Super Models (plug in)

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by BWV548, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. BWV548

    BWV548 New Member

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  2. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Archon owning member

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  3. Em7

    Em7 deus ex machina

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    These guys are doing it right. They are modeling the dynamic performance of each stage in an amp. The thing about tube amps that guitarists love is the "slop" in the technology. Unlike tube hi-fi, tube guitar amps were built to more budget friendly price points. That is difficult for the average guitarist to believe today, but it is true. The tones and performance that we love are the result of manufacturers either cutting corners or using whatever parts that they could purchase cheaply. Basically, guitar tube amplification can be summed up as a collection of happy accidents that guitarists used to their advantage. It is a tube amp's inherent non-linearities that differentiate it from its solid-state counterparts. Basically, designers have been attempting to recreate the slop from tube technology with solid-state circuitry for decades. However, straight solid-state devices are inherently more linear in operation, will go right up to the power rails before clipping, and clip hard when they do so. On the hand, tubes will not go right up to the power rails. They start to clip earlier, and when they so, it is not like one just chopped off the top of the wave. A tube rounds off the corners. That is important because an amp adds harmonics (multiple of the original frequencies) as it goes into clipping. The flatter part of the wave is caused by harmonics mixing with the original signal. An oscilloscope will show the wave. A spectrum analyzer will show the frequency components in the wave.
     
    DreamTheaterRules and mad monk like this.
  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Even though I prefer and use tube amps for final recordings on projects whenever possible, I’ve got a bunch of amp plugins, most of which I try a few times, and don’t return to. There are a few, however, that are nice, useful scratchpads for trying out ideas.

    Assuming that Waves has demos of these plugins available for download, I’ll take them for a spin later today or tonight.
     
    jfb likes this.
  5. jxe

    jxe babe en der wood

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    you can model every component in a signal chain if you have enough gpu. believe it! models get a bad rap because model users are often amateurs, don’t know how to integrate the model output into their recording (bad mic or straight to disk dry), and so on. there are a thousand things going on in a studio recording and it’s easy to blame gear but the amp quality is rarely my biggest problem.
     
  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    True that.

    What’s your biggest problem?

    I only have problems when I’m the guitar player. ;)
     
  7. jfb

    jfb Plank Owner

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    I'll keep an eye out for the initial thoughts. I'm curious.
     
  8. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Archon owning member

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    Ok, I must come clean... I only looked last night because of the thread title. I thought we were going to see really hot super models, and of course, was curious about the plug in part. o_O
     
    BMiller likes this.
  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    VERY Preliminary Thoughts...please take these with a grain of salt, I only spent a few hours with these plugins. I didn’t put together a comparison clip, because spending a few hours with a powerful piece of software isn’t enough time to really learn what it can/can’t do. So when I say these are only initial impressions, I mean it.

    I’ve spent years with my real amps, and two hours with these plugins. Now, on to the impressions...

    First I bought this plugin set because it was on sale for only $49. Great price for any decent plugin. I wanted to have some time to work with it in some different contexts, so it made sense to buy it.

    I spent about three hours with the Dallas and V9 models; I didn’t get to the Archon for lack of time. As I said earlier, that’s not a lot of time to spend learning a piece of software.

    I recorded them with my 594, through my pedalboard, into an Avalon U5 Direct Box, and from there into my UA Apollo. My computer runs Logic Pro (latest version, whatever that is).

    I ran the guitar through my pedalboard because Waves says to use a buffer before the DI; the pedalboard has a very high quality buffer made by Pettyjohn.

    I tried it with and without the pedals I normally use, which gave me a nice opportunity to compare the plugin amps to the types of sounds I get with my real amps and my own rig.

    I directly compared the Dallas and V9 models to similar styles of amps from Brainworx and UAD (i.e., Fender-style and whatever amps I could get to mimic the V9 type of sound. Like Waves, Brainworx and UAD do component modeling, which I agree is the best way to model hardware.

