So part 8 and we are finally at the end of the amp checks with 2 classic British models and Peavey’s take on a certain Californian amp.
Of course this is a Plexi, an amp that has been modelled to death by every developer out there and I have played most of them. So how does it stand up? Pretty well – with certain reservations. What you do have is a great, thick edgy tone that works brilliantly with the Tubescreamer in Revalver. It is a really solid, classic British rock tone that is surprisingly hard to do – I’ve never felt that Amplitube – after many attempts – has ever really nailed it. But this model also lacks that great, solid clean tone that is there at the heart of the Plexi. It does make a great rock noise, but it pretty much only gives you one really great sound and compared to the Plexi available in Bias and Tonestack, it does feel a little limited. (What is the plural of Plexi? Plexisisis’s?)
One of the success stories of the past decade is the triumphant rebirth of Orange amps, a rebirth that has not just been about rehashing past successes but has also been about being truly innovative. This is a model of one of Orange’s most popular amps, the AD30.
I love Orange amps, I love the Dark Terror and I really love the AD30 and this just does not get the basic tone. I tried it with a Les Paul, a strat, 2 Teles and a 335. I even tried my lovely Westone Rainbow (if you see one, buy it. They are going to be the classics of the future). No matter what I did, the tone was not there. Thin and buzzy where it should have been thick and rich. Was it my interface? I tried the Orange pack on Amplitube and it was wonderful (I’m not the biggest fan of Amplitube but their Orange amps are really, really good).
Annoyed by my failure to get a decent sound out of Peavey’s AD30 (Check out Tonestack’s Orange models – they are really good), I plugged into the last amp to test….
The Flathill Dual
This is a full-out 3 channel Boogie clone and, after the AD30, I really wanted it to be good. It looks good, 3 channels, vintage and modern voicings. It has a good, very modern clean sound that is ideal for picked patterns in those softer metal moments and it handles modulation effects very well. It’s not for country picking, but c’mon, it’s based on a Boogie!
The Normal channel starts off pretty fierce and only winds up (the Vintage and Normal buttons really help shape the sound here) It’s a good rhythm tone that only needs a bit of push for a solid solo sound as well.
So lets go full out with the extreme Modern channel and…..well, there is a bit more grind than the Normal channel but it is a strangely lifeless affair – I kept on going back to the fantastic 6505+ model just to make sure that it was not my gear at fault, but no, what was full of fury and power in the 6505+ was oddly flat on the Flathill. Humbuckers helped (it really did not like single coils) but as a Boogie, it sounded worse than the equivalent in Revalver 3.
So a rather deflated end to my amp testing and one that I feel does not reflect what this version of Revalver is capable of. So many of the models are very, very strong (Pretty much all the Peavey amps, especially the sublime 6505+, that lovely AC30, etc)
I hope the weaker models I found simply indicate that this is a new software release and there will be revisions and improvements of the type that made Revalver 3.5 so much better than Revalver 3.
I’ll be posting Part 9 of my review soon, covering post effects and the output section and then I’ll be drawing some conclusions – can desktop emulators be relevant in an Apple world?