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Marshall

New Guitar Amp Sims

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I have weaned myself off new software in the last couple of years, and have simply not kept up to date with significant new challengers. 

I have used Scuffham S Gear for many years - are there any new amp sims that have come out in the last year or two that may give me anything that good old S Gear doesn’t? 

Historically, I always felt S Gear was the best of the bunch, and I still love it, but perhaps technology has moved on? 

Interested in your views! 

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And I'll say this. I'm not crazy about the all in one suites like Amplitube and BIAS FX. Not saying those suck but I'm just *very* particular and the way I see it, if I'm going to be reduced to relying on amps sims for my tone then I must have the absolute stone cold best, so I go after the piecemeal stuff. Something like BIAS FX 2, which I have, has a couple things in it that are ok, but a lot of bloat that isn't, imo. I recently scored the best Marshall sim in the business, the Nembrini MRH810 on sale for a little over $50 but it's back at its usual $137 for now - and that's just for *one* amp, a JCM800 head.. not 3, 4, or 20 amps for that $137, but a single amp for that price. So yeah piecemeal will likely be more expensive, but again, I must have the best if it has to be sims and not a real amp, so it is what it is. Depends too on what sounds you're after. 

You want an amazing clean amp w/ a big 'ol huge clean sound check out Kuassa Vermilion which can be had for around $17 right now (usually $39) from everyplugin. 

Another great Marshall is the Kuassa  Caliburn, also on end of summer sale right now and in that one you get three Marshalls. But the Nembrini stuff are "next Gen" amp sims and Igor Nembrini also makes all of Brainworx's amps, and Brainworx sims are about the best in the biz... But if you see some amps on Brainworx that you like, you'll see that they're all very pricey, like $149 per amp - so don't buy them there, but rather scour the KVR buy/sell section where folks are selling their licenses *super* cheap. Like, Brainworx bx_bassdude (Fender Bassman sim) is $149 on Brainworx, but I scored it literally for a few dollars from someone off KVR. Then it was just $20 for me to activate the licence, which was fully covered by my PA voucher. 

So I won't recommend amp suites because I don't like them. If you want the best then be looking at Brainworx, Nembrini, Neural DSP and a couple of the Kuassa amps. I'm not a Mesa fan. 

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Amplitube has been a "workhorse" for me, but I'm always "looking".
I'm more a 4 input Marshall kinda guy (read that JTM-45 or the Super Lead 100).
Had a plexi full stack back in the day so that probably explains that.
I do have the S-Gear and consider it top notch.
Although I had a 2210, I mostly bought it to be sure I was getting the more "modern" Marshall sounds in my amps;
so not sure the MRH810 is in my "ballpark".
I'm getting some mileage from the UAD '57 Deluxe, but some of their Marshalls leaving me yawning.
Really wish I could find an emulation that nails the EL-84 amps that are more to my liking than the 6V6 small combos.
I will have to d/l the demos from Kuassa and Nembrini, thanks Christian for the heads up!

T

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2 hours ago, Marshall said:

I have used Scuffham S Gear for many years - are there any new amp sims that have come out in the last year or two that may give me anything that good old S Gear doesn’t? 

Historically, I always felt S Gear was the best of the bunch, and I still love it, but perhaps technology has moved on? 

Interested in your views! 

I think Amplitube and TH-U have caught up. I like Fender and AT has the Fender 1 & 2 collections so you get a lot of amps to choose from. I like the Hendrix and Mesa Boogie collections as well. I like some of the Brunetti amps in TH-U and a few others.

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And once you've scored the best amp sim there is (Scuffham is among those) don't forget to invest in some of the best IRs available, they are what I consider to be the third/final portion of the general equation in setting up an amp sim rig. Don't buy subpar IRs; unfortunately there's no way to demo these with your own set up so only go after the best, such as those by Ownhammer. My favorites from them are the 410 SPRVRB (4x10 Fender cab), 112 DVRB (Fender Deluxe Reverb speakers, the 6-pack bundle for half the price) and the Heavy Hitters Collection Vol. 1. I'm not usually crazy about stock IRs, but the Nembrini sims come w/ some great Choptones IRs and I haven't felt the need to stray from them yet. These are just my opinions of course, but I will only ever recommend what I deem to be the best of something because that's all I ever go after and what I want for my brothers. 

Also, google articles by Craig Anderton and others on how to treat and get the most out of an amp sim. You may already be hip to a lot of this, I don't know. 

