Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion

What is the UI you'd consider the best?

Lots of amps, cabinets, stomps... variable routing... just like the real thing...
21
28%
Rack, with one row for amps (simple switching between them...), cabinets, effects...
18
24%
Virtual amp simulator based on parameters, same for cabinets, some effects, and presets that would make it sound similar to the classics...
20
27%
Something else - tell me :)
15
20%
 
Total votes: 74

ElKabong
KVRer
2 posts since 9 Feb, 2019

Post Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:44 pm

I've used a boatload of different amp sims, and I currently use a combination of ReValver 4 for distorted leads, Amplitube for Fender cleans, and Bias Amp for poweramp/cab simulation on an analogue ADA MP-1.

Amp sims in my current inventory: Amplitube 4, Pod Farm 2.5, Bias Amp, Bias FX, S-Gear 2.7, ReValver 4, and a ton of LePou freeware.

Speaking only about UI and not the actual sound quality, I think Line6 got it pretty close to perfect. Pod Farm 2.5 lets you drag and drop gear, in nearly unlimited quantities, into a well-polished signal chain view. Got a perfectly dialed in analog delay on one side of your signal chain and want a copy on the other side? Just hold control, click and drag. Pod Farm uses the same UI "grammar" as basically any other Windows app has for years. Double clicking on any piece of the chain gives you a close up view in the top pane. It's all very intuitive for me. Presets are stored in plain English and are, therefore, easy to backup.

ReValver 4 is my go-to amp sim these days. In addition to thinking that the high gain amps sound great, I think they do several smart things that I wish others would do. First, they've made it more efficient by allowing you to add components by simply clicking anywhere in the signal chain and choosing what you want from a context-dependent, visual menu. It's not even drag-and-drop, it's click and drop. Next, it's the only amp sim with really well developed input and output stages. Not only is there metering, pre- and post-EQ, and post-compression, but it's also the only amp sim that goes out of its way to offer you a chance to provide the simulation some information about the pickups you're using. The prevailing wisdom says that you should plug into your interface, raise the input gain such that you're taking advantage of the full range of the converters but not clipping. The result is that, to the average amp sim, a Fender Strat and a Les Paul appear to be basically equal in terms of signal volume. ReValver's input stage allows you to feed it a nice, loud signal, and then specify the RMS of your pickups so that the sim knows how to to interpret the signal you're sending it.

Honestly, my only complaints about ReValver's UI are that (1) you have to right-click a component and choose Move before you can drag and drop it; (2) that the preset menu is a bit clunky; and (3) that there is no way to copy an instance of an amp or effect to any other part of the signal chain. So if you have an awesome mono chain and want to duplicate it in a stereo rig, you have to click, insert, and dial in every component over again.

Amplitube 4, for me, is mid-pack in terms of UI. The pluses are the very well designed graphics and the drag-and-drop in the pedals and rack gear section. Unfortunately, the rest feels really clunky to me. Choosing from a set of 8 predefined signal chains (rather than drag-and-drop as in Pod Farm or Bias FX) sucks. The worst part of Amplitube is the UI for presets. The company provides an absolutely jawdropping inventory of presets when you download the software, but the supermajority are unusable until you've shelled out a house payment for Amplitube MAX. And even then, the preset browser simply presents a massive list. You can access a folder structure, but there's rarely any useful information about what is in any given preset. The result, for me, is that I nearly always give up trying to find a useful preset and simply load an amp and do it all myself.

By far, my least favorite UI is Bias. Both Bias Amp and Bias FX have a slow, unpredictable UI. It takes forever to load on startup, sports really sub-par looking graphics for amps and some effects, takes forever to load components, and doesn't behave in ways that are consistent with other software. Suppose you're looking at the signal chain and want to adjust a chorus pedal. You double click the chorus pedal to bring it up but, oops, in Bias, that double click opens a massive, slow-loading menu of replacement options. You should have single-clicked. Can you single click on the chorus pedal to get to the adjustment screen? Nope. You have to click a small x to close the replacement menu.

