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working with plugin guitar sims

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working with plugin guitar sims

Postby jsbenson » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:37 pm

I have been using guitar rig for a few years and have always been impressed with the sound.
Over the past few months I've been working nonstop on my recording, mixing, and mastering techniques. Due to space and other limitations I am not able to mic an amp so I have to rely on plugins for my guitar stuff.

I know from lots of reading that the best way to track guitars is to mic them. Is it possible to get close (or close enough) using plugins? What do you all think is the best guitar Sim plugins? Are there any special techniques involved in this method to make the gtr track sound more "live" or realistic? Is this a fairly common practice with home DAWs? I'm curious to hear what others are doing in this situation.
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby Nolum » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:10 pm

I've tried a bunch of amp sims and I stuck with Amplitube 3, which I've seen at the top and the bottom of plenty of "best amp sim" lists, so take it for what it's worth.

However, the greatest leap in quality came when I started using guitar cabinet impulse responses. I had spent about a year reading and mulling the idea in my head, but thought the extra steps in setting it up couldn't be worth the improvement. When I finally tried it, however, I was stunned. Switching back and forth, I picked the impulse response over the modeled cabinet 100% of the time.

There's a thorough wealth of articles and forum posts around the internet, so I won't go into a "how to", but it's definitely worth looking into.

I will say, though, that I really like the IR's at Redwirez, and they have a free one you can grab and try if you have an IR loader (plus lots of info on their site).
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby _ Six _ » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:16 pm

The best sounds I get are with a tube preamp on the way in. I settled on the Mesa V Twin but there are more affordable options out there.

Amp sims are getting better all the time and work for my rhythm sounds...... but the lead guitar tones just don't cut it for me. I use a small, all tube, low wattage amp... cranked and miked with a 57. My neighbours don't hate me and it cost a little more than an amp sim package would.

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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby _ Six _ » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:27 pm

Just had a listen to the IR's here. They sound really good!

You Tube Link
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby jsbenson » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:59 pm

Thanks for the advice. I'll check those [plugins] out.

I used to have a Peavey Classic 30. I built a soundproof box in my garage (next to the room where my DAW resides) and had it mic'd with an SM57. It sounded great, especially because I could drive the tubes, but I ended up converting my garage into a home theater/studio, so I didn't have a place to isolate it any more. Maybe I'll invest in a Mesa Boogie head if I can't find the tone I'm looking for with the plugins mentioned. I had also messed around with the stomp pedals. I thought they sounded pretty good as well.
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby Gary_W » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:02 am

I have a line out on my valve amp. I squirt that into the DAW and use Redwirez impulses.

For clean / overdriven stuff I much prefer this to guitarrig (I have the latest version). Then again, GR5 does some crazy stuff much better than I can do with a regular amp so it depends what you want to achieve; for bread and butter stuff, real amp into Redwirez gets my vote.
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby adrian_k » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:14 am

Hi - doesn't latency become an issue with IRs? Although I guess you could split the signal and DI the guitar in while monitoring though an amp headphone socket if you have one. Hmmm...
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby Mixedup » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:54 am

As someone said, the lists of what's best are going to change from person to person, but for me, the Softube Vintage Amp Room is my favourite software for reamping work. There are rather fewer models than on others, but they sound pretty decent. If you liked the Peavey sound, then Peavey's Revalver III software gets pretty darned close.The key with any of this software is to keep latency as low as possible while playing, and to play it pretty loud over your speakers if you can, so that you get some interaction between the speakers and your pickups, as you would with an amp. And if possible, use a decent DI box - not a cheap dirty sounding thing!

It's this 'playability' thing that gets me most with software. You can use a basic speaker *emulation* (ie not impulse) while tracking, so you're not adding unecessarily to the latency, and then maybe experiment with speaker impulses later on. On this question of latency, though, do bear in mind that you're able to compensate for this a bit by getting closer to the speakers!

