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Amplitube vs Dual Rectifier, Bugera 6260 / Mesa 4x12 / Sm57 blind test
Old 2nd March 2014
  #1
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RiF's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Amplitube vs Dual Rectifier, Bugera 6260 / Mesa 4x12 / Sm57 blind test

I have a little blind test for you guys.
All software: IK Multimedia Amplitube 3 + Cabinet Impulse Response
vs
All hardware: Real amps (Mesa Rectifier, Bugera 6260) + Mesa 4x12 + Shure SM57 + BAE1073MP

Here are the specs:
  • All DI tracks for the guitars recorded with: Charvel 750XL with an EMG81, Gibson Les Paul Std for the Bugera clips. Drop-C tuning. Gtr -> Palmer PAN-01 DI -> BAE 1073MP -> Profire 2626
  • I shot a series of IRs of my Mesa 4x12 Rectifier cabinet (/w Black Shadow C90 speakers) with slighly different mic positions and used that IR instead of the stock Amplitube cabinet sims. It's the same cabinet that I've used for the all-hardware recordings.
  • The Rectifier Amplitube track has a little EQ to match the real amp tone better (see "AT-Recto-EQ.jpg")
  • Everything else is without any EQ.
  • The master bus has a Waves SSL Bus Compressor with 1-2 dB of GR and Ozone 5's Limiter
  • The drums are Superior Drummer 2.0 with a little help from Steven Slate Drums 3 EX for kicks and snare.
  • The bass is my cheapo Yamaha bass into Amplitube. MΓΆller + Orange AD200 + Orange OCB 115 cab sim from AT3.
  • I've used my Dual Rectifier vs Amplitube's "Metal Lead T" model (their Rectifier) and my Bugera 6260 (a 5150 clone) vs Amplitube's "Metal Lead V" (their 5150) model.
  • I did my best to level-match the real amp tracks and the software tracks. Everything else is the same.
  • The process had been that I first dialed in the real amp to my liking, recorded the amp and then tried to match the software sim to that track.

Have fun and guess what's the real deal and what's software?

EDIT 2014-03-03: I updated the files with better level-matching and less brickwall limiting.
EDIT 2014-03-06:
1. The reveal is in post #28
2. The shooting of the cab IR, the Mesa amp recording and the Bugera amp recording had all been done in different sessions. The mic had been placed roughly at the same position but not the very exact same probably. This could be considered as a minor flaw. And I did not write down the amp settings on the Mesa amp recording and matched those by ear (old ears as I said...). I just feel the need to mention it.
Attached Thumbnails
Amplitube vs Dual Rectifier, Bugera 6260 / Mesa 4x12 / Sm57 blind test-recto-eq.jpg  
Attached Files

RiF-Amplitube vs Rectifier (A).mp3 (1.39 MB, 3222 views)

RiF-Amplitube vs Rectifier (B).mp3 (1.39 MB, 2858 views)

RiF-Amplitube vs Bugera 6260 (A).mp3 (985.9 KB, 2735 views)

RiF-Amplitube vs Bugera 6260 (B).mp3 (985.9 KB, 2627 views)

Old 3rd March 2014
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
bobsbarricades's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
well I'd have to say 1 and 4 are the same and are also higher levels than 2 and 3.

I'm gonna go with the amplitube being 2 and 3.

also wouldn't mind uploading that mesa IR?
Old 3rd March 2014
  #3
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mcgruff's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Both A's sound a little bit canned (but not bad). I feel pretty confident that both B's are the real amps. I'd also have to admit there's not a lot in it, much as I loathe amp modelling.

