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Kazrog
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818 posts since 24 Oct, 2009

Postby Kazrog; Wed Feb 03, 2016 3:20 pm Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

From the manual:

Thermionik - Foreword

Thank you for purchasing (or demoing) Thermionik amp modeling plugins! Here are a few notes to help you get better results quickly.

Input Levels and Gain Staging

While great care has been taken to ensure that default input level settings work well for a wide variety of guitars, pickups, audio interfaces, playing styles, and likely input levels, you may need to adjust the input trim (on the Options tab) to achieve results that you expect. You may be familiar with other amp simulation plugins that have automatic input gain level detection, and you may wonder why such a feature is not in Thermionik at this time. In my experience, these schemes are, at best, limited in their usefulness, and at worst, misleading. I am working on a system to more intelligently accomplish this goal than other designs I've encountered. Even then, it's important to remember that you should not be afraid to manually adjust Input Trim to taste, depending on what sonic result is desired for a particular effect.

On many real-world amps, the first 1 or 2 digits worth of rotation on the Gain control are useless, in that the entire character of the amp doesn't come into play until you turn these controls past a certain level. No such limitation exists in the digital domain. Also, on many high gain amps in the real world, settings past about 6 or 7 on the gain dial are nearly useless, in that they don't apply much more audible distortion, but they do increase the likelihood of feedback issues. Again, these are limitations of analog components that simply don't exist in the digital domain, and that hinder usability, while simultaneously contributing nothing whatsoever to the sonic picture. These limitations, accordingly, are not modeled in Thermionik.

As such, the design philosophy of the Gain control in the Front Controls tab of all amp models in Thermionik is to have a usable range of gain throughout the entire range of the knob, from absolute zero (pure digital mute) all the way up to 10.0, with 1000 control points in between. This is incredibly flexible, but it does mean that the actual numerical setting on the Gain control may vary a bit from an amp model's real-world counterpart if you are trying to match your favorite settings from an amp you're familiar with (or the settings of your favorite guitar hero on a particular amp.)

Emulation Philosophy

As alluded to above, the philosophy of Thermionik from an analog modeling perspective is to remain true to the sonic characteristics of the hardware, while expanding the range of usable tones, and improving the practicality of the user interface design. All hardware was carefully measured and studied for each emulation. Default settings (as well as most factory presets) are designed to replicate well-known, classic settings of each model. Some amps that myself (and many other guitarists) have found to be particularly tubby sounding in their lead channel preamps have received a Bright switch - this is intentional, and expands the range of usable tones without additional effects in front. In future versions of Thermionik, additional features may be added, to expand the range of possible tones even on very simple vintage amp models. Of course, the default settings will always represent an accurate emulation of the hardware itself.

- Shane McFee, CEO/CTO - Kazrog LLC
February 2016


Feel free to discuss this below. I posted this here for reference, since there has been a lot of discussion about it.
Shane McFee
CEO/CTO - Kazrog LLC
Studiostriver
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223 posts since 2 Mar, 2014, from Bosnia

Postby Studiostriver; Wed Feb 03, 2016 5:23 pm Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

Thanks for info very much.I have rather curiousity for sake questions.

This maybe sound too geeky to be asked but I am curious to know is every tube in amps emulated in pre and power amp section?

I mean every amp possess different set and number of tubes that sound very different from each other,despite their type, the way they are connected etc?


And second one,what are future updates feature plans?Justi curious to know in which direction evolving of product will going.

New amps,effects,noise gate,rack,new features like bias/sag?

Best regards and thanks once again for this wonderful amp packages.
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Kazrog
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818 posts since 24 Oct, 2009

Postby Kazrog; Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:40 am Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

1) There's a lot more inside an amp than just tubes. Everything has been modeled based upon a specific amp - not just a particular model, but a particular unit with a particular serial number, and specific components made to specific tolerances (aspects that often quietly change over the years due to supply/demand, as well as user replaceable parts.) I'm not going to get into a deeper discussion of the modeling approach, as it is a trade secret, and took me many years to develop.

