I recently had the opportunity to have a sit down conversation with Scott Mire who is the Creative Marketing Director of Peavey Electronics and get into some of the aspects of their amplifier software, The ReValver MKIII.
I downloaded and demoed the software for myself. It was simple and straight forward to use. A professional looking piece of equipment with an easy to use interface that I think will be the leading edge in amp modeling software. I’ll let the interview speak for my thoughts on the software and explain how and why ReValver MK III will be one of the most important products you may want to own.
I grabbed some info off of Peaveys website to give you an idea about what the ReValver MK III is about. But believe me, the info that Scott gives in the interview about using the software will make every tone freak out there stand at attention.
Remember the name ReValver, it is the future.
“ReValver is state of the art virtual guitar amplifier modeling software and the only software that captures the true sonic nature of vacuum tubes. Choose infinite combinations of classic amps, preamps, power amps, and effects to create your own signature tone. No other modeling software allows as much access to the engine that drives the virtual amplifier. Every tube in every amplifier and preamp can be tweaked or replaced with any one of 17 included tube types. ReValver even lets you modify power amp rectifiers, output transformers and tone stacks. ReValver also includes 65 incredible, legendary stomp box and rack effect modules. Building upon over 40 years of guitar amplifier engineering experience, ReValver is the most advanced and best sounding virtual amplifier on the planet“.
* 1GHz CPU
* 512 MB RAM
* 1024x768 screen resolution
* VST/AU host or sound card
* Mac OSX 10.4.x
* 1 GHz CPU
* 512 MB RAM
* 1024x768 screen resolution
* VST host or ASIO/WDM sound card
* Standalone or Plugin
* VST®, RTAS® (Pro Tools 7.4 or 8.0), Audio Units™ compatible
* ASIO® / WDM, Core Audio™
RHB: What’s the basic idea behind the ReValver MK III?
Scott Mire: Basically what it is, is amp modeling software that turns your computer into an amplifier. ReValver has been successfully around for a couple years.
The thing is though, that amp modeling software has always been an approximation of what an amp should sound like. It’s been computer programmers trying to write code to simulate the sound of an amplifier when you pass audio through it. The whole problem with it is that these guys are computer programmers, their not amp engineers. If you know anything about amplifiers there are so many nuances that go into what makes an amp a sought after amplifier. It gets right down to the tubes and the circuitry along with things like plate load and resistance. Somehow you have to pass a signal through all of these components until you hit upon something that comes out of the other end and hopefully it turns out to be a tone that everyone is going to want.
As I was saying before, amp modeling software was built by computer programmers that were trying to write alga rhythms that recreate or simulate the end result of that signal going through the amp. The thing about ReValver and what’s different is that we’re not modeling the end result. We’re modeling every electronic component in the signal chain. That means from the input to the output, every tube, every resistor. So it’s really an amalgamation of a whole bunch of models. It’s a model of a tube and not just one tube….
RHB: There’s tons of them in there.
Scott Mire: Tons of them right?
Scott Mire: The thing is that it’s never been done on this level where you can have control of every one of those factors that make a great amplifier, or if you want…..a really crappy one. (laughing)
RHB: When I opened the ReValer up to look at it you could see that you can literally build any amp from the ground up. I saw something that I thought was truly unique.
Scott Mire: You know what?
Scott Mire: You don’t have to ruin a perfectly good piece of equipment and you don’t have to burn yourself with a soldering iron to do it.
Scott Mire: If you really want to know how amp modeling software works this software can also be used as an educational tool. Now, that wasn’t the prime purpose of the software but it could be used for that. The purpose of the software was very simple. Amp modeling software that actually sounds like an amp. Not just an approximation of how an amp should sound but how an amp actually sounds.
RHB: So what you’re doing with ReValver is taking amp modeling software to the next level.
Scott Mire: Not just to the next level but to the pro level.
Here’s the deal, if you want to just make a demo you can use any software. If you want to record an album though, we are the only game in town. And, that was the goal with ReValver.
Every amp modeling package out there has been kind of made for the pro consumer level. What I mean is that guitar players will get it and use it but they won’t use it on their record and in certain cases they may find a patch or two that they like. The ReValver is actually built to be used on a record. We felt we were late coming into the amp modeling software game so we figured we had to go big or go home, or not even bother creating something.
RHB: I have to say that Peavey did that, I mean after looking at it and using it you guys went huge with all the components that you can add into the sound that you want. The pedals, preamps, speakers, effects ….
Scott Mire: Not only that but just the speakers there’s a whole uniqueness in the software. We’ve discussed the ability to tweak the software all the way down to the circuitry, obviously that’s unique. Now other amp modeling packages will allow you to choose from a list of different cabinet models and cabinet simulations which we also do but, we allow you to go in there and if you want you can design your own cabinet.
RHB: Anyway you want it?
Scott Mire: Yeah, if you want a cabinet 8 feet wide with 8 speakers in it with a certain microphone and you want the cabinet to be 4 feet deep……you can do that. Obviously there are some complex alga rhythms in there that are making that happen but you can do it and you are going to get it live whether it’s for the good or for the bad.
