Amplitube/Guitar Rig vs Renoise Cabinet Simulator

Hey guys,

I’m using the cabinet simulator for my guitar stuff and was wondering how it good it is compared to something like Amplitube or Guitar Rig? Have you guys ever tried both and would you say that it’s worth getting those products? Or do you know free alternatives to them that can compete with them?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thanks in advance!

I don’t know for sure but I would expect Amplitube or Guitar Rig to sound much better, also I thought the cabinet simulator device was just the cabinet whereas Amplitube/Guitar Rig have amps, pedal effects and cabinets. I could be wrong though

For free alternatives everyone seems to recommend Lepou plugins

i think the cabinet simulator is really ok.
a good alternative is a line 6 pod modeller (its second hand cheap)

the best choice in my opinion are 1-2 analogue pedals (euqalizer and distoriton) in combination with digital effects (renoise)
my favs are a hughes kettner bassmaster preamp and a dod boneshaker pedal (play a washburn baritone guitar over studio boxes or bass amp)
but that’s not a recommendation, guitars sounds different at the same pedal and people have different tastes.
better buy and sell some pedals (cheap, clones are not necessarily bad) and find the nicest sound for you

Guitar Rig has a wider variety of effects, but I think it is way worse for guitar tones than amplitube.

Renkise cab sim indeed only does cabs, which is a part of what the others do.
(theres also Waves’ Guitar and Bias, neither of which I have tried.)

Depending of what you want to achieve;

from a #lofi kind of view, the cabinet works very good on drums & synths,

giving them that old-school sampler - feeling; esp.with loFi & ringMod added.

Never really tried it on Guitars, though…more to dirty things up & giving some #artifacts to the sound.

Also see the guitar section of this

My pref is still Amplitube’s Orange amp sims, but it all depends on genre and specific guitar.

Bias FX from has some really rave reviews especially for metal heads.

The stock amps and FX that come with Logic Pro and possibly some of the presets in GarageBand do sound very good indeed. The reverb and delays and overdrive are pretty convincing.

Renoise cabinet simulator I tried once with live guitar input and it does get the initial tone ready straight from a semi acoustic, but don’t expect for sparks to fly just yet. You need to add other FX like a phaser or delay and reverb and some EQ and compression and limiting before you get any tone you are truly convinced and satisfied with. It does it’s conceptual job though with decency. It’s great for lo-fi stuff and run loops of a bandpass ed guitar sound etc…food to experiment with and it’s inbuilt into Renoise.

I use Boss gear and love the vintage or older gear like DR 880 (one unit: guitar/bass processor, tuner, drum machine overkill with total edit and save,inbuilt bass synth, pattern and song builder, 20 pads finger drumming, independent FX routing, groove templates, EZ compose feature using dial wheel to mix and match the pallete of styles, chord bassline templates, boss pedal inputs for live gigs, built like a tank, cult status similar to Alesis SR 18 haveing been used in pro country and rock tracks and recording sessions etc) and as a jazz guitar player its way overkill once you get the smooth tone you are looking for becos we don’t djent (when playing jazz that is:)). Some folks say its more a drum machine and while the guitar FX don’t suck but are not exactly high quality, I suppose they have not fully explored it and found many things rather intimidating with this unit (they still sell a training DVD for this,lol) and I totally beg to differ!

The newer gear from Zoom are also good enough but for some reason just don’t find them too gritty or smooth enough, dunno many be cause it’s all digitally done and not too well emulated like Boss FX. It does have a looper though for like 30 seconds.

Korg Pandora stomp is another all rounder external pedal that you can explore for its price and feature set. A large preset bank, built in tuner, really cheesy and basic drum rhythm bank, and amps and FX as expected. Good for the form factor, small and portable but not really gig friendly.

Waves and NI I have used, I still like the Waves version for its warmth and the fact that I can just route it through the Waves Eddie Kramer plugins pack and get further processing done. However I am all about hardware these days for more than a year now as I have weaned myself away from the computer screen with only Renoise and couple other tools making the cut. Dawless production is a trend today for various reasons. NI provides a very good set of features but end of day if ergonomics and convenience factor is taken into account a hardware pedal or all in one unit will take priority for 99% of classic jazz and rock guitar players as well as about 80-90 percent of modern players too. Eveyone has a computer these days, how difficult is it to own a software pedal? The other reason being the priority, you should watch some of Pat Martino’s vids to see how he explains how he composes, it’s all about being intimate with your instrument and knowing the fretboard inside out and it’s various quirks and qualities and experiment with ‘voicings, patterns, figures, ideas’ and spend time with those ideas and make them grow and then combine ideas to form a song, and so on. He never talks about spending time in front your laptop tweaking the gain dial to get the ‘tone’ or ‘sound’ day in day out. You ideally have that as part of your setup and not as part of your musical routine, so you have to balance your time accordingly. There is a reason why the compositions from yesterday years sound so full of life and vigour, because they were inspired by life and not inspired by machines.

You cannot write a good poem, infact even writing a bad poem would be terribly difficult if you follow the rules, if your focus is on paper quality.

The other philosophical takeaway from this is that everything dies with time, so the least you can do is make an effort to make what you write stand out in time rather than worry about the paper, becos in no time will your paper crumble and vanish and be replaced with another paper, similar to what we see in an accelerated industrial factory oriented man made system we are right now living in…you want your poem to stand out not the paper. Otherwise both vanish and you won’t have the luxury of ‘ohh shit I should have worked harder on my compositions and musicianship’. Any effort well done leaves some sort of universal imprint, someone always benefits from it, so it’s most definitely worth it.

Lastly whatever is man made will perish, governments/empires/corporations/cities/guitar FX pedals, if not the canvas or clay then even the art itself. The higher powers have built destruction into the very fabric of this reality, so no one escapes it. You don’t want to celebrate capitalism but rather celebrate and express being human and the spiritual essence of it as first priority rather than getting caught up with this external world and it’s cyclic maze of illusion and confusion and the resulting waste of time. Reminds me of the Hamster in a wheel.

@encryptedmind: I agree with your thoughts on rather focussing on ideas than gear. I wish there was no gear to really consider, so my compromise is to be a total gear minimalist. The only gear I own are my guitars (two cheap Squiers) and an Apogee interface to connect it with my Mac. I run Reaper and Renoise on it, no plugins at all, just native stuff. I do everything on that, recording, sequencing, programming synths, processing, mastering, you name it. I used to own a whole bunch of gear (synths, drum machines, hardware sequencers etc etc…Sh101, Eventide Fx, TR drum machines etc.) and probably spend around 2000 bucks on it. Had a nice big setup with racks, patchbays, thousands of cables and what not. All that stuff is gone now.

This is a nice analogy:

Having said that, I’m now trying out the recommendation by pandabot (the free Lepou Amp plugin). I’ll play around with that in the next few days, dig into it.

Coppola put it brilliantly:) It’s never about the equipment but rather using facets, features or even limitations of your canvas to tell your story. Simple as that. A story told with heart and soul will surpass any CGI heavy dud any day of the week. If both then well and good for a particular audience but without a Soul or that human touch nothing will live and create that living spark.

I understand your experience and it’s a really good thing you have done and best
wishes on your minimal approach. You can be a minimalist with either hardware or software or an ideal combination of both. The goal is to streamline, not just accumlate. I am in the same but adjacent road and personally I already have been using computers since childhood and I have become very averse to anything with a screen really. The whole interface makes me feel the next experience is totally artificial. Also the health factor of freeing my eyes from self imposed screen tyranny. So I am totally hardware these days and totally loving it. I will always have my software dongles and copies as backup so in an emergency situation my MacBook will open all the gear required as a ready to go setup. But in terms of my day to day routine keeping my ears and fingers active is way more rewarding than glueing my eyes to some kinda screen ‘telling’ me what to do and not having a knob to twist. This whole ‘look at all this snazzy information on your screen’ logic of information display design bores me to death now, because a large part of all that estate is spent on entertaining oursense of novelty and not really engaging us in a workflow. Also presently there is no dearth of information and big data and AI are already here , so it is just not about presenting information anymore on gui widgets designed in Photoshop to be eye catching, those designs on today’s dashboards will be relegated to poor form, because encapsulation is what the future holds. Paradoxically that is exactly what older hardware or better designed hardwares do. They encapsulate the engineers design and separate that from the workflow and not let things that are irrelevant to the end user to interfere with his workflow. Seems we are going back full circle again. AI has this quality to act as a black box, so you never really can be sure how it arrived to a conclusion based on a weighted system of axons. This in essence is the pinnacle of encapsulation. The implementation does not interfere with the execution. I am sticking with hardware since I can see personally where we are going with this. Screens look attractive initially(or used to) but after a while it sucks your brain power out. Ever wonder why manufactured digital gear never satisfy us but analog ones do? For instance our eye resolution is way higher than ANY screen till date and that is experience we have had for most of our lives, and hence we are always chasing the next experience, becos it pales in comparison with real life. Same with our ears but in a rather different fashion, our sophisticated human brain cannot be yet understood in the way we design algorithms. But vibration itself is pure and our ears can appreciate a well put together set of vibrations. Early composers were satisfied with their sounds becos they were 100 percent natural. Not so via algorithms which are a very crude approximation of our ears and human construction. Same with TV and computer screens, poor representation of our innate capacity as humans. That coupled with our animal instincts is what is driving the market both for innovation and capitalism. When we reach a saturation point, it might seem futile to try to distinguish one from the other but by then our understanding of ourselves will also increase. What happens after that is anybody’s guess. I suppose that living in that kind of undifferentiated world is pointless beyond entertainment value. Humans should either kill themselves or relegate back to their old world charms to survive as a species.

A piano does not need to tell you the frequency response of the chord you are playing or provide N number of the mostly frivolous variations you can play with the sound becos it tells you to do what you as a player are meant to, that is create, compose and play. Not twiddle. That is the domain of technicians and manufacturing if that is what one wants to get into. Once a sound is perfected it’s best to start creating, even if the sound is not perfect it can be replaced later. In early days composers used to spend their entire lives studying the nuances of each and every instrument. Now most of us are waiting for the next Synth plugin or mastering FX without ever making a decent use of what is already there. Getting suckered into capitalist schemes of making us part with our money is not a good thing in the end. Innovation is fine, capitalism is not.

