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Review: Softube Amp Room Bundle

I received the Softube Amp Room Bundle to check out this week. I tend to be pretty critical of amp sim plugins. I almost always prefer real amps.

I was pleasantly surprised when I first opened up the Vintage Amp Room. Usually, when I open up an amp sim I have to immediately do a bunch of tweaking. I often find that they don’t sound like an amp at its source. Rather, an idea of what the amp is supposed to sound like after processing.

Overall, the Amp Room Bundle is very easy to use.

I Can See Clearly

My only comment would be that the graphics make it kind of hard to see. I have a vision problem which forces me to do a lot of zooming in to make adjustments. It looks cool, but I would take a more boring layout for clarity.

All the Right Moves

All of the Amp Room plugins give you the ability to move the mics around. They did a great job re-creating the effect of moving the mic in the room and off-axis from the speaker.

When I’m using a real amp I spend a lot of time moving the mic around. The fact that Amp Room allows me to accurately recreate this is very valuable to me.

Other plugins have an option for moving the mic, but I don’t feel like they really capture how the EQ curve changes.

Cotton Mouth

None of the Amp Room Bundle plugins have reverb on them (other companies tend to give you reverb options on everything). I was a little surprised at first. It makes sense though. The amps they are modeling didn’t originally come with reverb. Why add it? They went the more authentic route.

I appreciate the fact they didn’t take liberties. I spend a lot of time with other amp sims trying to undue the liberties.

Yard Sale

Does this mean I’m going to sell all my amps? Hell no!! That won’t happen, ever. But, I’m excited to have an ITB solution I actually like.

Sometimes there is work that needs to be done at certain hours that would make my neighbors riot if I used a real amp.

The revision process for scoring commercials doesn’t allow for long setup times. It’s more practical to use a plugin.

Back to the Front

I’ve been using amp room just like I would a real amp. I plug in my analog pedalboard and go.

The only thing I have to remember is not to push the output (input of my interface) too hard. With a real amp, I like to push the front end. Digital converters don’t like that. Oh no!! You gotta be, like, gentle and stuff.

It’s good to remember that when you start plugging in pedals that have additional gain. Watch your meters.

One trick I’ve used to get a little more gain out of the Fender and Vox emulations is to use the SoundToys Radiator plugin before Amp Room.

This acts a lot like using the preamp from an old Echoplex to juice your amp.

Metal Amp Room

Don’t let the name fool you… There are plenty of great rock tones available in this plugin that aren’t straight metal. I’ve gotten some great Marshall clean tones.

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I like that there is the option for multiple mics and a phase invert switch in Metal Amp Room. It’s pretty authentic the way they interact.

I wish Vintage Amp Room had options for multiple mics. This is really a powerful feature. These plugins are a great training tool for guitar amp miking.

Cold As Ice

In general, the Amp Room Bundle plugins aren’t harsh. It’s pretty easy to get a good sound. That’s an accomplishment.

It’s a very smart design. In the Vintage Amp Room, the EQ adjustments are pre-power tube section. This means that adjusting the bass, mid and treble affects the gain. Just like the real amp.

Test Tube Babies

I tested the Metal and Vintage Amp Room with a variety of guitars including an American Standard Strat, Reissue Tele, Les Paul Standard and a Rickenbacker 12 string.

I placed a variety of effects in-front of it including aa Effectrode Tube Drive, Fulltone OCD, Fulltone Deja Vibe, Van Amps Sole Mate, Teese Wah and a Prescription Electronics Experience fuzz.

Ain’t No Shame

I think that one could buy this plugin and not beat themselves up because they don’t have a real amp. It may not feel 100% like a real amp, but it comes close enough that your faith in humanity won’t be shaken. Actually, it comes much closer than that. I just like to be dramatic.

To Come of Age

One addition that might be nice is the option to switch microphone types. A setting for a ribbon or condenser in the Vintage Amp Room would be very welcome. Let’s hope for that in a future update.

With that said, I would rather have a solid start with fewer features than a bloated release with issues.

Solid work from Softube.

Learn More

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Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall is a producer, songwriter, session musician and instructor based in NYC. More at guitaristmarkmarshall.com

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