The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

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Unaspected
KVRian
920 posts since 4 May, 2012

Post Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:22 pm

Mats Eriksson wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:15 am
Unaspected wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:51 am
Jafo wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:02 am
Yeah, it's power amp saturation that we old dudes are after, and which largely disappeared in the '90s. I've tried putting compressors before and after ampsims to get much of that feel; it's a definite improvement, but it just isn't the same. I got the best results with ThrillseekerLA and the exe ampsims (which ISTR also modeled poweramp saturation), but I claim no competencies. Anybody with an actual gear budget (and decent ears) try this sort of thing?
I suggested placing True Iron between the amp head and cab earlier in the thread but I'm not sure anyone noticed.
I did. Since I am a customer for their now extinct (Karzog) Recabinet (one of the first ones to include Dynamics) this post wetted my apptetite and I downloaded their free demo, which is a "silence every 3 minutes" kind of thing. Now, transformers should be part of any amp sim anyway, and very little use for adding another "big iron" transformer on top. It sounds great, but I can't help but think it's a kind of compression/limiting going on in certain freq areas. You can get same results with a tweaking of a sidechaing compressor for certain frequencies. And when they crush they just produces dangerous flat square waves which are dangerous to speakers. Luckily, having these ones in virtual world, doesn't fry some speaker cones.

The stance/opinion that "Big Iron" in any tube guitar amps power sections yields big sound no doubt, and transformers are producing "flyback" currents back and forth between the speaker and transformer output when taxed. However, when it comes to guitar power amps, I think "big iron" sounds that makes it fattter, and more beefy is JUST an advantage when it comes to bass guitar amps and speakers, or electric basses. It's the low end that stays clear up into louder decibels. Connected with appropriate speaker cabs it can yield some greater results on bass. In my opinion the big iron produces more clean headroom, less power amp sag and saturation, and it's sort of ...defeats the purpose for guitar. Everything from the guitar input to the results you hear from the speaker(s) is relative to the end result. So just having the big iron in the output isn't the only factor. Or relying on any "true iron". Karzogs True Iron is maybe a small niche plugin, for those taking the easy way out. Maybe used to subtle sidechain when mastering any material in total, or bass drums or bass guitar mixes.

Found it of very little use in between any amp sim and cab. A transformer added on top of another already existing one. I even tried to coax it in between Amplitubes Ampeg V-4 rig they produced a decade ago or so. To no help. That one is "already built in" so to speak. The thing with these is that you don't NEED to turn it up as you have to IRL. That's my main thing with amp sims, you don't need deafening levels
I'm sorry that didn't work out for you. Did you try the Air Windows Powersag that was suggested by Clearscreen?

For me, the True Iron trick got me the sound I had been after for a while but I guess it's a case of horses for courses. Indeed, I haven't experienced any issues between playing hardware or software beyond tonal differences - though that gap is rapidly narrowing.

reggie1979
KVRian
1387 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:30 pm

This is coming soon:

https://neuraldsp.com/products/archetype-nolly/

I'm not really a metal guy and I can't shred but I love me some high gain power chords!

Mats Eriksson
KVRist
67 posts since 4 Sep, 2016

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:10 am

Unaspected wrote:
Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:22 pm
I'm sorry that didn't work out for you. Did you try the Air Windows Powersag that was suggested by Clearscreen?

For me, the True Iron trick got me the sound I had been after for a while but I guess it's a case of horses for courses. Indeed, I haven't experienced any issues between playing hardware or software beyond tonal differences - though that gap is rapidly narrowing.
Yes, True Iron may very well do the trick on other things, and at that one, a smashing hit. However, put it between any guitar amp sim and cab seems kind of moot.

Now, it is the same kind of vein that Karzog did with Recabinet. The reason I bought that one, was the Dynamics knob. But the Dynamics knob should work with the pick attack. When you lean in, it should go to max (taxing the speacer cone to its outmost protruded position) and just a bit when you lean in somewhere in the middle. You had to do a serious set up with envelope and assigning envelope to that one so it turn up automatically within a Daw, but it was too sluggish. It doesn't do that IRL. It "chokes" big time, and then gradually goes back into the speaker cones starting off point, sounding less gritty.

