Developed in collaboration with AIDA DSP, MOD Audio has announced the release of three new plugins for their range of amp modelling devices. and utilising AI technology, Vibro, JCVM and Tweaker promise to redefine amp modelling and provide users with a range of advanced tone-shaping possibilities with significantly enhanced sound quality by processing audio data with advanced machine learning techniques. Nick Jennison Tells us more.
In a recent edition of Guitar Interactive Magazine, I had the pleasure of looking at the MOD Dwarf from MOD Audio. It's a very clever take on the "do it all" signal processor - it's tempting to use the term "modeller", but that's not really what it is. The MOD Dwarf hosts plugins and links them together in chains referred to as "pedalboards". It's an elegant and well-realised ecosystem, but there was one very noticeable "weak link" in the chain - the amp tones.
Now, for all but the most avant-garde guitar players, a great amp tone is make-or-break. You can have the most powerful, best thought-out processor, but if the amp tones aren't great, forget about it. This is where the new Aida Audio JCVM, Tweaker, and Vibro plugins come in. Available for a nominal fee in the MOD Audio plugin store, these amp modelling plugins take advantage of the latest machine learning technology for maximum authenticity of tone and feel.
The highest gain of the bunch, the JCVM is essentially every flavour of Marshall in one plugin. It runs the gamut from mid-forward British cleans (that aren't very clean, but that's Marshalls for you!) through to Plexi-ish "Crunch" mode, 800 grind in the "Rock" mode, and more modern over-the-top gain in the form of the mid-pushed "Lead" mode and the more aggressive and scooped "Metal" mode. Each of these modes offers not only a different level of gain, but an entirely different voicing and EQ signature, which can be further tweaked with the 3-band EQ and presence controls.
Speaking of tweaking, the "Tweaker" is basically an Egnater Tweaker re-imagined in a plugin. These surprisingly intuitive little amps are known for covering the entire spectrum of classic guitar tones, and you'll find all of these tones in this plugin too. The "AC" and "USA" modes handle cleans through to breakup tones, with a distinctly "Voxy" and "Fendery" flavour depending on which mode you've chosen, while the "Brit" mode is much higher gain with a very smooth high end and a chewy, lively midrange that's perfect for blues and rock soloing.
The cleanest of the bunch, the Vibro is Aida Audio's take on a Fender Vibrolux. The three modes represent the two channels (Normal and Bright), as well as an option to bridge both channels for a little more hair and compression. Both "Norm" and "Bright" modes offer a beautiful vintage chime and punch, with an added dose of sparkle from the "Bright" mode, and both modes start to break up nicely when you push them. Even more so, the "Bridge" mode has a healthy dose of Keef-esque bite and SRV-ish clean-but-dirty sustain.
Because there's so much going on under the hood, these plugins are quite CPU-hungry, with loads up as high as 75% with just one amp plugin and a cab sim, and to ameliorate this, each plugin comes with "light" modes. There are several settings on each, allowing you to determine how much CPU power you want to dedicate to the amp sim. There is a tradeoff in tone, but in a mix, you're unlikely to spot the difference. That said, it's nice to have the option to run these plugins at their highest resolutions for recording or for "amp only" applications.
The JCVM, Tweaker & Vibro by Aida Audio have addressed the biggest weakness of the MOD Dwarf in a big way. They all sound fantastic, and feel super realistic. They also hint at exciting things to come for the MOD Audio ecosystem. Definitely one to watch!
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