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Amp simulators

PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 11:28 pm
by TNGator
Hey gang. Anyone using amp sims as opposed to always using an actual amp? My mesa boogie was always terrific years ago when i was in bands. In other words a great amp live and very powerful. Doesnt like low volumes at all. And when it's idling...has an annoying "hiss". You dont notice it when doing your Black Sabbath covers LOL but as a home studio amp....hmmmm. Soooo...I was thinking. Maybe DI the guitars and use amp sims. Anybody gone down that road at all?

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:05 am
by Music Wolf
I've been using amp sims in one form or another since the first SansAmp pedal came out more than a quarter of a century ago.

These days I have both a Kemper profiler and a Line 6 Helix. For recording I prefer the Kemper. The Helix is for regular gigging (although I have gigged the Kemper). Either are capable of performing both tasks, having both is just an extravagance.

The issue with using a software sim is always latency. I think that you can still download a trial version of Helix Native which is basically the same sounds as the Helix but without the pedals. I tried it briefly before purchasing the Helix floor unit.

I'm not tempted into going back to a 'real amp' in the slightest.

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:07 am
by Music Wolf
Oh, and it's just gone 6 am and I'm about to run through the set list, whilst the family are asleep upstairs, listening through headphones. Try that with your Messa :D

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:19 am
by ef37a
One very popular solution is a "Power Soak" a load box that allows the amp to work hard but feeds the speaker with a much reduced level. Sometimes called "attenuators" which in principle they are but I prefer to reserve the term for low level, usually precise devices.

P Soaks come in levels of sophistication and of course price. Some have a headphone output and some a DI jack. There are two main camps? Purely resistive and those CLAIMED to be reactive and simulate a speaker load. I have my doubts! In any case not all soaks suit all amplifiers. No danger of damage, just ***t sound!

Over at thefretboard.co.uk there is a very experienced amp tech/player who has vast knowledge of what power soak suits which amp. He is also a Mesa fan!

N very B. Although some PSes can reduce a 100W amp (say) to milliwatt levels the result is very rarely good. Level drops of 3 to ten times are usually ok. Remember, ONE watt will deliver 100dB SPL at 1mtr with most guitar 12s and 100dB is 'king loud!

Dave.

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:22 am
by TNGator
Music Wolf wrote:Oh, and it's just gone 6 am and I'm about to run through the set list, whilst the family are asleep upstairs, listening through headphones. Try that with your Messa :D
HAHA....yeah that'd be blast. Thanks for the feedback bro. I'd heard of Line 6 but didnt know if they were physical pedals or software. I'll google both the Kemplar and Line. As Im not giggiing I probably wouldnt need the hardware version. But I take your point on the latency.

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:27 am
by TNGator
ef37a wrote:One very popular solution is a "Power Soak" a load box that allows the amp to work hard but feeds the speaker with a much reduced level. Sometimes called "attenuators" which in principle they are but I prefer to reserve the term for low level, usually precise devices.

P Soaks come in levels of sophistication and of course price. Some have a headphone output and some a DI jack. There are two main camps? Purely resistive and those CLAIMED to be reactive and simulate a speaker load. I have my doubts! In any case not all soaks suit all amplifiers. No danger of damage, just ***t sound!

Over at thefretboard.co.uk there is a very experienced amp tech/player who has vast knowledge of what power soak suits which amp. He is also a Mesa fan!

N very B. Although some PSes can reduce a 100W amp (say) to milliwatt levels the result is very rarely good. Level drops of 3 to ten times are usually ok. Remember, ONE watt will deliver 100dB SPL at 1mtr with most guitar 12s and 100dB is 'king loud!

Dave.
thanks dave. when i left my Mesa in for repair about a year ago, the tech mentioned a unit i could buy to help with the noise. This may have been what he was talking about. But he did say they are not cheap. Im wondering if i should probably just run with the amp sim option.

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:46 am
by Sam Spoons
I would give the amp sim plug-ins a try, the Mesa with a power soak won't sound like the Messa on full chat anyway as the speaker's response will change with volume.

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:53 am
by ef37a
Sam Spoons wrote:I would give the amp sim plug-ins a try, the Mesa with a power soak won't sound like the Messa on full chat anyway as the speaker's response will change with volume.

Well, nothing will Sam but a speaker at 85dB might sound bettter to the op than the sim.

Celestion themselves say you don't have to drive the nuts off a speaker to get a good tone*.

The debate will rage forever but the Holy Grail of amp sound is not all OP stages being close to melting. The tech guy I mentioned likes using a big amp, 50/100W but not to go ape't loud.

