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Anyone using guitar plugins (amp sims) on their computers? Tell all here!

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  • Anyone using guitar plugins (amp sims) on their computers? Tell all here!

    Lately I have been curious about amp sims (guitar plugins) for computer. I am starting to do research because I might choose a product soon. Is anyone here using amp sims / guitar plugins on their computer? If so, which one(s) are you using, how do you like them, etc.? I understand there are quite a few good free ones available for download, as well as good paid ones. Just want to be sure I select a good paid one if I go that route, and not waste money. Will try free ones and trial versions of paid ones first to gauge how I like them.

    Also, what interfaces are you using to connect your guitar to your computer to be able to use these plugins / amp sims? I figure I can use either my Yamaha THR10X or Yamaha THR10 as an interface and not need to buy a proper "standalone" dedicated interface. Have you needed to use a Direct Injection box to tame the overly hot guitar signal before it hits the interface? The reason I ask is because Steve From Boston has his signal path be Guitar --> DI box --> Interface --> Computer (as explained in his amp sim tutorial video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhv9rHUfHFk) because the guitar signal is too hot for the interface alone without a DI box in between to tame the signal, but Ola Englund has been running his amp sims without a DI box, with just Guitar --> Interface --> Computer and he has no problems with overly hot signals, and he gets great distorted tones and great clean tones in a metal application.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Number Of The Priest; 04-11-2020, 09:29 PM.

  • #2
    I used some free amp sims extensively until around 2015 when my recording setup got better. my best results were with LePou and Nick Crow amp sims and TSE overdrive/distortion box sims, but given it's been so long, my opinions are probably out of date. but know that equally as important as your amp sim choice is your choice of impulse responses or speaker cabinet simulations. a plethora of really great sounding impulse responses for myriad amp/speaker/cabinet/microphone combinations are available online and it would be futile to try and list them here.

    there are even some impulse responses floating out there that are not necessarily formed from physical measurements of a cab/mic, but are instead calculated using deconvolution. this is an inverse process to convolution, which itself is used to apply a filter represented by an impulse response to your input signal. that is to say, deconvolution takes an input signal and a a "target" signal and tries to find an impulse response which represents the forward transformation. this enables you to achieve "holy grail" tones without experimentation. as an example, here's a sanctuary cover I recorded for fun way back in 2013 using the lepou legion plugin, the tse 808 plugin, and a deconvolved impulse response of a certain guitar tone from a certain 16x platinum metal album that shares a similarity with a certain spinal tap album: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ppwm0uniny...drums.mp3?dl=0

    that you would use a DI to "tame a hot guitar signal" is pretty setup-specific to that guy's interface. I've never had a problem with a guitar signal overloading any of my interfaces. that focusrite must have a wonk preamp. you'll notice when he plugs in the DI he switches the input mode on the interface from "instrument" to "line" which, while primarily reducing the input impedance of the preamp, also decreases the gain which is what he is after. The DI box isn't actually doing any attenuation, it's just buffering the high impedance guitar signal. if you have an interface which has a high-impedance input mode (which your yamaha amp DOES, and any modern audio interface DOES) there is absolutely no need for a DI box.
    Last edited by metalhobo; 04-11-2020, 11:19 PM.

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    • #3
      Battle Angels with a Black album tone sounded great! Nice playing too!

      Thanks for the detailed breakdown, especially on the DI box issue!

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      • #4
        I figured out the Yamaha THR app for my laptop. Created a couple of presets.
        8 strings? Because 6 is too easy?

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        • #5
          95% of the time I play electric guitar unplugged or through a simple Boss OD-1 and Marshall MS-4 (micro practice amp) setup. I do have a fancier solution, and should really make better use of it. It consists guitar to Effectrode Blackbird (valve pre-amp) to Two-Notes C.A.B (speaker sim) to Edirol UA-101 (audio interface) to Reaper DAW on laptop. The C.A.B simulates several power amp designs, and I choose the one closest to the old Selmer valve amp I once owned. The speaker sim is where you can really alter the tone, I've bought many speaker IRs (and downloaded many user-made ones) to find those I like.

          I suppose it can all be done with software, I just enjoy connecting various physical boxes and cables (pedals especially). Possibly I don't like too many available parameters, that's why I went for a one pickup Charvel.

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          • #6
            I'm still using my old Line 6 Toneport UX1 with Windows 10. 95% of the time I'm playing through the computer. My amp is beside the computer and sometimes I'll switch to it but the great majority of my playing is done with my UX1. I know I know it's a dinosaur but it works and I half ass remember how to use it. Still had my presets from years ago backed up on my back up hard drive. The one thing I can't remember is how to record with it and what other program I was using. Damn 10 year hiatus from guitar has me trying to shake the cobwebs of my memory out.

            I really like how many different tonal options there are/were for the Toneport. I don't know what Line 6 offers now but I'm still digging my UX1 and have created a few more presets here recently.
            Last edited by Razor; 10-08-2020, 09:36 PM.

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