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ChowCentaur - Free Klon overdrive pedal plugin
Old 9th April 2021
  #1
ChowCentaur - Free Klon overdrive pedal plugin

Not super brand new but I didn't find a thread for it.

From the genius that made the very impressive (and also free) ChowTape, here is a very nice emulation of the famous Klon Centaur.

There is an academic paper that goes with it too, as the plugin was apparently an exercise in comparing analog modeling techniques ( circuit modeling vs neural network machine learning).

There is - get this - a switch that allows you to use either of two models, one is a more traditional circuit model, and one is a neural network version.

The paper went a bit over my head but it was interesting nonetheless. The plugin sounds pretty dang good to me (though I've never tried a real Klon, to be fair). I prefer the neural network one I think, though it's a little less bright. They talk about why that might be in the paper.

Anyway - just discovered this and thought it should be more widely known about. Especially since as far as I know there aren't any Klon plugins currently available.

https://chowdsp.com/products.html#centaur
Old 9th April 2021
  #2
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by LASTLAVGH ➡️
Not super brand new but I didn't find a thread for it.

From the genius that made the very impressive (and also free) ChowTape, here is a very nice emulation of the famous Klon Centaur.

There is an academic paper that goes with it too, as the plugin was apparently an exercise in comparing analog modeling techniques ( circuit modeling vs neural network machine learning).

There is - get this - a switch that allows you to use either of two models, one is a more traditional circuit model, and one is a neural network version.

The paper went a bit over my head but it was interesting nonetheless. The plugin sounds pretty dang good to me (though I've never tried a real Klon, to be fair). I prefer the neural network one I think, though it's a little less bright. They talk about why that might be in the paper.

Anyway - just discovered this and thought it should be more widely known about. Especially since as far as I know there aren't any Klon plugins currently available.

https://chowdsp.com/products.html#centaur
Thanks for sharing this. Will give it a whirl later.
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallace Snr ➡️
Thanks for sharing this. Will give it a whirl later.
Love Tape and Phaser and will defo use!

On Centaur: For some reason Reaper on my main machine won't see the 64bit version but will see the 32bit (and bridges it in Reaper). Not sure if there's a build diff between these 3?
Old 9th April 2021 | Show parent
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallace Snr ➡️
Love Tape and Phaser and will defo use!

On Centaur: For some reason Reaper on my main machine won't see the 64bit version but will see the 32bit (and bridges it in Reaper). Not sure if there's a build diff between these 3?
Hmm, odd, not sure, might be worth reaching out to Chow. I imagine the 32 bit shouldn't have any differences, soundwise though.

This really sounds very nice. I'm liking it best as I'm told the Klon is best used, with the gain on the lower side but driving the amp a little.

I'm using Neural DSP Cory Wong on the middle (Clean Machine) amp, the Centaur level is all the way up, tone all the way up, and gain reading .42 or so. Sounds very sweet and singing on my neck pickup (PRS humbucker).


Side note - the 'neural model' gain knob is actually a composite of 5 different snapshots because of the way the neural network was trained. The actual change in settings occur every .20 or so on the gain, so 0.22, 0.42, 0.62, 0.82 or so. I think they are sort of crossfaded together, but if anyone is wondering why it does that, that's why.

I'd highly recommend folks read the paper about modeling if you have any interest in that sort of thing. I definitely didn't understand all of it, but what I did glean was really enlightening. I attached it to this post but it's on the website as well.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 2009.02833.pdf (2.55 MB, 14 views)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Here for the gear
 
toebyus's Avatar
 
It sounds amazing! thank you for the tip!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Space1999's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Really cool stuff! A while ago I read on UA’s web site a paper on circuit modeling that dumbed it down so I could understand it.

What they were saying is once they have built the circuit in a computer program they test it and if it works they can run with it.

Because variable knobs would take CPU power the likes of we do not currently know, they basically turn the variable knob into a stepped knob.

Where they make the “de-tents” is where the circuit really changes the most as you sweep through the variable knob. Thus making the circuit useable with current CPU power.

A very interesting part of the paper talked about how hard it is to model room verbs because of all the infinite variables in the room.
They could do it and have the equations to formulate it, but once again not the CPU power to execute it.

Pat
Old 3 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Space1999 ➡️
Really cool stuff! A while ago I read on UA’s web site a paper on circuit modeling that dumbed it down so I could understand it.

