Amp Simulators for Virtual Guitars

MartinH.

Senior Member
A bit off-topic, but...

Those Norwegian bands used usually the best amplifiers they could get their hands into at the time. How the sound was then molded is completely another topic, though. Marshalls (JCM800/900) were often used, and many of them used what Pytten (the studio owner) had in Grieghallen- including also that infamous Peavey Bandit. And yes, Metal Zone was very popular in front.

Mixing was another thing. Pytten had the tendency on many albums to make one guitar very thin and evil-sounding while the other one took care of the low-mids. The lows were usually very absent from all guitars. Those combined together, accompanied with the phase-canceling room of his and a lot of cheap hall reverb made the overall guitar sound as we know it. But Pytten had also the tendency to make each album sound different (one of things which made him so awesome) to each other, so your experience may vary. Comparing e.g. Burzum's "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss" to Aeternus' "Beyond the Wandering Moon" is rather pointless, even though many similarities can be indeed found.

For what it comes to reproducing the Grieghallen sound in general, it's also completely doable to an extent. Here are some fun experiments done with Bias Amp Desktop (v1).

The upper one is Hades' "Again Shall Be"- guitar sound switching between the album and emulated versions.

The lower one is a clip from Darkthrone's "Under a Funeral Moon" with also bass included-starting crossfaded in halfway in the bass break and then crossfading back to the real one after the drums creep in.

[AUDIOPLUS=https://vi-control.net/community/attachments/hades_asb_ab-mp3.17695/][/AUDIOPLUS]

[AUDIOPLUS=https://vi-control.net/community/attachments/darkthrone_uafm_ab-mp3.17696/][/AUDIOPLUS]

Only saw your post just now. Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge on how these sounds where crafted! I know whom to ask when I tinker with Blackmetal guitar tone again :).
 

Henu

Senior Member
The 5150 sounds best and most real for me, and I also liked the Soldano. The Mesas were a bit lifeless, which I think is the biggest probem with Amplitube in general. Something small is missing.

I got myself AT4 (the whole package) on black friday and was planning to use it for my "go to"- amp sim for metal guitars. Though I love the customization options, it is still missing that 10-15% of the realism which e.g. Bias Amp offers in my opinion. It's a very handy tool and gets the job done, but I still need to fiddle around more with the cab options and mic positions to make it sound more realistic and making it respond better to the actual heavy playing style.

Also, @MartinH. , you're welcome- just let me know if you have any questions! ;)
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
I know what I'm talking about. Been doing it for a long while and was able to shootout nearly every offering on the market against their analog counterparts.
Very interesting video, but a suggestion: all the emulations are narrower, at a lower level than the real thing, and seem like they need some ambience - i.e. they *all* sound like crap next to the real thing when presented like that! But it's still a very good comparison video, because you can definitely hear the differences.

One other point: it's the higher stuff especially that makes some guitar/amp simulations sound plastic. War guitar parts like these sell a lot better.
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
Dummie Keyboardist here, so no real clue.
Got Guitar Rig5 and all Kazrog LLC (all Thermionik). As non-guitarist, get lost with these very quickly. :blush:
Use all Orange Tree Samples guitar libs and find Greg's Snapshots /Presets get me going, and close to what is needed.
Is this approach pretty weak ??
 

TimCox

Active Member
I rather like BIAS Amp 2 by Positive Grid. Although that's with real guitar so I can't comment on how it sounds with VI's
 

Zoot_Rollo

Throbbing Member
I've been revisiting most of these the last week or so.

For drop D chug, A4 Soldano with some room works for me.

Even after trying Nameless, NTS, SS-11X, Thermionic, etc
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Very interesting video, but a suggestion: all the emulations are narrower, at a lower level than the real thing, and seem like they need some ambience - i.e. they *all* sound like crap next to the real thing when presented like that! But it's still a very good comparison video, because you can definitely hear the differences.

One other point: it's the higher stuff especially that makes some guitar/amp simulations sound plastic. War guitar parts like these sell a lot better.
You know, it would be interesting to hear the amp simulators through a miked speaker compared to the real thing with a mic on the amp.
 

Craig Peters

Active Member
I would say check out the Neural DSP amp sims based off the Fortin amps. Best ones I’ve used and have been my go to’s for metal tones. Also JST has some good ones and the Emissary one is free and heard good stuff about too.
 

nas

Active Member
I've had good results with S-Gear. It also works well if you mix it with analog pedals in front.
 

