I received a lot of great feedback from last week's amp simulator shoot-out. A couple people suggested that would have preferred a straight re-amp but my argument for doing the test as I did (with each recording individually performed) is that in order to use these plug-ins properly you need to interact with them in real time and hear exactly where the simulated breakup occurs. Very few (and by 'very few' I mean 2 out of 15 or so) people that sent me their picks selected the real AC30 correctly. Not surprisingly, IMO, most people picked the Native Instruments Guitar Rig amp sim to be the real AC30. Personally, I lean on that plug-in a heck of a lot and rarely set up a physical amp these days. This experiment has only proved to reinforce my hunch that, even among fantastic musicians, it's incredibly hard to discern the difference between Guitar Rig and the real deal. Throw today's highly compressed audio formats and the horrible means by which most of us consume music (via iPhone and/or laptop speakers) and it's a no brainer for me (in most circumstances) to leave my amps collecting dust in the closet.
A - DI (as stated in the post)
B - Logic Amp Designer AC30
C - Peavey T.G. Raxx rack unit
D - AC30
E - Native Instruments Guitar Rig AC30