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> The Gmc Guide To Free High Quality Tone
The Uncreator
post Apr 15 2012, 06:35 AM
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So we all want that Mesa Triple, Engl, 6505, Diezel, 5150, AxeFx, or whatever. We also would all want it for free - BUT - we unfortunately live in reality and this is not an option. For those of us who lack the often thousands of dollars to purchase high end equipment, there are solutions such as Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5, Overloud TH2, IK Multimedia's Amplitube 3,, or Peavey's Revalver that can all be bought for a couple hundred dollars.

These products essentially emulate many of the high end equipment we love and know, and with recent releases, often times do it remarkably well. They also offer different mic positions, cabinets, stompboxes, and other processing alongside its guitar amp emulation. I will personally testify that these products are worth your money, especially Guitar Rig which produces brilliant lead and solo tones, and exceptional cleans.

Now, there is still yet another option. And this is the best part, everything mentioned from here on out is free. Do not make the mistake and assume that this freeware cannot stand on its own against the might of NI products or Peavey's legendary tone, these not only hold their ground, they often times exceed them.

With a guitar amp, there are many deciding factors such as room, mic placement, mic type, dual mic'ing etc. This is not only expensive, but most of us do not live in studio conditions. These freeware programs ( and the aforementioned ones) emulate the room, the mic type and position, and many other nuances home studio artists might struggle to achieve. These programs are simple VST's that can be opened in your signal chain inside your DAW. Now, lets begin! smile.gif

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________________

The Amp
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________________________________________


LePou Lecto



LeCto is a guitar amp simulator inspired by an american modern high gain head. This simulator has 2 channels with 3 modes on each channel. It can go from crunch (raw mode) to modern high gain (modern mode).

Features :

-oversampling : determines the signal oversampling; up to 8x
-mono/stereo : determines the signal routing
-input : controls the magnitude of the input signal
-drive : controls the amount of gain
-low : controls the low frequency
-mid : controls the mid frequency
-high : controls the high frequency
-presence : presence control
-resonance* : controls the amount of resonance resulting from the interaction with the speaker cabinet
*Only active on modern mode




LePou Legion




LeGion is a high gain preamp simulator. This is an original design, it's not based on any hardware gear. My goal here was to build a high gain sim that doesn't need any booster in front in order to be tight.

Features:
- 2 channels, actually two completely different preamp circuit
- 2 modes on each channel, rhythm and lead
- 2 tonestacks assignable to any of the 2 channels
- the usual drive and tone controls

Thanks again to requietus for his great job on the GUI.
Thanks also to the testers : Alu, daxliniere, cococo, shogger, Dimi, onqel and HOTRIFF.

New version 1.01:
- more output volume
- less volume variations with coutour changes



LePou LE456



It's a preamp sim roughly based on a famous German gear. It has 2 channels and 2 modes per channel. Each channels/modes share the same features. Apart from the usual tone controls (drive, low, mid, high and contour), each channels/modes offer two different tone stacks that can be accessed via the focus switches. Bottom and bright switches can be used to boost the low and the high frequencies respectively. On the low gain channel only (Clean/Crunch), the effectiveness of the bright switch decreases with the gain settings.




Nick Crow 8505



Controls:
POWER - Power ON/OFF.
HQ - Oversampling ON / OFF. Use OFF to reduce CPU usage, use ON to get the quality sound without aliases (more CPU). When a project or the track is exported to a wave file (mixdown, bounce, render, freeze) oversampling is always automatically enabled regardless of the position of the button.
GAIN - Determines the amount of gain applied by the Pre Amp.
LOW, MID, SWEEP, HIGH - Tone Stack controls.
POWER AMP - Determines the amount of gain applied by the Power Amp.
VOLUME - Output level.


TSE (The Serina Experiment) Products







There are many more but these are some of the widely used and highly acclaimed products. The amp will be first in your signal chain, but an amp by itself is nothing right? You need the cabinets, and this is where things get interesting.

