Some ideas for realistic guitar-amp sound with VG-88:
The pre-configuration of most amp-models is really a bad joke by Rolands technicians. When you change amp-models, they all have initially too much of bass, mids and presence. VEditor is a real salvation to counteract here... Anyway, for rock-music, you need treble=60-70, mids 0-10, bass=25-35 and a little presence. Keep the gain low for the start, apply some trebble-cut in the Vox-models - yes with a high trebble-setting!
Now check out the tonal spectrum: turn down the tone knob, using the neck pickup. Is this OK as the "darkest tone" in your arsenal? Turn up the tone knob, using the bridge pickup. Is this cutting through, but not too raspy and harsh? Then itīs all OK.
Now you can navigate between your darkest and brightest tone with the pickup selector and knobs. Sounds oldfashioned, but it works!
BTW: it is good to use an external volume-pedal for the COSM-pickup tone. You can immediately make your sound brighter or darker, depending on the situation and room, where you play.
Like with real amps, the choice of pickup-type is essential. COSM pickup-tone is set to zero as default in presets. Depending on your guitar it is probably better to reduce it. I found that neck-pickups sound usually better with setting= -20. Itīs not the same if you try to reduce treble in the amp-sim-menue!
Tricks with compression and gate:
Compression of audio means that the lowest level of audiable sound is increased, the difference to the maximum level of signal is decreased. If only the peaks are cut down, we have to talk about "limiter" not "compressor". Hearing a tube-based stereo system, people often get surpised, in a recording of orchestral-music, youīll hear someone caughing, chairs jarring, things unrevealed before. You believe that you are close to the musicians. Crescendos do not really annoy, they are not "too loud" everything is nice, after a while it is too nice... some snobs love it for a lifetime... Thatīs why we hear more details with tube-amps than with liner-working transistor amps.
Linearly working amps will not push up too much the silent parts. Listenig to dynamic music, sometimes it will sound wild and really loud. Sometimes unpleasent, but true. Linear amplification is for realistic reproduction, thatīs why most studio-monitoring systems sound pretty unspectacular. It is almost unusable for creativ production of sound. For creative work, better said: performing notes or musical ideas, notes have to be (in most cases) articulated in a way that the audience can hear them.
You need some compression and usually a noise gate for electric guitar. The gate determines where the unwanted noise has to be hidden, and where the played notes/effects start to be heard. Even notes played/sung gently have to be heard by the audience, therefore their amplitude is usually raised. Pick-scratches and harmonics are also parts of music, which would be not heard by the audience without heavy raising of the amplitude. To keep the difference to the amplitude of a heavily plucked strings low, compression must be used. Otherwise it will sound inconsistant.
Now you have to find out, where the gate stops to be closed, your "playing area" starts, and where it is at maximum, and will not get louder by any means - the limiter/compressor will stop it. In the upper area, there is of course an interesting effect of saturation which is typical for the electric-guitar sound.
I use in 90 % of patches a slight limiter after the amp-sim. When I got the 88, developed a bad habit to use often the compressor, being mostly in the studio, later found that the limiter is much better for the expressiveness, especially on stage.
Favorite setting: limiter level=25 treshold=65. This will minimally pump up the volume of silent parts and cut down the peaks, the latter is sounding like amp-saturation in most cases. Therefore it is also good to set the amp-master to a higher level, I prefer 80.
Why does my effect-chain look like this?
In most cases it is better to reduce noise before it reaches the amp-simulation, otherwise the noise will be amplified within - all the time.
Compressor or limiter after the amp? Well, this is mainly for recording purposes. For live music not really necessery.
EQ after the speaker-simulation is for "coloring the sound" It is also very useful to avoid frequency-conflicts with other instruments in the band or recorded tracks.
Delayed chorus is better than "chorused delay", isnīt it? Of course you can experiment with other chain-orders, only your fantasy is the limit!
I prefer a slight reverb in the last place. "Plate Reverb" gives most of flexibility to get a good reverbation - in my opinion.
Basic settings of guitar and VG-system:
The most important thing: the initial signal (either from hex-pickup or "normal pickup") has to be loud and clear enough to get a good processed tone.Check your driver settings and hear the unprocessed sound (go in tuner-mode for this) before you tweak the VG to death and canīt get a nice sound out of it.
Be sure that there is no string-rattling and fret-buzz or other mechanical problems with your guitar. Bad tone can be only WORSE after processing.
to be continued...