Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

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robin
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Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by robin »

Hey! I'm trying to understand guitarix, and some things seem confusing to me.
1. The main amp offers tubes to choose from, but there are pre-amp tubes (like 12ax7), power amp tubes (like 6v6) and combinations of both available. What is it supposed to be, preamp, poweramp or stack?
2. What is an Amp Impulse? I know IRs from cab-emulations, but distorted amp sounds cant be convoluted in the default way. Should it replace the tone stack?

Right now I get somewhat "ok" crunch to high-gain sounds using the JCM800 preamp with the tonestack and poweramp modules, combined with IRs of several of my own cabs from the last recording session, bypassing the main amp. Whenever I try to build something containing the main amp stage, or something fendery-clean it just doesn't sound good. The youtube tutorials I found were mostly old installation and setup guides, or hosted by beginning players presenting the sound I too can get out of it. Is anyone using guitarix in an at least semi-professional way or should I just drop it and keep using my hardware and proprietary plugins?

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ycollette
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by ycollette »

I found a great documentation on guitarix:
https://libremusicproduction.com/articl ... tarix.html

Maybe you will find some answers here. I saw a section about lamp ...

uns4ph3
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by uns4ph3 »

Imagine taking a Bogner (triple giant) and loading the preamp section and power section with different tubes than the stock model. That's what Guitarix models.

It's a cool thing. A while back I called it a toy, and that's not being fair to it - it's super in depth, but at the end of the day, it's so in depth it's very hard to dial in a GOOD sound.

I personally load it into Carla and use it there so I can use Dragonfly verb, Instinct (not open source), LSP Impulse Reverb (IR loader), and Calf Vintage Delay. I know there's a way to do that in the default Guitarix rack, but Carla works great and is easy to use for things like that. It also makes it MUCH easier to gain-stage each plugin so you're not getting overly distorted signal from the beginning of the chain, ect.

merlyn
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by merlyn »

I've found it more difficult to get a clean sound from Guitarix than a dirty or slightly distorted sound.
robin wrote:What is it supposed to be, preamp, poweramp or stack?
Yes. The main amp is the valve emulation part so you can have a preamp valve, a poweramp valve, or a preamp and a poweramp valve.

To get a clean sound put 'Clean/Dist' and 'Drive' to near zero.

OK, so we have a bunch of maths that emulates a guitar amp. Your experience of real guitar amps can help here. A good distorted sound from a valve amp is loud AF. And the same is true of Guitarix. The big knob on the main amp controls the overall level. Underneath that is a bar meter and if the meter goes into the red it will distort just like a guitar amp. To keep the sound clean make sure the meter doesn't go into the red. You may have to turn your monitors up. In fact I'm fairly certain you will if you've been using a distorted sound at a comfortable listening level.

artix_linux_user
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by artix_linux_user »

and you can get guitarix as single lv2 plugins too

robin
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by robin »

Thank you all for your input!
The "Amp Head" section is still confusing me to be honest. If it was a pre- and poweramp in one the tonestack should go in between them for most modern amps. And why can I only use preamp+6v6 or plain 6v6, when in the poweramp stage I can choose EL34?

Anyways, I experimented a little more and came to the observation that the poweramp module seems to be adding quite a lot of distortion independent of how hard i push it, and way too much for that matter. Especially the american 6v6, which is primarily used in tweed and small class-a amps as far as I know, does not behave like that at all in my experience. Maybe if pushed to the very limit, but I didn't get it that far yet. There seems to be no way to just add some slight saturation, and lacking the poweramps sponge and harmonics its difficult to create a lively, responsive clean.

The more I'm trying to like guitarix for ideological reasons (GNU ;) ), the more I come to the conclusion that its single purpose is high-gain stuff. Don't get me wrong, I do that too, but when I'm using modeling then I don't want to start another software when I want to switch from a Soldano to a Fender. And if its high-gain-only, why even include a 12at7?

uns4ph3
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by uns4ph3 »

Interesting. I think we have differing definitions of 'high gain' as I consider Guitarix an excellent modeler for mid-gain amps - the Guitarix model of a Marshall is spot on, but its Mesa rectifier, Bogner, and Soldano models do not hold a candle to the original.

In general, I think it again, comes down to how much time you invest in learning it as a tool as far as the quality of the tones you get out of it. At the end of the day, I also think it doesn't hold a candle to real tube amps - this is a critique I have of AxeFX and Kemper as well, so it's not a critique of the Guitarix developer. NeuralDSP is the only amp modeling that gets REALLY really close to the original in my opinion, and even that lacks the harmonic saturation that real tubes gives a guitar tone.

merlyn
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by merlyn »

@robin Out of interest what do you think of the preset Sonnie_Tele > clean_clean?
robin wrote: Anyways, I experimented a little more and came to the observation that the poweramp module seems to be adding quite a lot of distortion independent of how hard i push it, and way too much for that matter.
I have found it is possible to get a clean sound.

robin
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by robin »

@merlyn I was referring to the poweramp module thats not part of the preset you mentioned. But it is the best clean I heard out of guitarix so far after removing the extreme clipping that comes with the preset, so thanks for the recommendation! Sadly, whenever I start to add either drive or move the dial towards dist (to just get some sparkle in there), it starts to muffle and sound like the old solid-state Crate-Amp I had 15 years ago again.

