Simulanalog Guitar Suite
Original Author: Staffay
Weapon: Computer Amp Simulator
Model: Guitar Suite
Price: FREE !
SimulAnalog Guitar Suite is something so unusal as a FREE suite of VST-compatible plugins for guitar. (It might as well be used for bass) The software emulates two different amps (Fender Twin 69' and Marshall JCM 900) and the following boxes:
- Boss DS-1 (Distortion stompbox)
- Boss SD-1 (Super Overdrive stompbox)
- Tube Screamer (Overdrive stompbox)
- Oberheim PS-1 (Phaser stompbox)
- Univox Univibe (Modulations stompbox)
There is no common interface for the plugins, eg. they work as separate units in the host application, and You have to link each of them as a separate plugin. Simulanalog is a research project that focus on DSP (Digital Signal Processing) emulation on "real" guitar sounds.
The "real" problem....
Shortly explained, the closer to the original sound one will get - the more DSP power is needed. Since the computers today doesn't have that raw DSP-power to perform advanced modelling of a sound, the software developers have to stick with compromises in order to get the software to run on all machines. (read commercial products in the same field) SimulAnalog means that descriptions as "every chain in the sound is modelled exactly by our sound engines" is nothin but bogus, since to do a proper reconstruction of the changes of the sound from component to component will require far more DSP-power that an ordinary computer haves.
Summing up these facts, it's easy to understand that unless a dedicated DSP-processor is used for the signal processing, there's gonna be a compromice regarding sound quality and response, no matter what algoritms are used.
Instead of trying to emulate what's happening in a tube amps preamp, poweramp, in the tubes etc. SimulAnalog tries to emulate the overall sound instead, and break down the emulators in parts. One amp, one box etc.
When You first download the suite and unpack, there is just 7 .dll files and one textfile. There is no actual installation, which the textfile explains. You just simply drop the plugs into the VST plugin folder (or the plugin folder of any DAW that is VST-compatible). Simple enough, when You starts the DAW again, they are all there.
There isn't any fancy user interface, it is very easy to understand what each control is good for. Regarding the amps they have exactly the same controls as their role models. So has also the plugins for the boxes. I found that they are consuming very little processor power compared to the commercial products, probably due to the minimal use of graphics and flashy stuff.
The system with every part as an own plugin in the suite, is by my meaning an advantage, since it's like in the real world - You don't have an amp that does it all, You always connects other pedals, processors etc. Also it has the advantage that one can process the signal in stages, which saves processor power. Other guitar plugs I've tested has taken up to 40% of the processor power, leaving no room for other tasks.
The emulation of the Fender amp is good, it is clean and warm, but You cant get it "overdriven" or get that sort of a "compressed" sound that older Fenders use to have. But as a clean sound it is great with a little reverb from the DAW. The response is good and according to SimulAnalog it shall have a -40db headroom which is quite a lot speaking about dynamic range.
The Marshall amp has two channels A and B, where A is more clean, and B is the real dirty one. It's pretty easy to get a descent Marshall-like sound, and the distorsion sounds good.
Without getting to deep into every effects particular sound, I think they are OK, and does the job well, but the original pedals sounds far better. But in combination with the amps, it's possible to get some real good sounds.
Hey, what can I say? Of course it feels a little low budget because of the lack of interface-design, but when playing it feels just fine. Probably I would consider to use at least the amps instead of commercial software available.
The fact is that this software costs You NOTHING. I believe that You can get as good result with this software as it's commercial competitors with a little tweaking and adding of some effects like reverb/delay from the DAW. SimulAnalog has also announced that a vintage suite soon shall be available, and I'm looking forward to what it has to offer.
Samples recorded by Sergio Cruz with a USA 1990 Steinberger guitar, model GM4T with EMG pickup's, through Behringer Eurorack MX 602A mixer and a Delta Audio File 2496 sound card.
- Notes. These soundsamples was made with relatively cheap gear, and cannot actually be compared to top-of-the-line soundcards and other hardware, since the quality of a software guitar amp simular actually is dependant of the soundcard, and of course the guitar and who is playing!
- Guitar Devil
- Digidesign Eleven guitar amp emulator (Pro Tools)
- Powercore Tubifex (requires TC Powercore)
- Waves GTR3
- Vintage Amp Room / [Metal Amp Room] (just the amps, no effects)
- Peavey Revalver
- SimulAnalog Guitar Suite (free!)
- Free Amp 2 (free!)
- Tube Amp Baby (free!)