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_____________________

The Cabinets
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________________________________________

Now the cab emulation is where the variety comes into place. What do I mean by variety? Well I mean almost 700 plus samples of mic'ed cabinets. These however, are in the form of something called an impulse response, which in short and without getting technical about it, is a small .wav file that emulates a certain condition such as mic distances, type, room etc.

To use these you need something to load the impulse, which is know commonly as the "cab sim".

LePou LeCab2





KeFir V3





These are two amongst many, although the best and easiest to use. LeCab 2 is without a doubt my personal favorite as it allows blending of up to six IR's to create massive, unique tones. These will be second in your signal chain, just like in an actual amp setup would go, head first then Cab.

With these two entities you can easily start to develop and experiment with tone, and I do mean experiment. This where the big difference between the paid software and the freeware comes in. Guitar Rig does not want you to spend hours developing a tone, they have many presets and its designed for easy use. These freeware programs do require time, but they pay off in much more colored ways in reference to your tone. They allow for a more personal touch that can give you a great sound.

Next we need those impulses to load, and right off the bat I will give you more than 700 in one free easy download.


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The Impulse Response
________________________________________
________________________________________

God's Cab Impulse Responses

GuitarHack Impulses


Once you download these, inside your DAW when you have LeCab2 for example, you will be prompted to select a directory for the IR's. Simply select the location these were downloaded and extracted to and scroll through the list. Each file is a different mic, at a different distance, on a different cab. So there is a lot of experimentation to be done!

But we are guitarist here, and we love gear right? Of course, so here are yet some MORE free VST's that can be utilized to produce more varieties of tone!


________________________
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The Accessories
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Ignite Amps



Placing this before your AmpSim in your signal chain can produce clarity and allow you to add subtle touches to it. Discovered this recently and love it absolutely!



A tubescreamer, plain and simple. Placing this before your AmpSim will give that legendary flavor of TS drive and power



Same as the NRR-1 although I have actually added this after my AmpSim to produce a massive boost in power. If you do this, be sure to use it on the clean channel so your drive/ gain channels from previous plug-ins do not collide. Otherwise, putting this before your AmpSim will add to the tonal customization options you have.


TSE 808



A powerful, yet subtle tube screamer VST that is aimed to emulate infamous Ibanez TS9.


Now all this might be a bit overwhelming at first, so I will show you some basic signal chain setups you can use, including my own.

________________________
________________________

The Signal Chain
________________________________________
________________________________________



TSE 808 > Poulin Legion > LeCab 2 (loaded with IR of choice)


NRR-1 > Nick Crow 8505 > Kefir V3 (loaded with IR of choice)

The Anvil > LE456 > LeCab 2


These are basic setups, which should provide the basis for the experimentation and show you how you could go about achieving a quick tone. However things can get more complicated once you understand the application and purpose of the plug-ins. Here is my own, that I am currently using.

Attached Image
First I have the NRR-1, and using the rhythm channel I leave the volume and gain alone as they were. Boosting the bass all the way to produce punch ( I will highpass out excess later), placing the mids around 75% and the highs around 55 - 60% to brighten the tone. The "Bright" and "Boost" knobs are both active to add a little flavor of, well, brightness and boost.

Attached Image
Next is Poulin Legion, the drive and low knobs are left alone as the combination from the NRR-1 will produce enough distortion for me. I am a fan of a lower gain clarity. The mids have a miniscule boost, I find boosting the mids in the NRR-1 sounds better. The highs are boosted more in Legion as I prefer them to be boosted in the amp itself, to create more presence. The contour and presence knobs sit at about teh same setting to open up the tone. Volume dialed back just a bit, as the the tone has a lot of power at this point.

Attached Image
Next is The Anvil. I left this on the clean channel and dialed back on treble and volume. I trimmed off enough treble to the point where If I deactivated The Anvil in my chain, the high end remained almost completely unchanged as if it were on or off. The mids are boosted slightly again, and the rest is left alone.

