G-Spot (which stands for Guitar-Spot, as opposed to the upcoming B-Spot for bass) is Ken’s crowning achievement in amp modeling, and represents the culmination of everything that AcmeBarGig has done to date. It is a software suite rivaling products by some of the big software makers, with a particular emphasis on flexibility, versatility, and of course (it wouldn’t be AcmeBarGig otherwise) originality. What you see there constitutes the main “window” of the software, but there is SO much that this plugin can do, it’s really hard to believe it’ll be free. I’ve been playing around with it for the last couple of days and I just keep finding more cool stuff. Included in G-Spot are the most recent versions of the technology that’s made ABG’s name so far, all available in one comprehensive suite, with improvements to everything along the way and new ideas implemented as well. Here’s some of the features:
- Built-In Redshift Pickup Replacer with an upgraded engine: Based on original technology developed by Ken, this allows you to alter your pickup sound to a variety of pickups. It works exactly as it says, and there isn’t any headache involved in using it – it handles the replacement part without any need for you to measure your guitar’s pickups or take readings or anything. You just enable it, select the pickup you want, and it goes from there. I am currently using this feature to record a high-gain, brutal thrash metal drum jam clip with my Fender Strat with single-coils, and it is phenomenal how authentic the aggression and power is with Redshift turning my pickups into some of the meatier humbuckers available. It also works in the other direction, making my humbucker-equipped guitars sound twangier and finer. I really don’t know how in the heck he does it, it just works. And of course it can be turned on and off, because we all have our guitars with their pickups for a reason and you don’t always want a different sound. But when you do, man, it doesn’t get any easier than this.
- Built-in Drive Amp multi-preamp and Treble Booster: Coming before the amps, these two tools allow you to tailor the input for a variety of different tones. Drive Amp has a number of different colors which all have their own tonal impact, and the differences are not subtle – it’s a lot like having a number of different overdrive and distortion pedals with full drive, level, EQ, and clean/dirty mix controls. Treble Booster does exactly what it says, but allows you to adjust the frequencies affected and the level so that you can dial your pedal sound in exactly. These two modules open up a whole range of different sounds from the amp you’ve configured. Which brings me to the next big feature…
- Total freedom to make your own virtual amplifiers: While many commercial software suites offer various levels of tweaking to their amps or mix-and-matching of components, G-Spot goes deeper to allow you to adjust everything about your amp’s clean and dirty channels. Internally it incorporates a wide variety of different tube types, which it switches between seamlessly as you adjust the tube settings Max Gain and Bias. On the Clean channel, you have in addition to those three “Character” settings which allow you to further tweak the sound. On the Drive channel channel, there are four tubes to adjust. In addition you can change which frequencies your tone knobs control, and whether the tone stack comes before or after the preamp. Finally you have a visually intuitive band-pass filter made out of sliding minimum and maximum frequencies for the input and output of the clean and dirty channels, which has a great deal of influence on the overall sound. For example, high gain sounds especially benefit from being rather band limited on input, with a sharp cutoff in the midrange – no real bass necessary on the front end, as bass is amplified and distorted much more intensely than other frequencies because of the energy in the waveform, so the low frequency adjustments that happen later in the signal chain “bring in” the bottom end quite profoundly. And did I mention there are a range of visual options for the amps’ components (the various knobs, faceplate, skin), all of which you can change and save as .HED files which can then be shared with others? This is AcmeBarGig’s amp making tool in your hands. It’s deep and very powerful.
- A built-in IR loader that operates on whole folders at a time: Point it to an IR in a folder, and it will load the entire folder for you to select from either sequentially or in a list. Previously the only software with this sort of functionality was Voxengo Boogex, whose amp sounds are, in my opinion, unfortunately not nearly as fresh as they were when it was released. There are also a number of built-in cabinet IRs made by Alu of the GuitarAmpModeling.com forums, so if you don’t have a big library of cabs you can still have access to a range of sounds.
- Room Modeling using new technology from ABG: This one I can’t get Ken to say very much about, but it works extremely well. There are many room shapes available and each room has three categories of options which can be adjusted: Room Size, Flooring (with options from Shag Carpet and Hardwood to Lenolium and Dirt) and Wall Coverings (again with more options from Aluminum Siding and Wood Panel to Brick and Glass). Placing the cabinet in the room involves two sliders, at the moment, though the final version might feature a more advanced GUI. Right now there’s a slider from “Near” to “Far” which is basically a slider between just the cabinet sound and just the room sound at each extreme, allowing you to dial in the right amount of the room to suit you, and another slider which adjusts the cabinet position in the room from Left to Right. Plenty of tricks have been used in the past in modeling suites to put a modeling amp’s cab sound in “real space,” but this is the most adjustable to taste and perhaps even the most effective method that I’ve used so far.
- Built-in Multieffects: While these days having effects in your modeling software is pretty much standard, G-Spot includes a number of them that are pretty fascinating. There are standard things like delay and reverb, but two of the effects actually allow you to draw in your own waveform and use that to control the effect. One is Paiz Chorus, which allows for quite a number of modulation sounds as a result, and the other is The Wonder Girdle (I’ll let Ken explain the name behind that one), a filter which can do, well, damn near anything. Both of them, apart from letting you draw in your own waveform, can also save those waveforms as wavetables in the synth-ubiquitous .tbl format (and that means you can also load any wavetables you find around).
- A Noise Gate! (okay, maybe after all that other stuff it’s not so impressive, but it’s still handy.)
Ken’s got a G-Spot Tutorial up for anyone curious about the upcoming software, and I am currently working on figuring out how to record a video that will show how to work with it a bit and examine some of its very impressive features. One thing I can say right now, having used this pre-beta version for a few days: this is a new idea in amp modeling. Not just in freeware amp modeling, but in amp modeling in general. Where Ken goes with it, I don’t know, but it is an extremely impressive and capable piece of software that gives you more freedom to make your own signature sound at the very deepest levels of editing than anything I’ve used in the past. And it’s free.
Clips incoming during daylight hours.