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Simulanalog Guitar Suite

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Facing some big competitors like Steinberg's Warp or IK Multimedia's Amplitube, Simulanalog team is releasing a free bundle especially for guitarists. On the menu : amps, pedals and a few typical effects simulation. Let's plug our guitar directly in the sound card and listen to. Immediate feelings ...


The Amps

We're starting by the amp simulators with the Marshall JCM 900 ! I must admit that I was rather sceptical before testing it seriously in different styles from Blues to Metal, crossing Funk music). All the adjustments are here : 2 separate channels, each having a drive, a common Eq, a presence, the main volume and a reverb for each channel.

The sound is really credible, as well as in a mix as in solo listening. You switch easily from clean sound (a little bit too much weak to my own opinion) to the heavily distorsed one for big angry hairy men. The sounds a little bit crunchier sound nice playing Blues or excited Funk, that is rather a good surprise. When adding the reverb, I've got the real sensation to be in the place, this plug sounds like an amp. The Eq does respectably its job, I didn't need to process certain tracks after. In short, we've got all more or less the "Marshall sound" in ear and my Fender adding the plug allows me to have those sounds in a scale of which I don't hope the faithfuller of necessity ! That simulation sounds and it meets the case to me like this. To be tried, I don't have any doubt that you will find its use for distorsed sounds.


For clean sounds, I am nicely surprised by the Fender Twin 1969, it sounds immediately better. I must admit that I've got a little bit the feeling to be at home, being a happy owner of a Fender amp which clean sounds are those I prefer ! :-)

Here, you can find a bright on/off control, a main volume, a 3-bands Eq and a tremolo. As for the Marshall, they're doing all their job correctly, even the Tremolo however basic doesn't make smiling. You will just regret that there aren't any other adjustments than the speed and the intensity.


The pedals

The pedals We are still going on with two BOSS pedals : the SD-1 distorsion and the DS-1 super overdrive. Gain, tone, level are your only possibilities of adjustments. Alone, it doesn't sound super, using it in a mix seems to be much credible. It is much judicious to add it to an amp simulator in order to gain some space effect and to let them express themselves with the amp sounding (why not with the JCM 900 in clean sound ?!). It is nevertheless fully usable, I prefer the BOSS SD-1 which delivers a "cleaner" sound, the DS-1 being to much muted to my opinion. It can be useful however. The award is for the Tube Screamer which was perfect for a little blues improvisation with a dirty sound :op . It is also here some basics : gain, tone, level. Also perfect for some guitar overdubs in the background of the mix.


The effects

In order to go to the next stage, 2 effects are available : a PS-1 Oberheim phaser which sounded good to me only with a moderate adjustment, for muted notes. The sound is not unpleasant, I must admit that I don't have any good phaser referencies in my ears. The adjustments are more than intuitive with a depth and a speed, which shouldn't be too much abused, otherwise you would have a liquid sound...

And finally an Univox Univibe much more interesting. A few adjustments for a pleasant sound : a speed, a depth which control a Vibrato or a Chorus, an output volume. Some cool moments of doing-it-yourselfings in perspective.


In short

Simulanalog proposed to us a nice bundle which will find its place in all guitarists' sequencers ! The CPU ressources are not too much sollicited for an amazing result, the 2 simulators being really bluffing ! Some tests should be done to make a comparison with the sounds proposed by Amplitude and Warp, in order to see how defend themselves those little modelling systems. Simulanalog write besides on this subject (in the text file which appears to be the only help) : "Saying that each composant of the original has been modelised is just a marketing argument without a real fondement". J'me disais aussi... :op

Nevertheless, you will strongly regret the missing of a graphical display, those plugins using by default the host sequencer's one. A good mark even so : the faders can be moved with the mouse wheel.

It would be rather interesting to compare them with the originals, so... Up to the happy owners ! :-)

About 340 Ko to download from : http://www.simulanalog.org/guitarsuite.htm

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Cédric, on the 31-08-2003

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