We are also the only package on the market that if you have any 3rd party plug-ins like a 3rd party reverb or delay or a stomp box model, you can load that into ReValver and it shows up as another piece of rack gear. So, it’s infinitely extendable. If you’ve spent a ton of money to get a “Waves” reverb that you absolutely love, you can add it to ReValver and it shows up as another rack module in there.
RHB: So there’s really no limits?
Scott Mire: There are no limits to what you can do with the software.
Now, keep in mind that although this is the 3rd version of ReValver to be released, it’s the first release from us as a company. So as far as we’re concerned this is just the beginning. We are going to extend this and continue to improve on it as long as long as we need to.
RHB: What’s to extend? I mean I used this software and I can’t see really anything to extend.
Scott Mire: There’s things that I just can’t leak out. But believe me that there are things in the works that will knock your socks off.
RHB: Scott, let’s talk about the simplicity of ReValver. There are beginner guitarist and there are beginners when it comes to recording and modeling software. If I’m looking at this from the aspect of a person who has no idea what their doing it was really quite simple. I mean I downloaded it, opened it up and all I had to do was click on the Peavey 6505 and I was playing through that amp. It was really that easy.
Scott Mire: Curt, there’s really 2 ways to think about this. One is for an advanced user, usually once you become that kind of player and you’ve built a certain skill set and you’ve mastered your instrument you get to the point where you want to do something with it. You can't let something stand between you and being productive. A recording guitar player wants to sit at a computer and very quickly get to recording. So, even on a professional level it can’t be so complicated that it hinders what you are trying to do.
RHB: Everyone wants to push play and go…..
Scott Mire: Exactly, but you want it to be a paradigm of something a person can understand. That’s why it has a paradigm of being a rack of gear. There’s no fancy interface, it’s pretty much what you see so a guitar player can be comfortable with it.
Now for the beginner. The guy learning to play guitar who wants to or will be on the cover of Guitar World down the road. It’s always been important to us as a company to reach out and offer something to the up and coming player. So, it has to be something that they can figure out. You know so easy to use that the beginner can launch it and when they use they say “wow this is really cool, this is easy”.
RHB: And that’s what I experienced when I first opened it up.
Scott Mire: One thing we know is that when you get into music technology, it can’t be about the technology, it has to always be about the music. It has to be another paradigm for making music, so it can’t be convoluted and it can’t be hard to use so it has to be fun for the hobbyist and it has to be quick for the professional. So we walk a fine line not to over simplify it for the professional but then not make it out of reach for the beginner.
Going back to your original question about the beginner though. Usually it take the musician quite a number of years to really learn about amplifiers. To learn what it is that you hear about an amp that makes it so special. It tales a lot of years to just be exposed to all of those amplifiers. Very few people go out and say here’s a list of all the amps I’ve read about in the magazines and the ones the pros use, so I’m going learn what it is that’s so great about that amp. It’s just not a reality. What usually happens with a guitar player is that they go to a music store and they say I’m going to spend an hour in here making a whole bunch of racket with this amp and I’m going to figure out what’s so cool about it or maybe you play in a band with someone who has one of those amps and you’re like “yeah man. That sounds great”. The thing about ReValver, and this has even worked for me and I have been playing for 25 years. I can just sit down and load up the amp model for one single price and actually not just one but all of them and sit there for hours and just tweak the thing and learn the nuances of that amplifier.
RHB: One thing I thought was cool was being able to make a chain of pedals and then try them in different spots of the chain to see how they would sound.
Scott Mire: There is that too and that’s what the great thing about plug ins is. There are so many steps that you take as you are learning your craft on the guitar such as how does a compressor affect the sound of the guitar. Another thing is that if you are in a band you can sit in front of your computer and develop your sound. Then when you recreate it with hardware and you know what it’s going to sound like.
If someone says “hey, you need to get a tube screamer” you don’t have to go buy one to see if you like it, you just go load it up and try it out before you buy it just to see if it’s going to work for you.
RHB: There seems to be advantages for recording in say a band situation.
Scott Mire: Yeah, to be able to record your band and not have to lug 120 watts of amplifier to the studio and put a microphone in front of it, that’s a pretty amazing thing. Of course that’s been the appeal of amp modeling software from the beginning.
RHB: It’s a great opportunity for someone to create a home recording studio for next to nothing.
Scott Mire: One of our goals when creating ReValver was creating the software at a price that would not cut out the hobbyist.
I want to thank Peavey and Scott Mire for the time given for this interview. The Re Valver is certainly one of the most modern and important pieces of equipment I think a musician can have. Remember you can download a free demo version of the Re Valver MK III at www.peavey.com. With the demo you have the full functionality of the software but won’t be able to save your tweaks and settings.
ReValver MK III Demo - Link
©2009 Curt Moye & Fred Russell Publishing, All Rights Reserved. This article can not be used without permission from the Author. To Contact the Author email curt@RockHouseMethod.com