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Old 4th October 2011 | Show parent
I don't think amp sims sound obviously fake in every case.

I do think that in general amp sims sound a little fake, especially when you're very familiar with the tone and feel of a real amp and cab. However, whether or not sims are useful to you depends on your goals. Can you make a great sounding recording using amp sims, one that sells and that most people don't think twice about the guitar tone? Of course you can.

Will that ever replace the want for actual hardware? I doubt it. I personally prefer hardware guitar gear and think it sounds a little better than any sim I've heard. But the sound is a subtle thing to me (some people describe subtle changes as though they are as dramatic as the difference between a plastic doll and a real person, which is hyperbolic to say the least IMO) and the preference is subjective.

As far as live performers are concerned, I think it's a matter of the performer's preference and budget. The live audience hears so much crap in the venue that it usually (but not always) sounds pretty much like ass anyway compared to a fine recording. So I think you could easily use sims and things would sound fine depending on your genre and the specific tricks you pull off live. But I'm pretty sure most guitarists prefer to have actual hardware to work with, even though it's a pain to lug around.