Amplitube Mesa/Fender Tone Test

zenshin

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Hey folks, haven't touched anything music related for awhile and thought I'd give Amplitube's Mesa and Fender amp sims a try again since it had been ages since I touched amp sim plugins.

For distortion, of course I tried the Mesa Triple Rectifier sim which required a lot of EQ work but I was able to get something intriguing that seemed to at least fit my style of music.

For clean, of course I chose the Fender Twin Reverb sim. It didn't require nearly as much EQ, I think I just hi passed it and that was about it. I added tons of ambient effects because... well... I like ambient effects :lol:.

Anyways, time for me to shut up and post the track. Hopefully this can be of some value to anyone curious about either of the products. I'm nothing special as a mixer so it gives you an idea of what a less experienced person can potentially pull off.

[SC]https://soundcloud.com/zenshin-2/obscura[/SC]
 

zenshin

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Yeah, I do need to dial that in a bit. I think most of my problems may be somewhere in the mix rather than the master. Maybe the bass or the drums are emitting some freqs that are getting in the way and triggering the clipping? I doubt it's the guitar, I really put in the time on that one.

Do you ever hi-pass or hi-shelf bass? I've felt the temptation to try that. It's been hard for me to find any best practices for mixing bass.
 

EverDream

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The guitar tone isn't what I'd call perfect, but it is good considering it's a software amp sim. The mix isn't perfect either, but it's good as well. The thing that is amazing is the composition though... I love what you came up with and it sounds awesome musically!

And yeah I did notice a harshness/clipping sound to the mix like Akhenat0n mentioned.
 

zenshin

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The guitar tone isn't what I'd call perfect, but it is good considering it's a software amp sim. The mix isn't perfect either, but it's good as well. The thing that is amazing is the composition though... I love what you came up with and it sounds awesome musically!

And yeah I did notice a harshness/clipping sound to the mix like Akhenat0n mentioned.

Yeah the guitar tone was an experiment to see how close I could get to my Engl Tone that you would hear in this track: [SC]https://soundcloud.com/zenshin-2/icarus[/SC]. There is still a certain clarity that I get out of the Engl that isn't quite there with the plugin. But I have to give credit where it's due, Amplitube exceeded my expectations.

Mix wise, what would you recommend to help get things in a better direction? Beyond the likely move that I will go back and re-record guitar tracks with the Engl :lol:. If it helps, I've been using Korn's Insane as my reference track. I think if I can dial in the mix, I should, in theory, be able to dial in the master better.

Also I really appreciate your kind words about the song composition itself. I'm trying my best.
 

zenshin

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@EverDream - Since you had such a positive reaction to the song itself, I thought I'd take the time to re-record it with my Engl E530 this time. Mix is of course not perfect but I tried to clean things up where I can to remove the clipping and harshness. Hopefully it's an improvement and maybe you can get some enjoyment out of it. :cheers:

[SC]https://soundcloud.com/zenshin-2/obscura_engl_remix[/SC]
 

EverDream

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@EverDream - Since you had such a positive reaction to the song itself, I thought I'd take the time to re-record it with my Engl E530 this time. Mix is of course not perfect but I tried to clean things up where I can to remove the clipping and harshness. Hopefully it's an improvement and maybe you can get some enjoyment out of it. :cheers:

[SC]https://soundcloud.com/zenshin-2/obscura_engl_remix[/SC]

Wow, okay, first off guitar tone is way better than the amp sim for my liking! The first 32 seconds were perfect... but when the harmonics came in it sounds like the rhythm guitar and drums are overpowering that, that's what made that part sound so awesome was the harmonics and hearing them clearly, and now it's kinda buried (but it still sounds awesome musically though)... I wouldn't try to boost the harmonics part in that section, because that sounds like it's a good volume it just sounds like the drums and the rhythm guitar are way too loud there and it's making the mix way too loud and it does sound like it's just too loud, I think a lot of the clipping sound is because of it just being compressed/limited too much. also the drums frequency spectrum seems to not fit with the guitar harmonics part now, too much high end on the cymbals drowning out the guitar harmonics.

If it were me, I'd boost the level of the harmonics part a little bit, and reduce the volume of the rhythm guitars and drums a little bit, and then mess with the EQing of the drums and harmonics guitar part until the harmonics part stands out more (try not to overcompensate that, that's easy to do, lol)... and until the cymbals aren't so overwhelming dominant.

Just try different things and see what works to make it sound more balanced, it's really hard to know for sure exactly what it needs without tweaking stuff and listening, but those are the things I'd try. but just having the guitar tone be way better already makes it overall higher quality sounding, so excellent!! :)

So in summary... the first one the mix was better (even though it wasn't perfect)... and the second one with the Engl the mix was a little worse but the guitar tone was way better! :)

The guitar tone of the second one with the mix of the first one would probably sound the best. Anyway it's not a huge deal that the mix isn't perfect because you've got an awesome thing composed and you can always make it better later but at least you got the awesome composition recorded and if it had like a top notch recording studio production it would be killer.

It can always be made better later, but at least the idea is excellent sounding because that's like the most important thing, so good job, keep writing things that are melodic and catchy, there's way too much mechanical nonsense being written today IMO, I miss the 90s rock/metal music so much, lol.

Anyway good job coming up with that composition. For your info I'm the same guy who followed you on Soundcloud recently commenting on the song saying that I loved it, haha. :) If you're only gonna send me one mp3 I preferred the first version because I could hear the harmonics part better which was my favorite part (and the ending ambient part, which did sound better in the second one, but it sounded almost as good in the first one too).

