Amplitube 5... Quick Review

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Amplitube 5... Quick Review

Post by Ted » Fri Dec 18, 2020 10:07 am

This year I was looking for some guitar amp sim plugins. I couldn't decided between Guitar Rig 5 Pro and Amplitube 4-- they both had their strengths and weaknesses. I ended up getting both when they were on sale-- I use both for different things--along with a few other plugins like some from Waves. I did a trial of STL Tones' tonehub and it was pretty good, although it wasn't quite what I was looking for. I bought a couple of the Neural DSP plugins (Nolly and Cory Wong during the Black Friday sale-- and I love those, and everything they make).

So I got a good deal on Amplitube 4 Max this summer ($161)-- and then in October IK Multimedia was having an insanely good deal on their Total Studio 2 Max, which I got for only about $120 since I'd already bought Amplitube. Total Studio 2 Max was probably the best money I've ever spent, considering how much I got for so little.

Well, yesterday I logged into my IK account and was surprised with an early Christmas present-- I saw that I had been gifted with a free upgrade to Amplitube 5 SE and CS, since I bought Total Studio 2 Max after October 15th. Now...Amplitube 5 SE is nice but pretty stripped down-- UNLESS you already have Amplitube 4 MAX-- then every piece of gear you previously owned gets upgraded in Amplitube 5! And with brand new presets. (The older ones are still there too-- and they sound much better).

I gotta say, Amplitube 5 is a MASSIVE step up from 4. Not only can I hear it coming out of the speakers, but the responsiveness that I FEEL in my fingers-- it's so lively now. I wasn't totally happy with the Fender Collections in Amplitube 4. They were a bit grainy, digital and harsh, even the cleanest tones. So yesterday I ran both Amplitube 4 and 5 simultaneously and did an A/B test of the Fender Collections-- using the same presets in each one. It was no contest, 5 is light years better than 4. The Fender tones were so much smoother, glassier and things like the spring reverb sounded so real. 4 sounds like such garbage now in comparision, I hate to say it. haha.

I'd always sorta thought that Guitar Rig had a nice top end, but was lacking in oomph-- whereas Amplitube tones had more body but the top end sounded like a blanket over the speaker. Well, not anymore. I'm getting so many high end musical harmonic overtones out of Amplitube 5. Highly recommend it. There are some really great Van Halen type presets in 5, including a more modern VH tone called "Amsterdam". My current fave preset. It just squeals.

I had one minor issue in that one of the Fender cabs kept coming up locked, so I couldn't use any of the presets with that particular cab-- so I sent IK a tech support email and in less than 24 hours I got a response and the issue is fixed. Very good support there.

Also, like I said... I got my upgrade because I bought the Total Studio Max 2-- and I THINK the sale is still going to the end of the year-- and if you buy Total Studio Max 2, you should get the upgrade to Amplitube 5 SE (But it's more like getting the MAX version, just without the 4 new amps and the Brian May, Satriani, Dimebag, Leslie collections.-- although I somehow ended up getting the new Mini Plex 20 amp--modeled on a Friedman Pink Taco-- and I don't think I was supposed to get that one. Don't tell anybody.)

They really revamped everything old into something better. I wasn't a big fan of the tones of the Jimi Hendrix collection or the Slash collection before-- thought they were so-so, but in Amplitube 5 they sound great.

I think most of the improvements are said to be IK's new impulse responses, and VIM tech-- but I think it's probably deeper than that. I had read that they remodeled every amp again for 5-- and made a lot of changes under the hood-- it seems that way to me.

Plus... it's almost an afterthought though it should have been one of the first things I mentioned, but the new interface is so nice. It looks so much better than the old one and you can see all your gear in a much clearer way. Also I wasn't a fan of the nested menu layouts when going through preset menus in 4-- 5 still has a similar layout but it's MUCH easier to use-- and not get messed up if your mouse moves a millimeter outside of the selected box as you navigate. This was a major annoyance I had with 5 that is much improved.

So there it is... highly recommended.

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Re: Amplitube 5... Quick Review

Post by Ted » Fri Dec 18, 2020 10:22 am

PS a funny little extra...

