A look inside the classic virtual guitarist’s successor and all the features you can find in the new steel-stringed acoustic model
MAY 26TH, 2023
What is AMBER 2?
You might be wondering: Did we just give the old version of AMBER a facelift and a couple of extra perks in the UI? Far from it — AMBER 2 was completely re-recorded, with no trace of the original guitar samples! The effect modeling is new, we overhauled the phrase bank, and its playability and flexibility are far beyond the capabilities of the original. Before we delve too far into the improvements though ... in case you don’t own the original, here’s what you need to know:
AMBER 2 is a fully-featured “player” guitar, allowing you to build complex and realistic guitar phrases even if you can't play a single note yourself. Simply give AMBER 2 a few chords and use keyswitches to swap out different phrases at will, and you’ll hear the result played live instantly. If you want the sound of a live acoustic guitar and don't have the instrument, studio, or skills to achieve the real thing, AMBER 2 is a convincing professional replica you can use in any context no matter how intense or soft you need it to sound. Acoustic rock, hymns, folk, organic accents in EDM; whatever the needs of the project, AMBER 2 can deliver the sound you’re looking for.
Since AMBER 2 is a completely different instrument from its predecessor, complete with its own samples and processing ... If you own the original AMBER already and want to try your hand at true double-tracking, you can add both to your arrangement with no phase cancellation and get an even richer sound with little extra work! That said, you might still want to stick with the new version only, as the perks are far beyond anything you can get from the original — the choice is yours. Let’s cover exactly what you can do with the new version.
Full phrase control
If you’re familiar with UJAM’s Beatmakers, you might know the MIDI Drag & Drop function, this should be familiar: AMBER 2 also comes with a diverse library of pre-programmed MIDI phrases, which you can drag directly into your DAW session and manipulate to your exact needs. This level of control is unheard of in virtual acoustic guitars due to how complex an instrument it is ... and the closest you’ll find to the quality of a true live performance with a VST! For the moments when you need a head start rather than building guitar phrases from scratch, this is an excellent time-saver that also provides you with the flexibility you need to create virtually any strummed guitar part you need quickly.
On the other hand, if you prefer fine control and know exactly what you want from an acoustic guitar, you can unlock AMBER 2’s open, muted, stylized articulations and more. Like with IRON 2 and SPARKLE 2, the new Virtual Guitarist gives you the ability to construct phrases from scratch with its new Instrument mode, giving you the ability to manually control every single mute, sustain, and every other articulation inside the upgrade! While this is convenient inside the DAW, it also allows you to easily play in the exact strumming and picking patterns you want while holding down each chord — every aspect of the guitar’s performance is within your control.
Phrases and articulations aren’t the only aspect of the playing you can directly control, though; you also have 30 new styles to choose from, which offer entirely different presentations of the same phrases. Most virtual guitarists suffer in that they can only handle one style, and everything they produce quickly begins to sound the same. AMBER 2 allows you to make far more diverse requests of your new guitarist, becoming a flexible tool spanning tons of different genres and use cases that you can navigate with a single click.
Shaping your guitar’s sound
We recorded with multiple different setups, with multiple different microphones, pickups, and even recorded direct-in to provide as colored or uncolored a sound as you want to start with. You’re not simply making requests of a guitarist; you get to build the sound up from a variety of different profiles, processing everything within the plugin, and switch out the building blocks as you need. Even in the very beginning stages, you can move from clean to saturated, crisp to full — and that’s without even touching effects!
AMBER 2 won't shortchange you in the effects department, either; there are 30 stomp box emulations and 60 Finisher FX profiles you can use to take the sound from as bare-bones to as rich and warm as you like. You'll find combinations of wah pedals, compressors, filters, delays, and reverbs among others combined into carefully crafted dynamic effect chains with all the processing done under the hood. This way, you can focus on putting the finishing touches on your guitar’s sound rather than adding effects from scratch in your DAW. We settled on effect profiles that complement AMBER 2’s sound and fit neatly into the most common genres and uses you’ll likely land on, removing nearly all the guesswork in the final stages of production.
While the original AMBER is still an excellent instrument in its own right, we wanted to offer way more flexibility than the original sample set allowed for. This involved recording an extensive set of entirely new performances, assembling them into phrases, and designing and coding a seamless experience for music producers — even those who can’t hit a single clean note with a guitar. If you need a rich, full-bodied acoustic guitar and don’t have the ability to record an excellent player live (or you just want the end result to be more malleable later on), AMBER 2 has you covered.
Give the new version a try, put the effects and modifications to the test, and start creating guitar parts that you never could before ... any genre, any style, any arrangement — the rest is up to you!
About the Author
Harry Lodes is a copywriter, marketing consultant and content writer for audio and ecommerce brands. He lives in the Philadelphia area, releasing Eastern/Western hybrid EDM under the artist name KAIRI hearkening back to his roots in Berklee College of Music.