Scuffham Amps were brought to my attention a few months ago and I was immediately interested in checking out their Amp Modelling plugin S-Gear (S-Gear also runs as a standalone app) after reading the backstory on the company, more of that in a moment, I got in touch with the company and was added to their beta tester list for the latest release 2.4 which is available to purchase now from their website.
What makes UK based Scuffham Amps so interesting to me is that it was set up by Mike Scuffham who designed the legendary JMP-1 MIDI Preamp whilst working for Marshall Amplification in the 90’s before moving on to work for Akai and a Finnish video processing company and eventually founding his own software company.
S-Gear is a collection of amps, speaker cabinets, mics and effects available for Windows PC or MAC. What I really like about S-Gear is the simplicity of the interface, features and the ease of use. Some amp Modelling apps have all the bells and whistles whereas S-Gear 2.4 has just 5 amps and 3 rack effects but combined with the excellent ProConvolver MKII cabinet emulator it is possible to create a huge array of fantastic guitar tones.
Let me first explain what ProConvolver MKII is. ProConvolver uses Impulse Modelling to capture detailed frequency responses of speaker cabinets. There is even a second convolver channel so that you can pan the two channels in stereo. Scuffham have teamed up with one of the leading companies in Impulse Responses, Redwirez who have provided a fantastic collection, including 1×12″, 2×12″, 4×10″ and 4×12″ cabs, ribbon and dynamic mic options and a range of mic placements. When I was taking about simplicity of the UI this follows through to the cabinet selection and mic placements,
Scuffham Amps worked with Redwirez and made specific choices of speaker and mic combinations that they wanted to include in S-GEAR. New in version 2.4 are Scuffham cabinets that have been measured in-house, these include a different mic placement UI allowing you to graphically place the mic in relation to the speaker.
The effects rack has 3 available modules that you can add in, Mod Thing, Room Thing and Delay Thing. Mod Thing is obviously a modulation effect that covers Flange and Chorus effects as well as Vibrato and Leslie style effects and you can add multiple versions of Mod Thing to stack Modulation effects. Room Thing is a Reverb unit and includes all sorts of natural and spring reverb effects. Delay Thing is, well a Delay effect but it has 2 modes, Tube and Analogue, mono or stereo modes and Triangle or Sine wave forms to choose to modulate the delay trails with.
Now onto the main reason most people will buy or at least try this software, the amps. There are, as I said before, 5 to choose from. I have recorded demonstrations of 4 of the amps below, the one I have left out is called the Jackal and is a high gain amp. The Jackal is loosely based on a Soldano but as with all of the amps you can configure them to cover a lot of ground, especially with the cabinet combinations on offer. I just didn’t bond as well with the Jackal amp as I did with the other models, I felt the other models were exceptionally good, especially for Blues and Rock so I wanted to concentrate my efforts on those models. For the following demos I picked a few Jamtrackcentral.com backing tracks that covered different styles and solo’d over the top using S-Gear 2.
The Duke Amp model demo
The Stealer Amp model demo
The Stealer Amp model demo 2
Custom ’57 Amp model demo
Wayfarer Amp model demo
Scuffham Amps S-Gear 2.4 is available to purchase and download via the company website, but you can try before you buy with a fully featured 15 day demo. Give it a go, I guarantee if you like low to medium gain amps you will be impressed. If you are a Metal only kind of guitarist then I would say you would be better purchasing TSE Audio X50 V2, which, while it only has a single amp model it is the ultimate High gain amp plugin for me. If you want a full selection you can buy Scuffham S-Gear 2 and TSE Audio X50 V2 for a total of $165 and have a complete recording toolkit!