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Why do Real Amps Sound Better Than Sims?


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Hi All

 

I was bored the other day and feeling adventurous so I decided to mic up an amp of mine. Used your basic SM57 setup. So, I'm playing a punk rock style distortion, recorded it and made a song around it. I compared it to my amp sims and it definitely sounded better. I already knew that micing up real amps sounds better but my question is why. When I listen to an amped guitar it has more weight to it. It seems like what is missing from the sims is the actual sound coming out of the speaker moving through the air into the mic. Is this a fair description of what the sims are missing. It feels like they don't have the Balls, for lack of a better phrase, of a real amp. Any input would be really appreciated.

 

HAve a good one. :D

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My recording chain is guitar->TLA Tube DI->Duet->Amplitube. The tube DI improves the sound a little but it's still lacking balls. I always need to apply extreme eq to bump up the lows or the low mids and some small heavy cuts to reduce the fizzlesizzle of the ampsim. Otherwise it's just thin farting.

In "real life" I use my good old marshall jcm900. In Amplitube (or any other ampsim) I always end up dialing in a Mesa because the so called British Tube Lead (which should emulate a Marshall I think) doesn't sound like the real thing by any means.

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For all the same reasons as synthesised reverb doesn't sound like an ACTUAL room, a plugin doesn't sound as good as hardware for eq's and compression.

 

There're just TOO many factors that make up these sounds to be recreated by software, or the people that make the software.

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Well, it's a REAL AMP pushing actual AIR, that might be it.

 

I'm astonished that amp simulators sound so good these days. OF COURSE the real thing is going to sound better, as is ALWAYS the case (if it doesn't, try harder).

 

You can fake it to an extent (especially in a mix), but of course 100% is going to sound better than 50-80%.

 

It's the same thing as asking "why doesn't the nord lead I built in reaktor sound or look like one? I built it exactly like it's built in real life!"

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Well, it's a REAL AMP pushing actual AIR, that might be it.

 

That's pretty much what I'm hearing the most. To my ears this physicality is what's lacking in the emulators. Though the sims sound really good if you know what you're doing I'm REALLY starting to hear the difference. My critical listening skills have been evolving and this was bugging me for a bit. Thanks for the replies.

 

HAve a good one. :D

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for me, the benifits that you get in tone are small compared to the flexibility and convenience that you get from using guitar sims. The average listener is never gonna know the difference (especially listening to a MP3 through crappy ipod earbuds or laptop speakers). I realize that most would disagree with my approach to guitar tones, but I wanted to play devil's advocate here just a bit.
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When recording bands, my set-up (that i've managed to "sell" on everyone no matter how sceptic they've been at first) is amp simulation>mosfet amplifier>liquidmix>4x12">mic.

 

That way you get the total recall of using simulation, but the pushing of the air. I have nothing against using in-box-simulation, but really, even clueless listeners on ipod phones can hear the difference, but that's not to say i'm not using pure simulation every once in a while either.

 

Also, f*%@ "tube warmth", if you want heavy guitars it's mosfet all the way.

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I'm astonished that amp simulators sound so good these days.

Me too. In reality, the transfer function of a guitar amp-speaker-microphone is incredibly complex. No small task to reproduce with DSP. Especially in realtime, with realtime parameter changes. So a lot of compromises have to be made, of course.

 

With that said, I've been impressed with some of the stuff these things can do. Particularly the Amplitube Hendrix stuff. But I've found it a lot more fun to use these on synth/organ/keyboard sounds than on an actual guitar track. But I did recently run a rhythm guitar track through Amplitube, then I ran it through a Pignose mic'd with a 57. and it sounded pretty damn good! I didn't have to use EQ to kill the bottom end as there wasn't any left after that!

 

There's all kinds of ways to get the job done.

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Interesting that this topic came up. I just bought the excellent Direct Guitar 2 from Pettinhouse. He uses Amplitude for some things and Guitar Rig 2 for others. I asked him if he had suggested presets for Guitar Amp Pro and he said he does not use it.

 

If I use Guitar Amp Pro and some of the many delay and processing plugs I have, can I get there or do I indeed Amplitude 2 or Guitar Rig 3? If so, which one?

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I'm astonished that amp simulators sound so good these days.

Me too. In reality, the transfer function of a guitar amp-speaker-microphone is incredibly complex. No small task to reproduce with DSP. Especially in realtime, with realtime parameter changes. So a lot of compromises have to be made, of course.

 

With that said, I've been impressed with some of the stuff these things can do. Particularly the Amplitube Hendrix stuff. But I've found it a lot more fun to use these on synth/organ/keyboard sounds than on an actual guitar track..

 

Yeah but let's face it, impulses and convolution are f$@%ing awesome.

 

Exactly. I'm really into using Guitar Rig on softsynths, gives it a really nice undefinable edge that meshes well with hardware synths. And on rhoades/electric piano it's obviously bloody fantastic and IK SVX, the amplitube/ampeg package is fantastic on synth bass. It's shaping sounds that these suites are best suited for.

 

I'm really into impulses in general, it reminds me of how i used to sample waveforms in the 90's.

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I've seen these things improve massively in the last few years. I'm not yet prepared to spend any money on one yet as I think they're still improving, and the market is going to change a lot before I find the results totally satisfying.

 

I think they're helpful, and I do like putting them along side real-amp'd guitars, but I would never use one solely for all the guitars on any production yet.

 

I personally like them better for recreating bass amps than guitar amps. I just can't get past the flatness in the distortion yet, and I can hear it all over records now.

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revavler.

 

Love revalver. The effects are pretty s#!+, but the impulses and the electric algorithms are awsome. This plug-in works best for actual guitar though. I a/b'd it to a pod xt pro and 9/10 people preferred the sound of revalver.

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Jay.....That Pettinhouse thing is great, ain't it!?

 

it's true..it's simply amazing how good thing like Amplitube and Guitar Rig (even the WAVES one..) sounds.

 

but..the simple fact is that AIR PUSHING PAPER simply sounds more real (to me, anyway)..Tho..I honestly don't remember the last time my main gtr dude I use actually plugged in one of his monster amp rigs. Might make him do that on our next session. Just cuz. :)

 

and I LOVE running 'other things' into Guitar Rig..ESPECIALLY organ sounds.

 

-

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Guitar Amp Pro is pretty good but Guitar Rig 3 smokes it. I haven't used Amplitube. If you get Guitar Rig, don't just use it on guitar! Try it on drums, vocals, anything. It's a lot of fun.

 

David, I am looking to use of of them on this specific guitar library.

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I can't seem to get the sound I want with amp sims either and I'm not too good at micing things up so I go halfway and use hardware effects, amp modeller and cab sim DI'd into mixer for EQ. It seems to work for me. Anybody else doing this?
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Anyone here have hands-on experience with GTR 3 from Waves? I'm thinking of getting it and appreciate any thoughts.

 

TIA..

TRebor

 

Hi

 

I've got it and it is pretty good on clean tone and mild crunch tones but for the life of me i can't get good metal tones. Gearbox and AT2 are much better for Hi Gain sounds of a metal nature. I kind of gave up on it but have started messing around with it again for leads and supporting gtr roles. Maybe I just need to learn to wield it better. :lol: Try downloading the demo. It might be what you need. To be fair I have been getting better tones out of it lately. Could have just been pilot error on my part in getting lousy tones before.

 

HTH

 

HAve a good one. :D

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