Lode_Runner

Senior Member
Dummie Keyboardist here, so no real clue.
Got Guitar Rig5 and all Kazrog LLC (all Thermionik). As non-guitarist, get lost with these very quickly. :blush:
Use all Orange Tree Samples guitar libs and find Greg's Snapshots /Presets get me going, and close to what is needed.
Is this approach pretty weak ??
If you like the way it sounds in a mix, just keep doing what you're doing. There's so many skills we need to learn as composers, sometimes it's better to just focus on learning to do your most important tasks well, and accept passable elsewhere.

That said, amps (and their sims) are often very simple pieces of equipment to learn how to use. The more complex models have 3 channels (which are usually clean, crunch and lead - the names are pretty self explanatory as to when you might use them). It might look likes there's a lot of knobs, but it's simply that each channel will have it's own knobs: gain (which allows you to make the sound dirtier), volume, and some eq knobs. Sometimes there's a presence knob, or a bright switch, reverb or tremolo. Just play around with the knobs to get an idea of what they do to the sound. The other two aspects in a simple set-up are effects pedals which go before the amp (overdrive/distortion, wah, chorus, phaser, flange, tremolo, delay, reverb are the most common - once again just load them up and see what they do to the sound) and speaker cabinets that go after the amp (the simplest thing to do is just stick with the cab type that is matched to the amp until you're ready to experiment).

A useful exercise is to find guitar sounds you like, research the guitarist's rig, and select sims that match. Then think about how the sound still differs from the recording and make considered tweaks to the knobs to get it closer to the recording. Bear in mind not all amp sims are going to be able to do a convincing job replicating the sound though. From what you have I'd recommend using Guitar Rig for effects pedals, and Kazrog for amps and cabs.
 

MartinH.

Senior Member
Also, @MartinH. , you're welcome- just let me know if you have any questions! ;)
Will do, thanks a lot!


I have tried numerous cab sims and IRs, including "Messiah Cab", but for some reason very often I end up using the "Mesa Boogie Clean - Blackface Twin.wav" that comes with Reapers Convolution Amp/Cab Modeler JS plugin. Anyone else here who tried that one?
When I compare it to others they almost all sound like listening through a pillow to me. But I can't believe that all the others are wrong, it's more likely that I'm doing something wrong in my mix I think.
 

keepitsimple

Active Member
If there's anything worse than too many strings libraries or piano libraries, it would be: too many amp sims.

Just too many overwhelming choices lol. I don't know but i just love the response and dynamics i get from S-Gear despite all the new stuff that's been coming out lately.
 

richardt4520

Active Member
Pretty much anything can be made to sound decent these days. I usually prefer to just run a real amp into a Torpedo using IRs when I need to keep the volume down and mic it if it's something crucial. So my only consideration when using an amp sim is whether it's close to what it says it's modelling. The only thing I've tried, in 30+ years of recording guitar, that sounded like the real thing to me was Kazrog's stuff. I don't use or like his IRs but his 2 channel Dual Rec model sold me on his suite after playing around with it. Using Redwirez IRs, I'd be hard pressed to tell it soloed from tracks I'd recorded when I had a couple of 2 channel Duals. I've never heard anything that really sounded at all like those amps-hardware or software, and every modeller out there has a so called Dual Rectifier model in it. I haven't spent time with the other models of gear I've owned (Framus Cobra, Diezels, Engls, etc) to see if they matched up well since it's usually faster to just plug into my Mesa through IRs, so ymmv there.

I haven't tried SGear but maaan does it sound good on the mid gain stuff. That's for sure.
 
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pderbidge

Senior Member
All this talk of the "ultimate Amp Sim" makes me smile a bit. I can't tell you how many times I've been in the studio with guitar players who were very particular about using a real amp (because we all know nothing beats the real thing right?) and then later watch the mix engineer replace the sound with an amp sim (even the basic Waves GTR) because it was easier to dial in and fit in the mix only later to show the band the final mix and the guitar players drooled over how good he made them sound. If they only knew:)

PS, I'm a fan of Bias myself but soured a little on their prices so have chosen not to upgrade to V2 and instead picked up a few sales on Mercuriall amps instead.
 

richardt4520

Active Member
All this talk of the "ultimate Amp Sim" makes me smile a bit.
That's why I prefaced with "you can get a good sound out of just about anything these days"! haha! You really can! I prefer using a real amp and IRs, strictly because I can play in real time with no latency but sometimes record a split of the direct guitar in case I want to reamp or use a sim. My buddy, a well known local metal engineer ALWAYS replaces with sims and gets ferocious tones!