(Version reviewed: 1.0)
I was pretty pumped when I got the email about this one because I’d liked a few of their previous releases. The price is also really cheap. The Emperor is a single two-channel amp surrounded by a suite style plugin that offers pre and post effects and more.
The setup and graphics are just like the Bulldozer and Dominator with the same selection of pedals and cabs for the most part. It’s an easy to use and well-designed setup that makes for a simple workflow.
Not really sure what amp or amps the Emperor has under the hood but it sort of sounds like they blended a couple amps together. Right away it was kind of harsh and thin. I worked with a variety of signal chains with a bunch of processing plugins and I just couldn’t get it to where I could enjoy the plugin.
I always test sims as they are before adding processing or trying my own pedals/impulses etc but I found myself reaching for Pro-Q right away to help take all the harsh tones out. No matter what I did to the tone on the amp itself or how I processed it, nothing helped. By the time you get things cleaned up, you have taken too much out of the tone.
I tried loads of impulses and I found nothing to mesh well at all. I am not normally one to give up quickly so I pressed on and eventually got a tone that sounded pretty cool backed with a more dry rectifier tone. I blended the two together for a really decent Rammstein or German industrial type tone. It doesn’t really save the sim but I was able to get something useful from it.
It’s two channels; one is a crunchy to high-ish gain that just has this crunch that I don’t like (Yes I actually said that). It’s a crunch that just can’t be dialed out with the amp controls or with processing. The other channel is just unusable to be honest. There was nothing I could do to tame the hiss and harshness of the higher gain channel. The control values are also kind of a puzzle, when you turn them down they kind of just dull things to a mud.
Every company has or will have a product that really doesn’t match up to the rest of their products quality wise and the Emperor just doesn’t match up to AA’s other products. To me it sounds like a rushed and unfinished product that has potential but needs work. I kind of hear what they are after with the Emperor but I think they should give this one some TLC and send it back out to the market.
We are here to be honest and if I’m being honest, the Emperor just doesn’t seem like a complete product to me.
See more – Emperor demo by Benoni Studio