You don't get a good idea of dynamics and responsiveness from an audio clip though: how do they feel to play compared to the real thing?
Old 3rd March 2014
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Hard for me to say, it actually is really close, nice job. IMO amp modelers are quite good at replicating very highly distorted tones and sparkly clean tones... but the stuff in between (twang, fuzz, classic rock overdrive etc) is where the difference between the real amps and the modelers becomes more apparent.
Old 3rd March 2014 | Show parent
  #5
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RiF's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsbarricades ➑️
well I'd have to say 1 and 4 are the same and are also higher levels than 2 and 3.
I just noticed that "Bugera A" is actually a little quieter than "Bugera B". I apologise, please take that into account until I've fixed that (hopefully ASAP).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgruff ➑️
You don't get a good idea of dynamics and responsiveness from an audio clip though: how do they feel to play compared to the real thing?
Tough to answer, because I play my amps "in the room" and I play a sim in a "mic'd scenario" which is completely different from a feel perspective. At least I can say that the software models carry the same "feel-attributes" like my real amps. Which is the lack of supportive sustain and the clear attack from the Rectifier while the 5150 model has a similar looser feel, slight midrange honkyness and is - like the real one - easier to play.
Both do not have the overcompressed feel that for example the pre-HD (never touched a POD HD) POD/PODFarm models have which always sound like you've put a Tube Screamer in front of them (even if you didn't), if you know what I mean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meatheadmike ➑️
IMO amp modelers are quite good at replicating very highly distorted tones and sparkly clean tones... but the stuff in between (twang, fuzz, classic rock overdrive etc) is where the difference between the real amps and the modelers becomes more apparent.
Unfortunately I don't have a real amp counterpart to directly compare, but I really like Amplitube's Orange models for less distorted classic rock'ish tones and they respond very good to volume or picking changes on the guitar.
And some of the Fender models like the Vibroking (or Vibroverb, I forgot...) provide a nice "dirty clean" tone if driven a bit.
I'll see if I can post a clip soon as I recorded a quick improvisation with a Fender rhythm and Orange lead part.
Old 4th March 2014
  #6
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RiF's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
What do you say? Are they close? Do they both sound like crap?
I would really appreciate any external opinion about this.
Old 4th March 2014
  #7
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mdme_sadie's Avatar
They're all useable tones, but to my ears the B's sound a lot better for both, richer, more textured much more complex, less compressed. In a mix would you notice? Probably not. As I'm an amp sim guy (Kemper) I'm going to hope that the B's are Amplitube, but i have to admit that the A clips sound to me more what I expect from software and lower end amp sims.

I'd be happy either way though, I love my tube amps and love my amp sims, so it's all good. I'm gonna enjoy myself no matter what :D
Old 4th March 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiF ➑️
I have a little blind test for you guys.
All software: IK Multimedia Amplitube 3 + Cabinet Impulse Response
vs
All hardware: Real amps (Mesa Rectifier, Bugera 6260) + Mesa 4x12 + Shure SM57 + BAE1073MP

Here are the specs:
  • All DI tracks for the guitars recorded with: Charvel 750XL with an EMG81, Gibson Les Paul Std for the Bugera clips. Drop-C tuning. Gtr -> Palmer PAN-01 DI -> BAE 1073MP -> Profire 2626
  • I shot a series of IRs of my Mesa 4x12 Rectifier cabinet (/w Black Shadow C90 speakers) with slighly different mic positions and used that IR instead of the stock Amplitube cabinet sims. It's the same cabinet that I've used for the all-hardware recordings.
  • The Rectifier Amplitube track has a little EQ to match the real amp tone better (see "AT-Recto-EQ.jpg")
  • Everything else is without any EQ.
  • The master bus has a Waves SSL Bus Compressor with 1-2 dB of GR and Ozone 5's Limiter
  • The drums are Superior Drummer 2.0 with a little help from Steven Slate Drums 3 EX for kicks and snare.
  • The bass is my cheapo Yamaha bass into Amplitube. MΓΆller + Orange AD200 + Orange OCB 115 cab sim from AT3.
  • I've used my Dual Rectifier vs Amplitube's "Metal Lead T" model (their Rectifier) and my Bugera 6260 (a 5150 clone) vs Amplitube's "Metal Lead V" (their 5150) model.
  • I did my best to level-match the real amp tracks and the software tracks. Everything else is the same.
  • The process had been that I first dialed in the real amp to my liking, recorded the amp and then tried to match the software sim to that track.

Have fun and guess what's the real deal and what's software?

