This is the first time that we really experimented with guitar tones for an album. In the past, we just plugged our Ampegs in, or used the amps that the engineer said we should use. The result was that we were never truly satisfied with our sound.
For Imperium, we were adamant about getting a killer guitar tone and we invested a lot of time in trying to nail it. With the help of Joe Cincotta (Fullforce Studios), Charlie Errigo (Merciless Concept), Chris McCarthy (Without Remorse) and Derek Boyer (Suffocation), we went through a boatload of amplifier combinations in search of a great tone.
Here is a list of the amps we experimented with:
After a lot of back and forth, we decided that the Peavey 6505+ would be our baseline amplifier because it provided us with good crunch, lots of bass and good definition. We now needed an amplifier to compliment that by providing a bit of "fuzz" and a bit of a looser bottom end. We recorded some scratch tracks with the 6505+. then we plugged in all the other amps, fiddled with the sound and recorded scratch tracks with each different amp.
Once that was done, we all gathered in the control room and listened to side-by-side comparisons, without any knowledge of which amp we were using (only Joe Cincotta knew). Everyone unanimously agreed that option C was the winner. To be sure, we listened a few more times and still arrived at option C.
Option C happened to be the Ampeg VH150. We were almost there. The VH150 was missing a bit of punch and top end. To fix this, we added a BBE Sonic Maximizer to the Ampeg's effects loop—that solved the problem.
We're very thankful that so many great people lent us their ears for this experiment and we really owe a debt of gratitude to Joe Cincotta and Fullforce for taking the time to do this. We're very happy with our guitar tone. Finally.
Below is a little clip of the winning combination. It's only from a phone, but you can feel and hear the thickness and clarity.