You are currently viewing Review of MGuitarArchitect by MeldaProductions (64 bit AAX/AU/VST/VST3)

Review of MGuitarArchitect by MeldaProductions (64 bit AAX/AU/VST/VST3)

Introduction

MeldaProduction is proud to announce availability of MGuitarArchitect as a powerful guitar chain simulator environment — effectively encompassing everything anyone could conceivably need to sculpt a professional guitar sound, beautifully bundled into a single plug-in that creatively combines virtual amps from MTurboAmp and virtual cabs from MCabinet with a notable number of additional stompbox effects and selected studio-type effects like the music production and audio processing advanced tools-maker’s MTurboComp, MTurboDelay, or MTurboReverb (if licenses are already owned), together with mixing utilities providing almost endless routing options, as well as advanced POLYTUNER, Doubler, and Analyze input level (auto-input) functionality, all adding up to the most powerful plug-in for building stacks that has ever been built.

MGuitarArchitect is available to purchase via its dedicated webpage (https://www.meldaproduction.com/MGuitarArchitect) for a time-limited introductory promo price of only €99.00 EUR – It’s still currently this price although I’m not sure how long this offer will last – rising thereafter to its regular price of €299.00 EUR; a 15-day, fully-functional trial version of MGuitarArchitect is also available by downloading the latest universal installer of MeldaProduction tools — to include all virtual effect and instrument plug-ins in 64-bit AAX-, AU-, VST- and VST3- compatible formats for macOS (10.14 or newer) and 64-bit AAX-, VST-, and VST3-compatible formats for Windows (8/10/11) — from here: https://meldaproduction.com/downloads (Choose which ones to install and purchase licenses later with free-for-life updates.)
 
Owners of MTurboAmp (https://www.meldaproduction.com/MTurboAmp) and/or MCabinet (https://www.meldaproduction.com/MCabinet) can upgrade to MGuitarArchitect at a discounted price.
 

You can also use my referral code at checkout to get an extra 20% off your first purchase, note that this doesn’t apply to introductory prices but applies to full price and sale items – MELDA2978997

Overview

As a powerful guitar chain simulator environment, MGuitarArchitect was created to suit all styles of guitarists; with that in mind, many effects are arranged by Genre, so users can quickly reach for a Country-, Metal-, or even Experimental-style processor when sculpting a professional guitar sound suited to their needs.
 
Needless to say, the music production and audio processing advanced tools-maker is well aware that there are many artists who choose to record guitar or bass using direct inputs rather than amps, which is why this plug-in provides the creative tools needed to sculpt a dry sound into exactly what is needed — not that it cannot be used on tracks recorded using amps, of course.
 
MeldaProduction’s MGuitarArchitect comes complete with all the effects needed to heighten the mixing process, regardless of how the signal was recorded. 
 

In-Use

The input interface on the left of the GUI has 3 fully customisable chains with 16 spaces each and a fourth chain for sidechaining.  This means that you can run up to 64 effects in series or parallel across the 4 available chains.  Simply click on a space and you get the option to add guitar effects, stompbox effects, studio effects and utility effects.

There are preset and settings options at the top of the display and the global settings highlighted below.  There are input, output, dry/wet controls as well as a doubler which creates a stereo sound from a mono input and a very handy option to analyze the input level which is a very handy feature that listens to your signal and automatically sets the input level accordingly.  The two grey blocks to the right are tuners, the one on the left is monophonic and the one on the right is polyphonic.

When you click on a space, you get the options below.  This may look quite complicated but we can break it down to make it a bit easier.  The Guitar section is the main one to start with, we’ll focus on the Amp, Cabinet and Stomp box options to start with.  The Stomps Main and Stomps FX are basically a pick list of all the available stompboxes.  Studio effects are Melda’s flagship effects but you will need a separate licence either individually or as part of a bundle.  Utility contains some very useful utilities like a looper and mixer. 

