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Amp Sims vs Amp - Spot the Real Tube Amp

TDLR: play the track and choose which amp is the real tube amp. (visit the Soundcloud page to see the answers)

Backstory:
Fortunately, earlier this year I found someone selling (very cheap) a Sovtek Tube Midget 50H - a Russian made tube amp with the same circuitry as a Fender Bassman. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to play it because no gigs this year. So, I thought I'd annoy the wife (and neighbourhood) by doing an amp/amp sim shootout - the Sovtek is damn loud!

I have 3 amp sims to compare: Amplitube's 53' Bassman from the Fender 2 pack; TH-U's Bassface 59'; and the clean channel of Nembrini's Soundmaster (I know ... not exactly a Bassman but close enough).

Process:
The first amp sim recordings were unsuccessful. With the exception of the Soundmaster, the in-house cabs could not compare to a real cabinet.

For the second attempt I purchased an Ownhammer IR of my own cab (Electro-Voice EVM12L) which made the sounds much more realistic. As @flo26 and others have said on this forum, IR's are the way to go, makes a huge difference.

Signal chain:
Strat -> Sovtek -> condenser mic -> Audient iD4 -> Logic Pro -> little bit of reverb

Strat -> Audient iD4 -> Logic Pro -> Amp sim -> EVM12L IR -> same little bit of reverb

Tried to find the break-up point on each amp and match tone and level as best I could - not too easy. Tried to play the same thing each time - also not too easy.

Conclusion:
This was a fun experiment and learning experience and I hope this is of some use to others - use IR's! While all the sims sounded very good, in isolation, it's probably quite easy to spot the real amp (that's easy for me to say knowing the answer). Having said that in the context of a full band mix the differences may be less noticeable. These are certainly interesting times for mobile guitarists.

(Thanks to the late Professor Hawking for posthumously providing amp numbering.)

Comments

  • I like the first one.

    Not sure which one’s the real thing.

  • I think I would rate them:

    2 - most transparent sound
    3 - very close 2nd
    4 - starting to sound fizzy
    1 - very fizzy

    I tend to crave a clean tone with a nice hint of saturation but it must have some Sparkle which 2,3 do.

  • @pbelgium : example 3 seems to have some digital clipping (distinct from the amp saturation/distortion)...perhaps the interface set too hot or the mic level?

  • 1 sovtek
    2 sound master
    3 AmpliTube
    4 thu

  • On our end they are all recordings so a real amp looses the qualities you get standing in front of a 10-12 inch speaker(s) at a full volume. So, your ability to mic and record the Sovtek has to compete with the
    modeling code of Nembrini, IK Multimedia and OverLoud. Thanks for putting out these sounds to hear the subtle differences.

    1. Amp sim
    2. Amp Sim
    3. real amp
    4. amp sim
  • @hacked_to_pieces said:
    1. Amp sim
    2. Amp Sim
    3. real amp
    4. amp sim

    +1

  • edited September 12

    Sovtek
    TH-U
    Amplitube
    Nembrini

  • edited September 15

    Answers:
    1. Amplitube's 53' Bassman
    2. Nembrini's Soundmaster
    3. Sovtek Tube Midget 50H
    4. TH-U's Bassface 59'

    Amplitube sound is popular, and it does sound very good, but like TH-U, seems to ‘color’ the guitar sound a little too much. The Nembrini is, as @McD says, transparent and still sounds (and feels) like my guitar.

    Thanks @espiegel123 for pointing out the clipping - forgot to adjust the input level after moving the mic for the second take, doh!

  • @pbelgium said:
    Answers:
    1. Amplitube's 53' Bassman
    2. Nembrini's Soundmaster
    3. Sovtek Tube Midget 50H
    4. TH-U's Bassface 59'

    Amplitube sound is popular, and it does sound very good, but like TH-U, seems to ‘color’ the guitar sound a little too much. The Nembrini is, as @McD says, transparent and still sounds (and feels) like my guitar.

