Review – Fender Collection 2 for AmpliTube 4 from IK Multimedia
IK Multimedia Fender Collection 2, impressive sounding vintage fender virtual amp collection.
by Luka Sraka, May 2017
Most guitarists dream of owning a big analogue amp collection, and when it comes to desirable vintage amps, the guitar amplifiers from Fender are definitely on the top of the scales. IK Multimedia’s Fender Collection 2 for AmpliTube 4 gives us the true vintage sound without breaking your wallet.
The Fender Collection 2 by IK Multimedia is a follow-up collection to the previous one. The first covered the whole line-up of fender amps from the ’57 Deluxe to the modern MH-500 Metalhead and Super-Sonic amps. Fender Collection 2 is based on capturing the feel and the mojo of fender vintage amplifiers and reissues from the 1950s and 1960s. In IK Multimedia’s own words: Fender Collection 2 draws inspiration from some of the most historic and iconic Fender amplifiers, adding a modern touch to the timeless classics and re-issues that fit and define a multitude of genres. Fender Collection 2 captures the vintage vibe, feel and sound of Fender’s classic amps and puts them into your production toolbox on your Mac or PC.
Fender Collection 2 for AmpliTube is an officially certified collection of Fender amplifiers that works inside of the world’s most well-known and oft-used virtual guitar simulation platform – AmpliTube for Mac & PC. IK Multimedia was one of the pioneers of guitar amp modelling. They’ve been modeling guitar and bas amplifiers, cabinets, effects pedals and much more for over twenty years. For Fender Collection 2 they took a step further in modeling by developing a new type of technology called Dynamic Interaction Modeling which digitally recreates the behavior of every single component in the circuit of the modeled amp. Furthermore, the interactions and influence that each component has within the system of circuits and all of the variables that affect it are modeled as well. The modeling approach supposedly produces the exact behavior in the entire system in a non-linear and dynamic way.
What Do You Get?
If you are already a user of IK Multimedia AmpliTube, you are able to purchase the Fender collection in the IK Multimedia AmpliTube Custom Shop. If, however you have the free version of AmpliTube 4 or are a new user, you can buy the Fender Collection 2 Power DUO Bundle which includes the complete versions of AmpliTube 4 and Fender Collection 2. With the complete version of AmpliTube 4 you get a couple of more amplifier simulations and a redesigned “Cab Room” which is not available in the free version.
With the Fender Collection 2 you get standalone and plug-in software for Mac and PC, seven of the most influential and iconic Fender guitar amp models, seven original matching cabinets both modelled with the Dynamic Interaction Modeling. You get five modules inside the Amplitube software: tuner, configurable stomp pedal board, amp head, cabinet-and-mic and rack effects, AmpliTube 4 expansion with Cab Room module, post amp effect slot, eight-track recorder, four-track looper, two fully configurable rigs with up to 32 simultaneous effects. The rig is expandable with more gear models via the AmpliTube Custom Shop. The Fender amp models are officially-acknowledged Fender amp models that are sound-certified and approved by Fender.
The Amp Models
With the Fender Collection 2 you get seven amplifier models with matching cabinets. Six of the amp models are the famous tweed style fender amps, from the legendary ’53 Bassman to the small but mighty king of the studio, the ’57 Custom Champ, which was originally designed as a student’s guitar amp but quickly became a studio standard. The last amp in the collection is the well known ’65 Super Reverb with its glassy sound. Each and every amp model has its own unique sound. They look like the fender amps we know, and they sure sound like them too. When it comes to virtual guitar amps I’m a sceptic. I was never a fan of digital modeling and few of the virtual amp plug-ins impressed me. They just lacked something. The IK Multimedia Fender Collection 2 on the other hand blew me away.
For me the experience of trying these was quite surprising at first. I was lucky enough to try some of the reissues of these amps (proper amps, not modeled ones) so I have some basis to compare the Fender Collection 2. I started with the ’57 Custom Champ since I had the opportunity to try the Fender reissue of this amp and also own a clone of it. The amp model sounds and reacts the same way as the real amplifier does. The dynamic response is amazing as with all the amp models in the Fender Collection 2. It truly behaves as a real amp would, reacting to the volume potentiometer on the guitar and to the playing style. With the other models (I’ve tried the ’53 Bassman, ’57 Custom Twin and ’65 Super reverb Fender amplifiers) I was surprised with the break up. The overdrive tones were smooth and creamy (for the lack of a better term). The tone is the one we all know from the recordings of the greats. To be honest, I never was able to test the amps with the volume knobs set high enough to get proper overdrive out of them since it would be too loud. The clean sounds on the modeled amps however sound and feel the same as they do on the real fender amps. There is the attack, the punch, the subtleness of the sound, every nuance is there. The same as the real life amp models, the modeled ones are a great base for using with pedals. One can operate the amps included in the IK Multimedia Fender Collection 2 the same way as you operate the real amps. You can bridge the two channels on amps that have two channels with a patch cable, select the instrument or mic input etc. People at IK went even further with the ’53 Bassman model. They added a switch that selects between a new (new old stock) version of the amp and the old broken-in amp. With the switch you get two different sounding amplifiers in one.
