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Amp Modeling hell

Still very little love for the bassists. More options but still no good ones…
I’ve never amassed a big collection of amps or speakers. I have been pretty lucky to work with good recording engineers who have, so if I need a classic SVT or Ampeg head for a session, I’ve always been able to get one. When I record on my own, I will usually go direct or use my GK Combo. For band recordings, I use my live setup which is a GK 800 RB head with SWR 15″ and GK 2X10″ speakers. With my new diminutive studio where I’ll be doing a lot more in software (look for a ton of hardware on eBay any day now), I’ve been thinking a lot more about amp modeling, especially bass amp modeling.

The IK Multimedia/Ampeg thing never saw the light of day, unfortunately.

I’m left with 3 choices: IK Multimedia’s Amplitube, Native Instruments’ Guitar Rig and Line6’s TonePort. My take on each of these below…

Amplitube 2.0
Pros: Works as a plug-in, Most powerful emulation (pre-amp, power-amp, speakers, microphones, stomp boxes), Cheap upgrade from any IK product until end of 2005
Cons: IK Multimedia is jerky about authorizations and user support. No bass amp models

Guitar Rig:
Pros: Bass amp and cabs modeled, NI product quality and support, works as a plug-in, hardware controller available, more effects than amplitube
Cons: very Expensive (even software-only as an upgrade for a NI customer), not as powerful as amplitube

Pros: Line 6 has been doing this longer than anyone else, inexpensive (most expensive version same price as Amplitube 2.0 upgrade including audio interface), Pre-amp modeling for vocals, includes audio interface, nice expansion possibilities through inexpensive model packs.
Cons: audio interface works as a dongle, can’t use software without it; software will not function as a plug-in (need to go to back to analog to process existing tracks); no mic modeling; can’t use pre-amp models with amp models

Now when I do comparisons here, I’m doing it on a price and feature basis. I assume that given these companies lineage that they’ll each produce something of comparable quality. I’m also not that concerned with the accuracy of the models. I don’t need to A/B each model with the real thing, because I’m not really that interested in exactly duplicating the sound, I want a sound shaping tool. If I really wanted the exact sound of a particular head, I’ll buy / borrow / rent it. This whole modeling movement in audio software is getting goofy, it doesn’t make that much sense to me. I never had a fetish for old gear, my interests are in new sounds, not old ones.

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