One more thing - not to get you spending more money than you thought, but while we're on the subject of the absolute best; a good front-end/DI box leading into your amp sim can make a *huge* difference in the quality of tone you get from that sim. I'm talking about crafting a killer DI signal to send to the sim. You can plug straight into the instrument input of your audio interface, but my tone improves greatly by using the DI on a Golden Age Pre-73 and going through the Line In. It's a Neve clone and has great character and color (the "color" can be dialed back) and I can drive the input if I want with it real nicely and it just works famously w/ the sims.

Those are what I consider the major parts that determine the quality of your amp sim tone; front end, sim, and IRs (and hopefully a good interface, and the Gibson custom shop LP goes w/o saying... - sike, I don't like Gibson, I do Warmoth and Fender). I mean, if your tone is gonna be reduced to code then why not get the best is what I'm saying. It doesn't have to cost too much. You can go real crazy with a front-end of course but I mean that Golden Age Pre 73 is around $200 or something used. What's your audio interface anyway and what's your latency like? 

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I wanted to go for a nice clean sound, my sound has always sounded too scratchy when going direct in so I use pedals, even then, Iv'e not been satisfied, there was this scratchy distorted sound at the front of wave form, hated it, couldn't EQ it or compress it out without really mangling the sound. I just ditched my old pickups and put in some Toneriders Pure Vintage. Immediate change, now the amp sims are quite ok for clean, pedals slightly better but only by a whisker, The scratchy sound has gone completely but it has taken me 4 sets of pickups to get there.

In my view, high output single coils straight into DI for a clean sound, don't work, nice lower output single coils sound heaps better for that sound. The quality of the sound of my finger picking, lead and chord playing, rhythm chops etc has all gone up quite significantly, but more importantly, in the direction I wanted it to go.  So friggin smooth!!! even through DI! John Mayer clean if you know what I mean. Plus the modern stagger of the Toneriders gets rid of that predominant G string sound, better overall balanced sound, the high strings not so shrill, warmer. It's like playing with a transparent compressor and EQ working silently in the background.

Moral of the story, pickups are important too, in fact I think they are more important when recording DI than when playing through an amp. I love my Toneriders!

I am also now prepared to revisit trialing amp sims only for my sounds.

 

3 hours ago, Christian Jones said:

And once you've scored the best amp sim there is (Scuffham is among those) don't forget to invest in some of the best IRs available, they are what I consider to be the third/final portion of the general equation in setting up an amp sim rig. Don't buy subpar IRs; unfortunately there's no way to demo these with your own set up so only go after the best, such as those by Ownhammer. My favorites from them are the 410 SPRVRB (4x10 Fender cab), 112 DVRB (Fender Deluxe Reverb speakers, the 6-pack bundle for half the price) and the Heavy Hitters Collection Vol. 1. I'm not usually crazy about stock IRs, but the Nembrini sims come w/ some great Choptones IRs and I haven't felt the need to stray from them yet. These are just my opinions of course, but I will only ever recommend what I deem to be the best of something because that's all I ever go after and what I want for my brothers. 

Also, google articles by Craig Anderton and others on how to treat and get the most out of an amp sim. You may already be hip to a lot of this, I don't know. 

One more thing - not to get you spending more money than you thought, but while we're on the subject of the absolute best; a good front-end/DI box leading into your amp sim can make a *huge* difference in the quality of tone you get from that sim. I'm talking about crafting a killer DI signal to send to the sim. You can plug straight into the instrument input of your audio interface, but my tone improves greatly by using the DI on a Golden Age Pre-73 and going through the Line In. It's a Neve clone and has great character and color (the "color" can be dialed back) and I can drive the input if I want with it real nicely and it just works famously w/ the sims.

Those are what I consider the major parts that determine the quality of your amp sim tone; front end, sim, and IRs (and hopefully a good interface, and the Gibson custom shop LP goes w/o saying... - sike, I don't like Gibson, I do Warmoth and Fender). I mean, if your tone is gonna be reduced to code then why not get the best is what I'm saying. It doesn't have to cost too much. You can go real crazy with a front-end of course but I mean that Golden Age Pre 73 is around $200 or something used. What's your audio interface anyway and what's your latency like? 

All good stuff Christian, thanks!, the only thing, as far as I know, the Golkden Age Pre 73 is actually a pre-amp not a DI, no wait, I think you are saying that you are going into a DI and THEN going into the GA and then to line in on interface, is that right? if so I'm wondering if  going through a DI alone would make a difference as opposed to going straight in through the HiZ interface input. Seen mixed views on this.

I am set on hammering Guitar Rig to get the sound, I have other sims but I want to move to a simple install with kU12, Cakewalk and that's it, with no pedals (good for traveling and taking a laptop). I think I can get there but haven't yet explored guitar rigs ability to import impulse responses, that's the next task.