Even more annoying to me is that even though the same company makes Bias Amp and Bias FX, and markets them as being a part of a larger ecosystem, you actually can't make them work that way. If you designed an amp in Bias Amp, you can use it in FX; but you have to save it in Amp first, get rid of that plugin, and then load FX. Now you can add stompboxes and some of the very few rack effects they've got. But what if, in adding this gear, you realize you want to ever so slightly adjust the amp model. You've got to go back into Amp, make the change, save it, and then reopen the patch in FX. Honestly, the level of interaction between these two products is no better than if they were made by different companies. If you're thinking about making an amp sim, my advice is to make sure you do not do what they do.

Personally, I'm fine with either an all-in-one signal chain view (like you see in Pod Farm or Bias FX) or a rack-view (like you see with Amplitube, S-Gear, and ReValver). What's more important to me is that whichever you choose behaves intuitively (i.e., like every other piece of software has since the 90s); that it loads swiftly; and that it's not a massive pain to find and audition presets.

Mutant
KVRAF
3391 posts since 9 Oct, 2004 from Poland

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:44 am

Good sound.
I don't really care about anything else.
I can chain plugins in my DAW, so i don't need the plugin to have a "rack".
Classics sound nice, but they are not close to the ultimate guitar sound in my head, so if you can come up with something great sounding, but not neccessarily classic sounding - do it.
[====[\\\\\\\\]>------,

Ay caramba !

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Bombadil
KVRAF
3163 posts since 31 Aug, 2013 from Far From the Twisted Reach of Crazy Sorrow

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:29 am

ElKabong wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:44 pm
. The worst part of Amplitube is the UI for presets. The company provides an absolutely jawdropping inventory of presets when you download the software, but the supermajority are unusable until you've shelled out a house payment for Amplitube MAX. And even then, the preset browser simply presents a massive list. You can access a folder structure, but there's rarely any useful information about what is in any given preset. The result, for me, is that I nearly always give up trying to find a useful preset and simply load an amp and do it all myself.
Yeah, that is bloody annoying, and it isn't like IKM isn't aware that it pisses a lot of people off. What I did was customize a handful of patches, and then I generally only go there. I do like the Red Pig in A4, though.
“We're an Anarcho-Syndicalist commune”
Dennis

reggie1979
KVRist
277 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:55 pm

Hope it doesn't sound harsh to say so, but what can be offered that isn't out there? From free to expensive, it's been done.

If I wanted something it would have to sound and feel like I'm playing through an amp, simple. I don't want allot of features, we've got that (like Bias and such) An unmistakable good sounding unit, low cpu footprint with real-world recording sound is all I need. And if you do one, make sure there isn't any aliasing (like Kuassa or even IK)

Do not care about emulation x y z. Does it sound good? Is it flexible? Can I use it w/o taxing my CPU in a crazy way?

Otherwise, good luck. We've already got all that.

force_redo
KVRer
24 posts since 4 Nov, 2010

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:05 am

I guess most people here have mentioned the important bits already.
Funny enough, although it becomes more and more standard to have a tuner in guitar amp sims, I think only Amplitube has a metronome.
I really like that many of the guitar amp sims are standalone applications these days, so I can just plugin, fire up the app and put my headphones on. But how comes I always need to play a drum track/backing track/metronome in a different application alongside?
In my wildest dreams (yeah, I know!) there was a piece of software that was a decent amp sim plus something like riffstation plus a metronome or a drum machine (ideally one that can go slowly faster by itself) and for bonus points a looper.

I know that wasn't the question, but there is always hope :)

GreyLion
KVRAF
3014 posts since 21 May, 2004 from Deep in the Heart of Texas

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:35 pm

I voted for choice #3.

Frankly, I think that BlueCat has nailed it all with Axiom, including the GUI. It's kind of a combo of all three choices in your poll. Yeah, I'm a fanboi. I've uninstalled all my other ampsims, except for Kuassa's Vermilion and Caliburn. I keep them because they have great tone -- and are ridiculously easy to use.