A while back I was watching an interesting guitar tone video from some Youtuber I'd never heard of before named RJ Ronquillo. He was talking about a particular guitar sound that a lot of session pro's used in the 80's on stuff like Richard Marx albums, etc. He went throught this very long process of how to create a signal chain to get this particular sound... requiring a LOT of gear routed a LOT of ways. I was intrigued now in getting this sound, but there was no way I was going to do all that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIUi8kBrsVw

So one of the first new presets I found in Amplitube 5 was called something like "80's session clean" or similar. And it's the exact same tone this guy was talking about. Hilarious.

Also, last year or so I was working in a concert venue and we were hosting Brian McKnight in concert-- during soundcheck I was blown away by his guitarist. The guy was so damned good. Some of his stuff sounded like Guthrie Govan. I was kicking myself for not talking to him. While I was searching for the link to that Youtube video to post, I just realized that this Youtuber and Brian McKnight's guitarist are the same person. haha.

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Re: Amplitube 5... Quick Review

Post by RPaul » Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:50 pm

Good to hear that the new AmpliTube makes a significant difference on sound quality. I also had AmpliTube 4 Max and last week decided to do the upgrade to AmpliTube 5 (just the "plain" version, not SE or Max) since the upgrade from 4 Max to 5 Max was more than I wanted to spend. I haven't had a chance to play with it yet, and I'm only a virtual guitar player, playing various sampled guitars from keyboards, but I'm looking forward to checking it out.

Out of curiosity, have you tried Guitar Rig Pro 6 yet to see how it may (or may not) have upgraded the sound? I used it on one project a month or so back, and I was pleased, but it wasn't like I was comparing it to V5. It was more like the specific preset I used as a starting point provided really intuitive flexibility to help me tune the settings to my project.

I actually have quite a number of new toys I still need to make time to check out having upgraded to Arturia V Collection 8, added a couple more Toontrack EZXes, and purchased the Kirk Hunter Virtuoso Ensembles within the last month to take advantage of limited time offers. I just need to button up my current project first then decide what I'm going to tackle next that might give me better opportunities to learn the new toys. :)

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Re: Amplitube 5... Quick Review

Post by Ted » Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:41 pm

Rick,

I tried Guitar Rig 6 Pro when it came out-- was gonna upgrade from 5 to 6 on the spot, but was waiting for NI to make it worthwhile in some kind of bundle-- and they didn't. I like Guitar Rig 6-- and it does sound better than 5. I just wasn't super impressed with some of the presets and the interface. I think I saw something about how they released more presets for it. I'm sure I'll get it eventually.

Yeah, if you already have Amplitube 4 Max, then there's pretty much no need to go to 5 Max. I'd maybe just buy whatever missing collections you really want ad hoc. I mean, going from 4 Max to 5 (basic or SE), you're going to find that all the gear you owned before will now be upraded in 5. I'm basically just missing the new amps modeled on a Bogner, an Aguilar bass amp and a few other things.

I don't know how much of the improvement can be experienced using it strictly for virtual guitar-- a lot of the improvement I can feel in my fingers, oddly- but it still should sound much, much better than the previous version. I really like the way the bass amps are sounding in the new one. The collections modeled on the Ampeg amps sound awesome in 5.

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Re: Amplitube 5... Quick Review

Post by RPaul » Mon Dec 21, 2020 9:05 pm

Ted wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:41 pm
I tried Guitar Rig 6 Pro when it came out-- was gonna upgrade from 5 to 6 on the spot, but was waiting for NI to make it worthwhile in some kind of bundle-- and they didn't. I like Guitar Rig 6-- and it does sound better than 5. I just wasn't super impressed with some of the presets and the interface. I think I saw something about how they released more presets for it. I'm sure I'll get it eventually.
Yeah, I think they added more artist presets in the update from a few days ago. I keep my NI stuff up to date, but often don't pay much attention to the details. It comes down to finding what I want when I need it for a project. In the case of my recent use of it, I was doing a country track, with a bit of a rockabilly-type thing (it's a Johnny Cash tribute song), and I found a kind of general Nashville country-type preset, but one with what might equate to a pedal board with various macro-type controls. Those ended up being very useful for tweaking the sound in a fairly intuitive way. Not being a guitar player, I'm typically more likely to just go through presets until I get something I like, so this was actually helpful for getting in the ballpark then refining it without having too know what I'm doing to too great a degree. :)