Edited by Tezza

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Just downloaded demo of Kuassa Vermillion, will try it tonight, it ticks all the boxes for me, simple amp like interface, brilliant reviews, praised for clean sound, simple authorization and Indonesian, here in Australia we like to support the Indonesian's where possible, and cheap!. Will try it tonight.

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2 hours ago, Tezza said:

the only thing, as far as I know, the Golkden Age Pre 73 is actually a pre-amp not a DI, no wait, I think you are saying that you are going into a DI and THEN going into the GA and then to line in on interface, is that right? 

Nope... I mean yep lol the Pre 73 is a mic pre but it has a DI switch that turns it into a DI box when engaged. It's funny too cuz I bought it years ago as a demo model and use it as a mic pre, and because my interface only has Line Ins I was shopping hard one night for a good DI box for my new sims, reading reviews and Youtubing and just getting my due diligence on when later it occurred to me that that Pre 73 has a DI switch lol and here I was about to buy something. It can be a clean DI or a character DI and the character side is rad for sims. 

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2 hours ago, Tezza said:

Moral of the story, pickups are important too, in fact I think they are more important when recording DI than when playing through an amp. I love my Toneriders!

Good to know man thanks. I use humbuckers all around even in my Strat I have a Fast Track. I thought I could play my stoner doom w/ a single coil cuz I do this stoner doom twang thing, so I installed a Virtual Vintage Solo 1st Gen and I loved it but I really needed the humbucker and I wasn't doing amp sims at the time yet so I don't know how it would've faired, but probably just fine. What kind of pickups were those crappy ones you replaced? 

1 hour ago, Tezza said:

.. here in Australia we like to support the Indonesian's where possible

Right on. Why? Never heard of that. 

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I like Peavey Revalver although I don't know if it is being updated any more (maybe BandLab should buy it.)  It might be the work of 1 person who is a genius.  But the thing I like about it is that the speakers are prepared showing you how to get different sounds off of them.   Amplitube gives you the same ability, but you have to have ideas about where speakers capture different frequencies.  In Peavey Revalver, this is pre-set for you and I think it makes things much easier.  Also the website describes the qualities that speakers share and so you learn how to listen and distinguish between  deep and broad, tight, vs jitter.  Stuff like that.   Peavey Revalver 4 amp store.  They also have a forum, but it's kind of dead because they haven't  improved it in 2 years or so.  (It doesn't mean it's a bad product,) just kind of abandoned.  Which is sad.  I found it less expensive at the time than Amplitube which you have to get the max to get everything otherwise you encounter nag signs at least that is what I've read.  Anyways there is also Guitar Rigg which is great.  But I think Revalver 4 is the most put together.  

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"they are what I consider to be the third/final portion of the general equation in setting up an amp sim rig"
Great amps stand on three legs; pre-amp, power amp, and speaker. So Christian has nailed it there.
With speakers it comes down to "excursion", and to my ears, this is why 100 watt (or 50 watt) single speaker combos
never can/will sound "right" (please note the caveat "to my ears"). You got to "spread" the load and "move" some air.
Guitar amps are all about harmonic complexity, and just like the pre and power amps, that complexity is all about "pushing" things a bit.
I bought the OX Amp shortly after it first came out, great idea, but in demoing it I found it not mature yet (again same caveat).
I think as time goes the OX or software will get there, I just hate buying in early and then having to update, update, update.
Updating software, no issue; hardware, ouch!
I've been using Two Notes with some success, just need to dig deeper.

Now onto the subject of DI, oh man...
all I will say is right now it’s Little Labs, wish they had a 500 version, I am kind of "jonesing" for the Neve 517; I gotta stop or I'll have one coming...

All the best to all in their "quest"

Tom

Edited by DeeringAmps
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16 hours ago, Christian Jones said:

These are just my opinions of course, but I will only ever recommend what I deem to be the best of something because that's all I ever go after and what I want for my brothers.

Wow!!  Great heart and soul!  People like you are why this forum is such a super place!  THANK YOU!!!!!

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20 hours ago, Christian Jones said:

Good to know man thanks. I use humbuckers all around even in my Strat I have a Fast Track. I thought I could play my stoner doom w/ a single coil cuz I do this stoner doom twang thing, so I installed a Virtual Vintage Solo 1st Gen and I loved it but I really needed the humbucker and I wasn't doing amp sims at the time yet so I don't know how it would've faired, but probably just fine. What kind of pickups were those crappy ones you replaced?

Tezza said: . here in Australia we like to support the Indonesian's where possible

Right on. Why? Never heard of that. 

