Hi, I’m Matt and over the next 500 or so words I want to talk briefly about real amps, vs amp simulations.
Some people fully embrace amp sims, others truly hate them, whilst the majority sit somewhere in the middle and probably don’t care. They’ve come a long way in the last decade, and some are, in my eyes, as good as a real amp. A sim knocks the pants off the majority of cheaper amps and is more versatile for an equal (or less than) price tag!
They don’t need tubes replaced, they certainly aren’t heavy and for night owls, they can be as quiet as you like whilst tonally tearing your face-off.
The reason I’m waffling about amp sims is because I recently used one of my own custom BIAS FX patches in a real recording session and it instantaneously gave me a full, modern metal crunch, with less than 5 clicks.
Admittedly I’d already set up the patch but preparation saved me a hell of a lot of time in the end and helped the session run smoothly.
I’d already recorded drums and bass and got them in a tonal ballpark without too much trouble. The band I was recording are heavily modern metal influenced by bands such as In Flames and Killswitch Engage. Usually I would always record an amp and take a DI so I have the best of both worlds (and the ability to re-amp later). This time I decided to embrace a digital imposter and run the guitars straight into Bias FX with no amps or mics.
Since it’s release I’ve been genuinely blown away with Bias FX, it’s versatility, UI, and most importantly price. For less than £150 you can have any tone you’ve ever wanted from some of the best classic equipment emulations I’ve ever heard.
From Marshall JCM heads, Crunching Peavy 5150s to a plethora of pedals, such as the legendary Tube Screamer, there really is an infinite amount of combinations of amp tones and pedals.
Having sang the praises of plugins and software, sometimes there’s no match for running a signal through some quality outboard gear. As a modern recording engineer, I’m predominately in the box (ITB), so sometimes you can’t beat getting the chance to run a vocalist through a Neve 1073DPA, a guitarist through an Orange Thunderverb 200, or a kick and snare through an Empirical Labs Distressor, or the FMR Audio RNC (really nice compressor).
There’s always going to be a market for tube amps and playing loud (especially in a recording studio or a live gig), but for tinkering on a budget you can’t go wrong with software.
You might be pleasantly surprised what you can get out of a plugin!
If you’ve read this far, you can download my custom patch off Bias FX’s ToneCloud. Just look for ‘MattmetalF4C’! As a final note, I constructed this patch for use with 6 string guitars in standard all the way up to 8 string guitars tuned to D#. It works from anything from stadium rock to tear your face off progressive metal. So as long as you’re on the heavier side of music, I’m sure you’ll find it a decent starting point.