This is the same with "big iron" in real world. Huge transformers like that of and Ampeg V-4 amp (say). Is that that "sound" or oomph/thump is present at the initial attack of the note only. I e the True Iron should only kick in with it's sound temporarily, and att the initial transient attack only and then "disappear" so to speak. Not anything in True Iron suggested that. It was like that attack thump was on all of the time, which isn't really a fair assesment how the real thing works. It is connected with the "Dynamics" button above in their Recabinet IR's too. That when it should "thump" the cone should fly out and give that sound that the dynamics gives at max position.

So they have captured the "initial transient attack" as a complete static kind of sound, that they think are present all of the time. It's not. The flavor of any transformer or "big iron" is heard just when approaching maiximum levels and even that at the attack. Like a compressor of some sort.

If they did:

1. The Recabinet thing, with the Dynamics button reactive to pick attack only, that it reacts super fast to when whacking the pick, at the same time as:
2. The True Iron kicks in with it's flavor or sound and "fatness" too, but also only on transient attacks when leaning in and whacking with the pick...

then I would be all game.

guitarzan
KVRian
1149 posts since 3 Sep, 2005 from Outer Bongolia

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:26 am

Mats Eriksson wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:10 am
So they have captured the "initial transient attack" as a complete static kind of sound, that they think are present all of the time. It's not. The flavor of any transformer or "big iron" is heard just when approaching maiximum levels and even that at the attack. Like a compressor of some sort.

If they did:

1. The Recabinet thing, with the Dynamics button reactive to pick attack only, that it reacts super fast to when whacking the pick, at the same time as:
2. The True Iron kicks in with it's flavor or sound and "fatness" too, but also only on transient attacks when leaning in and whacking with the pick...

then I would be all game.
I think you have observed something that relates to what I have been trying to get across. I think that if power amp sag were modeled correctly, then true iron and recabinet would both behave more the way you expected when placed after the amp model.

Of course, to really get it right, it would all need to be modeled together as a system. Baby steps …

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Unaspected
KVRian
920 posts since 4 May, 2012

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:14 pm

You might be able to get close by isolating the attack transient and then applying an envelope follower to that signal, in order to control various amp or cab parameters. There will be latency but it doesn't have to be noticeable - especially if it were done as part of a plugin. If using a patchwork of additional plugins then you'll be looking at the latency imposed by control signal rates between plugins. I don't believe this would be as much of an issue in a DAW like Bitwig as it uses audio rate modulation but you will likely still experience latency between plugins.

Indeed, I get what you're saying about adding in True Iron as being overkill when it really needs to be modelled correctly in the amp itself. There is also no to and fro, so that interaction simply doesn't exist. That could be modelled using an envelope follower by further modulating the control signal based on feedback from the output - but how you would process that is not something that immediately springs to mind right now.

guitarzan
KVRian
1149 posts since 3 Sep, 2005 from Outer Bongolia

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:05 pm

Unaspected wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:14 pm
…Indeed, I get what you're saying about adding in True Iron as being overkill when it really needs to be modelled correctly in the amp itself. There is also no to and fro, so that interaction simply doesn't exist. That could be modelled using an envelope follower by further modulating the control signal based on feedback from the output - but how you would process that is not something that immediately springs to mind right now.
Hmmm....envelope follower....I still think looking at it as voltage sag causing the power amp to behave as a VCA, and then the voltage fluctuation becomes the Envelope Generator is conceptually valid, but yeah — an evelope follower can basically get you to the same place. Something else to consider. Cool.

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
6075 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:15 pm

Haven't a clue what all this bizzle is about - something to do with 'lead' guitar I'm assuming? Something I do (abysmally.... very bad widdler..) for about 20 seconds and think, 'hmm that was a larf', before returning to the serious business of the jangle, which appears to be unaffected, by this 'sag' and 'VCA' malarky.. :hihi:

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Unaspected
KVRian
920 posts since 4 May, 2012

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:24 pm

donkey tugger wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:15 pm
Haven't a clue what all this bizzle is about - something to do with 'lead' guitar I'm assuming? Something I do (abysmally.... very bad widdler..) for about 20 seconds and think, 'hmm that was a larf', before returning to the serious business of the jangle, which appears to be unaffected, by this 'sag' and 'VCA' malarky.. :hihi:
The technicalities of feel and response. Indeed, it's not a big deal unless you want authenticity taken as far as it can be.