You mentioned Korn...

My thoughts on them: The first 4 Korn albums are like the most universally appealing metal that I've ever heard imo. 4 of my favorite albums of all time actually. It has elements that appeal to just about every gender. It was the most concentrated on "feel" (as opposed to "technical") metal that I've ever heard, and I can tell you the ladies especially love that (and I'm more like them in that way so me too, lol), and they are a large part of the earth's population, so no wonder metal was more mainstream when they were in their prime.

After Issues however they kinda didn't come up with any good hooks anymore, except The Paradigm Shift (which is the latest album I've heard by them) finally added catchy hooks back but they aren't as edgy and appealing to youth as their early stuff and JD's voice definitely sounds like it's improved from the 2000-2012 era, but it does sound older and not as energetic and lively as the 4 albums they did in the 90s. The original band lineup was the one that sounded the best. Now with Head back the only one not in the original lineup is the drummer, but even that makes a noticeable difference to me, that drummer they had was perfect for their style. But I did really love The Paradigm Shift, easily my 5th favorite album by them, lol. :)
 

zenshin

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Niiiiiice
Gonna follow suit and ask for a mp3 of that. Really enjoy the ambient stuff in it.

Wow, I really appreciate the kind words! I should be updating the mix this weekend so I'll make sure you get a version of it with everything being (hopefully) improved a bit more. I'll keep you posted. :cheers:
 

zenshin

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Wow, okay, first off guitar tone is way better than the amp sim for my liking! The first 32 seconds were perfect... but when the harmonics came in it sounds like the rhythm guitar and drums are overpowering that, that's what made that part sound so awesome was the harmonics and hearing them clearly, and now it's kinda buried (but it still sounds awesome musically though)... I wouldn't try to boost the harmonics part in that section, because that sounds like it's a good volume it just sounds like the drums and the rhythm guitar are way too loud there and it's making the mix way too loud and it does sound like it's just too loud, I think a lot of the clipping sound is because of it just being compressed/limited too much. also the drums frequency spectrum seems to not fit with the guitar harmonics part now, too much high end on the cymbals drowning out the guitar harmonics.

If it were me, I'd boost the level of the harmonics part a little bit, and reduce the volume of the rhythm guitars and drums a little bit, and then mess with the EQing of the drums and harmonics guitar part until the harmonics part stands out more (try not to overcompensate that, that's easy to do, lol)... and until the cymbals aren't so overwhelming dominant.

Just try different things and see what works to make it sound more balanced, it's really hard to know for sure exactly what it needs without tweaking stuff and listening, but those are the things I'd try. but just having the guitar tone be way better already makes it overall higher quality sounding, so excellent!! :)

So in summary... the first one the mix was better (even though it wasn't perfect)... and the second one with the Engl the mix was a little worse but the guitar tone was way better! :)

The guitar tone of the second one with the mix of the first one would probably sound the best. Anyway it's not a huge deal that the mix isn't perfect because you've got an awesome thing composed and you can always make it better later but at least you got the awesome composition recorded and if it had like a top notch recording studio production it would be killer.

It can always be made better later, but at least the idea is excellent sounding because that's like the most important thing, so good job, keep writing things that are melodic and catchy, there's way too much mechanical nonsense being written today IMO, I miss the 90s rock/metal music so much, lol.

Anyway good job coming up with that composition. For your info I'm the same guy who followed you on Soundcloud recently commenting on the song saying that I loved it, haha. :) If you're only gonna send me one mp3 I preferred the first version because I could hear the harmonics part better which was my favorite part (and the ending ambient part, which did sound better in the second one, but it sounded almost as good in the first one too).

You mentioned Korn...

My thoughts on them: The first 4 Korn albums are like the most universally appealing metal that I've ever heard imo. 4 of my favorite albums of all time actually. It has elements that appeal to just about every gender. It was the most concentrated on "feel" (as opposed to "technical") metal that I've ever heard, and I can tell you the ladies especially love that (and I'm more like them in that way so me too, lol), and they are a large part of the earth's population, so no wonder metal was more mainstream when they were in their prime.

After Issues however they kinda didn't come up with any good hooks anymore, except The Paradigm Shift (which is the latest album I've heard by them) finally added catchy hooks back but they aren't as edgy and appealing to youth as their early stuff and JD's voice definitely sounds like it's improved from the 2000-2012 era, but it does sound older and not as energetic and lively as the 4 albums they did in the 90s. The original band lineup was the one that sounded the best. Now with Head back the only one not in the original lineup is the drummer, but even that makes a noticeable difference to me, that drummer they had was perfect for their style. But I did really love The Paradigm Shift, easily my 5th favorite album by them, lol. :)

First, I seriously appreciate the in depth feedback. I also am in agreement 100% with the issues you found. I'll try and give a more thorough reply later but alas... work is calling. So I have to keep brief for now.

I agree on the nature of the Engl tone being better, I easily imagined it being the winner. That said, one idea I had in doing this tone experiment was just to see how close I could push one of the more mainstream amp sims to see what could be done by a not-so-pro mixer. Even though I now have tube rigs that I'm proud of, I still find myself rooting for the amp sims to get better because I still think of the poor kid high school version of me who had to play gigs with a crappy Crate amp and a Metal Zone pedal. So I still like pulling these plugins out and seeing what I can get. I really want to try the Mercuriall U530 next and see how it does. If anything, to help the folks who need to 80/20 their tone for the purposes of getting their music out there.

I could easily go through and reply to each part of your response line by line, but now I REALLY need to get back to work now :lol:. So I'll respond more later when I have some time.
 


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