Tube Amp For Silent Recording Vs. an Amp Sim?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Carl Kolchak, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. Carl Kolchak

    Carl Kolchak SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    956
    Likes Received:
    62
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Not having a chance to A/B this myself, I was wondering if using a real tube amp/preamp going into some cabs sims would yield sonically superior results than a good quality amp sim at this point? I've tried some preamp pedals (some of the V1 and V2 AMTs), but was honestly not that impressed when compared to what I could achieve using a dedicated amp sim.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

    Messages:
    4,496
    Likes Received:
    861
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    In the shadow of a mountain near SLC UT
    The thing that's worked best for me is combining them. I use one of those Mooer preamps into the power sim section/IRs of the Mercuriall sims. Sounds good, feels fantastic.

    I've got some friends here that won't use anything but tube amps into a Torpedo product....works well, sounds good, feels ok but definitely not what I'm used to as far as feel from tube amps. It's not much if any different than just using a SS preamp to me. I'd rather just use a dedicated sim or hardware deal like a Kemper or Axe.

    Just my opinion/experience.
     
    Carl Kolchak likes this.
  3. Carl Kolchak

    Carl Kolchak SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    956
    Likes Received:
    62
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Which one are you using?
     
  4. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

    Messages:
    4,496
    Likes Received:
    861
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    In the shadow of a mountain near SLC UT
    The Engl one...

    To me, tube amps are more about the room...how it sounds and feels. That doesn't translate exactly to the IR, no matter what you do, so I don't see the point.
     
  5. axxessdenied

    axxessdenied SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,931
    Likes Received:
    421
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    What you hear in the room is not what you typically hear when you have an SM57 capturing the amp. Some amps are great for recording and others sound better for playing live.
     
  6. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

    Messages:
    4,496
    Likes Received:
    861
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    In the shadow of a mountain near SLC UT
    Dude exactly my point...unless you can capture EXACTLY what you're hearing in the room with IRs, there's really no point.

    I'm all about whatever inspires you and I'd never downplay that....if you're rocking a BE-100 and you love the way it sounds/feels in the room and you can make that happen using a Torpedo Studio, have the fuck AT IT.

    If it doesn't sound any better than the JCM in the Mercuriall Spark sim, why keep it around?
     
  7. Carl Kolchak

    Carl Kolchak SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    956
    Likes Received:
    62
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Speaking about IRs and loaders, is anyone working on any new/next gen technology atm to improve on them?
     
  8. Lorcan Ward

    Lorcan Ward 7slinger Contributor

    Messages:
    4,313
    Likes Received:
    708
    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Location:
    Ireland
    Lots of guys are working or have released what they claim is new IR technology or methods but the thing is impulses released years ago like Catharsis or Fredman are still as relevant and useful today when compared to recent releases. The same goes for IR loaders, there isn't a whole lot of difference between each one.
     
    Elric likes this.
  9. Carl Kolchak

    Carl Kolchak SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    956
    Likes Received:
    62
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    I still prefer the old Catharsis IRs to just about anything else that's come out since, with the exception of the Celestion IRs.
     
  10. PBGas

    PBGas SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,081
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2013
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I can use either. I prefer the amp to a Two-Notes Studio. I use this for live work to FOH as well and it always sounds fantastic. I use the Two-Notes optional cabs and they are awesome! My Helix sounds great as well. Haven't moved to Native yet but I will soon.
     
  11. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

    Messages:
    26,245
    Likes Received:
    1,817
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Somerville, MA
    Very subjective opinion here, but I'm kind of of the mindset that preamp/poweramp modeling has improved a lot faster than cabinet modeling has (though IRs have started to close that gap). If there's a modeler or VST out there that gives you the kind of tone you want for your guitar (i.e - this is sometimes a little bit of a struggle for me since I play a Recto Roadster dialed in for more of a Mark-like tone in Ch 3 (the equivalent of 2 on a 3-channel) so it's not your typical "Recto" tone) then if it's easier to use a VST to dial in your amp sound, I think you're not sacrificing as much there as you are on the cab+mic/direct-with-cab-sim decision.

    That said, the good news here is technology has gotten good enough that either amp sim VST's with a good IR OR a mic'd up cab and good tube amp will still get you totally serviceable results. That wasn't really the case 10 years ago, even.
     
  12. Elric

    Elric SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    For me, the tube gear no longer provides any real advantage in the silent context.It is all opinion, of course, but my feeling is that you are necessarily going to have to compromise to go silent and a lot of the advantages of the authentic tube gear get lost in that and a lot of hassle gets introduced. Now if you *want* a tube amp for both live/amplified use and just want to get it quiet, sure that is a doable thing with load boxes, whatever and might be worth it so you can do both. But TBH, for solely the purpose of silent use and/or recording... just a few minutes on Youtube/Soundcloud, etc will show that people get crushing tones with plugins and other sims at this point in time.

    It does not even really cross my mind to try to hook my amps up to a load box, etc, these days and I don't dick around with my tube preamps anymore at all. Reminds me I have been meaning to eBay/Reverb a bunch of guitar stuff, in fact. LOL.
     
  13. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

    Messages:
    26,245
    Likes Received:
    1,817
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Location:
    Somerville, MA
    Eh, DI recording has definitely closed the gap in recording quality as amp modeling and cab emulation has gotten a lot better in recent years, and it probably helps that modern metal guitar tones increasingly rely on a clean power amp and a saturated preamp... But, as great as IR's have gotten, even bumping a mic a millimeter or two can slightly change the way a recording will sound, and while in some ways that's a huge pain in the ass, in others that opens up a huge range in gradiations in color that you're not going to get from "SM57 on cone" vs "SM57 1" to the left of grill." And, the fact that poweramp saturation is less of a critical part of metal guitar tone than it was 30 years ago means crushing volume is no longer so important (or even, necessarily, desirable) so it's actually arguably easier to record a good tube head in a home studio environment and get a great metal sound.

    If you don't have the gear, then yeah, the up-front costs of a good amp, a good cab, a good mic (or mics), good preamps, etc make it way more prohibitive than simply recording a DI and pulling up one of the LePou plugins and a good IR (and I don't want to get all preachy here - I generally mic up, but I've gotten great results out of their Recto and Ecstasy models). So, there's a huge "barrier of entry" differentiator in favor of a modeling appproach. But, I think it's hard to argue that a VST/IR setup is as flexible as an amp/cab/mic setup. Both can yield great results, but if you have both at your disposal, I don't think you can (yet - a lot has changed in the last 10 years, after all) argue that a modeler/IR is clearly superior to an amp, cab, and mic, judged purely on the quality of the recording you can generate.

    Of course, let's keep this in perspective - outside of studio nuts, no one else is going to give a shit about anything other than the writing and performance. :lol:
     
  14. Elric

    Elric SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    593
    Likes Received:
    34
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Yep. Regardless of where your personal preferences and opinions land this is a good thing to remember to keep your perspective on it all.
     
  15. Metal Mortician

    Metal Mortician Ninja Lurker

    Messages:
    219
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2013
    Location:
    North Dakota
    There is no right or wrong way about it. Regardless of what consumerism will tell you, it is best to live within your means and limitations. Some of the best recordings years ago were done with really cheap stuff (Slaughter of the Soul, anyone?). Comparatively, new bands and artists are releasing quality stuff with not much more than guitar->interface->computer.

    It's definitely a new era where the term 'digital' doesn't have the connotation of a Zoom Pedal or Line 6 Spider.

    Work with what you have and make the best recordings you can. Use that experience and keep learning as you add in new gear.
     

Share This Page