Guitar Amp Simulators In Keyboard? Kapaa HI
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Guitar Amp Simulators In Keyboard?
You heard right. Amp simulation software is not just for guitars. Amp simulators are generally loaded with effects, amps, and cabinets (translation: really cool distortion, EQ, and filtering), the occasional useful utility, and mucho MIDI control.
In fact, an amp simulator might be the most cost-effective package of effects you’ll find anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you play keyboards, sing, use drum machines, or for that matter, also play guitar;amp sims are one of the better-kept secrets for keyboard players. Read this article, and it won’t be a secret any more.
KEYBOARDS ♥ GUITAR AMPS
If you think you’re getting an amp simulator (or sim) just for when your guitar player comes over and wants to lay down some tracks, think again. A lot of guitarists are happy only with their particular setup; they might be able to cope if the only way you’re going to get down tracks is to use a sim — due to noise issues with your neighbors or unavailability of an amp, for example. Frankly, though, this article has less to do with using these packages exclusively with guitar, and more to do with giving you new sonic dimensions.
I double on guitar and keyboards, and my guitar side is thrilled be able to process my guitar in new ways. The part of me that loves synths gets a real kick out of putting them through the equivalent of guitar pedals and cabinets — those of you who’ve run a Minimoog through a Marshall stack know exactly what I’m talking about. Those of you who haven’t are about to discover a whole new array of sounds.
INITIAL PITFALLS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
Guitar amps are extremely complex signal processors, so emulating them requires some pretty CPU-hungry software. The faster your computer is, the happier you’ll be. Second, there’s latency. Guitarists are very critical of any latency, because they’re used to hitting strings and hearing sounds immediately. But ever since digitally-scanned keyboards (how pretty much all keyboards work these days), we keyboardists have gotten used to hearing notes a millisecond or two after we play them. Fortunately, thanks to ever-more-powerful computers, within the past few years it’s become possible to play amp sims without feeling any disconnect.
Finally, you’ll need to tweak presets. This isn’t just because you’re playing keyboard instead of guitar; even guitarists need to tweak presets, because a given preset might have been developed using a different type of guitar, with a different type of pickup, than the current user is playing. There may be compression you don’t need, put there to help guitarists achieve the sustain that keyboards do inherently. The gain may be set to drive the software with a guitar, which is a lot higher than you’ll need for a synth. So, you may have to “keyboardize” some presets.
Here are some suggested tweaks:
- Pull down the drive or gain control a bit.
- Bypass any compression in the signal path unless you really need it. Limiting at the output, however, may be useful for contro...