    I'm not an Amplitube fan but I find some of the amps in TH-U can rival (and exceed IMHO) the Nembrini for transparency. The main "color" I don't like is an electronic Fizziness. But tube coloring is perfect... TH-U can do tubes to a T.

    The fact that SovTek sounds good to me speaks to the quality of your mic's since what we get in the end is a recording/model of an amp in a room. If we were with you the Soviet would shit on any iPad Amp Sim I suspect unless you have a great PA set up for output.

  • edited September 15

    @pbelgium said:
    Answers:
    1. Amplitube's 53' Bassman
    2. Nembrini's Soundmaster
    3. Sovtek Tube Midget 50H
    4. TH-U's Bassface 59'

    Amplitube sound is popular, and it does sound very good, but like TH-U, seems to ‘color’ the guitar sound a little too much. The Nembrini is, as @McD says, transparent and still sounds (and feels) like my guitar.

    Thanks @espiegel123 for pointing out the clipping - forgot to adjust the input level after moving the mic for the second take, doh!

    How interesting! Before I knew the answers I thought #1 sounded the best and #3 sounded the worst, #4 also not good to my ears. Now that I know the answers, it makes sense that the real amp would be #3 because there’s clearly more apparent picking sound going on, and more fluctuation in volume as a chord rings out and dies down. I think Amplitube sounds the most agreeable and the Nembrini sounds the most interesting. Certainly making me interested in checking the Amplitube out as I know their Fenders are well regarded. Already have all the Nembrinis. Regarding TH-U, it’s my number 1 guitar app right now by a long shot, but I strongly feel that their Bassman ‘59 sim is not actually one of their good sims. I still haven’t found a sound I like from that specific one. But their 1970 Bassman Rig is my favorite amp on iOS right now. Since a Bassman is my favorite amp I think I’ll look into the Amplitube as well. Thanks for this comparison!

  • @JoyceRoadStudios today we have ampsims that sounds more ‘studios’ and thus much better for our ears than the real amp. For example Amplitube’s Fender Super Reverb sounds much much better than any Super Reverb amp that I ever played. And I heard a lot of similar opinions from professional guitar players (e.g. Greg Koch in the video below).

  • While you’re looking at the Amplitube Fender 2 pack @JoyceRoadStudios, be sure to also consider their new Joe Satriani pack — which is Flo26 approved! 👍🏻

    https://forum.audiob.us/discussion/39993/amplitube-s-joe-satriani-pack-for-ios

  • @pbelgium said:
    Answers:
    1. Amplitube's 53' Bassman
    2. Nembrini's Soundmaster
    3. Sovtek Tube Midget 50H
    4. TH-U's Bassface 59'

    Amplitube sound is popular, and it does sound very good, but like TH-U, seems to ‘color’ the guitar sound a little too much. The Nembrini is, as @McD says, transparent and still sounds (and feels) like my guitar.

    Thanks @espiegel123 for pointing out the clipping - forgot to adjust the input level after moving the mic for the second take, doh!

    I’d be interested to hear a recording where it doesn’t have that digital clipping. To my ear, it made it hard to fairly evaluate.

  • @Kranick said:
    @JoyceRoadStudios today we have ampsims that sounds more ‘studios’ and thus much better for our ears than the real amp. For example Amplitube’s Fender Super Reverb sounds much much better than any Super Reverb amp that I ever played. And I heard a lot of similar opinions from professional guitar players (e.g. Greg Koch in the video below).

    It sounds pretty good. I would not take his comment that it sounds as good as a real amp literally...The video is a promotional video for iK. I’d take it with a grain of salt. They do sound good but I disagree that they sound better than an actual super reverb.

  • @JoyceRoadStudios the amp sims' reaction to different volume and picking levels is key and they all do a pretty good job. You should definitely check out some of the Amplitube sims. @Kranick that Greg Koch video is awesome, great player and great salesman - "Rock music is powerful and this is an implement of said genre." :D

    @espiegel123 I might do another recording sometime. The plan was to do a Marshall shootout next. The Hi input of the Sovtek is supposed to get Plexi tones at breakup and JCM800 crunch when cranked up - not sure if it does yet, it's going to be LOUD.

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