Now, this might sound strange…:
Even when you’re developing a software guitar amplifier, you still have to get to know the beast yourself! Our model has gotten pretty complex and so close to the real deal that we have to play with it for longer than initially thought. Otherwise you’re tempted to stick to first-sight impressions and perhaps go on into false directions.
So we’ve done even more intensive listening tests at the beginning of January, after an ear-recalibrating Christmas break. This immediately led to some changes under the hood of VANDAL’s guitar amp:
First change was to filter out more of the low end, at least on the ‘classic’ and ‘british’ preamp models. This was done by enlarging the virtual inter-stage decoupling capacitors successively, so that the crunch & lead channels sound less muddy now.
While the cathode bypass cap values were changed too, re-adjusting the bias with each of the tube stages was also necessary. So the overall distortion timbre has changed slightly as well. I’d definitely say things improved (although we’re still testing here to find out).
With previous versions of the guitar amp, pressing the ‘lead’ switch fired up an extra tube stage on either preamp model. This is still the case. However, we now also engage a 2nd/spare set of virtual caps in the tone stack circuit: the lead channel switch performs a shift of the eq’s cutoff frequencies to different values. As a result, the tone becomes more mid-oriented and cuts through more easily, which is obviously important when you’re playing solos.
As usual with passive tone stacks, the thing still remains highly interactive and dependent on the underlying preamp model. In a nutshell: we got more variety now, you can freely switch between channels or preamps and find out what suits a particular situation best.
Furthermore, a couple of internal tweaks on the power amp were made as well. This includes changing the virtual output transformer. We now got a slightly different tone in the high-mid / treble region, which – in conjunction with a change in negative feedback (class AB mode) – leads to a slight boost around 4k and sounds a bit more ‘focussed’ on the attacks than previously.
Of course we do continue listening… 😉