What they were saying is once they have built the circuit in a computer program they test it and if it works they can run with it.

Because variable knobs would take CPU power the likes of we do not currently know, they basically turn the variable knob into a stepped knob.

Where they make the “de-tents” is where the circuit really changes the most as you sweep through the variable knob. Thus making the circuit useable with current CPU power.

A very interesting part of the paper talked about how hard it is to model room verbs because of all the infinite variables in the room.
They could do it and have the equations to formulate it, but once again not the CPU power to execute it.

Pat
Here's a cool blog post that talks a bit more about circuit simulation.

https://www.resonantdsp.com/blog/tub...on/part-4.html

Basically, the full on SPICE modeling is too CPU intensive to use as is, so it has to be simplified in some way. At least for tube amps. I think perhaps for stomp boxes it's a little easier?

However, the neural network (black box) approach seems to deliver the most realistic sounds to my ears.

The best (IMO) amp sims are using them. And I do personally think the neural network setting in this Klon plugin sounds better, even as limited as it is. I know this was done more as an exercise and proof of concept, so it's missing some features. Nonetheless, sounds pretty good...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 
elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
No AAX :(
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Hey guys, I took the time to produce a very unscientific shootout between Chow Centaur and a Wampler Tomnus, because of course I don’t have a real Klon. I know they are not supposed to sound the same, but as the Tomnus is pretty darn close to the real thing (at least some of us think so!), I thought it was valid to at least try.

My observations: the real pedal is more responsive to touch and has a tad more definition, but the plugin is far from being bad - it actually does a really nice job. I’ve attached four files, going from low gain to maximum gain. I've also produced a sample of the clean tone. I am using Scuffham S-Gear “The Duke” with a Rosen Digital Vox AC30 IR. Guitar is a 99 Gibson SG Standard, stock. There are mid, bridge and neck samples so you guys can have an idea of the basic sounds these can produce with this particular setup.

Hope I was able to help, and sorry for my bad playing. I'm by no means a virtuoso. I’d also like to say thank you big time to ChowDSP for making this freebie. It is a great, great plugin. I’m impressed by how close they sound.

On a side note, I’ve just downloaded this plugin today and I didn’t really dig the Neural mode. All A-Bing files are using the Standard one, as it sounded closer and more natural to my ears. As I get used to Chow Centaur I will try to play more with the Neural mode and see what I can get out of it.

PS: Chow Centaur always comes first, then the Wampler Tomnus (except obviously for the clean tone sample file). No guessing games today!

Cheers.
Attached Files

ChowVsWampler_1.wav (4.02 MB, 1013 views)

ChowVsWampler_2.wav (6.98 MB, 1010 views)

ChowVsWampler_3.wav (9.52 MB, 1008 views)

Clean_Tone.wav (4.75 MB, 1006 views)

Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Guru
 
elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Thanks for posting those samples!


If it's easy to do, I'd love to hear the Neural examples, even if you're not terribly fond of them. There's just something missing from the plugin and I'm curious to know how Neural is different from Standard when using that clean tone you'd recorded. I do have a Klon here and would like to compare.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #12
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo ➡️
Thanks for posting those samples!


If it's easy to do, I'd love to hear the Neural examples, even if you're not terribly fond of them. There's just something missing from the plugin and I'm curious to know how Neural is different from Standard when using that clean tone you'd recorded. I do have a Klon here and would like to compare.
It’s actually easy to do, but I’m not in the studio right now. I’ll bounce the neural tones tomorrow without changing any other settings. Cheers
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by LASTLAVGH ➡️
Here's a cool blog post that talks a bit more about circuit simulation.

https://www.resonantdsp.com/blog/tub...on/part-4.html

Basically, the full on SPICE modeling is too CPU intensive to use as is, so it has to be simplified in some way. At least for tube amps. I think perhaps for stomp boxes it's a little easier?

However, the neural network (black box) approach seems to deliver the most realistic sounds to my ears.