@uns4ph3 Yes, maybe I should have been more precise, lets say everything AC/DC upwards ;) I think what you say is true, if its getting serious the real deal is the way to go and I'm well aware of the pros and cons of modeling itself. I found decent enough freeware and paid plugins for sketching and preproduction (anything from LePou, Ignite Emissary for the dirty parts, and Bias Amp works really well for me in some situations) and hoped that guitarix could replace some of those because a) they're all windows-vsts that I need to bridge and hack wine to get them all running and b) to have a libre instead of just free sound.
A little OT, but since you mentioned it I actually had great results using a Kemper to profile the clean and crunch channels of a dual rectifier combo at a recording session once. absolutely indistinguishable, even A/Bing after reamping the same raw guitar line. Its stands and falls with the quality of the profiles though (some of the downloaded ones we tried were really bad). And its not good capturing poweramp-grit at all, so you need to keep the volume down while profiling.

I'll keep digging a little, but I begin to fear this is just not my product. Browsing sourceforge and seeing the blog ended 2015, two years after the last entry in the news section makes me wonder if the project is still in active development. It seems mostly feature complete and maintained since 2016, when the last big bunch of additions was made according to the changelog. There have been huge leaps in modeling technology since then that had no chance to contribute to guitarix, sadly :(

uns4ph3
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by uns4ph3 »

Yes it's still in active development - there was a minor update earlier this year.

You can easily replace all of those plugins with Guitarix. I recommend for what you're looking for, do not run the master tube section since that's going to add a ton of distortion, and choose your cabinet IR carefully - the built in ones are meh at best.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/3sens5e68ocav ... carxp?dl=0 (carla preset file). I have not messed with loading custom IRs even though I have a ton - been too busy with other things. Hopefully this gets you a good starting point.

merlyn
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by merlyn »

robin wrote: ... it is the best clean I heard out of guitarix so far after removing the extreme clipping that comes with the preset ...
I can't imagine whoever made up this preset included extreme clipping. So that tells you something about your signal chain.
robin wrote:Sadly, whenever I start to add either drive or move the dial towards dist (to just get some sparkle in there) ...
I wouldn't expect drive or distortion to add my idea of sparkle -- or in marketing speak -- a shimmering high end. :)

Terrible to admit this but I tried my friend's NI Guitar Rig setup. I had fun with the clean sounds and synth patches but I thought the distortion was horrible. I'm skeptical about the assumption that emulating various trademarked gear leads to the best sound DSP can produce. If Guitar Rig is a collection of guitar focused lego blocks that can be plugged together without issues, then Guitarix is more like a build-your-own-amp DIY kit.

robin
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by robin »

@merlyn @uns4ph3 Thank you both for staying with me on this one, really enjoying the the discussion :)
merlyn wrote:I can't imagine whoever made up this preset included extreme clipping. So that tells you something about your signal chain.
My signal chain is allright, its battle-tested for years and works with every other software I use. The clipping happens between the amp-stage and compressor in guitarix. If that tells me anything, than that this preset was made using a much lower input signal which needed to be gained up hard to even trigger the compressor.
merlyn wrote: I wouldn't expect drive or distortion to add my idea of sparkle
I'm thinking of the point where the highs start to break before the bass does

@uns4ph3 Thanks for sharing the presets, I'll try them as soon as I can. Btw., I'm not afraid of distortion at all for my own music, but I do some contractual work, and heavy, british sounds are in no demand right now ;)

robin
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by robin »

uns4ph3 wrote: I recommend for what you're looking for, do not run the master tube section ...
That was a total gamechanger :D

As soon as I bypassed the main "tube" section and purged everything thats supposed to be a "tube" (looking at you, poweramp) this thing started to work. Every sound in the spectrum, including the high gain stuff sounds better without those. I managed to get usable base sounds worth refining using the following chain:
- Tubescreamer on demand
- Distortion, which shows up as multiband distortion in the rack view, replacing the preamp (only controlling drive to go clean, not gain)
- some Tonestack that suits the purpose,
- Calf Exciter+Compressor in exchange for the power amp
- Convolver for IRs

I think it's a bad design choice to name-drop and build the whole software around the tube types while not nearly replicating their real behaviour. It really makes it feel like a toy at first sight for people who use different tube amps on a regular basis.

Since its getting an interesting alternative now, the next step would be to reamp one of my existing projects, but i couldn't find the Distortion or the tonestack as lv2s, maybe you could point me in the right direction there?

uns4ph3
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by uns4ph3 »

They show up in my lv2 list as "Gx{name}" - the Tonestack just shows up as Amplifier.

Do you have Carla to try my preset? It should go a long way towards helping you answer this and get a usable tone. You'll need to load your own IRs in the signal chain (I recommend LSP Impulse Reverb for this since you can load more IRs and configure them a little more granularly than it's other Impulse plugin).

robin
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Re: Guitarix: Tubes, Amp Impulses, overall usability

Post by robin »

I did try your preset, a little delay-heavy for my taste but quite nice. It did not solve my "fake-tube" problem though, muffling whenever there comes gain. Btw., I always use my own IRd cabs that I know very well with Klangfalter, multiple instances parallel if needed.
I know there are the GX... plugins, but I only find GxAmplifier-X for anything "amp", which is the whole amp stack force-including the "tubes", and I can't find the generic distortion that comes in the software. Maybe its a package thing, I'm using the binaries on Arch.

I think I will be going in a different direction, anyways. I found olegkapitonov 's tubeamp designer and spiceamp, which I think is exactly what I was looking for. It gave me good sounds after 10 minutes of playing around and I really dig the mathematical paradigm that it has, Amp=Filter1-NonLinearFunction1-EQ-NonLinearFunction2-Filter2. That and the option to spice-construct amps to profile makes my inner geek really happy :D

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