EDIT 2014-03-03: I updated the files with better level-matching and less brickwall limiting.
Don't know this style of music but guessing Amplitube is A vs. the Rectifier, and B vs. the Bugera. The Amplitubes sound a little tighter, whereas the ones I perceived as the real amps sound a little looser to me. For this genre they all seem passable.
Old 4th March 2014
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
manifestgtr's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
haha yaaayyyyy....I love these threads....everyone's gear snobbery falls to pieces...$2000 setup vs $20 setup (assuming you use the custom shop) and no one can definitevly say "this is the real thing"...and of course they can't! amplitube is a great bit of software and there are too many variables involved with micing cabs and recording guitar amps

there's a major lesson to be learned here
Old 4th March 2014
  #10
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mcgruff's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hold on: several people (including me) think they can tell them apart. We'll find out later if we're right.
Old 4th March 2014
  #11
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aaronsmith's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
the 2nd B is the real amp, you can hear in the low end chunk sound, not sure about the first clip, its impressive though i must say, very very close
Old 4th March 2014 | Show parent
  #12
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RiF's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanx for taking a listen and commenting! I will reveal which is which in 1 or 2 days.
Old 5th March 2014
  #13
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Sheldon Cooper's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Thanks for the shootout.
I think a clean or crunch test would be more revealing!
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #14
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by manifestgtr ➑️
haha yaaayyyyy....I love these threads....everyone's gear snobbery falls to pieces...$2000 setup vs $20 setup (assuming you use the custom shop) and no one can definitevly say "this is the real thing"...and of course they can't! amplitube is a great bit of software and there are too many variables involved with micing cabs and recording guitar amps

there's a major lesson to be learned here
Valid points for this style of music. For some other styles, amp sims vs. the real thing become easier to pick out.
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #15
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Grant Ransom's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama ➑️
Valid points for this style of music. For some other styles, amp sims vs. the real thing become easier to pick out.
That shouldn't be hard to test...
What Amp/style would you say demonstrated this disparity the most effectively?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgruff ➑️
You don't get a good idea of dynamics and responsiveness from an audio clip though: how do they feel to play compared to the real thing?
Thing here is, normally a model is not meant to be "an amp", it's meant to be a mic'd amp, which is a whole different beast. Recording/monitoring ALWAYS removes that element of reality.
If the dynamic is indistinguishable because something has been recorded, then I'd say the requirement as a sim has been fulfilled. No?
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Ransom ➑️
Thing here is, normally a model is not meant to be "an amp", it's meant to be a mic'd amp, which is a whole different beast. Recording/monitoring ALWAYS removes that element of reality.
If the dynamic is indistinguishable because something has been recorded, then I'd say the requirement as a sim has been fulfilled. No?
This is the part that most people seem to overlook.
Old 5th March 2014
  #17
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Blast9's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Good job! I have no idea which is which!
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #18
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mcgruff's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Ransom ➑️
If the dynamic is indistinguishable because something has been recorded, then I'd say the requirement as a sim has been fulfilled. No?
Not necessarily. Responsiveness puts more control in the hands of the musician so you can push the sound different ways which might not be possible with a less responsive set up, even though it might overlap some of the range of the more responsive one.
Old 5th March 2014
  #19
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A simple straight up clean to crunch clip would be more revealing.

On the clips above the B clips sounded a bit thinner.

There's so much processing going on you can't even tell what guitar is being used.
Old 5th March 2014
  #20
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
My opinion is that B is amplitube! Palm mute contains more low-end and clarity in A.
Thanks for the test.
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Ransom ➑️
That shouldn't be hard to test...
What Amp/style would you say demonstrated this disparity the most effectively?
Clean to slightly overdriven amps, more for rock and blues; there the complexities of the amp sections interacting are more subtle and pronounced. Nailing a good AC30, or even blackface Fender.

It may also be my lack of knowledge/interest in metal, but all of it starts to sound the same to my ears. Not a negative comment, just being honest on where my opinion's coming from.
Old 5th March 2014
  #22
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RiF's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanx again to all the comments. My ears are getting old and I really appreciate your excellent ears!
I feel like I want to clarify a bit, why I did this (any what were not my intentions):
- This is NOT an attempt to prove how close sims are to real amps in general
- Yes, it's metal and metal guitars (in my book) do not care much about dynamics. It's just everything on 11 \m/ :-). So this test is not meant to show dynamics or clean/crunch tones.
- It's just about these two amps (5150-clone and Mesa DualRec). Because these two are the mainly used metal amps and moreso because I have them :-)

I am contemplating about doing a clip about the dynamics with clean to crunch tones with the AT3 Orange models, but 1) unfortunately I don't have the corresponding amps (my JCM800 needs service badly and my Kitty Hawk will most likely never get modelled) and 2) I am not too experienced with this and fear that I might miss the point (from a playing and tone perspective).