I got Guitar Rig Pro 6 as part of the KOMPLETE 13 upgrade. I was on the fence about that upgrade because I already had a number of the packages it was nominally adding to my KOMPLETE 12, but Guitar Rig Pro 6 and NOIRE were two key pieces that helped push me over the edge to go for it.
Ted wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:41 pm
Yeah, if you already have Amplitube 4 Max, then there's pretty much no need to go to 5 Max. I'd maybe just buy whatever missing collections you really want ad hoc. I mean, going from 4 Max to 5 (basic or SE), you're going to find that all the gear you owned before will now be upraded in 5. I'm basically just missing the new amps modeled on a Bogner, an Aguilar bass amp and a few other things.
I've got such a big selection of guitar amp (and FX) simulators that I don't feel any great need for more collections. I just pop back and forth between the various plugins to try out presets to find what fits best in my mix, sometimes tweaking a bit beyond that if it is really close but no cigar. As it is, though, I use Guitar Rig Pro, AmpliTube, the Waves GTR thing (don't use that very often, but it worked really well for one specific recording I did earlier this year), the Waves PRS SuperModels, Overloud's TH3, and, at least in the past, Line6 Pod Farm. Pod Farm was actually my favorite for quite a while, but it is 32-bit, and I'm using Cubase for new recordings these days, and it doesn't support 32-bit plugins (and they recommend highly against using adapters). I probably use TH3 the most at the moment, then Guitar Rig, then whichever of the others might fit better in the context of a specific project. I'm real curious, though, if the enhancements to AmpliTube 5 will make me more likely to use that more frequently -- I used to use it quite a lot at one point in the distant past.
Ted wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 6:41 pm
I don't know how much of the improvement can be experienced using it strictly for virtual guitar-- a lot of the improvement I can feel in my fingers, oddly- but it still should sound much, much better than the previous version. I really like the way the bass amps are sounding in the new one. The collections modeled on the Ampeg amps sound awesome in 5.
Yeah, no strings will be bent in my recordings. :) But some of the virtual guitars are pretty good, and do respond nicely to touch, so it will be interesting to see. I've used bass amp plugins less frequently to date (and mostly Guitar Rig Pro when I did) because I've mostly use Spectrasonics Trilian for bass, and it has some emulations built in, among other effects. But I also picked up Waves' Bass Fingers recently -- a freebie in one of their buy 2 get 2 free sales -- so yet another new toy to try out.

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Re: Amplitube 5... Quick Review

Post by Ted » Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:16 pm

Rick,

Komplete 12 Ultimate was my first big bundle of plugins and VI that I bought-- got it this summer. I kinda hate it how NI does their big summer sale and then rolls out a new version of Komplete that you have to pay a ton more for. I like their stuff-- I probably would have paid for the upgrade to Komplete 13, but I'd already bought a couple of Play Series Titles like Modular Icons and Cloud Supply. I'd like Noire, but I'll wait a while. The Butch Vig Drums are the other thing I'd really like.

Man, I had a tense experience with my Native Instruments keyboard this week... Several days ago I fumbled a cup of coffee and ended up dumping about half a cup of it right into the keys of my NI S61 Komplete Kontrol keyboard I'd bought this summer. I LOVE that keyboard and was in sheer horror. I quickly picked it up and tried to see if liquid had gotten into the innards...I could hear coffee sloshing around inside it as I tipped it from one end to the other. I started to feel sick all over. I stood it on one end and put a fan on it and left it for a few days hoping it would be fine.

Today I got an email about a new NI Chinese dulcimer that was a free gift-- and a $25 voucher. I went and picked up the new one from the Play series, Soul Sessions. I plugged my keyboard in for the first time, and went through the patches... it sounded OK til I got to about the 5th or 6th patch, everything sounded very quiet and muted like something was wrong... I was full of dread at this point that my keyboard was indeed fried.

I tried some other Komplete Kontrol/Kontakt instruments and was having issues too... then I realized, I'd unplugged my external SSD that houses my NI content-- so that's what was causing the problems. I plugged it in and reinstalled the Soul Sessions. Sounded much better. Whew.

The Expansions are cool, but the Play Series are what I like the best. Modular Icons is my favorite of that series. The Soul Sessions is good-- it's maybe centered around genres that I don't really dabble in, but it's got some cool trippy tones that I like

I've been playing around a lot with IK Multimedia's Syntronik stuff too. It's completely different from the stuff Native Instruments does. The Syntronik stuff is really going for throwback accuracy. A lot of the stuff might sound TOO vintage/dated for certain things-- but man I'm having a blast playing with the sampled versions of old synths. I just got the free Memory-V VI for signing up to their newsletter and it's really fun.

