Last night I spent a good deal of time in the studio to work on messing with Amp simulation plugins. I also spent some time googling around the net to find out the amps, effects, and pedals certain guitarists have used to create their sounds from actual gear. I used to do the same thing when I was buying gear years ago. I’d read, go to a store, plug in and try out. Anything I really dug, I’d buy.
I’ve been able to recreate some cool sounds. They’re not exact replicas, but they’re darn close. There are some things about real amps that I don’t think can be recreated. One such thing is when a guitarist decides to get sound via pure volume, i.e. by turning the everything up to 11 so to speak. Amp sim plugins simply can’t recreate the power of tubes in that respect.
There is one thing in my plugin chain that is making the main difference that gets that realistic amp sound, that is the Impulse Responses by Red Wirez. They have a great selection of amp cabinets that have been mic’d with some great mics from all the ‘normal’ methods of micing. One thing that is truly the difference in a guitar sound from an EQ is the cabinet and the way it’s mic’d.
Does this mean that I’ll sell my amps and cabs? No. There will still come a time where I want to do something really weird for a recording and there’s no way it can be covered with an Impulse Response.
One thing I wonder about today’s pick is whether or not they’re doing what the peeps they sound like to do. If you can’t hear the influence of their fellow city mate’s the Killers, then you’ve been under a rock. Imagine Dragons. That’s a fun name. The song you’re hearing is a pumping bass driven tune. I’m aware that the Killers use Logic and it’s Amp sims for their writing and recording. Because all this stuff is on my mind it makes sense that it could be in the Imagine Dragon sound too.
I dig the bass. It has a thump quality layered with a bit of distortion. Something that I like to do with bass all because of an old friend from Sweden. He used to run a line of his bass with distortion and explained to me why and so I picked up on it and did it too. I don’t do it all the time, but now and then. Imagine Dragon is definitely doing it and it helps with the urgency going on in this song.
The crystal sounding guitar line is fun little riff that adds sparkle over the top. Add a driving drum beat and some great duel vocal over it and you’ve got a sound that takes the killers one step further. I’ll have to ask my buddies in Vegas if they know the cats in Imagine Dragons. Hopefully they’ll break out. Do your part by picking up the music!