The best (IMO) amp sims are using them. And I do personally think the neural network setting in this Klon plugin sounds better, even as limited as it is. I know this was done more as an exercise and proof of concept, so it's missing some features. Nonetheless, sounds pretty good...
One of my friends used to work for TC Electronics. I can confirm the above post's. They did exactly that, component to component, emulation. It is extremely CPU demanding. Guitar amplifiers, was the biggest challenge. They did a simple Fender amp circuit, totally one to one! But no consumer computer would be able to run it as a plugin, so they had to abandon that idea and concentrate on other project development instead.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
Gear Guru
 
elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by lydfar ➡️
One of my friends used to work for TC Electronics. I can confirm the above post's. They did exactly that, component to component, emulation. It is extremely CPU demanding. Guitar amplifiers, was the biggest challenge. They did a simple Fender amp circuit, totally one to one! But no consumer computer would be able to run it as a plugin, so they had to abandon that idea and concentrate on other project development instead.
Very interesting! And this is why we'll continue to upgrade computers for the next few decades. As much as we'd like to think that they've become as fast as necessary for audio applications, there are still many instances, like this, where software/plugins are being dumbed-down in order to exist in the modern consumer CPU. I'm anxious to hear what these fully-blown emulations would sound like, but I guess we'll have to wait.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
One of the leading devs making echo delay two years ago told me he basically had to dumb it down, because quote: "there's no way of modeling triodes without successfully killing your CPU".

Intel's upcoming 10nm process unlikely to give enough performance boost to help matters here. Perhaps, when they move to 7/5nm, but that's another 10 years, at least.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Gear Guru
 
elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Smart coding can help plugins arrive at the same result though. Instead of asking the CPU to computer 1+1+1+1 to get 4, you can ask 2+2. Some of the modeled components are far less significant than others, and their contributions can be approximated in less taxing ways. That's what coders have learned to do, as is evident by some of the current, exceptional models already on today's market. They might not be modeling the entire signal chain, but, apparently, they've discovered ways to get to the finish line, making only the smallest sacrifices, by taking shortcuts and making those approximations.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
The Chow paper (again, definitely worth reading even if it's a little complex) and other stuff on SPICE I've read seems to show that, at least certain stompboxes can be modeled mostly 1:1.

But considering the complexities of tube amps - at least right now- neural networks *seem* to get closest in terms of creating algorithms.

I guess the dynamic sampling approach is also getting good results, but I don't know how that works in terms of amp sims.

Could something like Kemper or AxeFX at least *theoretically* run on a computer?

There are a couple of Acustica Nebula guitar amps (Virgo and the Surrey) which are pretty impressive, though definitely more of a CPU strain than the Neural DSP stuff.

I know next to nothing about Kemper or AxeFX, but I assume they use something akin to Nebula, some kind of dynamic IR type thing?

Anyway, definitely possible to get some amazing tones ITB these days.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
if 10nm allows us to play Surrey full version real-time, and even with pedals in a chain, that's a start. that's the best desktop amp atm, but only LE version is playable live. again, dev had to "dumb it down" to LE to even make that possible. that's not the solution, it's a workaround, but nobody wants compromises, really. what we really want is the best possible sound quality. for compromises there's always Guitar Rig, if anybody wants that.

Overloud claim to do "Kemper on desktop" with their rig player, but the tech is to be perfected. from what I've heard so far, for now old Kemp still has the upper hand, considering it's almost 10-year old technology.

all in all, Intel is to blame for crawling like a 200-year old turtle, trying to elevate itself from 1st floor to the second. if they weren't such slowpokes, everything would be solved by now and we wouldn't have to discuss any of this.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #19
Gear Head
 
Would love to hear Jatin's take on the Univibe phaser & envelope filter. His DSP is so good, been a fan since opening a thread about ChowTape over at KVR (under my old user name) back in the days.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sneakymoon ➡️
if 10nm allows us to play Surrey full version real-time, and even with pedals in a chain, that's a start. that's the best desktop amp atm, but only LE version is playable live. again, dev had to "dumb it down" to LE to even make that possible. that's not the solution, it's a workaround, but nobody wants compromises, really. what we really want is the best possible sound quality. for compromises there's always Guitar Rig, if anybody wants that.

Overloud claim to do "Kemper on desktop" with their rig player, but the tech is to be perfected. from what I've heard so far, for now old Kemp still has the upper hand, considering it's almost 10-year old technology.

all in all, Intel is to blame for crawling like a 200-year old turtle, trying to elevate itself from 1st floor to the second. if they weren't such slowpokes, everything would be solved by now and we wouldn't have to discuss any of this.
Yeah maybe I didn’t take the time to dial it in, but my experience with Overloud was very underwhelming, to put it diplomatically.... definitely didn’t sound like the Kemper samples I’ve heard (though I haven’t played one personally fwiw).
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