    The Dallas and V9 plugins sounded at least as good, if not a little more clear and present, than some of the Brainworx models, and were about tied with others, like the “Bassdude.” They sounded as good or better than most of the UAD models, but not quite as real as the UAD Tweed Deluxe model. All of these are top, highly regarded plugins, so the Supernodels are in good company. I have other amp model plugs I don’t think are on that level, so I didn’t bother comparing them.

    I also tried the Dallas plugin with the speaker cab emulation turned off, using an Ownhammer IR. I didn’t care for that quite as much, though it certainly works. The cab IRs that come with the Dallas seem to be well-matched to the plugin’s amp emulation. I didn’t use 3rd party IRs with the V9, as there wasn’t time.

    These two plugins were easy to play through. There wasn’t noticeable latency with my UA Apollo. Once I got the hang of setting the levels, there wasn’t any crackling or other audio nonsense.

    I also and compared the plugin tracks to some solo’d tracks of pieces I’ve recorded with my real amps, for example, setting the Dallas plugin as closely to the Lone Star as I could; and to the real HXDA set clean.

    I turned off all processing such as compressors, reverbs, and EQs on both the model and the real amps.

    The plugins sound quite good for plugins, but when you switch the solo button from the modeled track to the real track, they have less liquidity and 3-dimensionality than the recordings of the real amps. The caveat here is...my time with these plugins was limited today, and maybe I can make them sound more real down the road.

    As of today’s initial test, compared to the recordings of my amps, they have less front-to-back depth, less fullness/oomph, and they sound drier. The sense of “bounce” and liquidity I hear with a real tube amp was missing.

    In other words, as of today, did they sound like real amps miked up in a real room? Sadly, no. Edit: But I'm working on it!

    Trying to remedy this, and thinking one difference might be the mic on the real amps picking up a little room reverb, I tried several reverbs with it, including UAD Ocean Way and some other IR rooms, but I couldn’t get the plugins to sound like real amps through my recording rig.

    However, the very good news is that both models tested responded very nicely to the volume control of the guitar. That was a nice surprise, and they also felt pretty good to play.

    Since I bought the plugin instead of just demoing it, I have plenty of time to work with it and try to get it to sound more like the real thing. Did I waste my $49? Well, if I have a couple of nice evenings playing around with them, or come up with some good musical idea using them, no, it wasn’t a waste. And maybe I can get them to sound more real somehow.

    Anyway, these are initial thoughts, subject to change once I have more time to spend with the plugs. As of this moment, I’m going to head down to the studio again, and have another go using them.

    :)

    Edit: See my post below for a comparison clip, real vs model. I think I got the model sounding pretty darn good, though I prefer the real amp.

    Second Edit: After another day or two with these, I think they’re among the top 2 modeling plugins on the market, and if you’re not a UAD user, they’re the best out there.

    I was impressed a few years ago with the Scuffham S-Gear plugins, but the I wasn’t crazy about the amps they were modeling.

    The Brainworx/UAD amps have some nice features and sound good, but...they don’t have the tweakability of these plugins. The UAD Tweed, however, is maybe a little more real-sounding, but it’s pretty close, especially once you load in your own IRs, and while the Tweed model sounds very amp like, a real Tweed Deluxe has a different tone as well.

    So I like these. I’ll use them for scratch tracks, and they’ll get a workout in my system.
     
    #9 LSchefman, Jun 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  10. jxe

    jxe babe en der wood

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    top post, LS. i was about to ask about your di situation. and i really want an apollo.

    and to answer, my biggest problem is i’m not interesting and have bad ideas.

     
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    OK, so heres a NOT APPLES TO APPLES comparison of the same alternating phrase played first on the real HXDA, and then on the V9 model, and then back to the real amp, etc. The two amps, are, obviously, not the same model of amp. That's real life, folks. Can't be helped, I don't have a real V9, and the plugin doesn't include an HXDA model. So I came about as close as I could.

