EPIC comparison: Dual Rectifier vs 13 amp modelers!

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Guitarjon, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

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    Hey guys!

    Just finished a new video.
    It's all about comparing my Mesa Dual Rectifier to 13 different amp modelers.
    It was a lot of work but the results are pretty interesting!
    There are clips in full band context as well as clips with just the guitars going back and forth between the real amp and all the modelers.

    Please let me know which one you enjoyed the most!
    I know which ones I prefer but I'll reveal my favorites after I've heard yours ;)
    It's safe to say that a few of the modelers did an amazing job at emulating the Recto.
    Others, less good....

    'nuff said, here we go:

     
  2. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

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    Fractal, Brainworx and TH3 were closest to a real thing... Helix, ReValver, or Studio Devil and LePou weren't bad either. All the others were quite horrible in their own way.
     
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  3. Snarpaasi

    Snarpaasi SS.org Regular

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    Agree. I feel the real deal has some "bouncy" vibe to it. Have only used Lepou and recognized the boomy low-end it has, not that it wouldn't be typical for Recto tone.

    Great review, thanks!
     
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  4. NorCal_Val

    NorCal_Val SS.org Regular

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    I’ve been using the LePou plugins since 2015, the Recto plugin is a damn good way to get that Recto tone into Logic.
    Of course, it’s not as brutal as my Triple Rec...
     
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  5. Rev2010

    Rev2010 Contributor

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    IMO TH3 sounded the closest, and when the A/B clip cut from the Recto into TH3 then back into the Recto it actually almost sounded seamless. I think the Fractal sounded next closest.Guitar Rig sounded embarrassing, and I know cause I have it. I also had the Amplitube 4 Mesa (had the full suite) but sold it cause it just sounded way too nasally and thin, not to mention something is wrong with it cause you have to dime the gain to get any decent amount of distortion and even then it could still use a little more. I found for the Helix that I get much closer to a true Recto sound using a dual amp head configuration where one is the Epic model and the other the Rectifier model and 50/50 them into an IR.

    Gotta give Overloud TH3 another look. Someone mentioned in the Youtube comments that Overloud has a free version that includes the Recto model. Anyone got a valid link? Don't see it on their site and would prefer to not fish around the net if someone already has a link to it :)


    Rev.
     
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  6. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

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    https://overloud.com/products/th3-full
    In this page there is "GET DEMO" link in second upper bar of links. Demo is free for 15 days, and you can demo TH3 Metal after that for another 15 days if Recto is all you need. So there is no real free version.

    I had TH3 full version, but sold it because I wanted to try something else and needed money. 129 euro's is really a bargain, I paid 249€ at time. Recto is especially awesome, 5150 and Randall T2 are also pretty good for metal.
     
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  7. shred-o-holic

    shred-o-holic SS.org Regular

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    It sounds like you a saying “jewel rectifier”? Anyway at first listen alot sound very similar as they appear to be dialed in the same but the positive grid does sound very buzzy and digital. Going back a second time to review them it seems the amount of perceived gain is higher on some like the Axe FX 3 vs the actual amp. Not sure any sound like the original but the amplitube sounds very good.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  8. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

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    Interesting as to me, especially on the muted notes it feels like the real amp has more saturation while remaining very clear.
    So some of the platforms seem less gainy than the amps, to my ears anyway.
    I agree about Bias, it must be my least favorite.
     
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  9. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    Not much of a surprise to me, I liked the real amp more in all the clips. Harder to tell in the band mix though.

    Glad to hear you’re enjoying the new amp.
     
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  10. vibrantgermancities

    vibrantgermancities SS.org Regular

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    TH3 sounds great - I have an old TH2 licence that I could upgrade but never really got around to it. Might have convinced me!
     
  11. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    I keep referring back to the real amp sound.

    Real thing - you dialled a pretty bright tone for a recto IMO

    Axe FX - very similar to the real thing

    Helix - something weird in the high frequencies. I don't like it.

    Amplitube - like a blanket was over the cabinet

    Thermionik - way more mids than the real thing. Not as smooth either. I'm surprised, because usually thermionic is awesome

    Overloud - pretty similar to the real thing. Again, something in the high end is "off"

    Guitar Rig - sounds like farts

    ReValver - much darker than the original

    Studio Devil - pretty good. Never heard of this before

    Bias - sounds like there's some sort of filter effect on the mid range. It is similar to the original, but something is wrong - hard to put my finger on it

    Pod Farm - not as bad as I'd expected. It does sound like a recto me - just not the tone you'd dialled in on your real amp

    Brainworx - pretty much indistinguishable from the real amp, apart from a slightly thinner sound overall

    Lecto - not bad. Again, it sounds like a recto. Kinda "woofy" during the fast picking. For free though, that tone is great

    So in conclusion, Megadual was the best. And I bought that plugin for $10 when they were having some sort of flash sale. I barely used it. Time to re-examine I think!

    Great comparison, thanks for posting!
     
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  12. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

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    I thought I'd share some thoughts now that the video has been out a few days.
    I really want to be honest though so I won't hold back if I really disliked a platform in this particular test.

