[OC][DISCUSSION] Software Amp Modeling Comparison

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I love software amp modeling plugins and have a small collection now so I thought I'd go ahead and record a short bit and share the files so that people can compare them for themselves.

Here's the amp sims I'm comparing:

  1. Bias Amp
  2. Mercuriall Spark
  3. S-Gear 2
  4. Mercuriall U530
  5. Bias FX

Each link leads to an MP3 that is 2 minutes and 11 seconds long.

My recording chain is this: Ibanez Prestige SA2021FM –> Donner Ultimate Comp compressor pedal –> Steinberg UR22 audio interface –> Reaper as my DAW.

I used Cab plugin (NadIR) and IR (OwnHammer's OH 412 MR82 M75B) file for all of the plugs. I use Valhalla's VintageVerb and Vallalla's Room as the only effects. I did NOT use the amp sims' effects or cabs because I wanted to make everything as neutral and even between them as possible. I tried to volume match each file so that the peak hit the same area, around -1.8 dB. My method of volume matching was clearly insufficient though so please feel free to turn up your volume yourselves on the quiet ones (particular the Mercuriall Spark file). I believe both of the Bias plugins use more built-in compression so those will seem to be the loudest.

The first minute and 12 seconds are a basic blues style Bm and A improve jam. This is using the neck humbucker pickup, volume and tone knobs maxed.

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At 1:14 I play some B minor variations arpeggiated and then into a couple standard powerchords using the same pickup and knob settings.

1:32 is the same section that I played at 1:14, but this time with the volume knob rolled off to about 50%. Tone knob still maxed.

1:50 is the same section once again and with 50% volume rolled off once again but this time I've use my neck humbucker in split single-coil mode. No change to the tone knob.

When I configured each amp plugins' settings I tried to get a bluesy tone with a decent amount of crunch in it. I don't have any way objective way of telling how much gain, distortion, or EQ is being used so I just "earballed" it and hoped that they all come close enough to give you a good idea of how they sound with similar settings.

Please note that I spend 99% of my time playing using headphones. I would probably use a little bit less reverb if I was playing out of speakers. I'd probably tweak the EQ a bit differently as well. I threw this all together while wearing my Sennheiser HD598.

Also note that the Mercuriall U530 is kind of the odd man out in this lineup. It really excels at more high gain and heavy genres, such as metal, prog-metal, or djenty stuff. However, I'm a fairly mediocre player despite my 15 or so years of experience and most of my time is spent playing low-gain and slower, more mellow stuff… I don't really know anything about playing metal. I'll leave that test for someone who has a clue what they are doing!

In any case, I hope that someone finds this useful and I would personally love to know what clip sounds the best to you.

submitted by /u/brandon7s
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Source: Guitar

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