Corky's Guitar Amp Sim Tips and Tweaks Page 🎸

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I’ve been thinking, for several months, about a page for guitarists to share info, and ideas, similar to our Organ Page. Since there has been several new threads about guitaring, and more interest in using guitar through Cantabile, I deduced it was time to trigger this idea.

We can use this page to share everything guitar. Presets, C3 setups/racks, and novel ideas on how we use Amp Sims. I respect ideas and opinions of others, and we just might learn a few things. Just remember, we are all different, and being a guitarist myself, I know we all have our own strange ways, and are very picky about everything. A roomful of guitarists could become a brawl, or produce wonderful music…I prefer the latter. :grin:
Let’s get started…

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I will start out by describing my setup. I normally plug into a Focusrite, which is connected via USB to my laptop. I use Cantabile as my host. My output is through the Focusrite into a powered monitor. I have quite a collection of guitars, but usually gig with one of two Strats I aquired sometime ago. One Strat is a Red Mexican built, with a single coil at the neck, and a Humbucker at the bridge. The other Strat is a black Japanese built, with two single coils, and, from what I understand, is somewhat rare, as they were ony produced for one year, but is not really worth very much. I mostly use these two because they are not extremely expensive, and are road tested for durability. They stay in tune very well, and have survived dancing drunks on stage.

I own, very possibly, every amp sim vst made. Until recent months, the sims were “ok”, but now, I am impressed with Neural plugs. Amplitube 5 is a huge change. S-Gear, as old as it is, still has an impressive clean tone. I could talk all day about the many others, and their pros and cons, but will make the 1st post short, and let others talk. I plan to offer some racks and presets in the future, and I hope others will as well.



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You just wanted to use the Electric Guitar Emoji … :wink: but I’ll join in :laughing:.

I use Cantabile for processing my guitars. I have a T5 hybrid Taylor that I use the most and it is set up to cover all the common Electric guitar and Acoustic Electric guitars in one instrument so it has body mounted piezos, a single coil lipstick bridge pickup and a humbucker style pickup on the neck pickup. It covers the clean Taylor acoustic/electric sound as well as the Strat/Tele, ES 335 semi hollow body and Les Paul, all from the 5 position switch a single volume and a simple bass and treble control that can cover a TON of tones. I feed it into the baby face to C♪3 and at current use 2 basic signal chains. The first cleaner chain I send through a rack that has a Eventide Ultra Channel and Micropitch and Soundtoys Echoboy with reverb buss built into the rack the blend the Ultra-Reverb or Spring wet along with a post eq and blend it with the dry from the other chain. I also have a dreadnought with a Dimarzio insert pickup I use for DADGAD and Open E and D tuning and I feed it through this chain as well. I am pure electric guitar on the other chain and use S-Gear along with a few Eventide plugins for use here and there. At the tail end of both chains I have a DMG Tracklimit to brickwall it for when I hit it hot. FWIW I disable the built in limiter in Cantabile and use DMG Tracklimit on my final audio out for protection. I play the Taylor and a Malden Karma which is a Les Paul copy along with a vintage Ibanez GR-505 with the original Floyd Rose (pure J. Beck heaven) I play though S-Gear as well. I used S-Gear for recordings with incredibly believable results IMO but I’m sure that in a heated and competitive development market. I have to say that the reverb thing is incredibly good in S-Gear, bloody incredible. I mostly serve as a keyboardist but even though I don’t get to play guitar as much on stage these days but I truly am a big fan of guitar gear and look forward to reading other posts as they come in.

Thanks @Corky!


You are correct. I knew I would find a reason. :wink:
I agree with everything you said. I love eventide plugs on acoustic guitar, and sax. S-Gear is still viable in this “new age” of sims. I will say, I thought a setting on S-Gear was outstanding on a CS&N song I play until I found Neural. I am tempted to change it, as I have others. I will record a sample, and you can tell me what you think.

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Same guitar settings, but one is louder than the other…my fault not getting them equal.

second one is more in your face and would be great live I think, the sound stage on the first ex is great too but it is set more in the background to me.

S-Gear was the 1st one, Neural Gojira is the second. C3 outputs at unity. So had to be within the plugin. The fx works well in my 3-piece…bigger sound. Gojira is a monster.

Recently I’ve been trying out Neural Plini and Nolly and REALLY liking them. I haven’t decided whether to spring for one but I may. But my go-to for the last year has been Nembrini MRH810. It really has the sound I like. When push comes to shove though the Neural probably responds more like the real thing.

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I seem to suffer from a similar G.A.S. as @Corky - my plugin folder contains tons of guitar amp plugs, pretty much everything there is.

I’ve been playing the Neural Archetype Plini for some time, but for what I’m doing they’re just a bit too “cleanish” - even the driven stuff.

My current favorites for live are the Mercuriall plugs - between the ReAxis (Boogie), Spark (Marshall) and Euphoria (Bogner), I can get pretty much all I need for live use. They just sound a bit more “muscular” than the Plini, which is a bit “intellectual-sounding” :wink:

My gripe with the Mercuriall stuff is that their chorus isn’t really mono compatible - when you use the plugin in stereo and sum its output to mono (for monitoring), the chorus cancels out - seems they use phase trickery to widen the chorus. But I found my way to work around that for mono usage, so all good.