Seymour Duncan, Fender American Standard, Mexican Standard and Tonerider City Limits. The problem wasn't the quality, it was the high output single coils giving me this scratchy distortion, many would like it but I hate it. Now with the Pure Vintage I have a truly clean option that sounds quality and I can work the sims to taste in relation to dialing in distortion if I need to on occasion (I only use a little).  Funk and quack heaven!

I should point out, I only use single coils in the strat. That in part may be a problem, I think the Humbuckers work better with the sims out of the box, single coils are more fussy.

Australia has a lot of links with Indonesia, many live there and retire there. Bali is our official party house! I just saw a report today saying that the Bali police are going to crack down on drunken Australians "wreaking havoc" in Bali.... They say things like that occasionally but the reality is we pile huge amounts of tourism dollars into Bali and we are always welcome there. It's a great place, sort of lawless in many ways and also has the spiritual side covered with meditation retreats, beautiful landscapes and surf. The mainland is very impressive and they have come a long way in raising the standards in their country.

In addition, Australia is about to sign an updated trade deal with Indonesia which is massive. They have about 270 million people....big market for us! They are 90% Muslim but it's fine for us anglo's over there. There's been a few scuffles like the minor war that erupted between us during Timors independence push and a terror bomb that went off  in Bali, killing about 80 Australians but generally it's great on any of the islands or the mainland.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Tezza
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9 hours ago, Leighton Cooper said:

I like Peavey Revalver although I don't know if it is being updated any more (maybe BandLab should buy it.)  It might be the work of 1 person who is a genius.  But the thing I like about it is that the speakers are prepared showing you how to get different sounds off of them.   Amplitube gives you the same ability, but you have to have ideas about where speakers capture different frequencies.  In Peavey Revalver, this is pre-set for you and I think it makes things much easier.  Also the website describes the qualities that speakers share and so you learn how to listen and distinguish between  deep and broad, tight, vs jitter.  Stuff like that.   Peavey Revalver 4 amp store.  They also have a forum, but it's kind of dead because they haven't  improved it in 2 years or so.  (It doesn't mean it's a bad product,) just kind of abandoned.  Which is sad.  I found it less expensive at the time than Amplitube which you have to get the max to get everything otherwise you encounter nag signs at least that is what I've read.  Anyways there is also Guitar Rigg which is great.  But I think Revalver 4 is the most put together.  

I like Revalver a lot.  I wish it would get some attention from Peavey, it certainly deserves it. 

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High output buckers have never worked for me. Lindy makes the best, to my ears (same caveat as above). But I will admit, once I put a set of Fralins (8k, 9k) in my Paul, I’ve never looked back. I’ve got a good story on that one if anyone is interested. 

Maybe there’s something out there...

Tom

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Wow, thank you all for your detailed replies and suggestions. I am a songwriter first and a guitar player second - perhaps I should have stated this upfront. 

I guess I am looking for another general all purpose amp sim, because I use cleans, overdriven and everything in between. So, I was wondering if S Gear is still top of the pile in this regard, or whether there is now something better. S Gear doesn't get much in the way of updates, so I thought there might be. 

I will certainly try out some of your suggestions, thanks again. 

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I love amp sims for stretching ideas down but when it comes to great recordings, nothing beats mic'ing a cab through a good pre amp.

my recipe is easy, A Marshall JCM 900 using an SM57 into a Focusrite ISA ONE.

I remember when amp sims first started making great strides, most of my home recording buddy's were selling their amps. I knew amp sims were great, I have flirted with them for years, still own my original Rockman X100, Line 6 POD 2.0, exc but they still can not replicate an environment. There is also a lot to be said for the transformers and circuit characteristics.

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I have been demoing the  STL Tones Howard Benson Tonality  plugin for the last 24 hours.

And before downloading I watched the Andy James review , a guy I really respect

A key selling point for this plugin is that you are supposed to be able to use the presets pretty much "out of the box" with just a little tweaking, and get a sound that will sit easily in the mix. Andy certainly agrees with this. 

I have tried and tried, but I can get absolutely nowhere near the sound I want. I have taken some of my existing songs where I used S Gear, and substituted the STL, and tweaked and tweaked...it doesn't get close to S Gear IMHO. I guess it is all down to personal preference. 

Sometimes I use S Gear in conjunction with my J Rockett Archer pedal and I think that combination produces really top level results. 

The lead guitar on this track starts at about 2.40 on this track and is recorded using S Gear...

I guess it all depends what sort of tones you are after, and your own personal preference. The moral of the story is - demo amp sims yourself before you buy, and test in the context of a mix, not in isolation. 

 

 

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