Nita Strauss Says Difference Between Real Guitar Amps and Digital Replicas Isn’t Noticeable

Guitarist Nita Strauss, best known for her work with Alice Cooper, explained how there’s not really any noticeable difference between actual amplifiers and digital replicas like modeling or profiling. Speaking to Music Radar in a recent interview, she discussed the matter, saying openly that “you really can’t” hear a difference.

The chat about this started when she was questioned about the sessions for her new solo album “The Call of the Void” and how it all went down. Asked whether it was all done remotely or if she got “face-to-face recording done in the studio,” Nita replied:

“Unfortunately not. It was mostly file sharing, just because everyone is spread out across the globe now. I was on the road. I was able to be there for David Draiman recording the vocals for Dead Inside, which was very special. I was also able to be there for Lilith Czar when she did the song called Monster. It was really great. “

NITA STRAUSS - Digital Bullets ft. Chris Motionless (Official Music Video)

“But the rest of it was done over file sharing. People did it in their own studio, the studio they were most comfortable with, and sent the files over. There were no re-dos. No, ‘I don’t like this. Can you change this? Or re-do that?’

“Actually, I think the only person I think I had to have re-sing was Alice and it was just because one word was wrong, and literally that was it. ‘Hey, can you pop into the studio and say this word, one time?’”

“Everybody gave me their best delivery, crushed it from the very beginning. I am very, very grateful for that.”

NITA STRAUSS - Victorious ft. Dorothy (Official Music Video)

When the interviewer pointed out how this new model of recording remotely is actually way more comfortable and how one gets more space to record music that way, she replied:

“I think so, although I think if I had my way I would always prefer to work face-to-face with people. I do a lot of session guitar work as well, and most if it is done via file-sharing because I am always on the road, and the few times I have gotten to be there in the room with my client, the people who have hired me for the gig, it comes out so much better.”

“You are able to bounce ideas off each other and say, ‘Hey, can you try it more like this? Can you try it more like that?’ Whereas, when you are doing it remotely, and it is just you, it is really just, ‘Here’s my vision of what you sent me.’ And that is it.”

NITA STRAUSS - The Wolf You Feed ft. Alissa White-Gluz (Official Music Video)

When reminded of the fact that she did most of the stuff on the album using digital technologies and even VST plugins, she said how she’s incredibly confident in using digital stuff:

“I did. Me personally, I am extremely satisfied with digital. If I didn’t think it sounded as good I would have redone it through real amps. I have all the capability there at the studio.”

“I have all the capability there at my home studio. But I just think that you can do so much digitally. I don’t think it would have made the record sound any better if I had reamped later through an analogue machine.”

NITA STRAUSS - Dead Inside (ft. David Draiman of Disturbed)

When the interviewer said that “no one can tell,” she replied:

“No! You really can’t. When we first switched to the Kempers, on the Alice Cooper tour, we all had our Marshall stacks for years. And just in terms of weight, and ease of portability, management strongly suggested that we switched over to the modeling amps.”

“Before we did that, we actually profiled one of the guy’s Marshalls, and we walked out to the front, and we all listened as one of our guitar techs plugged in to them and didn’t tell us which was which, and it was indiscernible. No one could tell the difference.”

NITA STRAUSS - Summer Storm

“So you are hearing that very classic Marshall sound from all of us – especially on the Alice Cooper tour. You are getting that classic Marshall sound; it is just coming from a different avenue.”

Nita, of course, is far from the only one who recognizes the power of digital amp modeling and amp profiling. In a recent interview with Killer Guitar Rigs, Petrucci also explained how he, incredibly fond of his analog-based tone, would also see the full potential of this. Asked about his newly launched Tonemission company and newly released impulse response pack, he said:

“The thing that’s interesting about this whole thing is — I was never really into digital products, admittedly. I’ve always been an amp guy and cabinet guy, I’ve always used them in the studio and on tour. Of course, there’s been incredible technology that has come forth with a lot of the hardware with the [Fractal Audio] Axe-FX and Neural’s [DSP] Quad Cortex and things like that.”

John Petrucci (Dream Theater) on his new company Tonemission, his new IR Pack, Shred vs Feel & more

“But it was only until I actually did the Archetype Petrucci with Neural where I really dove into something to present a digital version of my gear and my sound in such a way that I thought was so incredibly convincing and done so well. And those guys just have it nailed better than anybody, right?”

“So that kind of launched me into this whole world. But meanwhile, in the background, while I’ve been in the studio over the last couple of years, me and my engineer Jimmy T. have been capturing IRs, just from my albums. Not really with any intent to release them or anything — just to have them basically, in case we wanted to use them in any sort of application ourselves. Reamp something… We wanted to capture those moments.”

“So, as you said, we actually did that for ‘Terminal Velocity,’ my latest solo album, ‘Liquid Tension Experiment 3,’ and Dream Theater’s ‘A View from the Top of the World.’ I could be wrong — but I think so I’m going to say it — this may be the first time that anybody has released specific IRs specific to certain records that were recorded.”

Photo: Raph_PH (AliceCooperO2 250522 (70 of 133) (52101574580))

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.