I get enough sense of response by playing software amps using a separate monitor speaker. Then I can play with feedback more easily.

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
6075 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:29 pm

Unaspected wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:24 pm
donkey tugger wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:15 pm
Haven't a clue what all this bizzle is about - something to do with 'lead' guitar I'm assuming? Something I do (abysmally.... very bad widdler..) for about 20 seconds and think, 'hmm that was a larf', before returning to the serious business of the jangle, which appears to be unaffected, by this 'sag' and 'VCA' malarky.. :hihi:
The technicalities of feel and response. Indeed, it's not a big deal unless you want authenticity taken as far as it can be.

I get enough sense of response by playing software amps using a separate monitor speaker. Then I can play with feedback more easily.
I am a very bad person, and tend to record most things clean DI, then add the amp sims and stuff afterwards. If I do need to play with effects/distortion (for the odd foray into the metel..) then I'll play through my little Fender Mustang amp and and then record a DI track as well. I'm getting the feeling I'm not the target market... :D

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Unaspected
KVRian
920 posts since 4 May, 2012

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:37 pm

donkey tugger wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:29 pm
Unaspected wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:24 pm
donkey tugger wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:15 pm
Haven't a clue what all this bizzle is about - something to do with 'lead' guitar I'm assuming? Something I do (abysmally.... very bad widdler..) for about 20 seconds and think, 'hmm that was a larf', before returning to the serious business of the jangle, which appears to be unaffected, by this 'sag' and 'VCA' malarky.. :hihi:
The technicalities of feel and response. Indeed, it's not a big deal unless you want authenticity taken as far as it can be.

I get enough sense of response by playing software amps using a separate monitor speaker. Then I can play with feedback more easily.
I am a very bad person, and tend to record most things clean DI, then add the amp sims and stuff afterwards. If I do need to play with effects/distortion (for the odd foray into the metel..) then I'll play through my little Fender Mustang amp and and then record a DI track as well. I'm getting the feeling I'm not the target market... :D
Probably not. :)

So you're just tracking the DI without any amp at all? I'll do that with bass but I don't think I've ever done that with guitar as I need distortion - always and more on top of more.

That's an interesting method though. I kinda like it for getting ideas tracked quickly - I have a terrible memory for riffs unless I tab them when I write them. Same with lyrics/poetry.

reggie1979
KVRian
1387 posts since 26 Nov, 2018

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:39 pm

Yeah, I'm not in a very nice mood today, I have to agree (at least partially) with Mr. Donkey.

Except for the lack of the c word, that's very un-donkey like. :hihi:

guitarzan
KVRian
1149 posts since 3 Sep, 2005 from Outer Bongolia

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:42 pm

Unaspected wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:24 pm
donkey tugger wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:15 pm
Haven't a clue what all this bizzle is about - something to do with 'lead' guitar I'm assuming? Something I do (abysmally.... very bad widdler..) for about 20 seconds and think, 'hmm that was a larf', before returning to the serious business of the jangle, which appears to be unaffected, by this 'sag' and 'VCA' malarky.. :hihi:
The technicalities of feel and response. Indeed, it's not a big deal unless you want authenticity taken as far as it can be.

I get enough sense of response by playing software amps using a separate monitor speaker. Then I can play with feedback more easily.
It also depends on the type of amp being modeled. A lot of more modern master volume multi channel amps do most of their overdrive and dynamics in the pre-amp anyway, so they do fine with the bit of compression and filtering that passes for power amp modeling currently. Vintage amps got everything from the power amp — I believe the output transformers may have been selected purposely to fart out before power amp hard clipping on those old amps.

Power amp overdrive from a vintage amp is the coolest thing ever. Early ZZ Top, Neil Young in meltdown mode (pretty much all of his electric stuff, esp. LIVE RUST — CORTEZ THE KILLER), pretty much anytime you hear distortion in old Chicago blues — all power amp sag and overdrive. It's way different than just overdiving another gain stage.

