Engl E530 vs Mercuriall U530 Tone Test

zenshin

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Hey folks! Just decided to buy the U530 from Mercuriall and while playing around with it... I decided to do a head to head comparison with my actual Engl E530 preamp. While this was posted as a versus title, this is really all in good fun and not meant to turn into a digital versus tube pissing contest. I love my E530.

To get some necessities out of the way, both recordings are 96K, 24 bit, NI Kontrol Rig 2 interface on a baseline MacBook Pro. I am not a pro mixer nor do I play one on the internet. I'm just a guy who likes making racket. I suck and flaws abound in the test mixes. The tones are not and were not meant to be identical. The test is also horribly skewed in favor of the E530. It received way more attention whereas the U530 tone was one I scrapped together in 15 minutes with only slight compression and a low cut filter. Nothing else.

That said, on with the show...

Test subject number 1
https://soundcloud.com/zenshin-2/u530-v-e530-1

Test subject number 2
https://soundcloud.com/zenshin-2/u530-v-e530-2
 

zenshin

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I preferred #2, it had a little more high end to it.
I appreciate the response! I think if I really wanted to, I'd be able to get the tones to match up with some knob adjustments but I didn't bother. Didn't originally intend on doing this test in the first place.
 

OG Shredder

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Well, I have been lurking for long enough. Threads like these spark my interest and I finally gave into the temptation with this one.

#2 is clearly the plugin. Exaggerated gain, more treble, and less clarity is always the dead giveaway. I worked with digital for YEARS until I could afford the big boy equipment.
 

zenshin

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@OGShredder
Interesting thoughts, while I won't tell you which is which... I would be curious to see if anyone else has any thoughts on which one they believe to be the plugin and which they believe is the physical E530. To my untrained ears, they sound really close but for you more experienced folks, I would be curious to see if any of you can pick them out right away.
 

EverDream

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Wow they are really close, Mercuriall sure did a good job on that plugin! I don't know which one is the real amp, but I preferred #1. #2 Had more harsh treble that I noticed in certain places that I didn't like.
 

Frostbite

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Not sure which is which but I definitely prefer 1. Way more clarity and note definition. Made the riff have a completely different feel then the second to me
 

Tactical Tiger

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I found number one to have a better feel and tone along with note definition. Number two has that fake sound, trying too hard to copy the real deal. Thanks for the comparison
 

KnightBrolaire

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#1 is better imo, probably the actual amp. I hate the high end of #2
 

zenshin

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Thanks for the responses so far folks! I'm really really itching to do the reveal on which is which but I'll give it just a little longer then tell you all. I'll drag the fun out just a little longer.
 

Humbuck

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I like #2 a little better but they both sound good.
 

Winspear

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I think I'd prefer 2 if it had a bit more of a lowpass filter. I think 2 is the real amp also.
 

zenshin

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Also, I felt like I should post some signal chain pictures for the U530 to show you folks how little I'm doing post amp sim. I know that's a big issue these days with tests on the web where someone demonstrates a cool amp sim and then we can't replicate the results because the web demonstration didn't mention the 50,000 extra plugins and top notch hardware that was used as part of the signal chain.

Thus, I will share the exact settings top to bottom in the plugin chain. Now bare in mind I'm using a bone stock Cort M-800 Semi Hollow guitar loaded with Mighty Mite pickups and Dunlop strings. So keep that in mind case anyone goes out and tries to match my results in the U530.

Anyways, here comes the screenshots...

U530 Plugin Chain

U530 Settings

U530 Post EQ

U530 Post Compression

This way you folks can honestly know I'm not loading up some million dollar voodoo plugin.

Anyways, continue on with the show. I'll likely reveal which audio sample was the real amp and which was the U530 tonight while watching Bellator.
 

axxessdenied

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Not sure how these sound really close to people? There is a pretty drastic difference on my speakers.
first clip seems to have a lot more clarity and definition in the low end so I am going to say that is the real amp.
 

zenshin

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Well folks, I think it's time for me to reveal which is which.

#1 = the U530
#2 = the real E530

Of course I want to emphasize again, this isn't meant to be a tube vs. digital thread. For those that like the U530 sound more, I absolutely believe I could have made some adjustments on the E530 to achieve the sound that I was getting from the U530 and vice versa. My takeaway from the test is that Mercuriall is the beginning of something really good in VST amp sims. For me personally, it gives me the chance to think about potentially downsizing my live rig. Maybe sell some gear and pay off some bills. Not saying that is what I will do, but I'm happy to know that I have this option now.

I do hope that maybe this informal test was valuable for some of you folks. At the very least, I think we have a good option to work with :cheers:.
 

B.M.F.

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Yes indeed the Mercuriall U530 sounds very good. ENGL is great for that tight tube sound.
 

zenshin

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Favorite plugin I've tried over the years so far.

Cool that some people prefer the tones from it to the thing it's modeling!

Shoot yeah I'm really happy with the outcome! I honestly believed the U530 would require a ton of EQ work to get something usable (like any other VST) but it didn't. Makes me want to give Spark a try for those times when I get in a Marshall mood. I seriously hope they come out with a Mesa or Peavey/EVH plugin at some point because if what they have done so far is any indication then I expect good things.
 

Steinmetzify

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Agreed. I have Spark, and really like the AFD for Marshall metal tones. The built in gate and FX are nice too.

Dude from Mercuriall posted in a thread last week saying they're working on something new, Mesa/5150 would be fantastic based on the quality of this one. Here's hoping!
 


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