    I really like how the real amp sounds.
    As some people have mentioned in the comments, the amp has a brighter sound and the string definition is good.
    Also, the low end has a nice compressed sound which helps to make the palm mutes less boomy and bloated.
    I'm happy that I bought this amp.
    It's very interesting to finally work with the real thing and to see where all the inspiration from the modelers originates from.
    A real amp or course has a different workflow and different things to take into consideration such as tube-wear, hum, hiss, warming up, not being able to reamp as easily etc.

    Having said that, I'm still a huge fan of amp modelers!
    I use Helix a lot because it not only sounds great but fits into my workflow perfectly.
    The Axe FX III also has a solid place in my rig as it functions as my soundcard, plus it sounds killer.
    It's so easy to get creative with modeling platforms.
    Combine all sorts of effects amps and cabs with a couple of mouse clicks.
    This does help to make music more easily without having to hook up all sorts of stuff.
    I'm sure you guys know what I mean.

    So what did I think of the modelers in this particular test?

    Axe FX III:
    It came very close, probably the most accurate platform in this test.
    I could have done a tonematch of the real amp and applied it to the amp model but that was just not how I wanted this test to be.
    I didn't want to do any post processing and to me match eq is a form of post processing.
    I also didn't want to add any eq to the other amp sims for the same reason.
    Anyway, the fractal did a great job!
    It's not there a 100% (and I feel like that's not entirely because of the eq curve but also has to do with the saturation and dynamics) but it's pretty darn close!

    Helix Native:
    I thought this one turned out great!
    The Recto model in the Helix is a little dated since it was built for the original firmware but I feel like it got surprisingly close.
    What also could be taken into consideration with this test is that they used slightly different power amp settings for this model and possibly also another revision of the Rectifier.
    This also plays a part with the other platforms most likely.
    So far Helix and Axe FX are my favorites.

    TH3:
    Also one that should be mentioned as it sounds great.
    It's not as close as the Axe Fx but I would use this in a mix gladly.
    Great plugin overall and I dig the Recto model.

    Brainworx:
    A lot of people have mentioned that this one is close.
    I agree, it's not bad at all but the low end feels a little flat.
    I had to tweak the tonestack settings in a quite extreme way to get close enough.
    Could be worth to look into (when they have a discount).

    Studio Devil:
    This one isn't bad!
    It's an older plugin, I think the developer has since moved on to the Amplifire stuff so they don't make plug-ins like this anymore as far as I know.
    It has a good analog-y sound but perhaps not as close as the others.
    Could be a great option if you enjoy the distortion character of this platform.

    Amplitube:
    This one really was a let down for me, especially since this amp is an officially licensed model by Mesa.
    The Rectos in that pack are far from accurate.
    The MKIV is much better though.
    Don't have a lot to say other than that.
    It sounded boxy and not at all big like the real recto.

    Guitar Rig:
    I wasn't a fan of this one to be honest.
    Pretty muffled sounding.
    It's also an older platform and some of the other models are more accurate.
    Just not the Recto unfortunately.

    Thermionik:
    The results in this particular test weren't super to be honest but with further EQ pre and post processing I could have come much closer.
    I think the saturation characteristics are pretty nice but the overall EQ curve just seems off.
    Especially in the low mid region.
    It's affordable though and with more effort it can be made to sound better.

    Revalver:
    I think this plugin is pretty cool also but the Recto just doesn't do it for me.
    It sounds way too boxy and scratchy to me.
    The Peavey amps in this plugin tend to be better.

    Lepou:
    Some people loved the results of this free plugin.
    I agree, it's not bad but when I dialed it in the controls didn't react so well and I feel like it really lacks in dynamics, especially in the low end.
    So I wouldn't use this one in a mix personally.
    Still, not a bad free option to experiment with!

    Bias Amp:
    Not much to say but I'm just not a fan.
    I spent quite a bit of money on this and it's just soooo hard to make it sound good.
    It sounds so harsh and artificial to me.
    The demo's for version 2 weren't promising so I did not upgrade.

    Pod Farm:
    Sure, it's dated but in the mix it wasn't too bad.
    It still had that recto vibe to it but Helix is way ahead obviously.
    For a guitar part here and there it would still work fine.
    It didn't react well to the input source but this was to be expected since those amp models are quite dated.

    AmpLion:
    This platform isn't bad at all.
    It lacks the bite and presence of the real thing but it sounds kinda pleasing.
    Post and pre eq could take this one too the next level.

    Those are just my thoughts, kind of condensed but I could elaborate more on this if you guys have any questions
     
  13. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    Agree on Amplitube @Guitarjon

    I really like the Mark IVs in that plugin and the Recto is ok for tracking if you don’t expect it to sound exactly like one.

    Weird that they licensed it lol
     
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  14. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    IK Multimedia is a large company compared to most of the others mentioned here (other than Native Instruments). It would make sense Mesa would want to get their name out in the digital world through a larger, well-known, company.
     