Attached Image

Here I have blended four different IR's to create the tone. Three different mics were used. First, the U87 and NTS were chose because of there low end, and dark definition. They had little high presence, almost none at all, but had lots of low frequency clarity. The next two, both samples of the C414, were the opposite of the U87 and NTS. Lots of high frequency clarity, but little low end at all. Combining these four samples gave a me a dynamic tone, with clarity across the low, mid, and high end of my playing.

Now, after this is some minor EQ with a lowpass at 145hz, small boost around 3.5khz (.75 boost), and a lowpass at 16.5khz. Although the EQ at this point is just for personal preference.


So now you have the tools, so get out and experiment. It takes time but it is well worth it! Here is a song of mine done using the aforementioned software (although the settings here are older) Nevertheless, this is an example of what can be done with no money

http://soundcloud.com/lascailles-shroud/evolved-transcendental-cyber

Any questions at all, I will be glad to try and answer!
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Ben Higgins
post Apr 15 2012, 11:20 AM
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Awesome thread, Brett ! I'm a little confused by the 'Impulses' you refer to. What exactly are they ?

I had experimented before with downloading some amp freeware like Le this and Le that and the 5150 sim but for some reason they didn't seem to work well for me, like they didn't have enough gain. It just sounded fizzy and weird so I gave up on them. I just had the 'amp heads' and nothing else. I understand that adding simulate distortion pedals adds to it but I thought the point of the 5150 and modern high gain amps was that they had enough juice on their own. I'm sure it was something I was doing wrong but I'm interested to know smile.gif

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Apr 15 2012, 11:22 AM


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Fran
post Apr 15 2012, 12:40 PM
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Wow. Excellent thread, I'll make sure to add this to our wiki smile.gif


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SpaseMoonkey
post Apr 15 2012, 12:44 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Apr 15 2012, 06:20 AM) *
Awesome thread, Brett ! I'm a little confused by the 'Impulses' you refer to. What exactly are they ?

I had experimented before with downloading some amp freeware like Le this and Le that and the 5150 sim but for some reason they didn't seem to work well for me, like they didn't have enough gain. It just sounded fizzy and weird so I gave up on them. I just had the 'amp heads' and nothing else. I understand that adding simulate distortion pedals adds to it but I thought the point of the 5150 and modern high gain amps was that they had enough juice on their own. I'm sure it was something I was doing wrong but I'm interested to know smile.gif


I don't know exactly what the impulses is but I believe, which I'm probably wrong here but it sounds good in my head.

An impulse is when they take a real cabinet and microphone and record the sound it emits such as the static. Which when
you use it you get that same color of tone. Also you can't use just the amp heads, you need to toss on a cabinet program
whether its LeCab or Recabinet. It helps drastically in the tone and sound.

I've got guitar rig 5 and I can't get a single tone that I like out of it I feel the same way as you Ben, not enough gain.
For at night when I run headphones to play I use the LeGion with the LeCab running the SM57 mic voiced with the
tube screamer and it works pretty good.


--------------------
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Ibanez RG920QM (Black Ice) , Ibanez S770PB (Natural Flat) , Ibanez RG470 (Reactor Blue)
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FrontlineGuitar
post Apr 15 2012, 01:40 PM
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Might be worth mentioning that for recording this is great, but for practising in real-time you either need a pretty powerful computer (good sound card) or an external sound card.

For example, although I love my POD HD500, it also doubles up as a great external soundcard if I just run the guitar through it completely dry then into the computer, and that's how i can use vsts like this to play in real time. Just a heads up if you're using the old family computer like me tongue.gif


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The Uncreator
post Apr 15 2012, 03:00 PM
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Here is an example of my signal chain in Reaper, you must have LeCab 2 or something with a loaded impulse, otherwise the sound will be atrocious!
Attached Image

EDIT - The Guitar Rig instance just has a noise gate on it, nothing else.

Spase had it right with the Impulse, the technical side would be a bit more complicated. The impulse response, or impulse response function (IRF), of a dynamic system is its output when presented with a brief input signal, called an impulse. More generally, an impulse response refers to the reaction of any dynamic system in response to some external change. In both cases, the impulse response describes the reaction of the system as a function of time (or possibly as a function of some other independent variable that parameterizes the dynamic behavior of the system).

