Review: Amplesound Electric Guitars, Version 3 by Amplesound

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This review will cover Amplesound’s version 3 update to their Electric Guitars, including the Les Paul (Ample Guitar LP), Stratocaster (Ample Guitar SC), Perigrine Falcon (Ample Guitar PF), Semi-Hollow body (Ample Guitar SH), and Telecaster (Ample Guitar TC).

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Review: Amplesound Electric Guitars, Version 3 by Amplesound

Version 3 of Amplesound’s Electric Guitars is far more than just a new set of names. This significant upgrade adds a new guitar amp simulator that may rival any on the market. Other new features include revised sample sets, updates to the Riffer and Strummer, a new DSP FX system, along with updates to the UI, settings, the sample editor, main panel, and the elimination of 32-bit plugin support and addition of VST3.

Amplesound Electric Guitars, Version 3 sells for $149 from Amplesound

Thoughts

Version 3 of Amplesound’s Electric Guitars is far more than just a new set of names. This significant upgrade adds a new guitar amp simulator that may rival any on the market. Other new features include revised sample sets, updates to the Riffer and Strummer, a new DSP FX system, along with updates to the UI, settings, the sample editor, main panel, and the elimination of 32-bit plugin support and addition of VST3.

Electric Guitars Version 3:
Version 3 has been out for a while, as have each of the guitars reviewed here, so what exactly does this version bring to the library that make Amplesound’s electric guitars worth considering among the sampled guitar libraries on the market? Let’s dive in a see what is here.

According to Amplesound, version 3 brings product name changes, apparently for naming consistency. Each instrument is more descriptive. For example, instead of Ample Guitar G for the Les Paul, the new name is “Ample Guitar LP”. All good changes.

Next, new samples have been added to each of these (including the Metal Eclipse – though not used in this review, it was included in the update). Some of the additions include new sustain and harmonic samples (LP, SC), and expansions (Neck Expansion) merged into the updated v3 libraries. In other words, you get more for your money without needing an extra expansion, and all libraries are now consistent in content and capabilities.

Amp Sim

The most significant performance addition is the new Guitar Amp Simulator. Here you will find 5 amp models – Mesa Treble (modeled after the Mess Boogie Triple), Lead 800 (Marshall JCM800, Jazz 120 (Roland JC120), 65 Twang (Fender 65 Twin), and the 57 Delight (Fender 57 Deluxe). There are 7 matching cabinets, each with 8 mic models – Dyn57, Dyn421, Dyn609, Con87, Con414s, Con414, Rib121, and Rib160. The prefix labels indicate “dynamic”, “condenser” and “ribbon”, with the suffix numbers suggesting the mics modeled. For those not familiar with these mics, they would be, in order: Sure SM57, Sennheiser MD421, Sennheiser E 609, Neumann U87, AKG C414 XLS, AKG C414, Royer 421, and a Beyerdynamic M160. When opening the Amp Sim page, you have access to either just the Amp view, or the Cabinet and Mic-Mixer. On the mixer can select and mix 3 different mic positions, a direct in (DI), and a cabinet (one of 7 options). You can also scroll through cabinet options the same way you do Amp models. See Figures 1 and 2 below for a screen capture of both the Amp and Cabinet+Mixer views, respectively.

Cabinet and Mic simulator

I found the Amp Sim layout to be very easy to use – just click the left/right arrows to scroll through the amp models, pull up a preset from the bottom of the page, and adjust the mixer selections and levels to taste.

Now, the big question – how does it sound? Excellent. I am not an expert on guitar amp sims, but I’ve recorded plenty of guitar players with great amps and great mics over the years and worked with a lot of amp sims trying to get close to the live sound when needed. With that in mind, I will say that Amplesound’s amp sims are great. In my personal opinion, there is always an extra level of character to live recorded guitar when using great amps, cabinets, mics and preamps – whether it is beef, bite, grit or silk – not to mention the clear advantage of a great guitar player. But that isn’t always an option. That’s where Amplesound’s libraries can literally come to the rescue and provide excellent sound quality that wouldn’t otherwise be available or affordable. It helps when you start with great sounding samples, and Amplesound’s libraries are all excellent raw sets. The option to choose from and mix multiple mics, a DI, room and cabinet give you quite a lot of flexibility – more than most small to mid-sized studios would have available when recording a guitarist. For one example, running the SC guitar through the Lead 800, with the SM57 mic and the 4×12 60a cabinet, turning up the preamp volume comes very close to the beefy, thick, powerful sound of a live Marshall JCM 800 rig. The Amp Sims deliver satisfying and musical results.