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  15. katsumura78

    katsumura78 SS.org Regular

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    I was shocked how close the Axe Fx III was. Recently sold my II because I didn't need it and now here I am thinking I should grab a III lol.
     
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  16. oneblackened

    oneblackened Doesn't Actually Play a Seven String

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    My opinion is this:
    - For the money, you're not going to beat the BX. You can get it for $100 on sale and the built in cab impulses are generally pretty good, and the sound is pretty close (to my 2 channel, anyway).
    - Helix Native is great, but it's also $500.
    - The Axe III was also good, but there's something in the upper mids - that "fractal clank" - that popped out to me immediately.
    - My experience with the RV4 "Flathill" is that it's pretty close but not identical - the gain structure reacts like a Rectifier does, but the EQ is super far off. Gets fairly close in modern mode since they actually did model the NFB loop being disconnected.
    - I was consistently let down by everything except the Fractal, Helix, and Brainworx. None of them even sorta sound like the real thing. I've never heard a Rectifier sound like the way it does in AT4. Bias sounds like exactly what it is - a $20 plugin sold for well over $100, with what sounds like the Axe FX 1 mid clank but worse. Pod Farm sounds like an X3, no surprise there, just nothing like a Recto. The others were just disappointingly digital and crappy.
     
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  17. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

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    If they are such a large company, why can't they invest more into sound development?

    Oh yeah, it's pretty close.
    It's not exactly the same but it could be tweaked to sound closer.
    Cliff chimed in on the Fractal forum about it too...

    Helix Native is 399 and if you already own a Helix it's much more affordable.
    It IS worth the money though.
    All those effects are top notch and the amp modeling is seriously good when you get used to dialing the amps in.
    I'm not a huge fan of the BX.
    It sounds good, sure, but I didn't like how extreme I had to tweak the controls to get a sound that was in the ballpark of the real amp.

    About Bias Amp: I'm really not a fan but I also just don't like how they market it to be such an amazing product while it really isn't in my honest opinion.
    I feel kinda bad for being so honest about it but they should put more money and effort into the actual development of the products and not the graphics etc but the sound!
     
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  18. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    Like most software companies, I imagine that where they make all their money is in the sampling software, iRig interfaces, MIDI controllers, and mastering software. I would guess that guitar, and Amplitube in general, is a low priority for them because that is not where the profit is.

    Same thing with Native Instruments and Guitar Rig. They make their money on Kontakt and DJ equipment... so that is where most of the resources go.
     
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  19. Guitarjon

    Guitarjon SS.org Regular

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    I have some observations to make about the difference between the sound of tube amps vs modelers.

    Before getting these recent tube amps I hadn't owned a tube amp in something like 12 years or so.
    Throughout that period I played mainly Line 6 amps/modelers and later also the Axe Fx etc.
    It has been super interesting to get back to tube amps.
    I guess it's also my way of paying tribute to tube amps because those devices are of course where all the modeling comes from it the first place.
    It's good to get back to the source.
    Just a very cool learning experience.

    Of course there is a big difference in workflow and all that but I just want to talk about sound.

    Since I've been using these amps (Rectifier, EVH 5150 III EL34 50W, Laney Ironheart 60h, Orange Dark Terror and Rocker 15) I've been noticing some differences between the tonal qualities.
    One thing has to do with the low end.
    The tube amps seem to have a better balanced and organic low end.
    I feel like the low end is more compressed and even with the tube amps.
    With modelers I often notice that there are low resonant peaks/frequencies that get in the way of the other instruments.
    This has to be fixed in the mix or by using a multiband compressor on your processor etc.
    These 'artifacts' are more noticeable with chunky high gain sounds obviously.
    I was tracking a new heavy song with my EVH yesterday and the low end was nice and chunky but the low-end peaks with palm mutes didn't get in the way of the other instruments at all.
    This makes the job of mixing much easier when it comes to low-end.

    I also noticed that even though tube amps are brighter they have a smoother and less harsh top-end.
    The string definition is also different with tube amps.
    It's like you can really hear the guitar better and there seems to be a bit more interplay between the guitar and the distortion so to speak.
    Some modelers like the Fractal stuff and Helix are pretty damn good at this but it's still not the same.
    Most modelers have a kind of 'blanket' or fuzzy layer of distortion over the sound, tube amps sound more honest.

    The mids also seem to behave a little different.
    A bunch of the modelers in this test had more mids but those mids often feel a little bloated and in the way.

    These were just a couple of observations.
    I'm not saying that tube amps are better than modelers per se, it all depends on what you want.
    It's just a cool and humbling experience to get back to tube amps and noticing all the subtle differences.
     
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  20. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    I used modellers almost exclusively for many years when I first started playing guitar. First with a podXT, and eventually culminating with an Axe FX II.

    Over the last year or so I’ve had spare money as well as a spare room and the ability to be as loud as I want, so I’ve bought a few tube amps.

    The reality of the situation (for me at least) is that tube amps and modelers are still pretty different. The workflows are totally different, and compared back-to-back there are certainly sound differences. Maybe more to do with the feel than the sound, but there are differences.
     
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