There are 37 amp models covering everything from clean, low gain, medium gain to extreme gain.  I really like the Midwestern, Minneapolis and KC Special amps for low gain / edge of breakup sounds. Also the Overstage ST-12 is a clean amp which is great to use with pedals. Some of these will look familiar, others are more unique in style.

I found descriptions of some of these on a Melda forum:

APOLLO: A british style amp with a pronounced midrange. It is perfect for classic rock. For more gain hit the sunshine button.

ARTEMIS: This is a British style amp that can go from low to high gain. There are 4 tone controls on it for even more control. You can also use the boost for added gain and a mid-focused tight sound.

BLACK DEATH: Ultra deadly amp for the toughest of us!

BRADFORD CHAP: An amp made for jazz fusion. Use the 4 band EQ to adjust the sound to your liking. Use the “lead smoothing” control to get a buttery lead tone.

CERES: This is an American style amp that can go from low to high gain easily. It was built to respond to touch and sounds great for smooth lead sound or fat clean sounds.

CHROMIUM: A high gain amp that can be used for metal or 90s hard rock.

HOUSTON: A low gain American style amp. If you crank the gain you can get some dirt and sustain for solos. Try the tremolo for extra flavor.

JAGUAR: A british style low gain amp that is great for clean and slightly driven tones.

JUNKO: A very clean amp with 3 different modes. It has 3 different basic speakers built in, but it can also be used without one. Choose the mode to suit your needs and dial in the 4 band EQ to get the exact sound you want.

JUNO: This is a british voiced clean amp that can do a bit of crunch too. If you want more gain just use the boost function.

KC SPECIAL: A low to medium gain amp that has a more compressed feel. Use the dynamics and sag controls to adjust the feel and tone. The Kansas setting is a clean sound and Missouri is a little bit more overdriven.

KENSINGTON: A lower gain more scooped version of the Windsor amp. It has a typical mid range focused british sound. Use the boost to get a cleaner sound.

LIBER: This british style amp can go from low to high gain easily and was made to respond well to touch. Click the lead boost for more gain and mids.

MCM 800: A staple of 1980s hard rock and heavy metal bands.

MELDANO MLO-100: The origin of high gain amps.

MIDWESTERN: A clean amp that can get a bit dirty. Turn up the spring reverb for a classic sound. The Z control can scoop the sound and the low end boost frequency can be adjusted. The bright switch will remove bass as the gain is adjusted.

MINERVA: Minerva is an amp that can go from completely clean to hard rock dirty. Even during high gain applications it maintains a smooth top end that is great for leads. Try it for blues, rock or pop music.

MINNEAPOLIS: An American style clean amp that can also get a bit dirty. It’s a bit small and mid forward or “boxy”, which works well for blues and dense mixes.

MITHRAS: This is a high gain amp with a highly adjustable 4 band EQ. Try tweaking the tightness for a different feel and sound.

MYWATT: A classic low and medium gain amp that is great for 60’s and 70s rock sounds. Its great for clean and lightly overdriven sounds.

NEPTUNE: An extremely adjustable amp that can go from the cleanest cleans to gained up metal. Use the EQ to sculpt your tone.

NYX: This is an amp that can go from extreme clean to extreme gain. Please note that the tone stack is before the gain stages, so for higher gain sounds try turning down the bass. Use the EQ sliders to shape the sound to your taste.

OVERSTAGE ST-12: A low gain platform for stompboxes.

PHOBOS: A high gain amp that can be used for hard rock to modern metal. Use the Worry for crunch, Dred for smooth leads or Terror for rough over the top gain.

SEATTLE: A focused high gain amp. It can be very articulate and clear when you need definition in your sound. Besides the tone controls try adjusting the depth, Z and tightness for more flavors.

SOLID JAZZ: A clean amp with almost no distortion. Great for jazz, pop, funk or anything that needs a pristine clean tone.

THOMAS CLASSIC: A medium gain amp with a classic british sound. Use the boost to change the tone and raise the gain.

TULSA: This is an American style amp that can also get dirty. Change modes for a bit more variety.