Riffer Updates:
The Riffer has been updated with several new editing features. Multiple notes can be selected by dragging the mouse cursor (lasso). There is now also the option to undo (ctrl-z), and redo (ctrl-shift-z) any edit, or newly drawn note. New MIDI tools include fixed velocity, legato length, restrict, select, move, draw, erase, split and glue. All of these are available by key command, right-click menu, and/or onscreen icons. The Riffer is a very powerful way to sequence guitar parts and should not be overlooked, even by keyboard players like me who prefer to play most everything live.

Riffer – New editing options

Strummer Updates:
The Strummer now has a chord auto-detect feature for the virtual fretboard. Just click set your notes by clicking on a string and fret position, and as you add notes (or replace existing notes), the chord updates in the chord matrix just below it. Once you create your chord matrix in a desired order, it can be converted to a Riff Pattern with a newly added button on the right side of the bottom row of icons. The virtual fretboard has also been expanded to 24 frets. These are some welcome additions to make the Strummer even more flexible and effective than it was.

Strummer

FX Updates:
Version 3 includes an all new fx system with an 8-band EQ, compressor, tap-echo, and reverb. The EQ is easy to use – just click to add nodes on the curve, and drag to move. Ctrl-drag a node up or down to set the Q value; shift-drag to constrain to vertical movement (for setting gain without altering frequency). The echo-tap system is a concentric semi-circle system where you can click to add up to 6 taps anywhere in the stereo field, left/right, close to distant. The reverb is IR-based with four space options, and control over size, predelay, bass and treble. The fx section sounds good, and makes it easier to create and retain custom setups without recalling a DAW fx chain.

Tab Player
The Tab Player supports GP3, GP4, GP5 and GPX tab formats. You can import these tabs, or the demo tab files, into the Tab Player. Tabs can then be dragged from the Tab Player into your DAW as a midi file for playback or editing. The preset tabs installed with Super Jumbo include extensive articulation and performance instructions that demonstrate the power of the AmpleSound 3 instrument. 3rd party tabs of course may just contain note information, but with some editing in your DAW (keyswitches, etc), you could create some rathe realistic performances.

Other Additions:
Other new additions include a stereo DI, improved efficiency of the instrument and graphics interface with GPU acceleration, support for VST3, keyboard skins, and new preset managers. It is worth noting that with amp sims and fx, Ample Guitars can require a bit of cpu power, but with most modern systems (i7 and above), this won’t be an issue unless you really go crazy creating a guitar-choir.

Conclusion
While not necessarily new to most users, version 3 has been a great update for Amplesound’s guitars, especially the electrics with the great-sounding new amp, cabinet and mic sim system. Amplesound’s guitars are some of the best on the market, and version 3 just solidifies that standing. These are my go-to virtual guitars for the excellent sound, ease of use, and attention to details that make virtual guitar performances even more realistic.

Facts

PC: Windows XP, Vista, 7 or higher, 64-bit only; 10G hard disk space. Intel i5 or higher.

MAC: OS X 10.9 or newer. 10G of hard disk space.

VST2, VST3, AU, AAX, and standalone.

Host:
Custom – no other requirements.

Each of the Electric Guitars used in this review sells for $149 from Amplesound.net

Amplesound Electric Guitars, Version 3 sells for $149 from Amplesound

 

Demos of Amplesound Electric Guitars, Version 3 by Amplesound

 

Videos of Amplesound Electric Guitars, Version 3 by Amplesound


Contributor Dedric Terry reviews Amplesound Electric Guitars, Version 3 by Amplesound
“This review will cover Amplesound’s version 3 update to their Electric Guitars, including the Les Paul (Ample Guitar LP), Stratocaster (Ample Guitar SC), Perigrine Falcon (Ample Guitar PF), Semi-Hollow body (Ample Guitar SH), and Telecaster (Ample Guitar TC).”