ReValver lets you dig in to your amps virtually
Valves rock the world! Well, vacuum tubes, to be more precise. Guitar players and hi-fi fanatics have known for years about the unique warmth that tubes bring to the table, but translating the analog world of tube technology into the digital realm has proven to be tricky business. Through years of trial and error, a handful of companies have managed to break through that analog/digital divide – products like Guitar Rig 3, Amplitube 2 and Digidesign’s Eleven (see page 170 for our review) have won over tech-inclined guitarists with authentic sounds and extreme versatility.
"...ReValver has managed to throw the entire industry a curveball by allowing users to access the inner workings of its amp models"
As you might expect, ReValver gives guitarists a variety of stompboxes, rack effects, amps, speaker cabinets and microphones with which to construct a virtual signal chain. That’s familiar enough, but ReValver has managed to throw the entire industry a curveball by allowing users to access the inner workings of its amp models. Users can now adjust an amp’s parameters at the circuit level – everything from power tubes, tone stacks and output transformer characteristics are open to tweaking, giving you unprecedented control over your sound.
Perhaps the best part about ReValver is that it can teach you to use your ears instead of your eyes. While it’s easy to get hung up on buzzwords or numbers, tweaking the innards of an amp will teach you what actually works and what doesn’t. Truthfully, there is so much variation possible with this program that you can dial in some unusable tones, but once you learn the tech behind “good tone,” you’ll find it easier to dial in the sounds that you want.
Granted, it can all be a bit overwhelming and some will not want to go that deep. Thankfully, the ReValver presets are excellent; there are 15 amp models to choose from, including many of Peavey’s own amps like the Classic 30, JSX (providing Satriani tone for days), ValveKing, 6505, Triple XXX and more. But it’s not just a Peavey love fest; it also features some of the most sought-after tone machines of all time, including models from Marshall, Vox, Fender, Mesa Boogie and Matchless. There are also a selection of amplifiers that don’t exist outside the program, such as Le Petite and the HomeBrew SE-1.
All of the expected effects are on tap, and they sound quite good. Delays, flangers, choruses, distortions, compressors, noise gates, EQ, vibrato, octavers, reverbs and reverse effects are all available and solid. I particularly enjoyed the rich and creamy flanger and the Greener Distortion – perfect for when you need that classic Tube Screamer sound. You can even have two separate signal paths going at once for a great dual rig setup.
Another great feature is called the VST Module, which allows you to insert any VST plug-in as an effect into your rack, greatly expanding ReValver’s possibilties. Considering the plethora of VST plug-ins out there, this capability gives you yet another way to create the sound you’re looking for. Fortunately, this software works seamlessly with today’s powerful laptops and is both Mac and Windows compatible. I had mine running smoothly through a MacBook Pro with various MAudio audio interfaces.
The only disappointment here is that, unlike some other packages on the market, ReValver does not come with a dedicated foot controller. That said, there is extensive MIDI implementation built into the software,so you can use an aftermarket MIDI controller if you so desire, even though the process of assigning functions can be a bit tedious. If you’re planning on using ReValver in a live setting, you’ll definitely want to invest in a foot controller.
One final thing to mention: Peavey also offers ReValver HP, a “trimmed-down” version of the program. If you don’t need all of the bells and whistles, and want to save $200, you can find more info on the HP version at peavey.com/products/revalver.
The Final Mojo
Peavey’s ReValver gives you the unique chance to sound like the greats, from Brian May to Van Halen, or to do your own thing. The circuit-level control of amp models is a definite breakthrough in the industry; of course, the technology would be useless if the models didn’t sound good. Does it respond and “feel” like a real amp? Does it clean up nicely when you back off your volume knob on your guitar like a good tube amp should? The answer is a resounding yes. With this much great tone at your fingertips, the choice should be easy.
you want to dig into your favorite amps without the electrocution risk
you need a dedicated foot controller
MSRP $299.99 (full version) $99.99 (ReValver HP) - Peavey - peavey.com
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