Oh my tubeness! Amp in Reason 8 sounds amazing!

amp-softube

When Propellerhead announced Amp in Reason 8, manufactured by Softube, I was afraid that they would use the same models as those included with Ableton Live. These models are the worst sounding guitar amps in my opinion. When I was invited to beta test the new Amp as well as the Bass Amp, a few months ago, my doubt was confirmed: these models sounded nothing like a guitar amp with tubes. And I wasn’t alone in this, many other beta testers complained about it too. But thankfully our criticism was taken seriously and the Amp got better and better with every new beta release. The final version of Amp, which was released this week with Reason 8 (free for Reason 8 users) is an amazing sounding and very flexible Amp with many amp and speaker models which should suit any musical style.

My bloody expensive guitar rig

I own a couple of amps, Vox, Marshall and this mind blowing Koch KV-50 (hand build in the Netherlands!):

koch

As you can see I have a Palmer Speaker Simulator PDI-03 in my rack. This works like a power soak and has a superb sounding filter. I have used this rig on many recordings and live gigs.

To make a long story short: I think the Amp can compete with this old time favourite of mine! Amp is very dynamic and has the warmth you would expect from a great sounding guitar amp. But Amp is more flexible than any other amp I have ever used.

Often I use a guitar with humbucker-pickups (Seth E. Lover neck-pickup and Gibson Classic as bridge-pickup) which often creates a nasal and dull sound when using the neck-pickup (because of the low frequencies) with an overdriven setting on an amp. Not so with the Amp which makes it easy to balance the lows and mids in such a way I don’t end up with that nasal and dull sound. An early beta version of the Amp had serious issues when using neck-humbuckers, a showstopper for sure, but thankfully these issues got solved in such a beautiful way!

Listening test

Here are 2 examples using both Amp as well as my rig with the Koch and Palmer Speaker simulator. The amps are not 100% similar but can you tell which one is the true tube amp?

Update: in january 2015 I have released the Boutique Amp ReFill containing 57 patches which are build on the Softube Amp Rack Extension. It’s available for $15 in the shop.

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14 Responses to Oh my tubeness! Amp in Reason 8 sounds amazing!

  1. Hrvoje October 2, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

    Hey,

    Thanks for this little article. About the demo of the amp. I’m not a guitar player or know anything about amps, cabinets, stomp boxes… but I prefer the sound of Amp no. 2.

    Excellent blog too. 🙂

  2. Vic October 3, 2014 at 12:19 am #

    #2 sounds better.

  3. Marco Raaphorst October 3, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    Track 2 is Amp. 100% digital and for me the winner as well.

  4. Vic October 3, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

    Fantastic! Will you posting more samples? Bass tones? Thanks.

    • Marco Raaphorst October 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

      Maybe. I play bass as well but I’m more focused on guitar. I should say I totally dig Bass Amp as well, very diverse sounding and dynamic!

  5. Tryggvasson July 19, 2015 at 6:01 am #

    Agree, Amp2 sounds better, but the mike choice and positioning might also play a role in the difference.

    • Marco Raaphorst July 19, 2015 at 10:56 am #

      Yes it does indeed. It’s hard to compare. But I do feel though that that whole “tube realism” is not instantly recognisable. It all comes down to compression, eq and saturation. And this can be done just beautifully with digital processing. With the additional flexibility digital processing offers. Or in short: the future looks brighter than the past 🙂

  6. Bob Castelline September 25, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    Hey Mark, wondering if you ever use Reason to play guitar for live gigs.

    I’m in a church situation where I can’t really use live amps. They’re just too overwhelmingly loud, and I don’t really have an amp room. So I use a Line 6 Pod HD500, which I’m only marginally happy with. However, I also play keys, and I use Reason 8 via MainStage 3. Reading this post, it seems like I could perhaps use Reason to play live guitar, as well, but I was hoping somebody like you could offer suggestions.

    If you do use it live, how do you control it mid-song? Maybe a MIDI footboard of some kind?

    Thanks for any help you can send my way.

    Bob

    • Marco Raaphorst September 25, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

      Hi Bob,

      I have done some live looping a few times, using Ableton Live. Check for example http://melodiefabriek.com/blog/live-looping/

      At the moment I am working on songs for a new live project/band. I will play guitar using my laptop. Haven’t yet decided what to use, Reason or Ableton so I am switching back and forth between them at the moment (we’re currently rehearsing). Or maybe I will use an iPad because it’s so super compact. A foot controller might be a good addition, something like Keith MCmillen 12 Step or the Yamaha MFC10 Foot Controller.

      About your config: keep in mind that when using MainStage and Reason you can’t use Reason for live input, like a guitar. This is a Reason ReWire limitation (Reason can only be slaved).

      • Edifice November 19, 2015 at 12:35 am #

        If you have Reason and a MIC running to your computer via an Audio Interface, just create a MIX channel and you could then drop the Softube AMP as an INSERT FX to that fader. Then create a Parallel channel and use that to apply your EQ/Compression (HPF, etc) so you can mute/unmute the channel and hear your effects.

        I mean, we’re not recording anything and instead you are using Reason to add color to your signal and for processing purposes. I’d say your biggest concern would be the MIC (Position, Quality, etc), any necessary room treatment, having a solid signal chain (Gold plated Mogami cables, etc) to keep your signal as clean as possible so you aren’t facing EQ limitations (or other processing issues – To give you an example: What if you wanted to boost EQ but had annoying signal/noise being processed into Reason? Then you’d shoot yourself in the foot and would boost that irritating noise rather than adding color and making it sound better)

        Just a few things to consider.

        Edifice@painkill.net

        Edifice

        • Edifice November 19, 2015 at 12:38 am #

          I want to add to that I’ve never used Mainstage….. but I know in most software you can determine input/output on the Master and I’ve wired things this way into Reason (Such as Apollo Twino DUO UAD interface and the software it comes with)

          • Marco Raaphorst November 19, 2015 at 9:38 am #

            Yes with UAD you can apply effects which are being processed on the soundcard’s DSP instead of Reason. Latency may be a little bit better but in general you would get ok latency values using Reason while being able to use interesting Reason-rack combinations.

            • Edifice November 19, 2015 at 10:46 am #

              With UAD + reason I’d use it more as a final processor to add color, warmth, etc to my instruments in reason (run instruments or samples back through Apollo twin) and use the Apollo mainly to pre-process vocals (preamp, minor or very little compression / gain reduction, etc before running that signal through to reason for final editing (parallel processing, citing EQ, limiter, and so forth)

              • Marco Raaphorst November 19, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

                I can imagine that works nicely. UAD has a good name for delivering high class equipment and software.

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