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> Software Vs Hardware Amp Simulators: Performance Question
KenA
post Dec 5 2013, 07:23 PM
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Hi all,

2 years ago when I finally got an electric guitar I had this dillema: should I go hardware ( Line6, Eleven, etc) or go software (Guitar rig, Amplitube, TH2, etc) ... well, the easiest path for me was to try software based amp sim, so that's what I did. After some testing I decided to go with Overloud. So far so good ... but one thing I noticed after a while is that when I'm playing with just the guitar and the amp sim., the sound quality is really good, but when I'm recording with a backing track using my Daw I noticed a sound quality loss in the final recording.

Well, I know that there are several reasons for that, one because the computer processor has now the task to handle several processes, but mainly the DAW (recording, playing, etc) + the amp sim (converting my guitar signal and sending it to the computer) ... I could raise the sample rate, but the latency will be an issue here. The computer specs like: processor, ram, hd speed, OS also. ( I use a Macbook Air with 4gb adn SSD drive, so it's average overall )

The hardware solution could be better here, bacause the hardware amp sim will be responsible to handle the guitar signal in its internal processor and just send the final 'product' to the computer.

I never used a hardware amp sim before, so maybe someone could share his/her experiences regarding performance issues here.

Normally the maker of the hardware amp sim, make available a software interface so one could edit/update it, but I'm not considering that situation. It's just (guitar+HW.amp.sim+daw ) versus (guitar+SW.amp.sim+daw)

Hw can be very pricy too: AxeFx??? ... Line6 Pod series can be a good candidate, and I'm curious about Yamaha THR.

This post has been edited by KenA: Dec 5 2013, 07:24 PM


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Mertay
post Dec 5 2013, 08:21 PM
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Actually on the computer side of things, many user agree that the amps (distortion in general) is pretty good nowadays but the cab. sim.s need more work. If one actively follows new products (even freeware) there is more releases and hype toward cab. sim.s than amps for a while now.

The other problem is those coders aren't professional guitarists and since software companies are getting smaller and smaller they can get limited help from them since there is a budget issue. So thats another reason why software is much cheaper than dedicated devices.

If you want to get the most with the lowest budget is the computer world you simply have to work for it and know how to pick whats for you as new isn't always better smile.gif following is easy, just sign in a popular forum (like kvr) and check it out one in a while. The choosing thing is harder, everybody has his way like I prefer jamming on a backing track after a short while if I think that software might be useful for me.

But relying on products like amplitube or TH2 isn't so bad if you aren't using presets. Usually its all about getting the most out of it then your fine in terms of usable sounds.

In professional productions programs like amplitube, TH2 are used sometimes after the actual recording for tonal variance so I don't believe they're "that bad" compared to any alternative.


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Todd Simpson
post Dec 5 2013, 08:36 PM
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Todd here wink.gif

In terms of hardware sims, it depends on budget. What is your budget? If it's low your looking at a pod, but with a grand or two you can get an axe fx. They are everything you've heard they are smile.gif However, you could build a mobile solution using an ipad and Jam UP Pro or something like that.

What's your budget btw?


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Dec 5 2013, 08:41 PM


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KenA
post Dec 5 2013, 09:21 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Dec 5 2013, 07:36 PM) *
Todd here wink.gif

In terms of hardware sims, it depends on budget. What is your budget? If it's low your looking at a pod, but with a grand or two you can get an axe fx. They are everything you've heard they are smile.gif However, you could build a mobile solution using an ipad and Jam UP Pro or something like that.

What's your budget btw?



Yeah, budget is limited (up to 750 U$), but the main doubt here is in terms of performance. Since I'm using a laptop I'm aware that i'm already with some constraints. Probably the main reason I'm considering using a hardware device in order to free my computer from the guitar/amp simulation task. At the same time I'm afraid of buying less expensive hardware and ending up with a worst experience. (after all Overloud is not bad at all) ... My audio interface is Apogee Jam ...


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Taka Perry
post Dec 5 2013, 11:21 PM
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I've never tried Pods, but looking at your budget, something like this might fit. It looks like a very powerful unit, and I've heard some great things about it. The best thing is to go to a music store and try different ones smile.gif



Link


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KenA
post Dec 6 2013, 01:46 AM
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The HD500 really looks like a good one and also not too expensive ... in my case, since I have a more portable rig: laptop + simple audio interface + sw.amp.sim + portable audio interface + guitar, I believe that if I replace the sw.amp.sim with a hw one like HD500, it will ease things for my laptop, plus with the HD500 I won't need the audio interface (apogee jam) ... a real amplifier is out of the question in my case.


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Mertay
post Dec 6 2013, 02:13 AM
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How will you record also an unprocessed track?


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KenA
post Dec 6 2013, 03:54 AM
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QUOTE (Mertay @ Dec 6 2013, 01:13 AM) *
How will you record also an unprocessed track?


You mean in terms of FXs? (reverb, delay) post/pre recorded? ... I record with just distortion/overdrive from the amp.sim and then if needed I add FXs ...


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Dec 6 2013, 04:15 AM
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Hi mate! I use Pod HD500 for all my lessons and I'm very happy with it. Basing on your budget and the use that you would give it I think that it's a very good choice. There is also a rack version that has more connection options but the same sound and processor.
The AXE ultra sounds even more real, but based on youtube tests and many reviews it seems that the different in sound isn't equivalent to the different in price.

And about your problem about using both the daw and the amp emulator in the same computer... I also prefer to avoid it and let my computer more free for daw, mixing plug ins and VST instruments.

