Amplitube is certainly well covered when it comes to distortions with all flavours from tube screamers to the most bonkers metal machine out there. Today I’ve used my venerable Westone Rainbow (the classic 1981 335-alike). It’s humbuckers are sweetly voiced and relatively low powered and so appreciate a decent distortion to give them a lift. The signal then goes through the British Tube Lead 1 model.
BigPig (Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi)
“An iconic distortion pedal that has stood the test of time. Capable of tones from smooth sustain & compression to heavy buzz-saw distortion, this pedal is perfect for all different styles of metal.”
Oh yes, this really is what you need if you want big, fat, warm tones. It’s too soupy for extreme modern metal or Djent styles but will handle pretty much anything else.
One of IK’s own models, the clue is in the name here. IK say “This model alters the sound of the input signal by changing the sample-rate, cutoff frequency and by distorting it. This effect can produce very aggressive distorted sounds, more pronunciated than overdrive stompboxes. The Low pass filter is very creative when combined to high distortion levels.”
Well, there is certainly a lot of madness here, the filters are very aggressive and with everything on full you have a very harsh nasel ice-pick tone. But the key here is the subtle interplay between the two filter knobs. These produce a range of warm horn or cello like tones and a hint of B3 organ as well. If you only want one distortion, this is not for you, but it does add a range of unusual tones to your arsenal.
Distortion = Boss DS-1 Distortion
“First produced in 1978, this is one of the most versatile distortion boxes ever made. From subtle crunch to complete mayhem, this pedal has been used by countless guitarists of all styles.”
And do IK fumble the ball here – a brittle and cold-sounding model that did not like my Westone, or the Strat or the Tele I then tried. There is a synthetic harshness here, indications of rather cruder modeling that I’m used to. The DS-1 is a classic pedal, this model must be regarded as a bit of a failure.
Feedback = Boss DF-2 Super feedbacker & Distortion
“This hard-to-find vintage unit includes a built-in oscillator for infinite sustain. Hold notes to create amazing synth-like sounds or boost solos for more cutting tone, combined with classic distortion tones.”
The basic modeling appears to be an enhanced version of the Distortion – so the basic tone is better but what we are interested in is the feedback. How good is it? Well, not very is the answer. Click on the feedback button and what you get is an authentic rich, humming set of overtones – which seem to be generated at random and which you cannot control at all. Perhaps at the end of a song you can strike the final chord, switch this on and pose away, then you might have a use for it. Otherwise it has very limited application.
So, distortion is proving a tough one for Amplitube, can it be saved?
OK guys, more for you tomorrow. Stay lucky, oi!oi!