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Sound Master Custom Tube by Nembrini Audio

Nembrini Audio released Sound Master Custom Tube. I'd usually try to write some clever sounding synopsis here; based on my limited knowledge of guitar sim amps, and whatever I can decipher from the App Store description. And I would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for the line, "Based on a custom shop dual channel 100 watt hand made and point-to-point wired all tube head." I can't even pretend to understand that.

Sound Master Custom Tube

The Sound Master Custom Tube Guitar Amplifier plugin is born to reproduce in your virtual rig the classic American guitar amplifier sounds.

Based on a custom shop dual channel 100 watt hand made and point-to-point wired all tube head, the Sound Master Custom Tube Guitar Amplifier is a tone lab plugin capable of reproducing classic guitar sounds and beyond.

From clean tones to heavily overdriven distortion, the Sound Master Custom Tube Guitar Amplifier plugin has two separate channel with independent volume and tone controls:

- Channel A is pure American tone with the most beautiful sparkling cleans
- Channel B has a separate Gain and Master Volume knobs so you can drive the preamp for more aggressive sounds.

The Sound Master Custom Tube Guitar Amplifier includes a complete recording chain emulation and our custom design noise gate circuit.

Works as a standalone app, AudioUnit v3 effect, or Inter-App Audio effect

YouTuber Fingolfinz did a funky bit of fun with the new app!

Reader Comments 20

"Based on a custom shop dual channel 100 watt hand made and point-to-point wired all tube head."

Is it a Fender amp? Is it a HiWatt?

I think "point-to-point" means that all the connections are hand-soldered with wires (as opposed to relying heavily on a PCB.
Yes, that description was NOT written by a guitar player. Not a good sign.
July 01, 2020  | person_outline Matt B
It's actually quite good!

The amp is based on a 100-watt Fender Tone-Master which was hand-built by the Fender Custom Shop.

Stub is right about the point-to point hand soldering. All-tube means the amplifier and the pre-amplifier are powered by vacuum tubes, and not solid-state circuits.

Two channel means the amp has a clean and a distorted channel.

Just be thankful nobody mentioned the two "fat" switches on the amp! 😉
July 01, 2020  | person_outline Scott
@Matt B

I'm not seeing anything that couldn't be written by a guitar player. But it is so devoid of details as to be pretty useless as a description.

Still, it all makes sense to me. But just leaves too much to the imagination.

Usually, when they talk about "American tone" it is a Fender. But not always.

I think the HiWatt is another one of those amps famous for being hand-wired.
Hiwatt is point-to-point, but it is a British company.

I wonder if the Fenders were hand-built & point-to-point. Perhaps back in the day (back when they were made in U.S.A.)
The amp sim is based on the Fender Custom Shop Tone Master amplifier.

Stub is right about the point to point hand soldering.

Any real guitar play would know that and also know that an all-tube head means both the preamp and power amp are both powered by tubes — and not lifeless solid-state construction.

Hand-made means it was made buy human hands and not in some mega-factory punched-out by robots.

The tone is pretty awesome.

Take a listen if you dare:

https://youtu.be/QkPSfEJ2-Ys
July 01, 2020  | person_outline Scott
I'm listening to that demo now. IT. SOUNDS. ABSOLUTELY. STUNNING!!! Thanks for linking that!

That guitar playing is absolutely gorgeous. And the audio quality of the demo track is excellent. Really well-done.

I'm such a huge fan of that Fender sound. It must be hard to do, because many amp sims fail to capture the sparkling clean tone, or the "organic" sounding dirt. And most sims also tend to lose all the dynamic range.

That plugin That sound has so much of that amazing dynamic response that makes a Fender amp special.

As the demo goes along, and more dirt is added, you can hear how smooth the transition is between the dirt and the clean, and again the dynamics are there!!

Very cool.
So glad you enjoyed it!

Flo is a truly awesome guitarist from France, and has quite the following on the Audiobus Forum, where he's Flo26.

Although the amp was made by Fender, the tones are not those typically associated with classic Fender amps.

Part of it has to do with the types of tubes selected for the pre and power amps. This amp is a little more gritty than a Twin or other epic "glassy" Fender offerings.

Although it can be quite "trebleish" it doesn't have the chime of earlier models.

What it does do is provide a vast range of dynamic tone options, and unlike most amp sims, it's very responsive to pick attack, guitar volume, and touch.

It's on a 50%-off sale through much of July — as are all of Nembrini's other amps and pedals. They are a relatively new company, and have quickly gained a large following.

Other amps they have released include a Marshall JCM 800 sim, as well as sims of a Mesa Boogie Duel-Rectofier, Soldano 100, and a Peavy Eddie Van Halen 5150.

I've been very impressed with the amps I've already purchased. If you have a laptop, you can demo any of the amps before you buy.

At any rate, I am not nor have I ever worked for Nembrini (or Flo26)! Sorry do sound as though I do, but I just really love what they are doing...
July 02, 2020  | person_outline Scott
It sounds like a Fender to me, listening to the video. Like an old Princeton. The spring reverb is VERY impressive.
July 02, 2020  | person burnalot
On July 01, 2020 - @Matt B said:
Yes, that description was NOT written by a guitar player. Not a good sign.
Care to elucidate which parts you believe are by a non-guitarist?