*Personally I think a good deal of the idea of speakers "moving air" is really down to adrenalin!

Dave. (BTW, resistive power soaks are not that hard or expensive to make)

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:55 am
by Kwackman
Sam Spoons wrote:I would give the amp sim plug-ins a try.

Another vote for this path.
Everyone will have their favourite.
Mine is Scuffam's S-Gear.
https://www.scuffhamamps.com
It doesn't have the greatest GUI, but it (IMHO) sound great.
It only has five "amps", other sims have many more, sometimes hundreds.
But those five amps have enough controls to get you any sound you want.
I also sometimes put "pedals" from HoRNet in front of the Scuffam amp, if I want to overdrive it, just like the old days!
YMMV.

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 12:41 pm
by Darren Lynch
I only use amp sims. Started with Studio Devil's excellent plugins, and I heartily recommend downloading the free British Valve Custom plugin to see if you get on with the concept.

After spending a while with NI's Guitar Rig, I found myself at odds with the infinite variety software plugins offer. I now use the Sansamp Classic and some of the Sansamp Character series because they very effectively recreate the simple workflow of 'plug in to amp, twist control knobs to taste, press Record'. Because the Sansamps are all analogue, there is no latency (other than in the DAW) and they provide a smooth transition through clean-crunch-distortion.

One issue with hardware units such as the Sansamp is the cab modelling. This is achieved through steep filtering of what remains a DI signal. As such, some high end fizz always leaks through. It's not noticeable in a full mix, but I always apply high pass and low pass filters using a software EQ set to steep slopes (36db upwards). By boosting the Q factor at the low pass turnover frequency (invariably 5400Hz) I get some amp bite. Add a splash of short ambience reverb and you have realistic amp tone.

Taking it to the nth degree, things get even more realistic when I run pedals into the Sansamps. That's because the pedals serve as another stage of low pass filtering which makes things sound even more amp like.

The Sansamp Classic can be hard to find, but the Sansamp Liverpool (AC30) sounds glorious in terms of cleans and chimey crunch. The Sansamp British (Marshall) has great crunch and distortion, but weak cleans (But then so do real Marshalls ;) ) Mesa Boogie fans will be drawn to the Sansamp California - I initially found this very 'dry' sounding and a bit too hi-fi. After working out that it's very sensitive to your volume and tone settings on the guitar, I like it.

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:25 pm
by Music Wolf
It's worth remembering that these simulators will not recreate the sound / feel of an 'amp in the room'. What you get is the sound of a mic'd up amp as heard through either headphones or studio monitors. In this respect the current crop of simulators are very close to the real thing.

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:50 pm
by Jack Ruston
I've been through this issue quite a bit, with my work divided between studios where I can make as much noise as I like, and now increasingly my home, where I can not. I've owned a Kemper, as well as various dummy load boxes etc. My experience of this is that although we've never had it so good...the Kemper is really surprisingly effective, and some of the impulse response approaches are equally useable, you're not going to be able to achieve quite what you can with the real deal. If I had to put these things in some sort of order I'd say....

1. A great amp, well-mic'd in a room that's not causing problems.

2. A great amp, via a really good reactive load (like the Suhr for example), to an excellent impulse response. I put this above the Kemper, because I like the ability to fiddle with the amp at tracking, and while you can sort of do this with a Kemper, it's not the same.

3. A Kemper

4. A real amp via UA Ox.

5. A plug in amp like the Scuffham, or UAD etc

6. A compromised 'real' recording - wrong amp, wrong room, wrong mic, poor positioning, attenuation applied too strongly etc

7. The wrong impulse response or Kemper profile etc - there are some good ones, and some shockers.

It's something along those lines anyway. If you have access to really great amps and mics, you're a good engineer etc etc, you can't beat the real deal. But the moment you have to start compromising all those things, using mediocre equipment, hamstringing the amp with level constraints etc, the 'fakes' start to sound really good.

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:57 pm
by TNGator
ef37a wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:I would give the amp sim plug-ins a try, the Mesa with a power soak won't sound like the Messa on full chat anyway as the speaker's response will change with volume.

Well, nothing will Sam but a speaker at 85dB might sound bettter to the op than the sim.

Celestion themselves say you don't have to drive the nuts off a speaker to get a good tone*.

The debate will rage forever but the Holy Grail of amp sound is not all OP stages being close to melting. The tech guy I mentioned likes using a big amp, 50/100W but not to go ape't loud.

*Personally I think a good deal of the idea of speakers "moving air" is really down to adrenalin!

