Since I had purchased Amplitube I struggled to achieve a decent overdrive-sound. First I had tried the free amp-models. Later I purchased also some optional models like the Marshall Slash-models and the highly praised Soldano-model. But whatever I tried I were never able to dial in a sound to my likes. I miss dynamics using amplitube
I applied different amp-models on the dry signal, but I still missed something compared to my physical setup. Especially the crunch and lead-sounds seemed one-dimensional and lacking depth. By the way my usual setup is a Fender Princeton Reverb Reissue paired with pedals, actually a Barber Small Fry, a Suhr Riot, and a Strymon El Capistan. Influenced by a youtube-video, where a guy was getting decent tones from distortion-pedals together with a hardware-ampsim, an idea popped up in my mind: How it would sound, if I would combine the physical pedals with the amp-simulation? A thrilling question! Next time when I was recording I splitted the signal after the pedal-chain and recorded Barber Small Fry=>Strymon El Capistan=>Direct with the left out of the El Capistan connected to my real Fender and the Right out connected to the recording device. As the final step I applied again some Amplitube-models to see how it sounds. All combinations lacked presence and clarity until I tried the Dr. Z-models in amplitube, which worked pretty well. With Amplitube in general I have made the experience, that the newer the models the better they sound and the Dr. Z are one of the newest. Combining the Barber pedal with Dr Z amp-sim lead to fine results. I could achieve a good Marshall rhythm sound.
Encouraged from the results I also tried the Suhr Riot and could achieve good Metal-tones. As in the real world the best sounds were created by the combination of two low-gain-sources. Just gain from the pedal created a fizzy sound, but low gain from the pedal together with the amp-sim sounded splendid.
There are people outside, who can create also convincing sounds with amplitube alone. But my method is able to build up more individual and complex sounds not heard before. Another advantage compared to the recording a pure guitar-signal is, that you get a signal with much more level. I can not prove it with charts, but I guess, that the signal has also a better signal-to-noise-ratio, because the problem with the signal-pollution through the Pickups, which I described in the last article “Why I hate headphones and latency … ” was almost gone. At last you might want to know, why I am not just recording with mics. First it’s too complicated for my needs, then it’s not family-friendly, and at last you have to record with headphones.