Last edited by RiF; 5th March 2014 at 06:30 PM.. Reason: forgot a word
Old 5th March 2014
  #23
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
RiF
Is it possible to do the similar test with same amp heads (Rectifier and Bugera), but without amp simulation? Just different cabinets Mesa 4x12 and software IR Cabinet.
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT ➑️
A simple straight up clean to crunch clip would be more revealing.

On the clips above the B clips sounded a bit thinner.

There's so much processing going on you can't even tell what guitar is being used.
We're working with amps that were designed specifically for high-gain applications, so a clean-to-crunchy scenario wouldn't really be appropriate.
Old 5th March 2014 | Show parent
  #25
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shvetz ➑️
RiF
Is it possible to do the similar test with same amp heads (Rectifier and Bugera), but without amp simulation? Just different cabinets Mesa 4x12 and software IR Cabinet.
Good point Shvetz!
For completeness' sake, the A/B should really be an A/B/C/D where:
C = Real amp head through Cabinet IR
D = Software Sim through a clean poweramp into real cabinet
Because if we find differences between A and B, we cannot be 100% sure if the difference comes from the IR or from the sim.

Bad thing is, that I don't have a clean poweramp except for my Hifi amp... will it blow?

Good thing is, that I have a Palmer PDI loadbox /w lineout which can be used to bypass the cabinet and go into my DAW and into a cabinet IR. I tried that yesterday, but for some unknown reason, the sound had been far brighter than it used to be. I'll try it again, because my analog gear sometimes behaves differently from day to day (not that my computer doesn't...) :-).
Old 5th March 2014
  #26
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TurboJets's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I don't see a reveal anywhere yet so I'll chime in and play after getting a listen.

In both cases I would choose B as the real amps and A (in both cases) as the simulated clips.

All are usable, nice work. But the B clips seem to have more "real life" to them; real separation, depth and dimension.
Old 5th March 2014
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Bad thing is, that I don't have a clean poweramp except for my Hifi amp... will it blow?
Good question, bypassing Rectifier poweramp leads to "non-clear" test. This is not good, because different parts of Rectifer will be used in different tests
1)Rectifier (preamp+poweramp) -> Cab -> Mic -> DAW
AND
2)Rectifier (preamp, send signal) -> DAW -> IR . (correct me if I'm wrong)

I just wonder how to do clean test with the poweramp colouring in signal...

Quote:
I have a Palmer PDI loadbox
I think it's worth to try. For me it would be very interesting.

+

Question: what sample rate has been used? Asking because for my ear amplitube 3 sounds different on 44,1 and 96.
Old 5th March 2014
  #28
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RiF's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
THE REVEAL:
A = Amplitube + Cabinet IR
B = Bugera, Dual Rectifier + Mesa 4x12


Mesa: Almost everybody picked it correctly in the Mesa clip (7 right, 1 wrong, 3 did not find enough of a difference to care)
Bugera/5150: Most picked it wrong or did not care about the diff (3 right, 4 wrong, 3 don't care)

There were two votes (more on the "wrong" side) on the IK forum, but I didn't count them here as the opinion might be biased ;-)

Thanx.


to be continued...
Now on for the task to find out where the difference comes from. The sim or the cabinet IR or both.
Old 5th March 2014
  #29
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RiF's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Shvetz, I've used 24 Bit/44.1KHz.
And the Palmer is connected to the speaker outputs of the amp, so the poweramp is included. But the load is constant across the whole frequency spectrum whilst a speaker has different loads depending on the frequency and that affects the sound a bit.
Old 6th March 2014
  #30
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mdme_sadie's Avatar
Aw man, I'm sad that I was right, I was hoping not. Still, good job on the tone matching.
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