Dave. (BTW, resistive power soaks are not that hard or expensive to make)

And of course the whole moving air thing might be a precious point to some but I guess you could also argue that on a quiet acoustic song it may be important. But when a rockin elec guitar track is mixed in with bass and drums would anyone even notice the absence of moving air. Some really cool points being made here and good suggestions :clap:

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:00 pm
by TNGator
Kwackman wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:I would give the amp sim plug-ins a try.

Another vote for this path.
Everyone will have their favourite.
Mine is Scuffam's S-Gear.
https://www.scuffhamamps.com
It doesn't have the greatest GUI, but it (IMHO) sound great.
It only has five "amps", other sims have many more, sometimes hundreds.
But those five amps have enough controls to get you any sound you want.
I also sometimes put "pedals" from HoRNet in front of the Scuffam amp, if I want to overdrive it, just like the old days!
YMMV.
going there now to have a gander Kwak...thanks bro :wave:

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:26 pm
by TNGator
Jack Ruston wrote:I've been through this issue quite a bit, with my work divided between studios where I can make as much noise as I like, and now increasingly my home, where I can not. I've owned a Kemper, as well as various dummy load boxes etc. My experience of this is that although we've never had it so good...the Kemper is really surprisingly effective, and some of the impulse response approaches are equally useable, you're not going to be able to achieve quite what you can with the real deal. If I had to put these things in some sort of order I'd say....

1. A great amp, well-mic'd in a room that's not causing problems.

2. A great amp, via a really good reactive load (like the Suhr for example), to an excellent impulse response. I put this above the Kemper, because I like the ability to fiddle with the amp at tracking, and while you can sort of do this with a Kemper, it's not the same.

3. A Kemper

4. A real amp via UA Ox.

5. A plug in amp like the Scuffham, or UAD etc

6. A compromised 'real' recording - wrong amp, wrong room, wrong mic, poor positioning, attenuation applied too strongly etc

7. The wrong impulse response or Kemper profile etc - there are some good ones, and some shockers.

It's something along those lines anyway. If you have access to really great amps and mics, you're a good engineer etc etc, you can't beat the real deal. But the moment you have to start compromising all those things, using mediocre equipment, hamstringing the amp with level constraints etc, the 'fakes' start to sound really good.

Oh sacred heart of Jesus i just saw the price of Kemper. OK, Im going to take up the banjo instead. Well, thats one item off the list. I hate being broke :roll:

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:55 pm
by Eddy Deegan
Music Wolf wrote:I've been using amp sims in one form or another since the first SansAmp pedal came out more than a quarter of a century ago.

I'm starting to prefer thinking of timescales like that in millennia, as then it's only 1/40th :lol:

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:53 pm
by ore_terra
Jack Ruston wrote:[...] If I had to put these things in some sort of order I'd say....

1. A great amp, well-mic'd in a room that's not causing problems.

2. A great amp, via a really good reactive load (like the Suhr for example), to an excellent impulse response. I put this above the Kemper, because I like the ability to fiddle with the amp at tracking, and while you can sort of do this with a Kemper, it's not the same.

3. A Kemper

4. A real amp via UA Ox.

5. A plug in amp like the Scuffham, or UAD etc

6. A compromised 'real' recording - wrong amp, wrong room, wrong mic, poor positioning, attenuation applied too strongly etc

7. The wrong impulse response or Kemper profile etc - there are some good ones, and some shockers.


if I'd do that list I'd place the OX in no. 2 and the IR's behind the plugins... I don't really like IR's myself

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:55 am
by Zukan
I'm still using the Softube amp sims years after they were released. They are very useful.

Re: Amp simulators

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 10:39 am
by ore_terra
here some videos I did with the OX with different amps and guitars, in case it is of someone's interest:

Fano ML6 - DrZ Remedy - 1x12 Alnico blue emulation
https://youtu.be/Ygwkf_CC7Xc

Posh R6 replica - Dr Z Remedy - 1x12 Deluxe Reverb cab emulation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr7VGa0m6dY

Gretsch Duo Jet - Supro 1624T - 1x12 Alnico Blue emulation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8KLXs9kw1c&t=9s

And this one is a comparison between a DI Kemper profile of my Supro VS the amp itself with the OX. I'm using the Deluxe Reverb cab emulation in the OX and the cab from a Deluxe reverb in the Kemper. The guitar is a Les Paul R9

https://youtu.be/Ygwkf_CC7Xc

this last video is the proof that not all amp-cab combination in OX give good results :lol: