STUDIO DEVIL’S MARC GALLO remembers well when guitarists complained about having to scroll through menus on their MIDI rack effects, so he designed Amp Modeler Pro with all the controls on deck. The virtual rack GUI contains a preamp and power amp section, a cabinet section, and 11 effects crammed into half the screen territory of similar software interfaces. Everything is easy to see and operate, however, and menu searching is necessary only to choose a patch, bank, preamp, or cabinet.
Rather than graphics of individual amp images, Amp Modeler Pro uses a dropdown menu to load 15 different amp styles into one virtual preamp/power amp rack. It then lets you choose among three power amp styles (Class A, AB, and FET), and then add the cabinet of your choice.
The cabinets are convolution impulse responses, made from real guitar cabinets miked up in recording environments. Convolution cabinet modeling can be CPU intensive, so the software allows you to shorten the size of your cabinet impulse if necessary to reduce the processing load. At full size, the realism can be astonishing, capturing room as well as mic type and placement, but even at reduced fidelity the sound is good.
Despite its condensed size and limited feature set, Amp Modeler Pro gives nothing away sonically to modelers produced by bigger companies. The British sounds have plenty of bite, with the Marshall based emulations producing that distinctive clang. The American tones are warm and rich. Though only one preamp offering refers to the latter style, between the Lo-Cut switch, Deep and Bright buttons, Graphic and Parametric EQs, and the High End Sizzle control, I was able to sculpt a wide variety of Fullerton based tones. I found the aforementioned High End Sizzle control to be invaluable in removing some of the fizz that often accompanies distortion settings on software amp models.
The effects are full of analog warmth, but overdrive and fuzz pedals were MIA— any distortion must come from the amps, with a little help from the compressor and boost switch. Fortunately the modeled amp distortion here is among the best I have heard—dynamic, and harmonically rich—and I found that a Moollon Lotus Octah fuzz placed between my guitar and the computer also worked well with the modeled amp sounds.
If you need acres of specific amp models and effects, Amp Modeler Pro is not for you. Trading instead in simplicity of design, great sound, and affordable pricing, this Studio Devil software stands ready to carve its own niche in the ampmodeling field.
CONTACT Studio Devil, (917) 887-7942; studiodevil.com
AMP MODELER PRO
PRICE $149 direct
AMPS Preamp Models based on: Fender Twin, Vox AC30 (with and without cathode cap gain mod), Peavey Classic 30 (with added lead stage); Marshall JTM45 Clean Channel, Bluesbreaker, JCM800, JMP-1, Laney VH-100R, Matchless Chieftain, Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier, Soldano SLO, Clean Preamp with no EQ.
CABINETS 1x12, 1x15, 2x12, 4x10, 4x12, 8x10 Bass, Full Range.
EFFECTS 7-band graphic EQ with master level, sweepable parametric EQ, wah-wah, compressor/sustainer, chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo, delay, reverb, noise gate, tuner.
KUDOS Great amp and effect tones. Small screen footprint. Minimal menu scrolling.
CONCERNS Limited effects.