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More than just an amp:
While the tube amp simulators take up the majority of the visual real estate, there are also a number of other noteworthy features included. First on the list is the guitar tuner. While there are plenty of freeware tuners available on the Internet, it's a nice touch to have one included here. It ends up being one less thing to worry about when laying down tracks.
Below the 'amp' is an audio control panel that gives you quick access to input and output gain settings as well as noise gate controls and a mini tuner window. The layout is very useful for setting levels. Near the top of the interface you'll find a preset loader window (fully stocked will custom 'Jimi' configurations) and a combination signal flow chart / module selector. As with the rest of the interface, this setup takes about 2 seconds to get the hang of and quickly becomes second nature. Rounding out the front panel is a master panel along the top that contains a 'SpeedTrainer' practice module and a metronome. These come in handy when using AmpliTube Hendrix as a standalone application.
That's right. AmpliTube Jimi Hendrix is designed to run as a plug-in for your DAW or as a standalone software application. And it's a pretty serious standalone app. Like many guitarists out there, I have retired my trusty collection of small and large tube amps to a corner of my bedroom / office / studio and have been relying on the 'adequate' guitar amp simulators within my DAW so that I can rock out with headphones on and not disturb my daughter as she's watching Spongebob Squarepants. AmpliTube Jimi Hendrix does not disappoint. Even on headphones, this thing sounds ' and more importantly FEELS like an amp. Simply put, Rocktastic!
While this is a very deep piece of gear, the layout makes it easily accessible to the PC literate guitarist. As mentioned, the main screen shows the front panel of the selected amplifier, and the user is able to choose from 3 basic models: The familiar black Tolex and golden panel of the expected British hi gain amp, as well as classic blonde and blackface amp models based on classic American designs. Each of these models allows for the selection of a variety of EQ curves as well as output tube configurations. All of these options combine to deliver tone. And then more tone. And what is most striking is that the tone doesn't sound like some sort of process applied like frosting on a guitar shaped cake ' it actually has a 'feel' to it.
While I've been using amp simulators within Nuendo for a few years now for the convenience of being able to alter tones during the mix, I've been compromising on the actual guitar sound. Not so here. From the first time I plugged in my guitar, my monitor speakers jumped to life and seemed to become part of my tone. Guitars with lower gain humbuckers or single coils have that elusive 'rubber band across a shoebox' bounce and my trusty Les Paul Deluxe sounds like a Les Paul! All the bite of the mini Humbuckers is there when I roll up the gain. The amp breaks up just as expected. Add to this a wide array of speaker cabinets and mics (with controls for mic placement and room ambience) and you end up with full blown rehearsal rig that even sounds great over headphones! So go ahead, stay up late and play ' you won't have to worry about waking the kids.