UPDATE, Friday Sept. 23: The contest is now closed! Read the results here. But although the prizes have been claimed, but you can still challenge you ear for fun here!
Ready for some fun, kids? [Evil clown laugh.]
Join the Amps vs. Models Contest! The winner gets a fabulous prize: Any three Seymour Duncan stompboxes. The runner-up gets to pick any two, and third-place gets one.
Just apply your ear to this simple test. I’ve recorded four boneheaded guitar phrases. Each appears twice, once through a real amp, and once through a software model of the same amp. The trick is, I’m not telling you which clips features an amp, and which ones don’t.
Here are the eight clips:1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
And here are the answers in no particular order:
A. 1965 Vox AC-30 [amp]
B. Vox AC-30 [model]
C. 1959 Fender Bassman [amp]
D. Fender Bassman [model]
E. 1970 Marshall 50-watt [amp with 1970s 4×12 Marshall cab, Celestion 25-watt speakers]
F. Marshall 50-watt [model]
G. Diezel VH4 [amp with 4×12 Diezel cab]
H. Diezel VH4 [model]
Just jot down your answers, like this:
…and so on. Then email them to me. The first three participants to get all eight answers correct are the winners. If no one scores 100% by Halloween, the prizes go the the three highest scorers. If there’s a tie, well, I’ll think of something.
Fine print: There ain’t no fine print!
But I will mention that the analog amps are all-original vintage classics, except for the Diezel, which is new. The demo guitars are a ’63 Strat and an ’81 Les Paul. The mic is a Royer R-121. And all the modeled sound were created using various plug-ins in Apple’s Logic Pro.
I recorded the guitar parts into Logic, pumped them through the analog amps using a ReAmp, and then re-recorded them via an tube Avalon preamp and Apogee I/O, but no additional EQ, compression, or any other processing. Next, I tried to match the recording with the software. The matches aren’t perfect—anyone with decent ears will hear that the file pairs aren’t identical. But can you tell which is which? (For the record, I probably won’t get a perfect score myself if I try taking the test in a few days.) More important, which ones do you prefer?
These audio files on the page are mp3s. If you feel that hi-res files will help you decide, you can download them all in 96kHz/24-bit format here.
May the best ears win!
P.S.: I promise not to publicly humiliate any losers. (Though I reserve the right to send a taunting email or two.)