Using Axiom can be as simple or as mind-bendingly complicated and tweakable as need be. Has tons of presets available at most component levels. It took me a while to wrap my head around it, but I really like having the choice to drill down and obsessively mess with the details. Or not.

CapnLockheed mentioned VST-loading, and that was extremely important to me, and I'd think a lot of people here, since so many of us are cork-sniffing VST addicts. Axiom let's you load your best-of-class VSTs at multiple points in the chain. Melda's paradigm seems to exclude this sort of facility, as y'all appear to want to cross-pollinate with only your own plugs. Don't get me wrong; I have a fair amount of Melda plugs, and like them. But I think VST-loading is the new normal going forward. The ampsim then becomes infinitely extensible and modifiable.

It's also good to have a stand-alone version, as do Axiom, Vermilion, and Caliburn, because sometimes all you want to do is crank it up and make some noise.

Incidentally, I just finished demo'ing and buying MDoubleTracker. It's yummy!!! :hug:

I'm still playing around to find the best place to put it in the final chain in Axiom.

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MeldaProduction
KVRAF
10904 posts since 15 Mar, 2008 from Czech republic

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:29 am

Uuuu, thank you folks for the feedback, now I have to read everything :D. From a brief look and the poll it indeed looks like everyone has a slightly different taste in things, which is quite expected really.

GreyLion: Thank you! :love: I know about the VST hosting, but you know, that's imho a bit last resort for me, it's a bit of a death trap for stability and support :) and if you feel like you have the whole arsenal...
Vojtech - MeldaProduction
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Tappistry
KVRian
1242 posts since 3 Aug, 2017 from San Diego, CA

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:01 pm

GreyLion wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:35 pm
I voted for choice #3.

Frankly, I think that BlueCat has nailed it all with Axiom, including the GUI. It's kind of a combo of all three choices in your poll. Yeah, I'm a fanboi. I've uninstalled all my other ampsims, except for Kuassa's Vermilion and Caliburn. I keep them because they have great tone -- and are ridiculously easy to use.

Using Axiom can be as simple or as mind-bendingly complicated and tweakable as need be. Has tons of presets available at most component levels. It took me a while to wrap my head around it, but I really like having the choice to drill down and obsessively mess with the details. Or not.

CapnLockheed mentioned VST-loading, and that was extremely important to me, and I'd think a lot of people here, since so many of us are cork-sniffing VST addicts. Axiom let's you load your best-of-class VSTs at multiple points in the chain. Melda's paradigm seems to exclude this sort of facility, as y'all appear to want to cross-pollinate with only your own plugs. Don't get me wrong; I have a fair amount of Melda plugs, and like them. But I think VST-loading is the new normal going forward. The ampsim then becomes infinitely extensible and modifiable.

It's also good to have a stand-alone version, as do Axiom, Vermilion, and Caliburn, because sometimes all you want to do is crank it up and make some noise.

Incidentally, I just finished demo'ing and buying MDoubleTracker. It's yummy!!! :hug:

I'm still playing around to find the best place to put it in the final chain in Axiom.
Hi fellow Axiom fan. :D

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Deep Purple
KVRian
1125 posts since 9 Jan, 2015 from NY, NY

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:09 pm

To be honest, it's not how things are laid out that I'm concerned with, I would rather see improvements to amp and cab modeling (and some FX).

Some software does a good job at amp modeling, but few do a really good job at cab modeling. Impulse responses can get near to cab models, but they just kill something in the sound that doesn't happen with a real-life cab.

Distortion pedal modeling also leaves something to be desired, and there are few specialized pedals that really hit the nail on the head when you think of classic pedals. Things like a Russian Big Muff or older analog MXR flangers just don't have a plugin that comes close.

I use some plugins, but would often rather re-amp if I'm looking for a particular sound that I know I can get with hardware.
Sweet child in time...