I still kinda blows my mind that it's possible to make convincing guitar cues without a guitar now. That's what I get for laughing at the obsolescence of drummers. I saw them doing it on Sync Academy and I even thought for a second about trying just for the hell of it-- but then I decided, nah-- It would be quicker and better for me to play it on my guitar because that's what I'm best at-- although I really like IK's MODO bass and use it for temp basslines when I don't have a bass handy. I could see myself leaving it on some recordings.

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Re: Amplitube 5... Quick Review

Post by RPaul » Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:39 pm

Hi Ted,

I've mostly used the NI stuff (I think my first KOMPLETE was something like 2, or maybe even the original KOMPLETE) for sampled instruments, especially pianos and organs (though I don't like their current Vintage organs anywhere near as much as I liked B4II), going way back to their KOMPAKT (a sort of cut down KONTAKT that preceded the KONTAKT Player), but various others as well, and synths (Absynth was a favorite for a while, and FM7/FM8, the earlier Pro53, and more recently Massive and Massive X). Also I've used some of the orchestra and pop-oriented strings and brass. More recently, though, their guitar products have gotten quite good, especially the Session Guitarist series (Picked Acoustic is especially good, but I've used all the acoustic products and also the Sunburst). Chris Hein Guitars, which also runs under KONTAKT, was my favorite for doing lead electric guitar parts for quite a while, though I'm more frequently using Acousticsamples' products (which run under UVIworkstation) and MusicLab's "Real..." stuff these days. Haven't really used any of the NI drums, except maybe Battery once or twice -- I mainly use Toontrack's stuff in that category. I went and registered for the free Chinese dulcimer, too, but haven't bothered to install it yet. Saw the voucher code, as well, and, against my better judgment, looked on their site to see if there was anything tempting enough, and inexpensive enough to have the $25 make a major difference, but, thankfully, there was nothing. (I've already spent way too much on music software upgrades the last few months.) I've used some of the Play Series stuff here and there when looking for something different.

With respect to vintage synth flavors, I mostly use the Arturia V Collection for that. It's like having the multi hundred thousand synth library I'd never have been able to afford back in the days of hardware (or now, for that matter). :) Heck, the Synclavier alone would have probably been a couple of hundred $K. Starting to use that more for organs lately, too, and I've even used the piano in that on a few recordings. I was really jazzed to see the Jun-V (emulation of Roland Juno 6) in their latest update as my first polyphonic synth, back around 1983 or 1984 was a Juno 60 (I'd had a MicroMoog prior to that). Memory lane stuff. :)

When I installed the AmpliTube 5 update, I noticed it said I had licenses for both SampleTank 4 and Syntronik that I haven't installed. I'm not a TotalStudio customer, and never purchased either of those -- I did have SampleTank LE at one point for some third party library and SampleTank Free, as well. Not sure if those are just meant as their teaser-type stuff where they install plugins but you have to use their "store" feature if you actually want to use anything meaningful. I didn't bother installing them at that point, but I may try sometime when I have more time just to see what they are actually providing. Or to add to my total option overload if they actually do end up being full products. :mrgreen:

I've been doing virtual guitars ever since hardware days (especially with the Roland U-110 and/or U-220 early on). Picked parts were typically decently easy to emulate, and distorted lead parts could sometimes be done decently, but the really big challenge was always strummed parts. When Steinberg's Virtual Guitarist came along (early 2000s, I think?), that was a real game changer because it was a real guitar player behind the scenes, with loop-based parts, but with chord recognition to adapt to your changes. There was still the challenge of finding patterns (some strummed, some more riff-oriented) to fit your song's needs, but it could be quite realistic. And things have really come a long ways since then, too. I wish I could play guitar worth beans, but that's probably never going to happen. Even if I had a guitar to start learning, it's just too frustrating for me between cutting my fingers up and being a pure beginner (I mean, I can play simple melodies and a few chords, but I can't change between even the chords I know all that well) since I've been playing piano for upwards of 55 years now and can pretty much do anything my mind can hear there. While this old dog can learn new tricks, guitar just isn't likely to be one of those. :)

Rick

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Re: Amplitube 5... Quick Review

Post by Ted » Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:59 am

Rick,

Man you've been into the NI gear for a long time! I didn't even know all of this software and such existed til this year-- sure I'd see plugins and VI here and there and in Sweetwater catalogs, but I really wasn't interested in it and I didn't think I needed it or wanted it. How things change.

