The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

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Unaspected
KVRian
911 posts since 4 May, 2012

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:51 am

Clearscreen wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:01 pm
Unaspected wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:51 am
I suggested placing True Iron between the amp head and cab earlier in the thread but I'm not sure anyone noticed.
I haven't got true iron, but gave this a shot with Airwindows Powersag, and it certainly seems to give a bit more of that feel when you hit it hard...
You might well benefit from trying both - with Powersag in front of True Iron - though I haven't tried Powersag yet. There is a demo for TI and it's on sale right now at a silly price for what it can do.

I should say I am not affiliated with Kazrog - just genuinely impressed.

Karbon L. Forms
KVRian
1226 posts since 10 Jun, 2004 from Inverness, Scotland

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:02 am

You guys are nuts, or I'm deaf. Maybe just guitarzan is nuts. I can sound like neil young just with amplitube. Maybe you guys hear shit i dont. I know ragged glory inside out. I dont know what you guys are hearing but this shit is easy. I must be deaf, so excuse my nonsense
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reggie1979
KVRian
1384 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:53 am

I'm in the middle. Though I love AT I still don't think it's quite there personally.

Pretty hard to model the stuff that is being asked, but they quite close in my book. I played though a used 5150 the other day and it sounded pretty awful to me, so it's really hard to say "what is best" or how deep the rabbit hole will go.

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telecode
KVRian
1012 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:29 pm

Karbon L. Forms wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:02 am
You guys are nuts, or I'm deaf. Maybe just guitarzan is nuts. I can sound like neil young just with amplitube. Maybe you guys hear shit i dont. I know ragged glory inside out. I dont know what you guys are hearing but this shit is easy. I must be deaf, so excuse my nonsense
Amplitube does not sound like a real amp.
Just a keep on a goin' a forward, without a single ounce of fear

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guitarzan
KVRian
1148 posts since 3 Sep, 2005 from Outer Bongolia

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:47 pm

Besides, I'm mostly talking about "feel". I started right off saying I thought amp modelers mostly sound good, even great at times, but the lack of any power amp dynamics make them nearly unplayable to me. Plus, sounding good and sounding right are two different things. While real power amp sag is kind of subtle to listen to on most recorded tunes and many people would not care, I can hear it clearly in the way the notes and phrases contract and bloom. It's more important in the way it inspires me to play "beyond my abilities" than how it sounds to me, though.

The way they are modeled now, you can't even get a vintage amp to overdrive without either the fake gain stage that developers add to vintage amp models or by adding modeled o.d. pedals — there is no power amp to overdrive. Adding an extra generic gain stage doesn't do the job at all, because power amp overdrive is an entirely different thing. It's the sag, the o.t. saturation, and slew rate wave shaping — all missing entirely. None of the "sag" I've encountered in amp modeling works anything like real sag, which has a definate feel of resistance under the fingers — much more like an envelope generator / voltage controlled amp — and that is exactly what is going on, in my opinion, thanks to voltage sag.
Last edited by guitarzan on Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:31 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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telecode
KVRian
1012 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:29 pm

guitarzan wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:47 pm
Besides, I'm mostly talking about "feel". I started right off saying I thought amp modelers mostly sound good, even great at times, but the lack of any power amp dynamics make them nearly unplayable to me. Plus, sounding good and sounding right are two different things. While real power amp sag is kind of subtle to listen to on most recorded tunes and many people would not care, I can hear it clearly in the way the notes and phrases contract and bloom. It's more important in the way it inspires me to play "beyond my abilities" than how it sounds to me, though.
IMO, Sims also don't feel like a real amp.

I look at sims as a totally different beast than real amps. Basically, I don't expect them to be or do the same thing as real amps.
Just a keep on a goin' a forward, without a single ounce of fear

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The Noodlist
KVRian
978 posts since 16 Aug, 2017 from UK

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:58 pm

telecode wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:29 pm
IMO, Sims also don't feel like a real amp.
I look at sims as a totally different beast than real amps. Basically, I don't expect them to be or do the same thing as real amps.
I've noticed guitar characteristics changing through simulators. Single coils that sound great through an amp, and thin through a sim.
Currently trying to turn noise into music. :neutral:

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

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:28 pm

telecode wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:29 pm
I look at sims as a totally different beast than real amps. Basically, I don't expect them to be or do the same thing as real amps.
Exactly.

Sometimes for perspective, I like to reverse things. Suppose digital audio had been invented 100 years ago. Then in 2019, someone comes to a NAMM show and says "I have this AMAZING way to reproduce music! You take this big disc of plastic that wears out every time you play it, and drag a rock through it, and yeah, the rock wears out too, and of course you have to clean the disc before playing it or dust gets ground into the plastic...oh, and of course, you need to go through insane amounts of EQ to compensate for not being able to cut bass into the plastic! [/i]Is that cool, or what?!?[/i]

Yet there's a whole subculture that thinks vinyl sounds "better" than digital. Now, suppose only amp sims existed, and the first tube amp was shown at a show. Imagine what the reactions would be...

"Jeez, that's expensive. You mean it doesn't come with any effects?"
"Well, I definitely like the one preset it has. Does it have any others?"
"It gets really unpredictable when you hit it hard. Seems kind of random to me, almost like there's a VCA pulling it down or something."