I actually run a fairly light system compared to some, 3.2ghz dual core/ 8GB Ram and can use this in real-time no problem when recording. Just have to get your buffers and audio devices straight.

Also Ben, a lot of these at first will seem 'lackluster' almost. You will mess around a bit and think "man I don't see what is so great". But once you have got the signal chain setup, and you can start cycling through the God's Cabs IR's for example, eventually something will click, you will hear that certain something and it gets easier from there.

I will be doing a video later that will show more in depth on how I arrived at those certain impulse, but basically I chose them by their definition qualities (high end and low end).

Ben, its also worth mentioning that you can use these impulses with Guitar Rig. Just disable the cab inside Guitar Rig and place LeCab after it and load some impulses, then you can use all the heads of GR or what have you smile.gif

EDIT 2 - In The God's Cab IR's the "TS" folder means the samples were run with a tube screamer, and "No TS" is obviously no tube screamer at all.
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Ben Higgins
post Apr 15 2012, 03:31 PM
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Cool, thanks for clearing that up guys.. not having a cab loaded wasn't helping me at all wink.gif


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The Uncreator
post Apr 16 2012, 03:31 AM
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Interested to see what instructors can come up with, or anyone with extensive experience with higher end amps
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Todd Simpson
post Apr 18 2012, 07:17 AM
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Congrats! KILLER POST! For any MACINTOSH USERS who'd like to try these out, here is a link to the blog where you can get some as "Audio Unit" plugins for LOGIC, Garage Band, etc. The links are on the bottom right of the page, just scroll down.

http://lepouplugins.blogspot.com/2010/12/l...or-windows.html

The IGNITE AMPS plugs are availabe as AUDIO UNIT also.

http://www.igniteamps.com/en/audio-plug-ins

Maybe a bit of a collab/contest where we all pitch in and make some tones/patches?

BEN: Low gain on input is something that happens when getting in to this for lots of folks, myself included. I could never seem to get adequate gain in before the noise level was way to high. The solution, (for me at least) was to add an ACTIVE DIRECT BOX that adds 20 DB of gain to the input signal before it goes to the audio interface. The unit I'm using was less then $100 on ebay.

It's the unit third up from the bottom with XLR jacks on the front. It's actually four Active Direct Boxes in a rack. I"ve never used more than 2 though.

Attached Image

This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Apr 18 2012, 07:17 AM


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Cosmin Lupu
post Apr 18 2012, 10:10 AM
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Oh man, I think I am missing out on things biggrin.gif all these look very interesting, although I like my tube and analogue gadgetry a lot better than anything digital tongue.gif for now wink.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Apr 30 2012, 09:58 PM
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A spiff video to help illustrate some of the FREE vst's in this roundup!



P.S. UNCREATOR: REGARDING SIGNAL CHAIN

Why don't you zip up a REAPER project with your signal chain and settings and share it with the forum? Unless of course your settings are not for sharing, which is fine and I've run across people like that before. Not everybody wants to share everything. But if your up for it, it would certain help folks out. That way if they have reaper, and the plugins installed, they can just pull up the project and get an idea of what is possible.

I've noticed that getting from zero to good tone with reaper and plugins is a process and one that seems so daunting at first, due to the fact that out of the box, all of sounds fair to medium at best, folks just bail and go mic up their amp. Which is understandable. But maybe if folks could get a bit further at the start, it might start to make sense to them.

This is why I started sharing my guitar rig/overloud patches in my forum. I wasn't a huge fan of either one out of the box, but after endless hours of tweaking, bingo!


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derper
post May 1 2012, 12:02 AM
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I didn't know that about you Coz!! I'm the same way, although I did purchase my first interface (line 6 kb37, which has a build in midi controller and effects!!) to start doing better collabs.