Well with the $25 Voucher--- It irritates me when NI gives you a voucher but then puts all kinds of limits on how you can use it. Yesterday, I figured "OK I'll get the Soul Sessions AND the Soul Magic together-- they're buy one, get the other half off. So hundred bucks together normally, $75 on promo and then I can get it down to $50 with the voucher. I put them in my cart, applied the promo and... no go. ERRRRGH!

So I just bought the Soul Sessions by itself and used the voucher and got it for $25. Then I logged out and went back to the store again and put Soul Magic Expansion in my cart and typed in the voucher code again to see if it worked and it did. hehe. So I got that for $25-- and in the end, I was able to finagle both of them for the total price I was trying to get from the start. I don't know if I was supposed to be able to do that or what but it worked.

Then last night, I started thinking about those Butch Vig Drums again... so I went and used the voucher AGAIN and got those for $25 off. My god, I gotta say the Butch Vig Drums are amazing. Tonally, they're just so big and dirty. And if you use the loops, they're really easy to control in real time. Great looking interface. I was tired last night and kept falling asleep at my keyboard, because I didn't want to stop playing with these drums and go to bed.

I also am finally figuring out how to use all the NI Expansions I have. They're more obvious if one uses Maschine, and I initially thought they would do me no good with my Komplete Kontrol/DAW-- but I was wrong. I just didn't know where to look for the longest time. I think NI could have organized it better so you can navigate to the lead/keys patches from within the expansion packs themselves without having to go look for the corresponding presets in Massive or Monark-- but I think I've got it now.

Rick, I hate to say it-- I don't know what you paid for the upgrade to Amplitube 5, but instead of buying Amplitube 5 outright, as an owner of Amplitube 4 Max-- through the end of the year, you could have instead bought a "Maxgrade" to IK's Total Studio 2 Max for about $125 and you would have gotten a literal pirate's booty of amazing gear and it might have been cheaper or close. All the T-Racks stuff, most of the Syntronik, basically everything in SampleTank Max as far as I can tell-- with all the extra stuff like the Alan Parsons Imperial Grand, the Art Deco and Brandenburg Pianos-- the Neil Peart/Terry Bozzio/Billy Cobham/Hugh Padgham drum collections, the Miroslav Philharmonik 2 (awesome) etc, etc-- and your Amplitube would basically be just like the 5 MAX but without the newest collections and maybe a couple of the new amp heads (and I wasn't supposed to get the new Friedman, but I somehow got it anyway).

I really like the sounds in SampleTank. I thought already having a big Kontakt library to draw from, I wouldn't get much from SampleTank but again, SampleTank impressed me a lot. The interface took me a little while to learn the basics-- but it's really easy to create layered performances and presets. You have a lot more VI's than I do, so maybe it might be redundant to you, but I often find myself going to SampleTank over Kontakt. I'm sick of the eye strain I get from Kontakt too.

Have a look at the Total Studio 2 Max deal and check out everything that comes with it. And like I said, if you buy it after October 15th, it should come with a free upgrade to Amplitube5 SE-- but it's really closer to 5 Max because all your previous Max gear is still there in 5 and its upgraded along with everything else.

If that stuff interests you, you might be able to send IK an email and see if they'll let you change over to the TSM2--their customer service is pretty good, so I think they might work with you on it. The TSM2 was the best money I've ever spent on a bundle of VI's/plugins/etc. I know you already have a lot of good gear, so some of this would be redundant to you, but I think IK's products are really impressive-- especially T Racks.

I've heard nothing but great reviews about the Arturia gear. Everytime I hear the name "Arturia" though, it conjured up some kind of fine cigar and I start to get nicotine cravings for some odd reason.lol. I'm just starting to learn the history of the various synths.

I forgot, I did pick up the Native Instruments Picked Acoustic a while back-- and I also have the Sunburst Electric and the Strummed Acoustics 1& 2 from Komplete 12 Ultimate-- and I actually do use those a lot when I'm sketching out an idea or making a guide track in my DAW. One nice thing about using these virtual/MIDI guitars in a workflow-- even for a guitarist like myself, is if I'm working on a project that will have a vocal-- and the key of the song might change to suit a vocal range, I'll record the rough accompaniment guitar track with MIDI/virtual guitar-- change the key as needed-- and then later put down real guitars.