VENUS: A high gain slightly dark amp. The pink mode can be used for medium gain crunch sounds and the red mode for solos or general higher gain sounds. Body mode is thicker and face mode has more presence and bite.

VULCAN: A darker high gain amp that can be used for hard rock or metal. For a brighter sound try using the fire mode or metallurgy button. You can also adjust the tightness if you need a quicker response.

WINDSOR HALF: A lower gain more scooped version of the Windsor amp. It has a typical mid range focused british sound. Use the boost to get a cleaner sound.

WINDSOR: A high gain british style sound. Try switching the mode for a brighter sound or adjust the tightness to taste.

There are also a range of pedals from boosts, low gain overdrive, fuzzes to heavy overdrive.  I really like the Sky High Drive which is like a treble booster, the Iona Drive and the Keba Fuzz which can get pretty brutal. 

These are also described on a Melda forum as follows:

BLUES OD: A low gain OD with 2 modes. The normal mode is scooped and the flat mode has more mids. Adjust this for the various amps you use this with.

BRONZE DRIVE: This is a low gain drive that can be used for rock, blues or fusion. Use the frequency control to adjust the tone of the emphasis.

CAPITALIST BASS FUZZ: This bass fuzz pedal is inspired by the soviet version of a classic fuzz pedal and adapted for use with bass.

CLARITY DRIVE: Give your clean channel some touch sensitive drive! This guitar pedal is a low gain drive for fans of “edge of breakup” saturation. The tonal character mostly “transparent”, though ever so slightly mid forward, allowing the voice of the instrument to remain intact.

DEFINITION BOOSTER: This is a pedal made for heavier styles. It can boost your signal, but more importantly it tightens up your sound. Try it with high gain amps when you need more definition. You can also try it on lower gain amps when you need more midrange for something like a solo.

DIGITAL DEFACER: This is a digital fuzz pedal that will give you sounds similar to a harsh waveshaper. Perfect for experimental and original sounds.

DUSTER: This is a medium to high gain distortion pedal. Perfect for pushing a clean amp into hard rock territory.

FUZZY BELLY: A fuzz style distortion. Use the fat knob to make it even thicker.

GREEN HOWLER: An overdrive that can be used as a boost or to create mild distortion. It has a midrange focused sound.

IRONA DRIVE: An adjustable drive that lets you choose which frequencies are overdriven. Use the tight switch to get a more focused low end.

KEBA FUZZ: A fuzz pedal that can get gritty and nasty with the filth knob.

MD-1: An overdrive that can be used for slight distortion or used in front of a distorted amp to tighten the bottom end.

MOUSE: This is a classic style distortion pedal. Turning up the filter reduces the highs and you can use the Fat/Tight slider to get thicker or thinner sounds.

SEPTIC MINIMIZER: Septic Minimizer is inspired by a classic audio enhancer that was eventually released as an effect pedal.

SKY HIGH BOOST: A simple pedal that can boost the treble frequencies and help your guitar cut through the mix. Use the frequency knob to adjust the amount of bass cut.

SNACK OVERDRIVE: This pedal can go from mild overdrive all the way to distortion. Use the treble/bass controls, as well as the mode, to get different flavors.

THE GOOSER: A low to medium gain overdrive that can go from open to compressed. Use the bass and treble controls to shape the tone and use the different modes to achieve whatever sound you like.

WARM FUSION DRIVE: This drive pedal can be used with a slightly overdriven amp or a clean amp by using the more button. This pedal will produce a smooth overdriven sound that is perfect for legato lead playing.

XANTHOS DISTORTION: A medium to high gain distortion pedal for use with a low gain or medium gain amp. Hit the passion button for more gain and compression.

There are also 26 cabs.  I haven’t found information on these but they all have slightly different sounds and characteristics.  

