RevRon P. is sometimes referred to as “The Gear Guru”
– here is a sample of the extent he goes to to perfect and experiment with his guitar sound.
QUESTION for RevRon P.
“After your extensive experimentation and comparisons –
Is there a difference between plugins/vsts and real pedals?
If there is a difference, what is it?
and, do you have a preference”?
“The interesting thing about amp sim vs. real amp is that the sound isn’t necessarily what makes the difference… sort of.
I can pull up a 65 Deluxe Reverb and add a pedal based on the classic Fuzz Face in Amplitube 5, then dial in the real amp and pedal till they sound so similar it’s hard to tell the difference. I can even use virtual mics modeled after an sm57 and Royer ribbon, on a simulated cab, to do the same placement and blend as my live rig. Drop it in a mix with other instruments and nobody could tell the difference at all…or at least no one would be able to identify real vs. VST…. any noticeable sound difference would be room recorded in, not gear related.
However, if I had to choose just one, I’d go with the real rig.
1. Something about having a tube powered amp feels different. Like you can feel a response difference, a vibration, under your finger tips that you just don’t get with sims…or even solid state amps in my experience, even if the end product sounds identical.
2. Twisting physical knobs to dial in a tone seems like it sparks creativity in a way that using a mouse and keyboard doesn’t. Same reason I got a control surface for my DAW… sometimes pushing faders and twisting knobs just feels more musical.
3. Boutique pedal options. This is why I said sound is “sort of” not the difference. Amplitube, Bias Effects etc. all have a ton of effects pedals. All the classics and pedals used by your favorite guitar heros. But it’s overwhelmingly well known or iconic pedals. For example, in Amplitube I can use a univibe pedal based on the original classic made by the Shin-ei company back in the late 60s…the one Hendrix used a lot. Which is super cool. But I likely wouldn’t be able to find a sim anywhere for my pedal called The Depths which is a univibe style pedal made by a small company called Earthquaker out of Akron Ohio. Even though both pedals are after the same effect, the subtle differences in circuitry and how they arrive at that effect makes them sound a little different. Obviously the smaller company’s less well known version is going to give me a more unique sound than the one on a TON of records already. But on the flip side, like with my Fuzz Face, sometimes it’s on your board precisely because it’s a classic.
4. That s*** looks badass, and when s*** looks badass it can inspire you to make badass s***.
So that’s if I had to choose, good thing is I can have best of both worlds!
I’ve built out a somewhat elaborate hybrid analog/digital rig at this point.
Get full details below –
Here’s the rundown:
1. It all starts with the blue direct box on the floor that I run the guitar into. That direct box splits a clean DI to my interface so I have it incase I decide to go the amp sim route.
2. Then the direct box feeds into my pedalboard. High impedance first cause they need the most signal from my guitar so… Wah -> FuzzFace, then tuner -> compression (as a bonus, my PulpNPeel compressor has a dirt switch that engages a RAT style distortion) -> univibe (Depths) -> Overdrive (JHS Double Barrel is two overdrives, one side is a “transparent” meaning it’s the equivalent of turning your amp up until it starts to naturally break up for that mild gritty sound, and the other side is a tube screamer style that provides a mid boost for extra distortion and presence for leads) -> Ring Modulation (Another bonus pedal, the Gonkulator also has the same circuit as the classic DOD Grunge pedal, so you can turn off the ring modulation and use it as distortion) -> noise filter -> delay.
3. The pedalboard then feeds into a buffered signal splitter with one side going into the amp (which has built in reverb and tremolo). The pre/power amp sections of my amp run into the power attenuator ontop the amp. This does a couple things. First it splits off another DI signal to my interface, but this time affected by my pedalboard and controls of my amp. It’s my amp’s “sound” but without a speaker. It allows me to get a recording of my amp without microphones, I just have to add a speaker cab sim in my DAW. The power attenuator then runs to the speaker of my amp which allows me to turn the signal down before it reaches the speaker. This is important since tube amps sound best when the tubes are running nice and hot. I can crank the amp up to achieve the desired tone and then turn it down before it gets to the speaker so my neighbors don’t call the cops. Also, since my room isn’t huge it helps with getting a good level for my mics where the sound isn’t bouncing around the room.
4. The other side of the splitter goes into my ACS1 amp and cab sim pedal which let’s me get a signal affected by my pedalboard but not my real amp. It’s got a few built in amp sims (Fender, Marshall, Vox AC30) and 6 different speaker combos. But it’s also got midi connectors that let you load IRs(sims) to it…so you can customize it with all sorts of different sims if you wanted. Perhaps the coolest part is that it has stereo outputs and I can run the left side and right side to separate inputs on my interface. Each output can also be assigned a different amp and/or settings making it possible to do things like a stereo blend of a Vox AC30 and a Marshall amp.
All in all, between all the various routings, I’m currently recording 5 to 6 tracks of guitar on each take just to have options. Plus this way I can always get the feeling of a tube amplifier under my fingers while I’m playing, even if its not the tone I end up going with”.
END OF RON’S ANSWER
So now you have some idea of how RevRon P. gets his guitar sound and does some of his recordings – Be sure to check out his videos and recordings while here!