But before that, I was all about playing live funk, so tube/analog tone is KING! I must say, that I'm surprised at the quality you can get out of current digital units (even for live gigs), but I tend to waste too much time customizing all of the patches, whereas with pedals I just tweak a knob and rock.

So far, I've only used the POD Farm 2.0 stuff that came with my interface. I've gotten some pretty sweet tones out of it for recording or practicing at home.


QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Apr 18 2012, 02:10 AM) *
Oh man, I think I am missing out on things biggrin.gif all these look very interesting, although I like my tube and analogue gadgetry a lot better than anything digital tongue.gif for now wink.gif



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Todd Simpson
post May 1 2012, 12:29 AM
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DERPER AND COS have some good points on this, when it comes down to it, an emulation is just that. An emulation. It's not the real thing. It's close to sounding like the real thing, and cheaper, and more accessible, but it will NOT replace your Marshal Stack for live work, in all likelihood. Tube Amps, especially nice/expensive/boutique ones, can sound AMAZING, and put through a great cab that's hand built from fine wood, killer tone. But this reminds me of another thread where Ivan was asking Tony Miro what plugins he likes and Tony said he like his $10,000 rack pieces over software cause they sound better. Two entirely different worlds.

But for those of you who have yet to jump in to the digital world, there is good news. It's cheap, and getting cheaper all the time so that that barrier is barely there. It's starting to sound amazing and getting better all the time so that barrier is gone. And it makes recording decent quality stuff at home without getting the cops called for noise pollution a real option. smile.gif So for those who are have jumped in, put a toe in the water. Try one emulator, don't spend forever, just give it a shot and use some patches from somebody who knows about making patches and let it grow from there wink.gif


QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Apr 30 2012, 04:58 PM) *
A spiff video to help illustrate some of the FREE vst's in this roundup!



P.S. UNCREATOR: REGARDING SIGNAL CHAIN

Why don't you zip up a REAPER project with your signal chain and settings and share it with the forum? Unless of course your settings are not for sharing, which is fine and I've run across people like that before. Not everybody wants to share everything. But if your up for it, it would certain help folks out. That way if they have reaper, and the plugins installed, they can just pull up the project and get an idea of what is possible.

I've noticed that getting from zero to good tone with reaper and plugins is a process and one that seems so daunting at first, due to the fact that out of the box, all of sounds fair to medium at best, folks just bail and go mic up their amp. Which is understandable. But maybe if folks could get a bit further at the start, it might start to make sense to them.

This is why I started sharing my guitar rig/overloud patches in my forum. I wasn't a huge fan of either one out of the box, but after endless hours of tweaking, bingo!



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The Uncreator
post May 1 2012, 03:18 AM
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Well the very end of the OP, those pictures represent my signal chain exactly as it sits in Reaper. In that order, so I don't know how I could make it more clear, the pictures also show my settings as well.
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Todd Simpson
post May 1 2012, 03:31 AM
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QUOTE (The Uncreator @ Apr 30 2012, 10:18 PM) *
Well the very end of the OP, those pictures represent my signal chain exactly as it sits in Reaper. In that order, so I don't know how I could make it more clear, the pictures also show my settings as well.


Even that assumes a degree of knowledge some folks just won't have yet right? If they are new to reaper, and new to recording/plugins etc. The pic won't help that much. If someone has used reaper, and has some experience with vst then sure smile.gif But for example, when starting out, it's not always obvious for folks to start a guitar plugin like amplitude from within a DAW, in fact, many folks start guitar rig or what not, then start reaper, and of course, it won't record right that way. But if your new to it, how would you know? So being able to open a project with the bits all in the right place would be a big help to those just making the leap smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 1 2012, 08:48 AM
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I think I'll stick to my analogue devices man smile.gif they give me a feeling and dynamics which can't be obtained from digital devices. Nonetheless, Todd's suggestions are very good. It's not to easy to manage a big stack, pedals and all that.


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thefireball
post May 1 2012, 09:02 AM
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I wish my computer had a faster processor.... 2.1 GHz... it hiccups a with Reaper and POD Farm


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