DI Guitar Tone: Softube Vintage Amp Room + SoundToys Radiator
This is a really, an old trick that people use — they used to take maybe like the preamp from like a Space Echo or an Echoplex and they would put the delay in bypass mode, basically just using the signal path to boost their signal into the amp. Not a ton to get a ton of distortion, but something just happens when those two signals meet, you know, the preamp from the Echoplex meets the front of the amp. It adds a little, some might joke, a little fairy dust or something to it. But it definitely puts a little shimmer on it that is hard to get otherwise.
This of course is really hard to do in digital because when we’re using amp simulators — and I’m using the Amp Room here — you can’t really push your signal hard into your convertors or you get digital clipping.
I’ve found that using the Radiator plugin, which is an emulation of a line mixer, it gets me a very similar effect as, say, using the preamp of like an Echoplex. I’m gonna play a line here using this Rickenbacker 360 and we’re going to experiment with some of the settings and you can hear what it’s doing and how it’s changing the signal.
[Rickenbacker 360 electric guitar + Softube Vintage Amp Room + SoundToys Radiator]
Originally when that song was recorded it was a Rickenbacker through a Vox amp, which is why I chose this pairing. Let’s listen to it, I’m gonna turn Radiator off and we’re gonna listen to it just running through the Vox amp emulation. Which the settings I guess I played with a little bit but not too much. Here it is.
[electric guitar + Softube Vintage Amp Room Vox Amplifier]
I’ll put in Radiator now. Turn it off. Let’s listen to that one more time with it off. It adds a little shimmer to it. It makes it sound even a little bit more Vox-ish. You could make it brighter from the plugin but I find that something just is a little different when it’s running through this Radiator plugin. Much like it is when running through the preamp of an Echoplex or a Space Echo. And like it’s not the same if you use a booster to hit your amp harder. There’s just something about that signal path in those tape units. I guess to do with it being a preamp.
So here’s what I have on the Radiator plugin. I made sure that it was on the clean mode note the noisy because I didn’t want it to impart any more noise than the guitar already has in it. I did had it select to mic, up switch as opposed to line only because I thought it had a little less low end in it which I was looking for in this track.
[guitar + SoundToys Radiator plugin]
That sounds a little more Beatle-y to me because that stuff doesn’t have a lot of low end in it and it’s really punchy. Everything else I pretty much left the same except knocking the treble back a little bit just to kind of tame the harshness which I find de-essing — I mean amp sims are a little bit even thought the Amp Room is pretty gentle when it comes to the high end. And I pushed the output just ever so slightly.
If you weren’t using a Rickenbacker and going for that sound, one thing you could do is you could really use the output of the Radiator to push the font end of the Vintage Amp Room or the Metal Amp Room. Whatever you’re using. Just to kind of get that sound happening so if I was using like a Stratocaster and I wanted to kind of get a little more of that U2 vibe I would maybe use the Radiator into a delay plugin and then — or delay plugin into the Radiator into the amp sim and really push the output of the amp sim really hard to kind of get that thing happening.
It’s just subtle things like this you can do when you’re recording your tracks — particularly when it’s all digital, you can do just to enhance them in a subtle way.
Overview: How to use a DI Electric guitar + Softube Vintage Amp Room and SoundToys Radiator to simulate the effect of driving a preamp from a analog tape echo (like an Echoplex) into a real amp.
– Logic Pro X
– SoundToys Radiator
– Softube Vintage Amp Room
– Rickenbacker 360 Electric Guitar