Stompboxes are shown above, there’s a really good selection including gates, EQ, compressors, chorus, flanger, octaver, wah, tremelo, phaser and many more.  The reverb is well featured with spring, room, plate, hall, hangar and ethereal modes as well as ducking, tone and EQ controls.  The delay is a digital delay with upto 5000ms delay.  I’m a bit of a delay fan so it would have nice to see the equivalent of the reverb pedal with different delay modes but that said it’s a solid delay effect.

There are lots of presets that give an idea of the sort of sounds that can be produced.  Note that most use features available within MGuitarArchitect but there are some that use studio effects which you will need a separate licence for.  You can load a random preset and also randomise the settings of a given preset which can yield some interesting results.  

The temptation at this point is to load an od/fuzz, amp and cabinet and start tweaking.  The only problem with this is that it can lead you down a rabbit hole of endless tweaking.

I find that MGuitarArchitect seems quite sensitive to input levels so getting input levels right is important. The auto detect setting is really useful for this and I’ve also found rolling the volume down a bit on my guitar can alter  / improve the tone quite a bit.

Also be mindful of gain settings, if you’re using an OD pedal, amp and cab for example they all have gain controls and it’s easy to completely overdo the gain.

So as boring as it sounds your best option to start is load a cab and leave it at default settings and then load an amp.  Adjust tone and gain on the amp and if it’s a bit too bassy or there’s too much high end most cabs have high and low pass filters you can remove low and high frequencies with.  You can also fine tune the settings of the cab, adjusting mic position, changing characteristics. You can then change cabs and see what difference it makes to the sound.  Once you got a base sound you’re happy with that’s when it’s easier to start adding od/fuzz and/or stompbox effects and adjust as necessary. 

That’s already a lot to get to grips with but we’re just getting started.  Let’s look at the other options in the Guitar section.

GModular basically allows you to run a copy of MguitarArchitect within MGuitarArchitect.  Why is this useful?

Although you have a lot of effect blocks, if you create complex chains or parallel effect chains you may run out of blocks quicker than you expect and/or find your workflow gets quite cluttered. 

Using GModular helps you organise your workflow better and it also means you can create complex chains that only use one block.  The main limitation with using multiple Gmodular blocks is your CPU / memory because it can use a lot of processing power.

There are many uses of GModular, one of which is to create a blend of cabinets as shown above.  This was created following  a video by ChandlerGuitar on Youtube.

Another example as shown above is to create a software version of the tri-parallel mixer pedal by EHX.  This pedal has 3 send/return loops which you can blend together.  The pedal also has EQ and phase settings which you could easily add to make it a more faithful reproduction of the pedal if required.  I’ve also seen people use 3 separate loopers with the pedal which could be easily replicated, haven’t had a chance to try it myself yet though.

At this point it’s worth discussion modular from the utility section.  This is very similar to GModular but it also gives you access to a couple of extra lanes and gives you access to other Melda effects.  Some of these are available by default but generally you do need to own the relevant licences to use these and it’s usually the MB version of the software that you need to own to unlock both the MB and single band versions of the effects.  There’s a full list at the bottom of this page.

It’s worth noting that Melda have regular sales and also have an ‘eternal madness discount’ where 4 plugins are half-price every week and don’t forget you can get an extra 20% using my referral code above.

Melda’s multiband effects sound great and I’m only just starting to think about the potential they offer.  For example, I created a harmonic tremelo type of sound using TremeloMB.

Modular also gives you access to more delay effects, for example with a licence you can use DelayMB which has a lot more options than the delay stompbox.

Another cool feature of MGuitarArchitect  is feedback which is shown in the above two images.  This basically acts like a send / return loop.  It’s simple to set up, from the effect option choose a feedback channel and then load an instance of modular, select feedback from the building blocks option and ensure you set the feedback channel to the same value.

But we’re not done yet.  Another option in the Guitar section is NeuralAmpLoader.

