Saturday, December 16, 2017

Best Free Guitar Amp Sims 2017 3/3: Nick Crow (with video sample)

CLICK HERE FOR PART 1/3: Ignite Amps


Hello and welcome to this week's article!
In this third and last part we are talking about Nick Crow Labs plugins!
The name Nick Crow refers to a guy called Nikolay Voronin, but unfortunately it is not easy to find informations about this producer, all we know is that he has created some exceptional tube guitar amp simulators, freeware, and both in 32 and 64 bit format.

In this comparison we are using the same criteria as in the Ignite one

in all the samples we have used all Ignite Plugins (except obviously for the amp sim): TSB1 - Tyrant Screamer, the Power Amp Simulator TPA-1 (yes usually all amp simulators have also a power amp section modeler but this one really adds a lot of weight to the sound, I suggest you all to add it to your chain), and the NadIr impulse loader as a speaker simulator.

Basically the Ignite chain is the same one used also for the comparisons of the other producers, the only thing that I have swapped is the amp simulator, all the rest is identical, and the general rules I have used in recording these samples have been:

- no post production of any kind: no eq, no comp, only a limiter in the master bus.
- all the amp simulators have been left as flat as possible (often I have left them totally untouched, and all in the overdrive channel), I have made just some small adjustment in the controls to even out the volume and let it sit a little better in the mix.

On a last note I would like to add that I did not compare the Tube Driver, which is another plugin from the same producer, because it's a tube preamp, but not specifically made for guitar, therefore it sounds too different and with not enough gain.

After listening to this comparison my key takeaways are the following:

: A simulation of the lead channel of a Peavey 5150 III. It is incredibly chuggy (in a good way), it replicates well a 5150 crancked to the max and sits very well in the mix, I can't praise enough this plugin.

8505: A simulation of the Peavey 6505, a little less extreme and slighly darker sounding of the 7170 but still very similar (after all it's the same difference between the first model and the following 2 ones, also in the hardware version). Unlike its lower numbered sister, this one lets us also achieve (with some tweaking) a clean sound.

Wagner Sharp: This simulator is an emulation of the Sharp channel from a Bogner Triple Giant amplifier, but it actually sounds extremely close to the 7170 (only a little cleaner and with a more controlled gain). It is chuggy, and it's the last descendent of the first Wagner, the first guitar amp simulator that I have used, and that made me fall in love with this type of plugins.

In conclusion of this 3 parts article, what are my favourite plugins?
My criteria is how useful can one plugin be in a mix, so I'm evaluating these criteria:

- how well it sits in a mix
- how controllable is the gain (which means how clean/intellegible or dirty/confused) it sounds
- how much time do I have to spend tweaking to make it sound well in the mix (the less, the better)
- is it aggressive enough to be in a modern metal production?

And these are the three vst amp simulators I think everyone should have in their Daw at all times:

- Nick Crow 7170
- LePou Lecto
- Ignite Anvil

Let us know what do you think!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 1/3: Ignite Amps


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