Magazine article Guitar Player

"Master" Your Amp Sim

Magazine article Guitar Player

"Master" Your Amp Sim

Article excerpt

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IN RECORDING, MASTERING POLISHES YOUR stereo or surround mix--typically using EQ and dynamics processors--to optimize the sound quality. Similarly, recording engineers often add these processors to recorded amp sounds in the studio, creating a more "produced" sound. With amp sims, using EQ and dynamics after the sim itself can make a huge difference in the overall sweetness. Let's look at getting better sounds through post-sim EQ.

MAKE SOME CUTS

Real amps don't have a lot of energy above 5kHz because of the physics of cabinets and speakers, but amp sims don't have physical limitations. Even if the sim is designed to reduce highs, you'll often find high-frequency artifacts--particularly if you run the sim at lower sample rates (such as 44.1kHz). Many EQs have a lowpass filter function that attenuates levels above a certain frequency. Set this for around 5kHz-10kHz, with as steep a rolloff as possible (12dB/octave is good, and 24dB/octave is better). Vary the frequency until any high-frequency buzziness goes away.

Similarly, it's a good idea to trim the very lowest bass frequencies. Physical cabinets--particularly open-back cabinets--have a limited low-frequency response. Besides, recording engineers often roll off the bass a bit to give a tighter sound. A quality parametric EQ will probably have a highpass filter function. As a guitar's lowest string is just below 100Hz, set the frequency for a sharp low-frequency rolloff around 80Hz or so to minimize any mud.

REMOVE ANNOYING RESONANCES

Amp sims can do remarkably faithful amp emulations--warts and all--but the recording process often smoothes out those warts a bit, due to miking, mic position, sound traveling through air, etc. …

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