EDIT: So I guess what I'm getting at is modern tube amp models only suck a little more than the actual hardware, but vintage tube amp modeling just plain sucks.
Last edited by guitarzan on Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
6075 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:45 pm

Unaspected wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:37 pm
donkey tugger wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:29 pm
Unaspected wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:24 pm
donkey tugger wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:15 pm
Haven't a clue what all this bizzle is about - something to do with 'lead' guitar I'm assuming? Something I do (abysmally.... very bad widdler..) for about 20 seconds and think, 'hmm that was a larf', before returning to the serious business of the jangle, which appears to be unaffected, by this 'sag' and 'VCA' malarky.. :hihi:
The technicalities of feel and response. Indeed, it's not a big deal unless you want authenticity taken as far as it can be.

I get enough sense of response by playing software amps using a separate monitor speaker. Then I can play with feedback more easily.
I am a very bad person, and tend to record most things clean DI, then add the amp sims and stuff afterwards. If I do need to play with effects/distortion (for the odd foray into the metel..) then I'll play through my little Fender Mustang amp and and then record a DI track as well. I'm getting the feeling I'm not the target market... :D
Probably not. :)

So you're just tracking the DI without any amp at all? I'll do that with bass but I don't think I've ever done that with guitar as I need distortion - always and more on top of more.

That's an interesting method though. I kinda like it for getting ideas tracked quickly - I have a terrible memory for riffs unless I tab them when I write them. Same with lyrics/poetry.
To be honest, it's no bother, as that's how I write most things that start life on guitar - unplugged on electric. Seems daft to then put amps on to record it! Of course if I were doing more riff based things then it would make more sense, but given that much what I write is chordy/picking/open string and drone note stuff, then I don't really need anything to get it down before experimenting with amp sounds and effects afterwards. Makes recording a breeze - no bother with latency (direct monitoring), faffing about with loading VSTs etc..

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telecode
KVRian
1015 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:35 pm

donkey tugger wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:29 pm
Unaspected wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:24 pm
donkey tugger wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:15 pm
Haven't a clue what all this bizzle is about - something to do with 'lead' guitar I'm assuming? Something I do (abysmally.... very bad widdler..) for about 20 seconds and think, 'hmm that was a larf', before returning to the serious business of the jangle, which appears to be unaffected, by this 'sag' and 'VCA' malarky.. :hihi:
The technicalities of feel and response. Indeed, it's not a big deal unless you want authenticity taken as far as it can be.

I get enough sense of response by playing software amps using a separate monitor speaker. Then I can play with feedback more easily.
I am a very bad person, and tend to record most things clean DI, then add the amp sims and stuff afterwards. If I do need to play with effects/distortion (for the odd foray into the metel..) then I'll play through my little Fender Mustang amp and and then record a DI track as well. I'm getting the feeling I'm not the target market... :D
Hmm. That would never work for me . I play totally different depending on what the amp and effects or pedals are in the sound I am hearing as I play.
Just a keep on a goin' a forward, without a single ounce of fear

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
6075 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: The Big Guitar Amp Sim Roundup + Review

Post Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:00 am

telecode wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:35 pm
donkey tugger wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:29 pm
Unaspected wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:24 pm
donkey tugger wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:15 pm
Haven't a clue what all this bizzle is about - something to do with 'lead' guitar I'm assuming? Something I do (abysmally.... very bad widdler..) for about 20 seconds and think, 'hmm that was a larf', before returning to the serious business of the jangle, which appears to be unaffected, by this 'sag' and 'VCA' malarky.. :hihi:
The technicalities of feel and response. Indeed, it's not a big deal unless you want authenticity taken as far as it can be.

I get enough sense of response by playing software amps using a separate monitor speaker. Then I can play with feedback more easily.
I am a very bad person, and tend to record most things clean DI, then add the amp sims and stuff afterwards. If I do need to play with effects/distortion (for the odd foray into the metel..) then I'll play through my little Fender Mustang amp and and then record a DI track as well. I'm getting the feeling I'm not the target market... :D
Hmm. That would never work for me . I play totally different depending on what the amp and effects or pedals are in the sound I am hearing as I play.
Has no bearing for me unless the distortion is an integral part of the song. Probably about 80% of what I write you could play on either acoustic or electric, and I don't as a rule like to rely on effects or amp sounds for writing - instead use them as the icing on the cake to tart up what (hopefully...) already stands up on its own.

I think I come at the guitar from a slightly different perspective than a lot here. Whilst I do sometimes enjoy playing for playing's sake, most of the time it's all about writing , and I find that effects etc will sidetrack me from that a lot of times. The geetar is a tool for the job, not an end in itself.

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