I dunno but hardware seems more real to me, especially after spending years in a software industry where I was looking at code and other artifacts of the virtual domain most days for 6 years. Phew!

Continued and conscious ear use and prolonged eye health and streamlined workflow focus, and travel mobility are my top 4 reasons for using hardware. I have a final personal reason I don’t keep hoarding stuff apart from the essentials, but rather buy or sell after use or rent it if possible so that in the event my house or my gear gets destroyed or stolen I don’t lose a huge part of my investment in the process. I can always get a replacement item if that supposedly spent cash is sitting safely in the bankz(generating interest!) and the item loss never even hits me, while I continue to play with the new gear itself or use it in my projects or just sample it and make patches and send it back. All my projects are backed up both on physical media and on the cloud and streamlining definitely helps when it comes to making backups. I never had a bad experience (I did erase one of my external drives twice some years back I am more careful now) as such but I have learnt from others experiences. Lastly since I travel and move a lot, the gear getting stolen factor is quite high in some areas and hence that is taken into account. In fact I have a very virgin MacBook setup with just Renoise and other plugins installed, basically if music software were removed it would be as good as a factory default. I don’t store project repositories on the Mac drive or just for the most recent ones only and always have other places to continue my work. This kind of gear detachment or independence sets my mind free to catch up on any project from anywhere on any computer and not worry about any one item calling the shots. In this matter I call the shots. This kind of segregation and discipline has greatly helped me stay organised and productive during my long travels and kept my mind free from work related worries too. If I lose my MacBook, big deal I will just get a new one immediately. Being flexible helps. I have some items insured as well if that helps. It’s all molecules end of the day… Life is too short to focus on minutae that slows one down…better to keep focus on the bigger picture.

I like to ramble but I have to get to work now…catch up later;)

Btw I suppose Junkie XL’s studio will give you the creeps about patch bays and cables and wall mounts etc… (Lol) Notice that he uses hardware rather extensively.

You can achieve decent sounding stuff with cabinet and few workarounds and plumbing…

Not realistic by any means… or warm or any close to the real deal. But interesting, yes.

So if you mean to make guitar-centric music : buy a third party effect. I’ve tried a few : here’s my two cents.

Guitar Rig : lots and lots of stuff… but very few great sounding stuff. It takes a lot of work to figure out the right combination… it’s not plug n’good sound. Most distortions are useless. Only a couple of amps are good. Don’t buy it standalone… as part of the Komplete suite : it’s OK.

Bias FX/Amp : it’s… ok for the price… I guess. Even if the business model is convoluted as hell (good luck finding out what’s inside each version/package). I’ve been extremely underwhelmed by the overall quality : It’s OK, but not the astounding real-deal-killer youtube sensations make you believe it is. Still better than guitar rig.

Softube amps : It’s expensive, you get 3 combo amps in the vintage suite, and 1 head+ 2 cabs in the metal suite… but it’s just perfect. This is the closest you can get to the sound and feel of a real amp, period. Even more : you can feed any free crappy amp sim through its cabinet, it’ll sound great. I you want realism : go for it.

I use Renoise under KXStudio, so I don’t have any experiences with the VSTs mentioned above. I’m curious how Guitarix compares to e.g. Guitar Rig, etc. ??

Personally I use a Palmer MK II Amp and I prefer its tone over everything I get out of Guitarix.

Simple answer Guitarix is bad. It’s “early 2000s Zoom multieffects” bad.

But… ya know. If you wanna rehearse or enjoy tweaking a lot, you can get usable sound.

Does anyone use a Black star Fly 3? What about the headphone amp products like Neewer NW GA 4 Metal, or Vox AC 30 Mini or similar? Also there seems to be lot of cheaper pedals that for some reason are getting relatively positive reviews like the brand Nux, which could be more suited to experimental or electronic than higher quality metal recordings… I copped off the Neewer metal amp for just 8 dollars from a local buyer and for its price works with both bass and electric:) Tone is not best for clean acoustic but crunch drive or overdrives are rather workable. Mostly for late night practice or headphone based recording sessions and portability reasons, since there is an aux input too which helps for jams. Blackstar fly sounds very good though and is really light to carry on one hand and runs on 6 batteries and can be linked to another unit for 6w output. Little short of FX but a dedicated delay FX is there which simulates both reverb and echo when dialled in suitably…

Hey guys,

I’ve tried a few of those simulators (their demo versions) the past couple of weeks and decided against using amps. In fact, I got myself a 4-track cassette recorder and am just gonna use the crappy, noisy direct sound from the guitar (perhaps play around with different gain and eq to get a distorted sound). I kinda like that and it reminds me of John Frusciantes early 4-track albums. It’s very limited.

And that’s probably what I like about hardware compared to software: It has constraints. If I look at Renoise in conjunction with Reaper, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by how much I could do. With a 4-track, fx-wise, trackwise etc., you’re completely limited and that can really drive creativity (the cliché turns out to be true for me).

Another option I just discovered :