2) You guys will find out - but what I will say for now is that any FX models will be separate plugins from the amp model plugins. The future is modular. What I was referring to in the foreword with regard to features inside the amp models themselves is more about adding further control and utility to all models over time.
Shane McFee
CEO/CTO - Kazrog LLC
Studiostriver
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223 posts since 2 Mar, 2014, from Bosnia

Postby Studiostriver; Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:32 pm Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

Kazrog wrote:1) There's a lot more inside an amp than just tubes. Everything has been modeled based upon a specific amp - not just a particular model, but a particular unit with a particular serial number, and specific components made to specific tolerances (aspects that often quietly change over the years due to supply/demand, as well as user replaceable parts.) I'm not going to get into a deeper discussion of the modeling approach, as it is a trade secret, and took me many years to develop.

2) You guys will find out - but what I will say for now is that any FX models will be separate plugins from the amp model plugins. The future is modular. What I was referring to in the foreword with regard to features inside the amp models themselves is more about adding further control and utility to all models over time.


Well obviously I know there are more just then tubes inside the amp.I would be freaking idiot to not know that. :D

Ok,I understand with trading secret.I was just interested in knowing about various style as well as number of every particular tube are there in chain of recreating the original tone.

And thanks for seccond answer.


I played 5.0.2r and it sound awesome.Its definetily the best sounding with all these corrections.At least to me.
cdrake
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6 posts since 29 Jan, 2016

Postby cdrake; Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:42 pm Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

I picked up the Modern Classics 2 pack and the output of Solid 100 on the default lead settings is pegged red. I had to drop the output by 16dB to get it down to reference levels of -18dB RMS.

Hopefully something could be done in the future to have all amps output at more or less the same general level. I know there will always be some variances due to gain, eq, etc, but it would make gain staging to the next effect much more consistent.

If you were to record (or re-amp) the same riff, with the same guitar, through all the real models would you leave the input signal clipping for some amps, -10db for another, and -4dB for another? Most likely not and you would adjust the pre-amp gain. You wouldn't leave the pre-amp gain static and normalize the input signal via the amp's master would you?

The most likely effect to be placed after these amps would be a cabinet simulator. What is it's reference level based on? What if you were to insert an effect before the cab sim, what is it's reference level? At default settings for the lead channels of the 10 Modern Classics, the output varies by almost 14dB and I have to insert a meter plugin after Thermionik so output can be dropped out of the red in a lot of cases.

I do enjoy the amps, but having the output levels based on a consistent reference would make it much easier to get along with other plugins and effects and not needing to remember Damage 120 and Solid 100 need their outputs dropped significantly. Usability and workflow would be much smoother.

Maybe this is only an issue with the Mac versions? I haven't needed to do this for any other amp sims. There is some minor variance between them, but nothing this drastic. For reference, I'm using OS X 10.10.5 and Logic Pro X 10.2.1.

Hopefully you'll take this into consideration. In the meanwhile, I'll continue to use the amps and look forward to the new products coming soon!
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Kazrog
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818 posts since 24 Oct, 2009

Postby Kazrog; Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:19 am Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

Strange, I'll look into output levels. None of them should vary substantially at default settings.
Shane McFee
CEO/CTO - Kazrog LLC
jorismak
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159 posts since 10 Mar, 2014

Postby jorismak; Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:46 am Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

The clean channels still need a big boost compared to the other channels (not talking about presets(.

And the solid100 needs a good 5 to 6 dB less output on my system at the default settings. (win x64 VST) so it doesn't seem Mac only.

The solid100 kinda surprised me by the way (never played through the real deal so no clue and it's not criticism at Thermionik). The lead channel is very boomy and seems very saturated. I didn't expect a tight modern rhythm machine of course, but this is very mushy and boomy. With careful dialing in still nice for leads.

