To add to Corky’s info, which is spot-on as always… I’m a guitarist who got into electronic wind instruments and VSTi sax many years ago, using a laptop and samples. That eventually led me to go all digital on guitar too. I use S-gear a lot, but you might want to look at TH-U from Overloud… it’s the most realistic feeling sim I’ve tried. You can also mix and match… on some patches I use EFX and pedals from THU going into S gear, or whatever. I also got into Midi Guitar (from Jam Origin) recently. It woudl be far too comlicated to even think about all this onstage without Cantabile. The creative options are incredible. I’ll never go back to lugging an amp. That said, there’s nothing like playing my amazing 1960 Guild 11w amp in the crunch zone. Then again, that amp only gives me 2 tones… beautiful breakup and screaming tube goodness. And I can come pretty darn close to that plus many more tones in my C3 rig.
I use an FCB 1010 pedalboard, and while I have programmed it so there’s one footswitch with bright orange tape for “Next Song State”, I also have previous state, next song, previous song, expression pedals for wah, volume, All Notes Off, or whatever you want.
There are two things I’ve found that often help to get better tone from amp sims: put a clean boost pedal like a Lehle Sunday Driver or a Fulltone Full Drive 2 just before you interface. You can also try Softube Saturation Knob plugin (free) in C3, routed right after guitar but before the sim or efx… and sometimes I like Nick Crowes Tube Driver. The idea is to drive it just a little and get a more “tube-like” tone.
And the second is post-sim EQ. Adding a touch of low end sometimes gives that “punch in the gut” feel from an amp, or allows you to carve out your tone even better, and with a good EQ you can get it perfect without any mud.
You’ve probably already read about or used an FRFR monitor, but if not, if you’re used to your amp behind you onstage, you can get an FRFR. I used the Yamaha DXR10 when I was in a band that had old school stage monitoring, but I’m all IEMs now.
Last, at some point latency will become an obsession. Well, at least it did for me, when using my Scarlett 2i4 for many years (running around 11-14ms RTL). I just got a new rack pc and the new Presonus Quantum 2626. I haven’t measured it yet but from the moment I plugged in I could feel the difference… the latency has to be down around 6 or even less. I highly recommend it.