When it comes to playing guitar vs piano for me, I can anything I need to do on a guitar. I WISH I was a classically trained pianist/keyboardist. I took some adult piano classes, but at that point my bad habits were too hard to break. I taught myself to play all wrong. I do have decent enough chops on a piano-- I used to be able to hack my way through most Ben Folds Five songs, haha. It is actually easier for me to THINK in terms of music theory on a piano-- I can visualize what I'm doing better. So often I'll compose on a keyboard and then later make it a guitar based song. Sometimes vice versa.

Well, time to start messing around with the Butch Vig drums again.

Ted

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Re: Amplitube 5... Quick Review

Post by RPaul » Tue Dec 22, 2020 10:44 am

HI Ted,

Yeah, I've had NI stuff a long time. Back from 2002 to 2009 I was writing in-depth music technology (mostly software) reviews and other articles for a now long defunct ezine called CakewalkNet.com, which catered to users of Cakewalk products. It was an independent ezine, not related to Cakewalk the company, though I think all of us who wrote for it also happened to be beta testers for SONAR and some of their other products. (I've got a PDF print image archive of my reviews on my website at http://rickpaulmusic.com/articles/. There's even a T-RackS 3 Deluxe review there, from 2009.) The ezine didn't pay any money, but we got to keep permanent copies of the products we reviewed, and we also got products from their advertisers, and NI was one of those. I'm pretty sure I first got KONTAKT that way. Not sure on KOMPLETE. That really helped me start building my software arsenal, and also introduced me to several music and audio software developers whose products I still use quite a bit.

On the NI vouchers, yeah, I remember running into the restrictions thing in the past, but it's cool that you were able to use the voucher multiple times to get what you wanted. They do have a few products I wouldn't mind getting, but the $25 really wouldn't be much help for the ones that interest me (e.g. the Cremona strings), and I really have spent far more recently than I was hoping, mostly on upgrades for, or add-ons to, products I already use.

I think I did play with the Butch Vig Drums for a little while after getting the KOMPLETE 13 upgrade. I'm just so used to the Superior Drummer 3 workflow, though, for drum parts, especially being able to combine the MIDI loops from any of their packages with sounds from another, use their internal sequencer/editor to manipulate the parts prior to even dragging them into the DAW, and so on. While I've used other drums-oriented products in the past, and I did go to another product for some additional percussion on my most recent recording, the workflow thing, which also includes stuff like being able to search for grooves based on feel (i.e. play in a beat, then have it search for grooves that come close) is just super efficient for me. In general, I tend to gravitate toward a core of products I use a lot, some on most every project, then use the rest when I need different flavors. With SD3, though, and all the SDX and EZX expansions I have for it, there are pretty much gazillions of flavors, plus the potential for modifying things even within SD3 itself (though, of course, you can also tweak more at the DAW level).

On the IK stuff, I ended up paying $105 (well, technically $104.99) for my AmpliTube upgrade -- basically using the maximum number of Jam Points they'd let me use to get it down from the $150 (minus a penny) upgrade price. I thought about just doing the AmpliTube 5 SE thing since it would just upgrade the quality of the stuff I already have from AmpliTube 4 MAX, but decided I'd go for the regular AmpliTube to also add a few new bits. As for Total Studio 2 MAX, I already had Miroslav, T-RackS MAX, AmpliTube 4 MAX, and Lurssen. Syntronik really didn't interest me all that much since I already have so many synth flavors from Arturia (mostly for the classic stuff, though Pigments is modern), NI, and AAS (Applied Acoustic Systems). I'm already well beyond option overload on that front, and, despite being a keyboard player, my recordings typically don't use a ton of synths. SampleTank wasn't really all that interesting to me, either, though I do get what you're saying about layering. It's can be kind of like a modern equivalent of a Roland JV-1080, which was a workhorse for me back in my hardware days. There was a point in the distant past, too, where I was really like one of the SampleTank pianos I had, though not in its raw form, which felt pretty lame. I stuck PSP PIanoVerb behind it, though, and it felt much more realistic. Perhaps MODO Bass should be interesting to me, but I've been using Spectrasonics Trilian (and Trilogy before that) for bass parts of most all types for so long, and I've also got plenty of other options there, from the KONTAKT-based electric basses to all the synths for synth basses. I just decided to add the Waves Bass Fingers because I could get it free in my recent buy 2, get 2 free deal. But I will admit Toontrack's EZ Bass is tempting me. :)

The Arturia stuff is really high quality for their emulations of vintage gear, and, of course, you can program it in the same ways you would have programmed the vintage gear. They also add various modernizations, and their Analog Lab makes it easy to combine instruments in a more stripped down way. The biggest downside with their stuff is it can be crazy demanding on resources.