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SJ_Digriz
KVRAF
5941 posts since 5 Jul, 2001 from Just about .... there

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:39 pm

S-Gear is as close as I've been able to do, but one day I'd really like it if the f'n "officially licensed" models actually behaved like the real thing. I have a couple of the things that get modeled often. Primarily Fenders. While they do "sound" similar if you spend weeks trying to dial them in, they sound nothing alike on a knob position by knob position basis.

I run my volume on my twin at 1.5ish and DR at 2ish ... anymore and my ears would bleed. Do that on any model from any VST and it will sound like shit and not like a Fender at all.
If you have to ask, you can't afford the answer

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Deep Purple
KVRian
1125 posts since 9 Jan, 2015 from NY, NY

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:45 pm

I think you just hit the nail on the head with current virtual amps - it's not that they can't reproduce a particular sound of an amp, but they don't have the overall behavior and response that hardware has.
Sweet child in time...

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SJ_Digriz
KVRAF
5941 posts since 5 Jul, 2001 from Just about .... there

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:02 pm

Deep Purple wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:45 pm
I think you just hit the nail on the head with current virtual amps - it's not that they can't reproduce a particular sound of an amp, but they don't have the overall behavior and response that hardware has.
I've heard people get amazing results with sims. I figured as a computer dude I would be able to do so as well. But, I find it extremely difficult to get a good sound from amp sims. I can slap a SM57 in front of a deluxe pretty much at a random position and get something resembling a tone i want on a recording without any trouble. I could spend some time with the "more treble, less low mids" moving around that is typical with micing cabs. But, the core sound is always easy. It take me forever to find anything recordable with a sim, and usually only after throwing on some effects.

Also, the idea that clean is easy and high gain is hard is nonsense. Trying to get that high headroom clean compression from a twin that is not quite distorting but is pushing massive air I find impossible. But again, I've heard people get that sound. I'm just a dumbass when trying to do it with a sim, when I can do it easily with a cheap assed mic and pre.
If you have to ask, you can't afford the answer

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harryupbabble
KVRAF
1542 posts since 20 Mar, 2012 from Babbleon

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:15 pm

I expect them to have "guitar God" presets. My guitar God is Jimmy Page. I'm very bad at trying to make presets that sounds like the "real thing".

If would be great to have presets of guitar sounds for every Led Zeppelin songs. For example I want a preset that sounds just like the guitar sound from the song "I Can't Quit You Baby" from the first Led Zeppelin album.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29PSPafL54o
ah böwakawa poussé poussé

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SJ_Digriz
KVRAF
5941 posts since 5 Jul, 2001 from Just about .... there

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:22 pm

harryupbabble wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:15 pm
I expect them to have "guitar God" presets. My guitar God is Jimmy Page. I'm very bad at trying to make presets that sounds like the "real thing".
that's kind of the crux of my posts..
Amplitube has attempted to provide track by track presets for famous songs.. Like Jimmy Hendrix.
Taking away the fact that I'm no Jimmy Hendrix, I do have a 57' strat .. and guess what? When I plug it in it sounds absolutely positively nothing like the isolate tracks from the Hendrix songs it's supposed to emulate. I mean nothing like. Might as well be using a PRS through a Boogie. That's about how similar it is.

EDIT: I was able to use some isolated JH tracks and a LOT of tweaking to get it in the ballpark. The sounds are in there to some degree.
If you have to ask, you can't afford the answer

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harryupbabble
KVRAF
1542 posts since 20 Mar, 2012 from Babbleon

Re: Poll: Guitar processing/sims, what do you expect from them?

Post Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:33 pm

But I don't intend to play the guitar myself. So, the sound wouldn't be dependent on the guitar that I have which I think is a cheap guitar. Couldn't the sound designer at, oh let's say, Guitar Rig, just use a very good midi file of the songs that that guitar sound came from to test those presets and make it sound as close as they can to the original songs?

That's the way I would use it, I would just make up guitar riffs by penciling it in the piano roll and trigger the amp sim (Guitar Rig, for example).
ah böwakawa poussé poussé

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