PreSonus Blog

Friday Tip of the Week: A Sweeter, Beefier Ampire

A Sweeter, Beefier Ampire

Let’s transform Ampire’s Crunch American from a motor scooter into a Harley. Here’s our point of departure:

Insert the Multiband Dynamics before Ampire. The default patch is fine, but drag the High Mid and High gain and ratio settings down all the way. The goal here is to add a bit of compression to give more even distortion in the mids and lower mids but also, to get rid of high frequencies that, when distorted, create harsh harmonics.


After Ampire, insert the Pro EQ. The steep notch around 8 kHz gets rid of the whistling sound you’ll really notice in the before-and-after audio example, while the high-frequency shelf adds brightness to offset the reduced high frequencies going into Ampire. But this time, we’re increasing the “good,” post-distortion high frequencies instead of the nasty pre-distortion ones.

Those two processors alone make a big difference, but let’s face it—people don’t listen to an amp with their ear a couple inches from the speaker, but in a room. So, let’s create a room and give the sound a stereo image with the Open Air convolution reverb. I’ve loaded one of my custom, synthetic IR responses; these are my go-to impulses for pretty much everything I do involving convolution reverb, and may be available in the PreSonus shop someday.  Meanwhile, feel free to use your own favorite impulses.

Of course, you can take this concept a lot further with the Channel Editor if you want to tweak specific parameters to optimize the sound for your particular playing style, choice of pickups, pickup type, and the like…hmmm, seems like that might be a good topic for a future tip.

That’s it! Now all that’s left is to compare the before and after example below. Hopefully you’ll agree that the “after” is a lot more like a Harley than a motor scooter.





  • Marc Aquino

    Can you make it a downloadable Chain FX? cos the settings on my Open Air are different than yours and overall its not working. Im using S1 v4.1.1

  • Solo Neff

    Thank you for this technique. I used it with Amplitube and Prositive Bias Amp and the improve of the sound is great!

  • Kevin Reddoch

    I know that Ampire gets mixed reviews, but I personally like it. Does it sound like a Marshall? NOPE!, but if I want a Marshall sound I’ll use a Marshall. That being said it definitely gives us a pallet of usable tones already, and with tweaking as explained you can expand that. Its a great tool for creating new and interesting guitar tones. I never viewed it as a replacement for a real amp, but it definitely has features that a real amp doesn’t. So that is a win for me. I would actually like to see Ampire expanded upon with some more creative tools, like dual amp setups and stuff like that to help us achieve broaden the tone even more.

  • Anderton

    Again, try the techniques given for Ampire with any amp sim. For many of them, there will be an improvement.

  • Anderton

    The point is not that the notching technique makes Ampire the best amp sim in the world, but that this kind of technique can make any amp sim sound better. For example if you have access to an Eleven Rack, give it a try. Again, there’s an article reference in my reply to Andy Stecklein that goes into this technique in depth.

  • Nick Alexander Armstrong

    Sorry but Ampire still sounds like ass after this, free amp sims like Nick Crowlabs 7170 and 8505, and Poulin’s Le456 still sound way better.

  • Jeff Farkas

    I found that I get the best results by using my amp directly into Audiobox to Studio One. I get really clean nice tones that beat any sim. It’s worth looking into, IMO.

  • Max Platt

    To me the result with the Ampire was always unsatisfactory, no matter what you do. It’s digitally harsh with a lot of unnatural inter-modulations, a lot of low-mid nasty grind, noticeable even in a very noisy mix. It affects all other instruments in the mix, require their higher levels in order to get through the dirt of distortion of Ampire, and no matter what equalization you use it still makes the final tape sound unpleasant. Unless it’s a special effect I try to avoid using it while processing riff and lead guitars. There are tons of even free amp. sims nowadays which do much better job. This is not to argue or put Presonus down – this is strictly my own opinion. I just wish Presonus pays a little more attention to this particular plug-in to become more successful with it.

  • Anderton

    I tend to agree…it does a limited number of amps, but does them well.

  • Anderton

    Most amp sims I’ve tested benefit from finding the “rogue frequency” and notching it out. If you want to know more, I did an extensive article on Harmony Central about this:

  • Andy Stecklein

    Excellent tip using the multi band dynamics in front of the amp. I also like the 8k drop on the eq after the amp. Going to try it on my next mix.

  • Ross Browne

    Scuffham S-gear gets you the best sound straight out of the box

  • Anderton

    Thanks for the comment! I’ve used pretty much all the amp sims, and what I’m finding is that they’re as different as real amps. Some do high gain really well, some nail the breakup from clean to dirty, others have the best cabs for bass, and so on. The key is to find out what each amp does best, and use it appropriately. That said, I haven’t used Ampire that much so I’m still finding out its strong/weak points…I’m sure this won’t be the last of the Ampire-related tips! I do think that with a little bit of processing, you can improve the sound of just about any amp sim.

  • jr lobbo

    but I think the guitar program is still weak in front of the others … could improve it … it seems like it was done in a hurry.