Free guitar amp simulations: why you really should be using them
Yes, it’s true. There are free guitar amps in this world of ours. They just happen to be virtual and therefore something you really should be exploring in your DAW.
This week I have been playing with Ignite Amps’ Emissary and it is a high-gain amp simulator that you can plug into your DAW system. It has evolved over the years and is part of a range of amp software from Ignite. It is one I would recommend if you like a bit of gain and a tight low end. I compared it to the built in amp sims in Logic X as well and it more than held its own, in fact I think I preferred it for the high gain stuff compared to Logic’s in-built amp simulator.
So why would you pay for an amp simulator?
Well, I suppose that with big name guitar amp software, you may get more control, more amp models and a nicer user interface. There are some really useable virtual guitar amps for free, which you really should be checking out. For me, the trick to getting great results is using the EQ in your DAW and also choosing a good cab simulator, as this is where you can really shape your amp’s tone. Spend some time playing with the free amp models and then delve into your DAW’s EQ to get the best from some of these free amp software packages.
The world is full of some great freeware and some will be a great help for us guitarists. Now, my tip for you all – apart from EQ and choosing the right virtual cab – is using IRs. These are a way to use real cab models and apply these to your virtual amp models. IR stands for Impulse Response and it refers to a way of using microphones to record the actual characteristics of how an amp’s cab sounds. It was really in vogue a few years ago for making virtual reverbs sound realistic. Nowadays it is being applied to guitar amp cabs to do the same.
Next week I’ll explain how IRs can really make your guitar recording come alive.
Below is a list of just a few of the virtual amp simulators that I have tried out over the years. So spend the next week checking them all out and meet me back here next week and we can delve into IRs.
ampLion Free by Audiffex (Mac, Windows)
Boogex by Voxengo (Windows)
Dirthead by Ndzeit (Windows)
Grind Machine Free by Audio Assault (Mac, Windows)
Guitar Amp 2 by Plektron (Windows)
Juicy77 by BTE Audio (Windows)
LePou Plugins by Poulin Amplification (Mac, Windows)
NRR-1/The Anvil by Ignite Amps (Mac, Windows)
REVOLUTIONZ by Ronald Passion (Windows)
SimulAnalog Guitar Suite by SimulAnalog (Windows)
7170/8505 by Nick Crow (Windows)
Are the amp sims listed above…just that….amp heads….how can one know if a cab is needed ??