Right, now here come the amps, the meat of any ampsim package. I’d always liked the tone of Revalver in the past so lets see how it comes up against it’s rivals.
Being a Peavey product, there is a strong emphasis on their own amps (and there are more than a few classic ones there) but it would not be an ampsim without those old classics, Bassmans, Twins, AC30, Marshalls and Boogies (every single ampsim ever always has these – it must be the law somewhere).
Download the software you get 2 amps for free, a Peavey Custom Lite and a Peavey Valveking, so lets start off with these and see what we’ve got.
There are IRs for a wide range of speakers in Revalver but to keep things simple I’m only using the specific speaker IRs for each amp model, I’m also using no effects, not even compression, to get as naked a tone as possible. I’ve also used the SM57 mike model as close to the middle as possible for each amp.
The Custom Lite, based on the Sensation 20, is a single channel amp, with gain and a master volume and a pleasing reverb.It has a bright, snappy tonality and does love a bit of dirt, in fact getting a clean tone is a bit of a challenge. I’m going through a clean phase at the moment so I whacked the gain down to about two and used the neck pickup of my strat – the result was a fair SRV facsimile. The bridge humbucker was a lot rowdier. It is not a polite amp, it is the sonic equivalent of a Jack Russell Terrier, it will bite your ankle and piss on your shoes if you let it. I liked it a lot, especially as it was free.
The Valveking has popped up as a free model on the IOS Ampkit App so it is reasonable to see it here. It is a pretty thing (the artwork on all the Peavey amps is beautiful – which cannot be said for all the amps and effects here) and there is an awful lot going on here, with 2 channels, bright switches, boosts and a Vari-Class knob (which apparently changes the tonal character from Class A to Class A/B. I have no idea what I have just written)
So, from the left, Strat neck pickup into the clean channel. Of course I’ll try some Hendrix..hmm, nice and flutey, warm with the tiniest hint of grit. Switching the bright switch makes it brighter but makes it sound a little flat. The Vari-class does seem to work and there is a greater sense of detail as you turn to Class A/B.
What does come over is there is a real sense of touch sensitivity, of the way that strings and fingers interact with a good, warmed up valve amp. This also comes across as you turn to the bridge single coil, which has a real, almost Tele, snap. This is a good clean channel.
So onto Channel 2……now this is not a metal amp, it is a solid meat and potatoes rocker. With everything set to 6 o’clock it is a rough, organic tone (once again Class A/B just seems to sound better). Whack on the gain boost and it is a really tough 70’s tone that does stand out, there is a volume boost as well just to make things rowdier. It is a tone that loves a humbucker as well. Probably not the amp for your Tosin Abasi riffs, but it will handle everything but.
So two freebies that are really cracking emulations. I prefer the basic musicality of these to Amplitube 3, but what really surprises me is that I preferred the version of the Valveking in Ampkit, let alone what can be achieved in Bias or Tonestack – are we reaching the point where these Apps are where ampsim development really is?
Anyway, two good free amps, what happens when you spend some money, we’ll have a look tomorrow.