This is the MGuitarArchitect version of Neural Amp Modeler which really needs a blog post of its own. Essentially it’s an open source project by Steve Atkinson where you record a snapshot of an amp or pedal settings and use an AI model to give a very accurate sound reproduction. You then load a profile into the Neural Amp Modeler (VST/standalone) to play it.  Because it’s open source, there are thousands of amps, pedals, IRs, cabs and full rigs that you can download for free from Tone Hunt. This means you have access to a tonne of classic, rare, vintage, obscure amps and pedals. For free. Yes you read that right, for free. 

Because they’re a snapshot so you can’t change settings like you can on the amps in MGuitarArchitect, however, as it’s guitarists doing the captures there’s usually a whole bunch of clean, crunch and distorted sounds in each download so even if they’re not exactly what you would use there will be one that is pretty close. 

Melda have incorporated this as NeuralAmpLoader into MGuitarArchitect which is brilliantly forward thinking, allowing you to use specific amps, pedals , full rigs or IRs which is really helpful when you want a very specific type of sound.  The loader also gives you more EQ control than the NAM modeler so you can fine tune the sound accordingly.

The final option in the Guitar section is the IR loader.  This allows you to load an Impulse Response which is basically the sound of a particular speaker cabinet and what microphone was used to record it.  Although you can do this using NeuralAmpLoader, I find the IR loader is much more CPU efficient. The loader has widening options and low / high pass filters, I generally prefer to apply a low pass at around 100Hz and high pass at around 2kHz.

If you have a favourite IR then you can use this instead of one of the built in cabinets.

Demo Sounds

Each of these demo sounds are my guitar recorded through a Behringer UMC204HD interface into MGuitarArchitect in Reaper.  They’re certainly not perfect and there’s no post processing apart from using Fabfilter’s Pro-L2 for achieving similar loudness / levels and they haven’t been double tracked.  I’ve only used other external effects on the last part of demo 8 which uses Octavox, H3000 Factory, H949 Dual and Blackhole (Eventide) to produce a guitar synth type of sound.

demo 1: bluesy type riff, blended cabs

demo 2: clean sound followed by harmonic tremelo type effect

demo 3: a riff played with fuzzy distortion first then a massive ambient type sound

demo 4: a riff played with an edge of overdrive contrasting with a much heavier sound

demo 5: A glitchy delayed sound 

demo 6: parallel effects fuzz/octave/auto wah

demo 7: uses a NAM file (orange rockaverb) and external IR

demo 8: a riff with distorted, sub-octave and external effects to create a guitar synth type of sound. Needs a bit of fine tuning but gives a good idea 

demo 9: uses Melda MB effects – reverb, phaser and granular

demo 10: modulation effects with parallel processing

vapaa henki: I’ve taken demo 5, cut it up for use on multiple tracks, rearranged the parts and used different chains I created in MGuitarArchitect.  This one is double tracked and panned L/R with slightly different settings and the only post processing again is Pro-L2 for levels.

Conclusions

MGuitarArchitect is a fantastic piece of software that gives you incredible flexibility to shape and define your sound exactly how you want it.

I really like how it includes a huge range of pedals, amps, stompboxes and cabinets as well a number of useful utilities.  You really don’t need to buy any extra effects (unlike some other amp sims),  there’s always the option to use external VSTs if you have favourite reverb or delays for example.  You’d simply load one instance with pedals and amp, load your favourite VSTs and then load another instance of MGuitarArchitect with just a cab or IR to replicate an amp’s effect loop.  You can of course place the effects at the front of the chain or after the cab, you’ll get a different sound which may well be preferable.  That said, the advantage of using Melda effects is that as well as sounding great they are multi-band, and have extensive modulation options so you can create complex signal routing much more easily inside MGuitarArchitect.

It’s suitable for every type of guitarist so whether you like a solid sound for a particular genre, like to experiment with amps and effects, want to replicate boutique pedals or create highly customised effect chains you can do these and a lot more.

The sound quality is great, typically I find amp sims do clean sounds and high gain sounds very well but struggle with an edge of breakup or subtle overdrive sound,  MGuitarArchitect excels at all of these. 

 

Leave a Reply