On July 01, 2020 - @stub said:
I wonder if the Fenders were hand-built & point-to-point. Perhaps back in the day (back when they were made in U.S.A.)
Tube circuits were originally all ptp, so yes, early Fenders were built that way. Fender's Custom Shop still produces US-made ptp amps, they're just loads more than the MIM models.
And for anyone who cares, part of the appeal of ptp wiring is the potential to optimize the circuit for shortest signal path and reduced crosstalk/interference. They're also generally easier to repair and mod than pcb circuits. Though just because an amp's ptp doesn't automatically make it better, they can still be built poorly. And conversely pcb-based doesn't mean poor optimization either. Superstition and confirmation bias no doubt color perceived difference to some degree.
July 02, 2020  | person_outline ghjkl
"It sounds like a Fender to me, listening to the video. Like an old Princeton. The spring reverb is VERY impressive."

Any reverb you are hearing is not from the Sound Master. It doesn't have one.
July 02, 2020  | person_outline Scott
In the YT description it says the reverb is from Adverb2 (a separate iOS reverb) which I think is a plate simulation. And a plate is a smart choice for that style of playing. A built in spring would be problematic because it would be forced mono. Whereas a stereo plate will just sound gorgeous.

FWIW, I think a few of those other reverb plugins could do a respectable plate sound.
On July 02, 2020 - @Scott said:
Although the amp was made by Fender, the tones are not those typically associated with classic Fender amps.

It very much reminds me of my Blues Jr, (which I recently sold to a friend). I guess I don't really know what people mean when they say "chime" -- I thought it just meant how you can hear the sparkle of the steel strings (like an acoustic guitar without the boominess).

On July 02, 2020 - @Scott said:
At any rate, I am not nor have I ever worked for Nembrini (or Flo26)! Sorry do sound as though I do, but I just really love what they are doing...

No need to apologize. I get it. When a developer does something right, you want them to do well. You want folks to know. I'm really glad you linked that vid. I bought the plugin.
I think a big part of "chime" also comes from the pick-ups as well. Certain amps can enhance it.

Vintage Stratocasters and Telecasters are famous for this tone. If you listen to "Under The Bridge" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, you can get an idea of what it sounds like. Many of their mellowish songs also feature the vintage Strat.

Another guitar famous for it's chime is the Rickenbacker. See Tom Petty and The Pretenders.

As for amps, the Vox AC-15 is right up there with the early Fender amps in this regard.

There are tons of options about the exact tone of any given amp is. I found it interesting searching for details about the Tone Master — which the Sound Master is based on. While waiting for the app to drop, I found this interesting discussion:

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/had-a-fun-amp-jam-day-and-zinky-fender-shootout-prosonic-tone-master-today.1810631/

There are plenty of other opinions on the amp too. Just search Fender Custom Shop Tone Master Bruce Zinky.

Bruce is the guy who designed the original amp. Be sure to include Custom Shop in the search term. Fender has released a new line of solid-state amps all called Tone Master, so that will eliminate them from your search results...
July 03, 2020  | person_outline Scott
On July 03, 2020 - @Scott said:
I think a big part of "chime" also comes from the pick-ups as well. Certain amps can enhance it.

To be sure, those fender single coils have a lovely top end. I guess when you say "treblish" but lacking "chime", I have no clue what that means.

On July 03, 2020 - @Scott said:
Vintage Stratocasters and Telecasters are famous for this tone.

Though I recently sold my Strat (I'm sure I will have pangs of regret in the future!!)-- I have a guitar with a GK out and a Boss Multi-effects that has some reasonably good electric gtr models. So I've gotten a hint of various guitars, including a tele, and some Rickenbackers as well.

How is your latency when you are patching your guitar into your iPad? For me it always seems pretty bad, regardless of the app. I'm just talking about audio in/out. MIDI control of synths is fine.
Yeah, chime is a very difficult concept to appreciate.

A great example of "trebelish" but lacking "chime" would be Albert Collins — "The Master of the Telecaster."

https://open.spotify.com/track/7z3wUQAFexFWpUaKZDktZr?si=6Mo5TieqSZK8rYQlRvsADg

There is a Telecaster, there is massive treble, but no "chime."

Go to 7:53 of this video:

https://youtu.be/X264Dh6AtC8

It's really what I would call truly chimney, but it's in the ballpark — especially when compared to Albert Collins! 😉
July 03, 2020  | person_outline Scott
Here is probably a better example of "chimey"

https://youtu.be/HEuKbE4MXPE
July 03, 2020  | person_outline Scott
As for the latency, I haven't experienced a problem with that for years. Of course I'm not playing speed metal or anything!

Most recent guitar I/Os are pretty stable (just avoid ones that plug into your headphone jack) I have a cheap iRig HD, that does an admirable job for a sub $100 unit. Apogee and Focusrite both make superior input devices for a little more cash.

If you have a decent device and are still experiencing issues, you may need to upgrade your iPad or at least make certain there are no other apps running in the background that are sucking computing speed while you are trying to play.
July 03, 2020  | person_outline Scott
July 04, 2020  | person_outline Scott
As for chimey vs treblish, I still don't the difference. Sounds like reverb might be a factor in the examples you posted. To me, what makes a strat/tele (single coil) special and what Fender amps tend to help accentuate is the upper harmonic sparkle of the strings.

Humbuckers, even P90s, don't have the sparkle, and Marshall amps and other beefy amps don't seem to do anything to help represent it.

New strings help a little.

As for latency, I've tried quite a few audio interfaces with my iPad (gen 6) and I've not found anything to be "acceptable". They all feel like playing an amp that is 80 feet away. In all the apps, I go with the lowest possible buffer size, but nothing really fixes it.
When I think chime I think chords. Albert Collins was awesome (from Houston, my hometown), but he didn’t play many, if any chimey chords. He played Fender Quad reverb which is loudest cleanish Fender ever made. Turned up way loud and the walloped it with an attack that would make you jump out of your chair.

Demo sounds like Khruangbin outtake played bluesier and less focused.
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