But my real jet city amps are tighter so I was surprised. Also, I thought the depth control was standard on a real slo100? I've always read jet city owners modding their amps with the depth-mod 'because the slo has it'. So I was surprised to see the depth control disabled by default.

Once again no criticism, clearly just a story in the realm of 'well what do I know ' :).
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Kazrog
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818 posts since 24 Oct, 2009

Postby Kazrog; Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:30 am Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

jorismak wrote:The solid100 kinda surprised me by the way (never played through the real deal so no clue and it's not criticism at Thermionik). The lead channel is very boomy and seems very saturated. I didn't expect a tight modern rhythm machine of course, but this is very mushy and boomy. With careful dialing in still nice for leads.


That's how the amp is. While some SLO 100s have a depth mod, that's not to be confused with the depth control in Thermionik. By enabling that control, you are able to fine tune the power amp's bass response to taste - something that isn't a stock feature of the real amp.

jorismak wrote:But my real jet city amps are tighter so I was surprised. Also, I thought the depth control was standard on a real slo100? I've always read jet city owners modding their amps with the depth-mod 'because the slo has it'. So I was surprised to see the depth control disabled by default.


See above. Jet City amps sound different and a bit tighter than Soldanos, FWIW.

jorismak wrote:Once again no criticism, clearly just a story in the realm of 'well what do I know ' :).


No worries. I think I should enable the "Bright" control on the Lead channel in the next update - this model really could benefit.
Shane McFee
CEO/CTO - Kazrog LLC
blueman
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1399 posts since 28 May, 2008, from Saint Paul, MN

Postby blueman; Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:07 pm Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

Kazrog wrote:Some amps that myself (and many other guitarists) have found to be particularly tubby sounding in their lead channel preamps have received a Bright switch


Tubby indeed! A couple of models (e.g. Marshall) almost blew out my monitors :o When/where would having that much bass be usable or desirable?

I would recommend taking great care when gain staging these 'Normal' channels--especially with bass-heavy impulse responses like some of the Rosen Digital IRs. A couple of these presets made my monitors cry :help:
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Kazrog
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Postby Kazrog; Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:48 pm Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

Yikes, well it depends on the pickups, tuning, and IRs, of course, but the Normal channel on classic Marshalls is extremely tubby. I'm aiming for authenticity here - this is how the real amps are.
Shane McFee
CEO/CTO - Kazrog LLC
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Kazrog
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Postby Kazrog; Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:51 pm Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

This is part of why I think we need to, as musicians and producers, move past the "analog is better" mindset, because in actuality, so many of the things that are revered as "classic" are full of odd behaviors that would be reported as bugs if they were software. :lol:

Of course, that requires that all emulations are held to a high enough standard, and we've had a decade plus of some really sub-par emulations of various analog gear by various companies. I think the level of confusion and distrust that the early years of digital fostered has left a bit of a lasting effect that may take everyone some time to move past.
Shane McFee
CEO/CTO - Kazrog LLC
Studiostriver
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223 posts since 2 Mar, 2014, from Bosnia

Postby Studiostriver; Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:16 pm Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

Kazrog wrote:This is part of why I think we need to, as musicians and producers, move past the "analog is better" mindset, because in actuality, so many of the things that are revered as "classic" are full of odd behaviors that would be reported as bugs if they were software. :lol:

Of course, that requires that all emulations are held to a high enough standard, and we've had a decade plus of some really sub-par emulations of various analog gear by various companies. I think the level of confusion and distrust that the early years of digital fostered has left a bit of a lasting effect that may take everyone some time to move past.


I can say personally I would be the first to use only software when that time come,but amp sims still do not sound like real deal,not even close.The biggest problem is that strange digital resonance freq. that sometimes occur.
Thermionik definitely possess very less of those,but its still there.

