Studio Devil Amp Modeller Pro v.1.0
Original Author: Staffay
Weapon: Computer Guitar Amp Simulator
Make: Gallo Engineering
Model: Studio Devil Amp Modeller Pro v.1.0
When first visiting Studio Devils homepage, You get an impression that their product range must be a little lowbudget. But when You start to read, You quickly find out that Marc Gallo (the constructor) actually has a patent on emulating the 12AX7A preamp tube. (the one used in most vintage/new amps) The product line consists of 3 guitar amp simulators (one FREE,one budget and the one tested here) and one bass(!) amp simulator. The soundclips on the site sound excellent. (also found below) Most of them are in Metal/Hard Rock style with distortion.
Studio Devil emulates 15 different preamps, as the picture shows. There is also four different modes for the power amp. Class A, Class AB, FET and off. There is a modulation section with chorus/flanger/phaser/tremolo as well as a gate section, echo section, reverb section, speaker section, EQ and a passive wah-wah(!). There are also some dip-switches like "deep" and "bright" in the preamp and a couple of others. In the list of the pre-amps modelled, there are some I've never seen before, like the JMP-1 and Laney models. When searching for video-clips for this software, I found none, which was a little surprising - since this software in my opinion deserves some attention, but I guess it's because the developer seems to be a really small company and doesn't have marketing resources.
The manual is very good and it's worth reading even if You dont have intentions to buy or use the software, since You will learn a lot of amp modelling and how tube amps really work. It is not until You read it that the secrets of this simple-looking software are revealed. It also states some factors that are extremely important when working with amp simulators: A high-Z input, a loud input signal, latency and the use of external effects. The latter seems like a surprise (in the meaning of that a manufacturer recommends the user to use other software in their own manual), but simply shows how serious the developer is. Another important factor is of course the soundcard itself - having a budget soundcard, will give You a budget sound. It's really like using television speakers to a Soldano.....
The pre-amp section has an open architecture, which allows You to import new preamps from the manufactorer in form of .xml files. So does the speaker-emulation section, where You can import impulses from different speaker cabinets. (one can also import impulses from Recabinet files, which is a cab-simulator which will be covered in another article) The newest technique in computer room simulation is actually the convolution reverbs, which are built on impulses, and the text below is straight out of the manual.
About cabinet impulses:
When a cabinet impulse is made, the first thing that is done is setting up a guitar cabinet, microphone, and room acoustics to achieve a good tone, just like you would if you were about to record a real track, in a real studio. Then, once things are sounding just right, a short tick, or pop, is played through the cabinet to record the way in which that particular setup responds to a short electrical burst. The recorded response to this short tick is known as the “impulse response” for that particular setup. Every setup has a different impulse response, if you move the mic, change the speaker, do it in another room, change anything at all... then you have a different impulse response, just like a fingerprint, unique to that particular setup.
The impulse response is basically just a recorded audio file, typically saved in WAV or AIFF format, and it’s usually pretty short. After all, it’s just the recording of a short tick played though a speaker in a room. They can be mono, or stereo, depending on how many mics were used in the setup, and they usually don’t run more than 1 second, with lengths of 2000 to 4000 samples being more common for short impulses from guitar cabinets. Before these WAV / AIFF impulse files are saved, they are carefully trimmed and sliced so that there is no leading or trailing silence, much in the same way that loops are cut down with sample accuracy to their start and end points. This is done so that the impulses can be used without introducing unwanted latency and to be kept as short as possible to keep CPU usage down. Large impulses take more CPU power to use than smaller ones, so keeping them as small as possible is always a good thing.
The installation went without any problems and there are a couple of presets included, though they are not so many and not categorized in any way. On the other hand, You will quickly find one that is tasty and then it's very easy to tweak this thing around. The dynamics are good, but still not comparable of a real amp in my opinion, even though it's as good as any of the other simulators on the market. The response is fast, even when You are running the software in Hi-rendering mode, I didn't experienced any latency or heavy processor load. (it is of course dependant of effects, other things running simoultaneusly etc.)