There are different models of Pod so if you want my help choosing one just send me a PM. wink.gif


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Darius Wave
post Dec 6 2013, 09:40 AM
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Correct if I misunderstood but here is the bacis difference in post-processing. When You record via hardware (line line 6 gx or similar) You record already processed similation and You get the same thing as while recording regular amp through microphone. When You use software (that's what I do) You can affect amp sim dynamics by changing the input level anytime You want (during mix for example). Let's say You want one part to have lower gain and other..higher. Let's say You had this idea long after You've already recorded Your guitars. If You made those with hardware sim....You're not able to change this - You have to record again.

I'm not saying it's bad to use hardware (though it's more natural and keep low memory usage) but just wanted to share some advantage of using soft amp sim.


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KenA
post Dec 6 2013, 10:08 AM
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Thanks guys ... funny but I just realized I forgot a very basic thing regarding the final results in terms of guitar sound quality with my amp.sim: I said that when i play just the guitar + amp.sim without any other instruments in the mix, the overall sound is just great and in the mix with the other instruments I noticed a degree of quality. Well, this degree of quality is more related to getting a muddier guitar sound in the mix. I forgot (basic stuff) that with other instruments I may need to use another guitar equalization. I tried more Mids, bit up the Treble and Presence --> much better results! ... I wish I could deal better with Latency when increasing the Sample Rate, but that's directly related to computer overall power (which is limited in my case)

Well, for a mobile solution I own I believe I'm very close to the best I can get from it. A better Mixing strategy will also help here. Anyways, I still will keep my eye on the hardware way ... learning new things at least :-)

===

Yeap Gabriel, I've noticed you using the HD500 and you really get an amazing guitar tone! ( amazing hands heheh ) ... as I said I'll keep studying the HW option, but I'll only get one if I travel overseas because taxes in Brazil are a steal ( I'll end up paying 100% of the original price if I buy it here )


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Dec 6 2013, 02:17 PM
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QUOTE (KenA @ Dec 6 2013, 06:08 AM) *
Yeap Gabriel, I've noticed you using the HD500 and you really get an amazing guitar tone! ( amazing hands heheh ) ... as I said I'll keep studying the HW option, but I'll only get one if I travel overseas because taxes in Brazil are a steal ( I'll end up paying 100% of the original price if I buy it here )



Same happens in Argentina... high taxes, big difference in dollar / pesos change and now a 35% extra because the president decided it. The future of my country is not good... at least for the next 2 years until we choose a new president.


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Darius Wave
post Dec 6 2013, 02:28 PM
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Raw guitar sound vs guitar in the mix is totaly different story wink.gif It's normal You need to tweak it because mixing is about creating relation between instruments. Making one by one sound awesome on "solo" doesn't guarantee You will enjoy the mix of all smile.gif Usually it happens to be the oposite smile.gif


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Mertay
post Dec 6 2013, 02:43 PM
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QUOTE (KenA @ Dec 6 2013, 02:54 AM) *
You mean in terms of FXs? (reverb, delay) post/pre recorded? ... I record with just distortion/overdrive from the amp.sim and then if needed I add FXs ...


Darius got it right on his comment. You can lose a lot of flexibility if you only record the sound from the processor.

Some years ago I got curious and bought this (used, was very affordable) to split the guitar signal;



To my chance it worked very good, so I started recording both dry and processed (from my old digitech rp12 processor) signal. I can say it was useful but after a while it got boring connecting the cables,setup daw just to record something for fun in a home environment even though guitars vst's weren't sounding as good as it is now. If it was a project sure then I'll give all I got but when for fun it just wasn't worth it.

I ditched analog pedals when I some-what started to play in concerts. Rather than tap dancing on stage it was awesome just using 1-2 buttons and get the job done smile.gif but these processors also got very good and I wouldn't mind using one on a dedicated amp or speakers at home so I get a reference tone and start playing guitar as soon as I want to (rather than waiting the computer to open...).

That digitech rp12 is still working besides 2-3 buttons on it smile.gif the distortion isn't really bad and has cool fx in it like I can play ballerina from steve vai biggrin.gif what I mean is its never a mistake buying such gear but the priority of your system needs is up to you.


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Darius Wave
post Dec 6 2013, 04:22 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Dec 6 2013, 02:17 PM) *
Same happens in Argentina... high taxes, big difference in dollar / pesos change and now a 35% extra because the president decided it. The future of my country is not good... at least for the next 2 years until we choose a new president.




Same here Gab. Tax system in Poland sucks...


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Mertay
post Dec 6 2013, 05:04 PM
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+1 for Turkey and among many thing (some will remember my political posts when I first came here, not much changed since then) smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Dec 6 2013, 07:32 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Dec 6 2013, 12:22 PM) *
Same here Gab. Tax system in Poland sucks...


QUOTE (Mertay @ Dec 6 2013, 01:04 PM) *
+1 for Turkey and among many thing (some will remember my political posts when I first came here, not much changed since then) smile.gif



So we can talk about a worldwide problem. sad.gif


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Darius Wave
post Dec 6 2013, 08:12 PM
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Yep...anytime I got a prize from any worldwide competition I was brought down by the held customs...No matter You have to pay tax for a true gift but...buying anything abroad becomes a huge cost and problem. Same with taxing Your payments....


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KenA
post Dec 6 2013, 09:49 PM
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Wow, I'm aware that Argentina has similar tax issues comparing to Brazil. I'm just a bit suprised to hear things in Poland and Turkey ( and probably many other countries ) follow a similar behaviour. It's a deep talk so I'll stop here ... I don't even like the feeling when I think about these things :-(


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