To anyone who says a sim doesn't feel like an amp, that's not surprising - it's not an amp. A bass guitar isn't the same bass as a nine-foot Bosendorfer. Then again, a Bosendorfer doesn't have strap pins...

However, many of the amp emulations sound like an amp, which is the goal. Think of all the A/B comparisons of sim vs amp in a recorded track and no one can tell the difference.

I remember someone who played one of the first Variax guitars and complained about the Tele sound. I said that I thought it nailed the Tele sound quite well. He replied "Yeah, but it doesn't feel like one, I mean how can it be a Telecaster without a maple neck?"

And there you have it. It's as pointless to say a sim doesn't do what an amp does as it is pointless to say an amp doesn't do what a sim does. Think of how many guitarists play more than one guitar, because each has its own feel and sound. So do amps and sims. It's fine if you prefer one over the other, but for those with the patience to make an amp sim do their bidding (and yes, it takes as much work, if not more, than miking a physical amp), sims offer a new world to explore that frankly, can make some pretty amazing sounds that are not possible to obtain with a physical amp.
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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Anderton
KVR Expert
94 posts since 4 Mar, 2004
KVR Expert

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:33 pm

The Noodlist wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:58 pm
telecode wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:29 pm
IMO, Sims also don't feel like a real amp.
I look at sims as a totally different beast than real amps. Basically, I don't expect them to be or do the same thing as real amps.
I've noticed guitar characteristics changing through simulators. Single coils that sound great through an amp, and thin through a sim.
I assume with a sim, you're going through an audio interface. They do not have the same electrical characteristics as amp inputs, which is why some people prefer to load down the guitar before it hits the interface (although the interaction is actually more complex than that).
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!

Echoes in the Attic
KVRAF
6853 posts since 12 May, 2008

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:36 pm

Anderton wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:33 pm
The Noodlist wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:58 pm
telecode wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:29 pm
IMO, Sims also don't feel like a real amp.
I look at sims as a totally different beast than real amps. Basically, I don't expect them to be or do the same thing as real amps.
I've noticed guitar characteristics changing through simulators. Single coils that sound great through an amp, and thin through a sim.
I assume with a sim, you're going through an audio interface. They do not have the same electrical characteristics as amp inputs, which is why some people prefer to load down the guitar before it hits the interface (although the interaction is actually more complex than that).
What do you mean by load down?
This is a block of text that can be added to posts you make. There is a 255 character limit. Once I have something clever, I will certainly fill it in.

guitarzan
KVRian
1148 posts since 3 Sep, 2005 from Outer Bongolia

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:19 pm

Anderton wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:28 pm
…To anyone who says a sim doesn't feel like an amp, that's not surprising - it's not an amp. A bass guitar isn't the same bass as a nine-foot Bosendorfer.

… It's as pointless to say a sim doesn't do what an amp does as it is pointless to say an amp doesn't do what a sim does. Think of how many guitarists play more than one guitar, because each has its own feel and sound. So do amps and sims. It's fine if you prefer one over the other, but for those with the patience to make an amp sim do their bidding (and yes, it takes as much work, if not more, than miking a physical amp), sims offer a new world to explore that frankly, can make some pretty amazing sounds that are not possible to obtain with a physical amp …
But it is self defeating to just assume the feel of amp sims can't be improved (and even argue against the very notion, as the faithful tend to do). Developers need to think "dynamics" rather than solely about "tone" for a while, in my opinion.

HA! I just thought of exactly the right person to check my ADSR / VCA power amp sim idea — hope they're still around!

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

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:42 pm

guitarzan wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:19 pm
But it is self defeating to just assume the feel of amp sims can't be improved (and even argue against the very notion, as the faithful tend to do). Developers need to think "dynamics" rather than solely about "tone" for a while, in my opinion.
I don't think anyone has said that amp sims can't be improved (or amps, for that matter). But, we are making music now, so we are working with the tools that are available now. The goal is to get the most out of them. We can speculate endlessly about what the future will bring, but that is of no significance when you hit "record" today. :)
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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Anderton
KVR Expert
94 posts since 4 Mar, 2004
KVR Expert

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:45 pm

And frankly, I have a bigger problem - the last Windows update bricked my studio computer. So now I have to figure out how to get it working again. I image my drive regularly, so I wasn't concerned about getting back to where I was - but I still can't boot into Windows, so that implies it's a hardware or driver problem, not a Windows problem [sigh]. I suspect an older AMD graphics board. If I can't get it sorted out this weekend, I'll take it into PC Audio Labs as soon as possible.
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
1148 posts since 3 Sep, 2005 from Outer Bongolia

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:25 pm

Anderton wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:42 pm
I don't think anyone has said that amp sims can't be improved (or amps, for that matter). But, we are making music now, so we are working with the tools that are available now. The goal is to get the most out of them. We can speculate endlessly about what the future will bring, but that is of no significance when you hit "record" today. :)
You know, I guess I probably am unintentionally coming across as very anti-amp modeler, especially if viewed out of context.

See, ten years ago all anyone had to do around here was spout off about amp sims and you'd have a half-dozen developers arguing with you — two weeks later someone would inevitably release something incorporating at least some of your ideas.

Times change I guess. I'll tone it down a notch or two in the future. :)

Mats Eriksson
KVRist
67 posts since 4 Sep, 2016

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:40 am

telecode wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:29 pm
I look at sims as a totally different beast than real amps. Basically, I don't expect them to be or do the same thing as real amps.
That was my take on it too.

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