I’ve dabbled with the Nembrini amps for a while, but came back to the Mercuriall stuff for my bread & butter. I can get pretty much every sound I need from the Euphoria (no wonder the Bogner Ecstasy is called the “tone machine”), dialled in very quickly.

My guitar assortment is pretty varied; my current live guitars are a nice PRS SE Custom - a good workhorse for all styles - and my good old Yamaha APX Acoustic.




If you want face-melt tone Gojira might be the way to go…

Oh, another- Audio Assault RVXX. It also does an amazing job of going from clean to crunch to Slayer.

My acute G.A.S. needs an exorcist. It is amazing how much I’ve spent since Covid.

There has been a huge progress in amp modeling in the last year. No doubt the competition is wicked. I love the simplicity of Neural. The Cory Wong was just ok, until I dug deeper. The videos don’t do the plug justice. Another surprise was Blue Cat Axiom. Softube Marshall is nice too.

The 2 Fortins melted my ears too.

I’ve been using Neural’s Cory Wong and Fortin Cali for a while and they are both good imo. NI’s free Guitar Rig 6 is also nice if you want a JCM type. Way better than their v3, v4, v5 that I paid for and never used… But that said, my tube amps into a reactive load box and into high quality IRs are still a cut above imo.

I do agree most guitarists are exceptionally picky, I know I am…so to each their own, but sharing ideas is always a good thing imo.

As far as rigging, my “before amp” part is a hybrid of Cantabile hosted VSTs and hardware stomps. Still messing with it, but leaning towards dual Y switches to toggle the Cantabile piece in and out of signal path. Of course it ultimately depends on what is needed for any given setlist.

For amp FX loop, I’ve ditched my rack gear in favor of Cantabile. And for cab sim and post FX use a second laptop and second Behringer UMC202HD for stereo IRs and FX.

For “kids in school” reasons I always end up with a bunch of laptops that weren’t optional to buy and not worth much to sell, so they get repurposed for this…with a constant upgrade path for a few years yet…which is why it makes sense for me to configure this way. Otherwise I’d use a high spec laptop and a single 4 I/O Behringer.

As for the Behringers, super low latency, sound decent enough for guitar, very stable, 1 meg unbalanced inputs, are good enough even for use in live vocal processing, can be had for under $75 each…

And if I need/want to travel light, just ditch the hardware amps and put a suitable sim in that slot…and I’m good to go. One thing is for certain, as good as amp sims are now days, Cantabile opens up all new possibilities with all the routing and automation.

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I started with the following free Amp Sims in order of how much I played them.

  1. AmpliTube Custom Shop
  2. Guitar Rig Player
  3. Bias FX
  4. Blue Cat Free Amp
  5. LePou
  6. Nick Crow
  7. ReValver

There were other older 32bit ones like a SansAmp emulation that I liked. None of them really felt like a replacement for my little 5 watt fender circuit tube amp.

Then I finally relented and bought SVX for $30 from the IK Custom Shop and was pretty happy with the bass tone but also liked playing clean to crunch guitar through it. That was followed by Fender 2 (also $30) which has been my go to since I got it last year.

Everything took a big step up last month when I bought an Axe I/O Solo/AmpliTube 5 bundle. I have a Precision with an Aguilar AG 4P-60 pickup and a 80’s MiK Squier with Red-Silver-Blue Lace Sensors - both play and sound great through the Axe I/O. The amps sound great through a pair of JBL powered monitors.

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I had the chance last night to put Neural to the live test. We had a well needed rehearsal, and I gotta tell ya, I was absolutely impressed (not at my rusty guitar skills). It felt like playing thru a real amp, and my guitar responded wonderfully. It actually boosted my performance. I also used Softube Acoustic Feedback on a couple of songs…worked great!

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I pulled the trigger on the Mercuriall SS-11B recently - an interesting addition to the toolkit! Siberian technology in VST form - a GUI pretty out of the ordinary, and an extremely wide range of usable sounds, from clean to pretty heavy.

I’m a bit underwhelmed by its approach to reverb and delay - you only get them directly from impulse responses, no way to customize the parameters. With delay, this is reduces the usability quite a bit.

Not much of an issue for me, since I usually keep reverb and delay outside the amp sim - makes seamless patch switching a lot easier - change the routing and let the tails from the previous state ring out. But still, I don’t think this is fully thought through.

No integrated chorus either - just their usual range of drive stomps.

But what I like is that it’s pretty easy to dial in sounds - quick to get most of the blues & rock mainstream sounds out of it.


Check this demo:

Refreshing to have a demo that doesn’t consist of wild metal galloping and shredding :wink:



I downloaded some Mercuriall demos, but yet to try them. Thanks for the heads up on the internal fx. :wink:

I may need to sell off my real amp collection after all these newer plugs. I have Spark and Re-Axis.