Amplifier modeling

Amplifier modeling (also known as amp modeling or amp emulation) is the process of digitally emulating a physical amplifier such as a guitar amplifier. Amp modeling may appear as software, such as plugins for DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation) which may be aided by computer hardware accelerators, or may be part of a standalone device or amplifier. Amp modeling often seeks to recreate the sound of one or more specific models of vacuum tube amplifiers and sometimes also solid state amplifiers.

As part of a digital audio workstation, amp modeling may be applied to a guitar signal that was recorded "clean", in order to achieve the sound of an amplifier being used. This process has the advantage of being dynamic—the amplifier settings can be adjusted without forcing the musician to re-record the piece.

The Roland Micro Cube, left, a small and portable digital modeling amplifier.

Standalone modeling devices such as the Line 6 POD digitize the input signal and use a DSP, a dedicated microprocessor, to process the signal with digital computation, attempting to achieve the sound of expensive professional amplifiers in a much less costly and more compact device. These modelers can be connected directly to a recording device or PA system without having to use a power section, speaker cabinet and microphone, however, there is an ongoing debate over the question of how accurately a modeler can recreate the sound of a real amplifier.[1] Most modelers generally also include a variety of effects apart from the amp emulations and some can be connected via USB for computer based recording.

Modeling amps such as the Peavey Vypyr, Roland Cube, Fender Mustang, and Line 6's Spider series are amplifiers that include a built-in modeling device. Some high-end modeling amps such as the Vox Valvetronix and the 60/120 watt versions of the Peavey Vypyr[2] combine the digital modeling process with actual vacuum tube amplification.

Analog modeling systems also exist, such as Tech 21's SansAmp line of products.

See also


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