarizan's been mentioning, along with improved cabs! 8) :tu:
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guitarzan
KVRian
1149 posts since 3 Sep, 2005 from Outer Bongolia

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:55 pm

Anderton wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:16 pm
guitarzan wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:42 pm
Yeah, that's really the only reason I'm posting — plus I thought Craig Anderton was the only man alive who would understand my "stressing the power amp enough sends you into a quasi CV analog synth mode of operation" theory.
I totally get what you're saying, I just don't know if current algorithms/computer power are up to the task in the way you want...
I don't know...analog synths were the first stuff modeled — seems to me it's time to bring the synth guys into amp modeling.
I'm finding more and more that I want to use complex analog filtering instead of cabinet IRs, which usually sound kind of "filtery" to me (one reason I like the PRS SuperModels so much is they don't have that sound anywhere near as much as other amps). I even wrote an article about filtering-based emulation for Native Instruments' blog.

This all started back in the mid-80s when I wanted to create a speaker emulator the original hardware Quadrafuzz. I analyzed various cabinets and tried to imitate their response in as ideal a way as possible, but the results always sucked.

My main source of info was Don Lancaster's Active Filter Cookbook, and I was following all the advice on how to construct "proper" filters. Then one day it hit me: cabinets aren't proper filters! I went back and re-designed the filters for maximum phase shift, the worst passband ripple imaginable, etc. That's when it started to sound right. If there was anything I could do to make the response less ideal...I did it. Problem solved!
See, that's where I think power amp modeling has fallen way short. They are modeling them the way they operate in theory by the book. Guitar amps have been commonly operated well beyond design limits since day one, but you can't look up the specs on what's going on and no one wants to take the time to figure it out.

I do think IR's do a really good job most of time, but yeah, someday I hope technology moves to something more dynamic. It may even be necessary for the kind of power amp dynamics I'd like to see modeled, but it seems to me the power amp and output transformer has to be there first.
Last edited by guitarzan on Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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audiojunkie
KVRAF
2871 posts since 19 Apr, 2002 from Utah

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:11 pm

Hey Craig ( @anderton ), Do you have plans to review Blue Cat Audio's Axiom? I'd love to hear a review from you about their product. They have some new interesting modeling technologies built-in that seem to stand out from the others as well. :)
C/R, dongles & other intrusive copy protection equals less-control & more-hassle for consumers. Company gone-can’t authorize. Limit to # of auths. Instability-ie PACE. Forced internet auths. THE HONEST ARE HASSLED, NOT THE PIRATES.

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

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:58 pm

audiojunkie wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:11 pm
Hey Craig ( @anderton ), Do you have plans to review Blue Cat Audio's Axiom? I'd love to hear a review from you about their product. They have some new interesting modeling technologies built-in that seem to stand out from the others as well. :)
I don't know how far I'm going to take this--maybe the thread will last six months, and I'll review everything in existence :)

I was planning on doing STL Tones next, and S-Gear. It's not going to end there, but as I get into products I've never used before, the pace will slow way down because I need to learn the sims. If there's one thing I've wanted to communicate in this thread, it's that it takes a while to master a sim. I don't want to just play a few licks through something, and then pretend that I'm qualified to offer opinions on it. That wouldn't help my credibility, or be useful to anyone reading this.

The other problem is that a lot of demo versions are limited to 10 or 15 days. That's not enough time to really know something (nor is this thread the only thing making demands on my time), so I'd need to see if I could get an NFR, or extend the loan somehow.

Blue Cat, eh? Well, I've heard they make good stuff...
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
1387 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:24 pm

Always interested, regardless. Axiom has vst possibilities, or am I misrembering?

If it's what I remember, it's kinda hoggish and requires "imagination" in sound-scaping.

Not bad, but not with immediate results either.

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