Amp Sim tips

Amp Sim tips


Sounds pretty dope to me !


The guitars sound good to me too!


That’s some very nice snarling, how much did you have to tweak it? Did you tweak the preset or was it done after the fact?


Hahaha…shhh, we were never supposed to tell we used those crappy Behringer’s! LOL!! I actually never used them for sims, but lightly on just about everything else. I have no idea why those junkers did so well with conditioning signals to disc. For sims, my best weapons were my Drawmer Tube compressor, a Manley ELOP and then the pedals like the TS808, or some over-drive, or the blue Boss Compressor Sustainer was the best. That’s the problem with amp sims…they lack the buffered signal push like the front end of a real amp has.

So when you drive it a little bit, it can make a world of difference. When I worked for Acme Bar Gig and was developing Shred and Headcase plugins, we did lots of work on the front end of our plugs. We had a few things no one else had at the time that really made an awesome difference in the way the sim behaved. The down side was, it just never sounded or reacted like a tube amp. The up side was, it sounded great as far as transistor sounds go and it also had sustain.

That’s the huge fault with amp sims and plugs. They give you balls full of distortion, but the sustain just isn’t there unless you jack your monitors to the point of feedback. This is where a stomp box going first can really help. Take like an over drive or the Boss comp/sustainer or a tube screamer, run the output level all the way up, drive all the way down, and mess around with the one up the middle. If you have a little hiss, back the output down a bit. You shouldn’t need any drive from the TS.

We’ve come a long way with amp sims and the like. I have an endorsement with Fractal Audio at the moment and also do quite a bit of beta testing and help with development. Now THAT is an off the hook, sophisticated system! The amps in that are the real deal and the possibilities are limitless. Yeah it’s pricey as heck, but it’s the last pre-amp I’ll probably ever get. I’ve since sold all my amps because I really don’t need them. Between the AX8, FX8, AxeFxII and the XL+, I’m in heaven over here! The best stuff I’ve ever played through hands down. Anyone in or near NJ, come try them out!

The other thing about amp sims…is copping the 12AX7 front end. I’ve not heard many people do this and make it convincing. You can always hear it when you back down a volume or in pinch harmonics. It gives it right away for me. Transistor stuff just sounds weird with backed down volume and the transients don’t clip off as smooth or as warm.

And lastly, cab IR’s are huge for getting great tones with sims. There are companies putting them out now that are truly amazing. High passing and low passing on cab IR’s is super important too as you can remove that sub low push and sizzle that shouldn’t be in a guitar tone any way. The other thing that can really help is pre-eq…before the tone stack or plugin. Eq-ing your signal before it hits the plug with a little dirt pushing the eq level a bit can be huge in tone sculpting. That was one of the cool things about Rocktron stuff…they always gave you pre and post eq. I never thought their stuff sounded tubey enough, but I always got great results due to the pre eq. Good stuff. :slight_smile:

Pedals probably won’t be the same Brian. Then again, it depends on which ones as well as what they are capable of. Some of those boutique pedals sounds pretty cool on their own, but still need an amp to really come to life. Driving things in front of them sometimes skewers the sound. A little compression will never hurt though.


P.S. Paul, I meant to tell you before. I’ve since ditched the Behringer comps. There’s a few good modeled comps in my Midas that give me even better results. Along with the Midas pre’s, I’ve been extremely happy. It was really amazing how good those Behringer comps worked on guitars and vocals though. All the good outboard gear I’ve had here…and they were just the right thing for a little signal conditioning going to disc. Probably something terrible in their circuitry that degraded the signal just right. Lol!

Reminds me of a guitar track I did for a client. I did a scratch track on my little work computer with a Realtek sound card and ASIO4ALL drivers.

Recorded at 16/44 and something about the way that sound processed just blew me away. When I brought the project into my good gear at my studio, I could not get my sound to quite sound like that. It was so weird!

I was using RME, Lynx and Echo audio I interfaces at the time. None of them got that sound. Lol! Something must have processed through the terrible converters of the Realtek that had a positive impact on dirty guitar tones. I’ve used that a few times for certain things. I guess at the end of the day, it matters not how we get there…as long as we DO in fact get there. :slight_smile:


Is that an endorsement or an artist sponsorship?

…can the Fractal be programmed to switch channels on amps?
…does it have routing i/o (or loops) for analog pedals? How many?
…can you freely re-order the insert point at which the outboard pedals are implemented in the chain?

And does the AES port on the back of the unit carry 8 bi-directional channels of AD/DA? In other words, if I were to strap a motu828 to the fractal over 75ohm XLR, could I create 8 independent i/o loops? Or is this only for routing to a DAW? Have you tried this? What about latency?


