Before launching into this mini-review, I have a confession to make…
Hello. My name is Michael and I am a plug-in addict. I thought I was in recovery however I recently had a relapse and purchased S-Gear from Scuffham Amps. Ordinarily, I would not allow this relapse to define me as a person and I would follow the Steps with the help of my Higher Power towards recovery. However this time I am truly glad I fell off the wagon because this plug-in is terrific!
I will start out by saying that I own many of the guitar amp/effects packages (Guitar Rig 4, Amplitube 3, Eleven, Line 6 Farm are some that come to mind). I’ve used all of these for both play-at-home and recording and each has its very definite pros and cons. One con they all share however is that they just don’t sound or respond like playing through actual hardware. In general their processing fairly well covers (colors?) the quality of my pickups. I can approximate tones with these plug-ins however I cannot feel them. S-Gear is unique in this regard. The tone, the response are real.
On the face of it, S-Gear is much more limited in terms of the amps and effects they offer (three amps and three effects- delay, chorus and reverb). Although there is no distortion rack, a mean (and natural!) distortion can be had with the amp drive switches. While it is true that S-Gear doesn’t have the wide range of effects found in the above-mentioned software it more than makes up for with its authenticity. I found more useable tones in S-Gear in 3 hours of playing than I did playing 3 years in the other packages. I think too, for me, I would spend more time playing around with the effects and their knobs trying to get what I wanted than I actually did playing. S-Gear is like plugging into a favorite old amp in pretty much any venue (the “Room” rack is superb). If you don’t find quite the tone you are looking for, a few up front tweaks will get you there. Mics include An SM57 and an M160.
Another happy result of my relapse is the fact that S-Gear costs only $99. Amazing really for such a professional sound and user-friendly experience. My only gripe I suppose is the name. “S-Gear” sounds terribly uninspired. Not descriptive of anything and totally lacking in dynamics. The exact opposite of the plug-in itself. I suppose they could have hired a marketing team to get all clever but of course this would have added considerably to the cost. So S-Gear it is and as it is, it is pretty special!
S-Gear comes as standalone and VST, AAX plug-in. In my case it plays nice with the latest version of Reaper. Hell Guitars is in no way affiliated with Scuffham Amps. We just like them… We give S-Gear an outstanding 4 and a half snakes!
We heartily recommend that you give this one a try. Free and complete 15 day trial available here: http://www.scuffhamamps.com/product