Interesting on the guitarist using virtual guitars stuff. Makes a lot of sense for workflow on the finding keys. Back in the early days of Steinberg's Virtual Guitarist they were also pitching the idea of the ease of not having to mic up a guitar amp and such, but I think that stuff probably goes out the window with AmpliTube and the like. Of course, you still have to tune your guitar. :)

I'm not classically trained or anything. I took piano lessons from my mother from about 4-7 years old, then really was learning on my own after that. I guess I went through about one and a half technique books during those lesson years. I'm not even close to being a classical pianist. In fact, back when my daughter was in her high school string orchestra in the late '00s, she volunteered me to guest with them on a classical piece (and I think a couple of others that were less demanding). I did manage to pull it off, but, man, I had to work super hard for several weeks to even come close!!! I think the early part of my self training was just learning to play stuff by ear from songs we did at church and such, and also from various bits of sheet music and song books my mother had around. But where I really started to learn more was when Elton John's "Goodbye Yellowbrick Road" album came out, and I started getting into his stuff and learning to play it from song books. I still do a lot of Elton songs on the live front. Or at least I did before the pandemic. :( Somehow that album really kicked my interest in pop/rock music up a major notch, and maybe emulating Elton's piano playing style helped make it easier to play lots of other stuff, too.

Rick

Ted
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Re: Amplitube 5... Quick Review

Post by Ted » Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:10 pm

Rick,

It would be a good deal to write reviews on products in exchange for getting to keep the product. There's a guy on Youtube-- not gonna mention the guy's name-- but he has a decent number of subscribers. And this guy owns more guitar gear than I have ever seen. Supposedly he gets a super discount on it in exchange for doing reviews-- but the guy can't play a lick of guitar to save his life. Probably a nice guy, and seems to have a lot of $$ but drives me nuts to look at all of his gear and then see that he has no interest in getting better at being a musician. I mean with that much time and that much gear all around it almost takes a huge effort NOT to get good. I guess he does his thing though. Haha. I probably shouldn't talk anyway-- there's probably thousands of homeless guys with nothing but a beat up Squier and crappy Peavey practice amp who could humble me.

Yeah with all the stuff you already have, Total Studio 2 Max would probably be a waste of HD space.

I did end up getting two of the Neural DSP amp sims during the Black Friday sale. I was waiting forever hoping they'd go on sale for half-price. I really wanted the Nolly and Cory Wong-- the Cory Wong is the best clean guitar amp sim I've encountered yet. It kicked anything in Amplitube 4 in the pants. But now, I'm not sure that it's better than Amplitube 5.

I've heard a lot of people are using the Spectrasonics Trillian for bass. It's kinda funny that my brother bought a new Spector bass guitar-- and it was the exact bass tone I was looking for all my life-- completely different from my Fender Jazz basses. And when I went into MODO bass, one of the models of bass is a Spector bass exactly like my brother's down to the same clear natural quilted finish of the top in the picture. :) It does a really good job of approximating the tone too.

I came really close to getting Superior Drummer 3 at one point but ended up buying some other gear instead. It may be something I revisit at one point. I tried to mess around with the NI Abbey Road drums, but mine load so slow... I was thinking maybe MODO drums might be a solution for me. But I think I'm going to get a lot of use out of the Butch Vig Drums.

I tend to use the term "classically trained" in a relative sense... anybody that has started under the age of ten or studied piano from a book or has taken lessons or does things closer to the right way than me, I consider to be classically trained. hehe.

I also learned a lot from block chord books of Billy Joel/Elton John. I took music theory in school, but my sight reading is almost non-existent. I have been improving though. My first really good keyboard was a Roland XP-80. I couldn't program it for sh*t but at the time I thought it was the best sounding thing on the planet. Then later I got a nice Yamaha Digital piano with the weighted keys and everything. I still haven't used it to trigger my piano libraries yet-- something I need to try.

Ted

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