The other big thing is high end always sound unnatural on all emulations(any brand) I tried so far,real amp fizz is kind a different story and less annoying where digital makes emulation always sound like zoom processor,very fake if you ask me.If we filter it then all top saturation would gone and tone become warm and dark.I like that tone for most of amps,but on some where I need high end it always sound bit a fake to my ears.

And the last thing is,when recording real amp they always sound 3 dimensional,real amps always breath better in mix,and you can even turn volume down and still to notice depth and details of playing,where amps sims you must turn it to be the loudest in the mix or in contrary they would gone in the mix.


That are my impressions on amp sims generally.

I still love them for its convenience,and to me they are like comparing vst analog synth(moog,Arp etc...) emulation vs real deal.

They will never sound or feel like a real deal,but you can if you are skilled in production get very good results.
blueman
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1399 posts since 28 May, 2008, from Saint Paul, MN

Postby blueman; Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:03 pm Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

Kazrog wrote:This is part of why I think we need to, as musicians and producers, move past the "analog is better" mindset, because in actuality, so many of the things that are revered as "classic" are full of odd behaviors that would be reported as bugs if they were software. :lol:

Of course, that requires that all emulations are held to a high enough standard, and we've had a decade plus of some really sub-par emulations of various analog gear by various companies. I think the level of confusion and distrust that the early years of digital fostered has left a bit of a lasting effect that may take everyone some time to move past.


Well said! I agree :tu:
frazzman
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11 posts since 22 Nov, 2014

Postby frazzman; Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:26 pm Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

The other thing people seem to forget is that an amp sim is an emulation of an amp with a mic'd cab! It's not supposed to sound like you're standing next to your dual recto cranked to 10.

Just the way a real amp and cab mic'd up doesn't sound like standing next to your amp.
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EvilDragon
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14337 posts since 6 Jan, 2009, from Croatia

Postby EvilDragon; Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:24 pm Re: Thermionik 5 - Emulation Philosophy and Input Trim Tips

Studiostriver wrote:And the last thing is,when recording real amp they always sound 3 dimensional,real amps always breath better in mix,and you can even turn volume down and still to notice depth and details of playing


Can't say I agree. Ever tried using Torpedo WOS for cab sim? Best thing since sliced bread. Or... ever tried to reamp an ampsim to an actual cab?

Studiostriver wrote:where amps sims you must turn it to be the loudest in the mix or in contrary they would gone in the mix.


Wrong.

Studiostriver wrote:They will never sound or feel like a real deal


Wrong.

Studiostriver wrote:I still love them for its convenience,and to me they are like comparing vst analog synth(moog,Arp etc...) emulation vs real deal.


Well, not sure if you're aware, but there are VST emulations out there which nail the Moog (and some other vintage analog behemoths) pretty much perfectly. So that's one myth busted, once again.

Studiostriver wrote:The other big thing is high end always sound unnatural on all emulations(any brand) I tried so far,real amp fizz is kind a different story and less annoying where digital makes emulation always sound like zoom processor,very fake if you ask me.


Disagree. Tried quite a few of the amps that Thermionik models. The fizz is exactly the same (especially on the likes of 3-channel Dual Recto I've had the pleasure to hiss my ears with the other day :D). Comparing it to a "Zoom processor" is kinda very insulting to the hard work Shane is doing (also Zoom is doing nice FX units these days. MS70-CDR sounds very nice and has a cool form factor).


frazzman wrote:The other thing people seem to forget is that an amp sim is an emulation of an amp with a mic'd cab! It's not supposed to sound like you're standing next to your dual recto cranked to 10.

Just the way a real amp and cab mic'd up doesn't sound like standing next to your amp.



Exactly, and a very good point I think Studiostriver is missing the whole time. "Digital resonances", I mean wtf? If you have time to write such posts, you have time to do a comparison real amp vs ampsim to show what you mean, because I don't hear anything that could be described as "digital resonances".
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