January 12, 2024 2 min read

Clean tones from amp sims (such as the Fortin NTS, Nameless and Cali Suites) can transform your sound, but it takes more than just dialing back the gain knob. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced musician, achieving pristine clean tones with an amp sim requires a nuanced approach. Here are five essential steps to get the best out of your Amp sim for those crystal-clear tones.

1. Source Signal: Fine-tune for Variety
The foundation of a clean tone lies in your guitar's signal. Consider the strings, pickup quality, and type – be it single coil, humbuckers, or P90s. Each position and pickup type offers distinct tonal characteristics. Experiment with different setups to understand how each influences your sound.

2. Optimize Gain Staging: Ensure Signal Integrity
Correct gain staging into your interface is pivotal. Avoid signal clipping, as a distorted signal before hitting the plugin impedes achieving a lush clean tone. Properly set your guitar's signal into the interface to maintain a clean, unclipped input.

3. Plugin Headroom: Manage Clipping for Control
Clipping contributes to around 90% of distortion, but controlling it is key for clean tones. Understanding where and how clipping occurs in your plugin is crucial. Utilize various controls like input gain, amp gain, volume, and plugin output in plugins to manage saturation levels.

4. Utilize Amp Sim Features: Exploit the Options
Quality amp sims like Neural DSP's Nameless incorporate diverse gain stages. Experiment with these stages – from input gain to amp and power amp sections – to harness different saturation levels. Understanding how these stages influence your tone is crucial, even if the amp sim is designed for high-gain sounds.

5. Fine-tuning and Demonstration: Find Your Perfect Clean Tone
Fine-tune your settings by adjusting gain and volume. Lowering gain and increasing amp volume can enhance headroom, reducing unwanted saturation. Ensure your guitar signal isn't clipping before hitting the plugin, allowing full control over the amount of distortion introduced.

Mastering clean tones with Fortin's amp sims isn’t just about turning down the gain. It’s a meticulous process of understanding signal flow, managing clipping, and utilizing the plugin's features to craft pristine tones that seamlessly blend into your music.

By following these steps and experimenting with different settings, you can achieve clean tones that elevate your sound in any mix. Unlock the full potential of your amp sim and explore a world of clean, captivating tones for your music.


- Mel Torres

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