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Bass Amp Model Software Compare - Ampeg SVX vs GuitarRig

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by pfschim, May 5, 2010.

  1. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    this is not really intended as a X vs Y, better or worse kind of question.

    I have a practice/recording laptop setup. I currently use the Native Instruments USB interface into Ableton and the bass models built into GuitarRig (the NI USB interface came bundled with GuitarRig).

    I have been reading here and elsewhere, about the Ampeg SVX/Amplitube bundle that's currently available on the web for $99, and it sounds like a pretty cool, bass oriented amp model package.

    GuitarRig has (generic) Ampeg SVT and Bassman amp models to choose from. My DAW, Ableton Live, also offers a pretty decent set of bass models and effects. Net is, that, between my bass/amp+DI and the software I mentioned above, I have been pretty happy with the bass tones I have been getting for practice and recording (I have yet to use any of this stuff for live performing).

    My question is, will I get much that's different or valuable from adding the Ampeg/SVX/Amplitube package to my rig, or will it pretty much be the same as what I have ?

    I have to admit that having a decent B-15 model is very appealing, and money is not really the issue, I'd just like some informed opinions before I add another element to my rig.

    thanks for all informed replies in advance :cool:
  2. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    hmm, so no one one at TB has an opinion or experience with the software mentioned ?

    or is my question too trivial ?

    I suppose I could just get the SVX package and check it out. For $99 its hard to go too wrong.
  3. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    They both have demos
    Have you tried them?
    Ampeg SVX is sonically identical to Ampegs amps being mic'ed.
    As endorsed by some of the original Ampeg engineers.

    The Guitar rig version, is very much the same, but not endorsed.
    It's a tough call. Both are very good.
    Many others are very good. Some even have new sounds that old amps could never create.
  4. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    got it, thanks. Pretty much what I suspected. I will probably just go ahead and drop the coin and get the SVX bundle. It would be cool to get a good B-15 model, that would just about justify the expense right there.

    I am moving more and more towards a laptop based practice, writing/recording rig and the SVX stuff would be a good addition to what I already have (Ableton and GuitarRig).
  5. GMSweet


    Oct 12, 2007
    New Hampshire
    I did some informal testing a few months back to see how they did. I ran the NI GR3 demo, the SVX demo and my SVP Pro preamp. I turned off the cab emulation in the software since I was running straight from the preamp into Sonar. My listening was just done on a pair of headphones, but the SVX modeling did a better job matching the sound out I get out of my preamp. Based on the feature set, in many cases I liked it better then just the preamp alone.

    Again, all of this was done very informally just to test the products, but if I was spending money on either of these products, I'd go with the SVX. As was already mentioned, you may want to download the demo and give it a listen then you can find out if the change is incremental or monumental to your sound.

    Just one man's opinion; I hope it helps.

  6. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
  7. joebingo


    Aug 23, 2006
    London, UK
    from my experience of guitar rig (though version 2 so it's been a while) is that it all sounds a bit plasticy and false.

    If you pick up amplitube 3 i think it comes with the ampeg models, as well as an acoustic 360, Trace Elliot and GK head too. I've always put all my trust into amplitube really, it does have a very real sound, especially with version 3! Great for both Bass and Guitar.
  8. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    thanks for the replies. I have decided that I'm going to grab the SVX/Amplitube bundle. You can hardly go wrong for the $99 price, and it would be good to have the additional models (amps, mics and mic placement) on hand when I'm trying to dial in a certain kind of tone.
  9. They are CERTAINLY not sonically identical, I use 3 70's ampeg SVT's through the classic 8x10's, mic'd up with the mics emulated in SVX (and a few more more expenive/odd ones) every day. Then I use SVX at home most nights getting demo's together and finishing lower budget tracks.

    The SVX is great, haven't tried the new guitar rigs but the older ones were very good too. Certainly NOT sonically identical though, what one is better is very subjective however and probably down to personal choice, largely anyway. They sound pretty similar though, character wise and theres no doubt that the real thing is a bit more of a hassle to record!
  10. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    As the above informal blind tests, and other's I've seen - People can't hear a difference.
    That would be the average musicians as there's always a curve. As some blind tests point out, some people hear unusable artifacts like hum, crackle, or ripple IM distortion, which is not part of what one would want from a modeler.
  11. Yeah true, most musicians cant hear the difference. But I've been on 3 sessions I can recall in the last 2 months when the musicians (in all cases the drummer, this time round) loved a snare which just wasn't right. In two of the cases it was a slipping snare (as in the wires, not the drum itself) leading to quite a 'popping' unpleasant sound that the drummers in question quite liked (they were really attack-y and exciting sounding but hard to listen too for a whole track, and just the hard transient poked through the guitars when we started getting the other guys involved! Not nice), In all cases we rectified the situation and the drummers ended up understanding saying 'great'!

    The musicians always value different aspects of a sound to the engineers who know how something is going to sit in a mix, or who are used to looking out for things that result in things getting lost/becomming too prominent once other instruments get added.

    I don't want to masquerade it as 'its something people can't hear'. More often than not once you have pointed out differences people can hear it and say 'cool, ok, I think I know what you mean'.