If you don’t like the speaker cabinet of a specific model, you can mix and match different amplifiers and speaker cabinets to get the desired sound. The redesigned amp cab room section of AmpliTube 4 is great too. You can manipulate and mix different microphones and try different mic placements, so you can tailor your sound with ease and precision. And however loud you set the amp models it will never get to loud!
As described on IK Multimedia web page:
’53 Bassman – 26-watt, single 15″ all-tube combo
The original Fender Bassman was born as a 26-watt 1×15″ speaker bass amp, the first Fender bass amp ever created. The original 26w 1×15″ format was relatively short lived — only 660 units were ever produced. This model is based on an original ’53 and was designed to accentuate the P bass introduced just two years earlier. It also features an “aging” switch that lets you toggle between the two styles of vintage models for best of both worlds — new old stock like you just picked up a new one from the shop, or “worn” vintage for that well-aged, broken-in sound.
’57 Custom Twin-Amp – 40-watt, 2×12″ all-tube combo
The original “low-powered” 40W tweed beauty is known for its sweet, singing tone and responsive dynamics. The ’57 Custom Twin-Amp delivers a luxurious clean tone that adds that certain unmistakable richness, clarity and sparkle as only a Twin can do. When hit hard, this classic model breaks up earlier than the higher powered cousin delivering smooth overdriven crunch at lower levels. The smooth bass, treble and presence are perfectly recreated in this model to offer an unmatched interactivity and a surprisingly wide and diverse sonic palette.
’57 Custom Pro-Amp – 26-watt, single 15″ all-tube combo
The ’57 Custom Pro is based on the original Pro of the ’50s known for its rich harmonic content. This model delivers a legendary flexible and vintage sound. The creamy overdrive and smooth presence are perfect for all vintage tones and incredible for modern sounds. The single 15″ speaker delivers defined yet slightly rolled off highs to reduce harshness when driven yet retains the low end punch and growl when hit with a humbucker.
’57 Custom Deluxe – 12-watt, single 12″ all-tube combo
One of the most loved Fender tweeds of all time, this amp has it all – virtually everything from sparkling cleans to major crunch and everything in-between. The handwired all-tube 5E3 circuit is pure magic at all volume levels. The Tweed Deluxe was the favorite tone of its inventor due to the astonishing presence and harmonic characteristics. This custom tweed version is almost a fairy tale — a beauty outside and a beast in sound.
’57 Custom Champ – 5-watt, single 8″ all-tube combo
Probably THE most recorded amp of the time, the ’57 Custom Champ provides an amazingly diverse tone palette for a small, one-knob amp. It’s the perfect companion for those who love dynamic overdriven tones and crisp, classic cleans.
’57 Bandmaster – 26-watt, 3×10″ all-tube combo
This model is defined by vintage blues tone from a 3×10 set up and handwired all tube construction. Designed as a “plug straight in and turn it up” amp, the sound is flexible and fills the room with its vibe, giving the impression of a 3D surround sound. The crunch and cleans are different from other well known amps in the ’57 Custom series, and it will really make the difference in your rig.
’65 Super Reverb – 45-watt, 4×10″ all-tube combo
The ’65 Super Reverb is another classic collectible workhorse amp that has a special place in tone history and in the hearts of players everywhere. With shimmering tone and vintage overdrive pleasure, this legendary blackface amp is a medium output stage-filling sound machine. Players of all styles and genres will find the perfect tone for their recordings in this beast. The Super Reverb features spring-driven lush reverb and a huge range of available tones with a tremolo circuit you’ve heard on countless records.
IK Multimedia Fender Collection 2 for AmpliTube 2 is an impressive sounding collection of virtual amps. As far as I’m concerned the modelled amps are the best sounding vintage fender replications I ever heard and I am hard to please when it comes to digital amp modelling. The virtual amp collection sounds just like an in-flesh amp collection sounds. You get 7 vintage amp models at a fraction of a cost of a real amplifier with the convenience and versatility of the AmpliTube 4 platform. Just try to crank a real Fender Bassman, I dare you!
Details and additional info:
Stand alone or plug in formats
K Multimedia Fender Collection 2 pricing:
- Fender Collection 2: €149.99 EUR
- Fender Collection 2 Power Duo bundle (includes the complete versions of AmpliTube 4 and Fender 2 Collection: €229.99 EUR
Supported plug-in formats (64-bit): Audio Units, VST2, VST3, AAX
AmpliTube 4 computer requirements:
- MAC (64-bits) Minimal: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo, 2 GB of RAM (4 GB suggested), Mac OS X 10.7 or later.
- Windows (64-bits) Minimal: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo or AMD Athlon™ 64 X2, 2GB of RAM (4 GB suggested), Windows® 7, Windows® 8 or Windows® 10. Requires an ASIO compatible sound card.