I was asked initially to beta test as I had not shared with them that I had two world wide released albums, a deal in Japan with Marquee Avalon and other labels in the UK. I don’t really enjoy being forced to use gear like most endorsements make you stick to, so I wasn’t really interested in anything like that. I pay for what I use, ya know? But then one day, I guess they valued what I had to say as well as where I’ve been. I like being a part of the team as I can help make the product better. So playing two positions is pretty awesome. :slight_smile:

I’ve never tried to switch channels on amps and do not thing we have that capability. However, you never know. Our pedal boards (MFC 101 and AX 8) have some sick possibilities. I don’t use amps any longer and don’t need extensive switching other than the actual Fractal units themselves. So unfortunately, I can’t really tell you. I have no problems asking if you want me to?

It has loops, yes. You can loop internally as well as control the loops from the software. We have a stereo send and stereo return.

I have no idea on the re-order question as I do not use any external pedals or gear with it.

No on the bi-directional channels. It’s only for routing to a DAW. You can use it as a soundcard/interface as well as a direct box for instant re-amping. There is no latency that I’ve experienced, but I use a console so I never have latency as I do not monitor interface inputs.


@StylesBitchley i just slapped in the plugin and pulled down the bass on the amp settings a bit. then raised the built in limiter a bit too. no more post processing outside the plugin.


wow youre a god danny!!! thanks for the tips :slight_smile: i’ll read back on this thread further


Dang! Your den looks even more chaotic than mine haha. This was when I was trying to figure out the amp switching and routing for the wet-dry-wet (left/center/right) rig :smiley:


Hahaha! I love it Jonathan! It sounds like you may be in need of a switching system. Ever heard of a Bradshaw? I have one here…and RSB 18. Absolutely amazing. This thing does everything.

I have one here in my big rig that I still use today at times. You can trigger amps, old effects, midi…it’s off the hook. It’s old technology, but was ahead of it’s time and is the best switching system I’ve ever used in that respect. Not much need for it these days with the Fractal stuff, but if you are combining amps, effects and loops etc, this thing has 11 channels of mixing board built in along with fx loops all over the place. :slight_smile:


Hey @Danny_Danzi, I’d love to get some of your insights on an idea that @Paul999 and I were working on. I’ll start a new thread for it as it’s a tiny bit different than what we are discussing here. Regarding pedals/amp sims


Sure man…I’ve been waiting to get in on one of those meetings you told me about. Let’s get this place jumping!


Are you trying to sell one?


No sir, I was just trying to show you what it looked like as well as close ups on the connections. My big rig (25 space flight case) has some dinosaur effects in it that just sound great. Along with that and the midi I need, I’d be lost without it.


I like the guitar sounds but I think it needs just a bit of a more air on the guitars to be convincing.
Just a touch too dry for my taste.


Yes, there is something about that special moment when the combination of 1’s and O’s allow a sweet preset to sweeten my guitar or my keys. That said I also like the total lack of latency issues that occur with Logic when I mike my Vox amp and play with little or no effects. I still love my reverb in post production. I guess it’s a trade off isn’t it! Maybe I have much more to learn yet about latency issues and setup, as I am steel relatively green in the digital world and mixing with headphones and consumer speakers! :gun:


Hey @feaker, moved this over here if ya don’t mind :smiley:

If you’re looking at going the amp sim route, Dave @Chordwainer, Andrew @ColdRoomStudio and I all use Scuffham and are quite happy with them. They’re not too expensive either.

Have you tried the Line 6 Pod HD or the Helix? Those are really incredible sounding. I don’t think they’re as convenient as the plugins, but I think they sound just as good and they’re way more versatile.


Oh crap, just when things are getting real interesting, I have to go build on our garage/inlaw apartment. ha ha
I’ll get back. No I don’t care where this goes, I didn’t see this for some reason


add JonJon to the list of Scuffham ‘S Gear 2’ users.

I tried in vain for about 2 years to get any amp sims to work but simply couldnt due to lag etc.

3 laptops later I have finally joined the amp sim crowd.

Dont waste your $$$ on Mercuriall Spark…massive noise no matter what you do. I bought it like 18 months ago but my laptop at the time had too much lag. My new laptop will run Mercuriall but its just ridiculously noisey. Makes me seriously doubt the honesty of online reviewers because only 1 or 2 mentioned it but its massive.

I bought the Slate everything bundle which just happened to come with the S Gear 2 sim. I wasnt even expecting it or paying it any mind but lo and behold it works and works great!

Timely because I just posted by first jam with the new SIM and Slate vsts etc