This software really shines on distorted sounds, it has the best Marshall emulation I've heard so far - from vintage Hendrix to modern hi-gain sounds. The other metal-amps also sound very good (even that I'm not actually a metal player), and the software has a "bottom" and warmth which I didn't find in other simulators tested. The Fender simulation is OK, but there are better alternatives on the market. A very cool feature is the passive Wah-Wah, which let's You emulate the pedal in it's different stages to get different spectrums of tones. (used heavily by Michael Schenker, as far as I can recall)
The speaker simulation is a world in itself. It works very well, and when You switch box/impulse the sound is totally changed - eg. the possibilities are endless.... (Revalver and GR4 also accept impulse responses, ed.note) An interesting idea would be to line-out Your favourite amp and then use just the speaker impulses, it's even possible to run a couple of instances of Studio Devil at the same time, simulating 3 stacks at a time.... I think I have to get back to this topic. Summing up: this software is user friendly and easy to work with, and has a splendid manual!
Oodles of Noodles
Modern Solo (by Dimi)
SDAMP (by Zeoy)
3 Amps Rock! (by Zeoy)
Sweet Clean Space
Funkiness (by Dimi)
More Metal (by Dimi)
Throbbing Lead (by Dimi)
Ballad (by Dimi)
Metal Fusion Chunk (by Dimi)
What I like about this software is that it's focused on the amps tone, instead of smart interface solutions, effects or cosmetics. For those who can't read behind the lines, I must say that I just love this software. As a Marshall guy, I would even think about selling my stack and go on vacation instead, but since I'm not solely a recording musician and need it on stage, this will have to wait. The clean sounds is a little drawback, this baby is for rock'n'roll - but on the other hand, a clean Marshall doesn't sound that good either. The prizing is just right, and even the "little brother" is a good alternative (prized around 70$, there is also a FREE version of the british stack on their site, emulates just a simple Marshall) Another drawback is the lack of RTAS-support, at the moment it just support VST-hosts, but due to the homepage a RTAS-version will be available soon. (their other products have RTAS-support) In my opinion, this software is top-notch in the field of amp modelling at the moment this is written.
Instead of recommending alternative weapons here, I decided to move this section to the master page for Computer Guitar Amp Simulators.
- 15 Preamp Models cover every range of playing styles and modeled using Studio Devil’s proprietary digital vacuum tube modeling technology…nothing else sounds as real as Studio Devil because it uses exclusive and patented tube modeling algorithms!
- Authentic Tone Controls: Gain, Bass, Mids, Treble, and Presence controls that interact with your tone just like on real tube amps!
- Boost, Deep, and Bright Switches quickly liven up and adjust your tone!
- 3 Power Amp Models with Drive Control: Tube Class AB, Tube Class A, and Solid-State MOSFET to adjust natural power amp compression.
- Impulse Modeler / Cabinet Processor imports any WAV or AIFF file and features Zero-Latency switch, adjustable Filter Length, and High-end Sizzle controls!
- 32 Studio Devil Cabinets plus 58 ReCabinet® Demo impulses included!
- 7-Band Graphic-EQ with Master Level, 3 Modes, and Pre/Post Switch to position your EQ either at the input of your amp or in the send-return loop: pre or post distortion!
- Sweepable Parametric EQ with Mids Level and Frequency control knobs to custom tailor your tone!
- Wah-Wah Effect with adjustable pedal slider for a parked-Wah sound…or assign it to a MIDI controller for a real-time Wah!
- Compressor / Sustainer with two modes and Attack controls.
- 4 Studio Quality Modulation Effects: Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, and Tremolo all fully adjustable and can be positioned Pre/Post preamp to choose from that floor Pedal or Loop Effect sound!
- Echo / Delay Modeler with Normal / Stereo Ping-Pong Modes and continuously adjustable Style Knob: sweep from Analog Delay to Tape Echo or to Digital Delay and anywhere in between!
- World-Class Reverb with Level control and 3 Modes: Room, Club, and Hall.
- Noise Gate with adjustable Threshold and Gating Slope controls.
- Built-In Chromatic Tuner and Level Meters to stay in tune and to help maximize your signal level while guarding against digital clips.
- Master Volume control with Clip indicator.
- Import and Export Presets and Banks via XML files to share your tones with everyone via the Internet, email, and blogs!