    Both tracks used the exact same plugins, except for the modeling amp processing. The plugin has a little EQ and delay in front of the amp, because I used a little EQ and delay in front of the real amp. I added a little reverb to the modeled amp to give it a little more space and make it sound better.

    Unfortunately, to make this even less apples to apples, the neck pickup I used on the real amp overloaded the bottom end on the plugin unless I rolled it too low to match what I'd recorded with the real amp, so I used the middle pickup on the plugin. I used the tone controls to come as close as I could with the model.

    Again, the real world ain't always science.

    Point is, if you listen on good speakers or good headphones, I think you'll hear what I'm talking about when I talk about 3-dimensionality and spaciousness in the real amp, as well as liquidity and bounce.

    You'll also hear that with a little processing, the model sounds very good. It's a high quality plugin for sure.

    Here's the clip:

    https://soundcloud.com/lschefman/amp-vs-model

    Incidentally, the original HXDA track was part of my “Pedaland” tune, and on the tune, there’s a separate track for that amp for a room mic. I did NOT use the room mic track on this clip. However, I used a reverb on the model to give it a little more air, trying to make it sound as good as the real amp. So the model has a sonic edge over the real amp. I bent over backwards to make the model sound good vs the real amp.
     
    #11 LSchefman, Jun 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  12. BWV548

    BWV548 New Member

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    Thanks for the legwork, LSchefman! Will listen when I’m in front of a system that has speakers worthy of your work!
     
    Collywobbles likes this.
  13. Collywobbles

    Collywobbles New Member

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    Thanks for the post Les - I can see you put a lot of thought / time in to this. Personally I much prefer the real amp. There's quite a difference to my ears. But it's whatever works for you - for example I prefer Leica binoculars but it doesn't mean that Zeiss or Swarovski aren't any good.
     
  14. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Actually, it wasn’t a big deal to record the clip; took a few hours, soup to nuts.

    The real amp recording was made a few weeks ago. You’re hearing what I hear. There’s a sound to the real amp vs. the model that’s not easy to put into words. Folks need to hear things back to back to get it; hence, the clip.

    Does the recording of the model sound as compelling as the inexpensive, $100 Audix i5 stuck in front of the real amp? I figure everyone needs to decide for themselves.

    Speaking of binoculars, I’ve had my grandfather’s Zeiss pair he bought in the 1950s for years. They’re still so good I’ve never had to consider buying anything else.
     
    #14 LSchefman, Jun 20, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  15. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Archon owning member

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    Track removed... ???
     
  16. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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  17. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Archon owning member

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    Weird... opened right up this time. Last time said "this track has been removed."
     
  18. FirstFiveEighth

    FirstFiveEighth New PRS Aposlte

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    I demo'd these plugins for a week and they are pretty great (my favorite amp sim hands down); i'd say with the right hands and in a mix, you wouldn't tell these aren't tube. Awesome to noodle with to lay down ideas but no effects (except reverb on dallas) and the stock IRs are good not great... i'm just expecting too much from a $50 plugin!
     
  19. jxe

    jxe babe en der wood

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    i would a/b these by recording raw guitar tracks and piping these thorough the amp model into a flat power amp into a real cab, and the actual amp into the same cab in the same room using the same mics.
     
  20. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Why bother with that? It serves neither a useful nor the model's intended purpose. The point of the model is to model the amp and cab (and in this case the mic, or even blend two cabs), and not have to mic a cab.

    The model I recorded in my clip used a PRS 2x12 with V-30s. I recorded the real amp with the same type of PRS 2x12 and V-30s.

    It'd be a complete hassle to find a solid state power amp, wire it up to the recording rig, and run it into a cab, when I can simply run a cable into the real amp from the pedalboard or guitar.

    If I want to mic up a cab, I'll just record the frickin' real amp.
     

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