    Recording bands well is (apart from the sociological aspect, ie getting good takes from the musicians, which is the real big one) all about the TINY differences. Every great recording is different from the good recordings by just a few dozen tiny differences. As audio engineers we should be able to pick up on these and direct the musicians to the best result. The difference between an amp and a plugin is one of those differences. Thats why the top engineers still go for an amp first, and then a plugin if its not working.

    Work for a year with a real bass amp, then do the same with a plugin and you will soon hear the differences in how the bass sits in a final mix. Its pretty subtle, yeah, but is fairly different. When you are adept in recording all sources very well and the mix stage starts to become a lot more about tiny subtleties than changing sounds then the little differences you have worked for in the tracking stage can easily make or break a project.

    Sometimes the plug in is the way to go but the point is that the engineer is employed to hear the subtleties that the musician should not need to worry about hearing. Almost EVERYTHING in recording a judgement call, and there are times I would prefer a plugin. But the differences are important things to understand to be able to get the best result possible.

    I'm approaching this as a professional bass player as well, of course. I spent a long time playing on peoples records and just listening to what the engineer suggested and sometimes not being sure exactly why they were doing things. Over time as an assistant and then a professional engineer I started to learn about the subtleties and what they meant to the final mix.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    exactly. also, let's not forget that most of us who use computer plugins as the main sonic tweaker aren't at studios that have $200,000 boards and $10,000 mics, so the differences are probably less apparent to us in our computers. i would love to have a really good studio at my disposal for a few hours to test out the differences, but i certainly wouldn't waste my time in a really good studio testing equipment. i'd just mic my b-15 and be on the safe side. it's proven, it always works great, and you never have those nagging worries that you didn't get as good a sound as you possibly could.

    they're getting darn good with plugins and pedals to where they could make great sounding masters, though, no doubt about it. i can't blast amps most of the time since we have a baby here, so modeling is working out very well for me. but if i was doing serious recordings and getting paid for it, i might use a vt pedal or svx in conjunction with a mic'ed b-15, but i'd still mic a b-15.
  13. jhan

    jhan Guest

    Tried both, recorded with both. SVX wins hands down. It's more suited for the job, IMO, and it sits nice in a mix, as Nemo mentioned. Still doesn't beat a mic'd cab + nice amp + good microphone, but it works when I'm lazy.
  14. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    great replies and discussion of the subtleties of real vs plug-in/models.

    Again, what I am working on building is a portable (laptop based) system for practice, writing, and some basic recording capabilities (1-8 tracks) so I can keep working on my playing while I deal with a 2 year work assignment overseas where I may not have a live amp easily available. I plan on taking my Mesa Walkabout head (re-tapped to 220v), but I will probably be in an apartment as opposed to my home here in the States, so a well equipped "silent" rig will be great to have.

    I use Ableton Live (with all its models and FX goodies) and GuitarRig (the USB interface and the models) right now, and am generally happy with the results. I had read about the SVX bundle and I would gladly pay $99 for the B-15 model alone, as long it was a good one. Apparently the SVX bundle also has several other great Ampeg bass models as well as mic's and mic placement. So, I have ordered the SVX bundle and am looking forward to getting it in.

    Does anyone know if I can run the SVX models as stright plug-ins to Ableton, like I can with GR and my drum machine iDrum ?

    thanks for all the input
  15. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    hey there, looking at the IK/SVX site, I just noticed that the portaflex model they have is listed as the B15R, which I seem to recall, is the more recent "reissue" version of this amp and not the true "legendary" B15N. I have owned and played several B15N's ('67 and '73 models) over the years, and never felt like the reissue R model sounded anything like the real deal.

    hmmm, maybe it was just a marketing material typo on the IK site ?
  16. Yeah, it is the B15R, which I always thought was a bit off an odd choice, especially as they don't include an emulation of the blue or black line original's. Then again I guess the svt cl emulation is pretty close to those guys, but I'm not sure as I've not used one of the newer ones in the studio to compare.

    Even so, its well worth $99! You're bound to find one of the models works for you and you'll alwys have the others for a slightly different flavour if needed!
  17. JackoBass


    May 13, 2010
    SVX all the way. I'm absolutely loving that software both recorded and standalone via my current "rig" (Macbook Pro) :).
  18. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    I have both the SVX and GR3 so I did that test to compare them to my VB99 , to know how good it sounds so I used my Jazz bass and loaded up the B15 emulations on the three instances.
    I had as a reference , my B15 miked in another room.

    None sounded like the real one , the three sounded very different from one another and from the original.

  19. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    no need to be sorry. :cool:

    I don't really expect any model to sound exactly like any version of the real thing, just as close as possible. It just gives you another set of tone options when you are looking for something to fit in a specific mix.

    I also discovered reading through the IK material that the B15 model that is actually captured in the SVX software package, is a B15R, which is the reissue version and, IMO/IME, does not really sound anything like the true legendary amp - the B15N (Thiele, or double baffle).

    I am not at all sure why Ampeg/IK would have done this, but bassplayers who know the difference surely must be scratching their heads over that choice of models.
  20. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    It's a common problem with developing an amp model is getting a "golden" reference. You can't put 2 B15's together and expect them to sound the same. The developers have to do a lot of sampling and null testing against several real amps, they do null out though. Nulling is common to show them identical.

    In their best judgment they compromise between several amps, and they leave enough adjustment to let you tweak the models.

    So sorry - I don't believe the real B15 sounded "better" - it just sounded different to you.

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