For quiet recording, though, I much prefer to a nice tube amp head and a power soak (Hot Plate, Motherload etc) after the power stage and either mic up the cab with it attenuated a bit via the powersoak (Hot Plate works well for this), or have it fully attenuated (Motherload better) and take a line out and run that through a speaker impulse. You could also try taking the preamp sound out and running it through the Two Notes Torpedo plug-in, which emulates the power and speaker stages pretty well.
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Aug 22, 2012 9:15 am

Yeah I use the motherload and redwirez for this sort of stuff. The latency is very low. It can work well and it's great for ideas and demos, but the speaker impulse thing is tricky because it doesn't distort and limit. You get the response of that mic and speaker at a static, undistorted level. And that's generally a bit...weak when it comes to the mix. It's still better than the models though. Speaker emulation is still the weakest link in all this. It's going to be useful when it works! It will happen.


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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby jsbenson » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:10 pm

I guess I haven't been keeping up with the technology as well as I should have. This is the first I've heard of IRs. I will definitely get up to speed on it.

I've got a pretty beefy machine:i7 3.4Ghz (OCd to 4.4Ghz), 16GB DDR3 2133, 230GB SSD (OS/apps), 2x2TB sata 3 drives in raid 0 as my audio drive. I just built this so I could avoid any latency issues. Running Sonar X1 (x64) on windows 7.

Hardware:Saffire Pro 40, Behringer Ultra curve Pro DEQ2496, MOTU midi express 128, Alexis quadrasynth,Yamaha tg500, Alexis 3630, audio technica at3035, ibanez rg550,Fender p-bass, various stuff...
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby jsbenson » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:24 pm


...and M-Audio BX8 monitors.
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby Gary_W » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:48 pm

What version of Guitar Rig are you running? GR5 has a cutdown set of Redwirez in it already - to use them, ensure you are using the 'Control Room Pro' as if you just use the 'matched cabinets' then that's using the older cabinet modelling from GR4 in most of the amps on offer. The difference is pretty big IMO.

If you wish to use the 'full' Redwirez with guitar rig, the thing to do is to just use LePou or similar to load the impulses and then just use the amp model up front in guitar rig.

If you end up getting the full Redwirez bundle, it comes with its own vst called MixIR2 which I actually prefer to the LePou wrapper. It's very intuitive.
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby Mixedup » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:50 am

jsbenson wrote:Fender p-bass

Given that you also play bass, I'd also suggest looking at Softube Bass Amp Room and/or IK Multimedia Ampeg SVX. The bass models don't seem to suffer as much as guitar ones, and I get really pleasing results DIing and playing through these two.
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby jsbenson » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:42 pm

Gary_W wrote:What version of Guitar Rig are you running? GR5 has a cutdown set of Redwirez in it already - to use them, ensure you are using the 'Control Room Pro' as if you just use the 'matched cabinets' then that's using the older cabinet modelling from GR4 in most of the amps on offer. The difference is pretty big IMO.

If you wish to use the 'full' Redwirez with guitar rig, the thing to do is to just use LePou or similar to load the impulses and then just use the amp model up front in guitar rig.

If you end up getting the full Redwirez bundle, it comes with its own vst called MixIR2 which I actually prefer to the LePou wrapper. It's very intuitive.

I am running gr5 but I wasn't aware that this was an option. Haven't had much time to go through all the options. I will definitely check that out. Thx
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby jsbenson » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:47 pm

Mixedup wrote:
jsbenson wrote:Fender p-bass

Given that you also play bass, I'd also suggest looking at Softube Bass Amp Room and/or IK Multimedia Ampeg SVX. The bass models don't seem to suffer as much as guitar ones, and I get really pleasing results DIing and playing through these two.

Cool, thx. Like the guitar amp, I had my little bass amp in the isolation box with another sm57 but lost the space so I've been trying to figure out an alternative. I'll look into this.
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby onesecondglance » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:43 am

i'm a fan of Ampex SVX. makes my terrible playing sound half decent and sits well in a mix.
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Re: working with plugin guitar sims

Postby 4TrackMadman » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:02 pm

I settled on recording DI with a Radial passive DI, if vst monitoring can't handle the sounds due to latency I'd run my Boss GT-10 or Boss 880 (drum machine that has a guitar processor) through the mixer or even record a second "safety" track with it. Then I'd reamp when I can crank the big Marshall (or other) stack at window rattling volumes, usually in another room and I sit with sound iso headphones in the studio while that is rattling the windows.

I'd hate to admit it but some of my "safety" tracks with the Boss landed on a few finished productions
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