Developer Interviews

Slava Fyodorov – Mercuriall

#1 – Slava, you guys have done things the right way in our opinion. The way you started by offering incredible freeware and you still reward your customers with freeware pedals and gifts. How much has your good will helped to create your loyal customer base?

Hi guys! First off – thank you for the interview opportunity! As for the question, it’s very hard to answer it without addressing the question nr. 2 before. So, let me answer it below. In short – yes, free products have helped!

#2 – How did Mercuriall start and how has the company evolved over time?

Mercuriall started as a hobby. Vladimir, the mastermind of our modeling engine, used his programming knowledge and interest in neural networks to do research and build first prototypes of early Mercuriall products. These products were free and are still available on in the “Free stuff” section.

The response of the amp sim community was very positive, so in 2015 Vladimir joined forces with Vyacheslav Tikhonov (sound engineer). The fruit of their cooperation was the U530, Mercuriall’s first paid product for computers.

With that, the new chapter of Mercuriall began. We’ve slowly built the customer base and attracted artists by offering the first amp sim plugin on the market that used neural networks in the modeling engine. The journey was not easy, but new products followed, and our modeling technology attracted even more fans and well-known musicians.

Our latest achievement – Neural Hybrid Engine – was presented in SS-11X and is paving the way to an even more detailed modeling that we plan to use in our future releases.

And to address the question #1 – thanks to the free products the name “Mercuriall” was known to most hardcore amp sim lovers. So that helped in the initial stages.

We also think that building new free products adds to the company image and benefits the amp modeling community on a global scale. So, we will continue to release free products from time to time.

#3 – Your most recent product is the SS – 11X, it’s your first fully licensed product and it’s absolutely incredible. How did the collaboration come about?

We’ve had great relationship with AMT for quite some time – they provided us with a few of their products that we used in our lab. For example, AMT Power Eater Load Box, that helped us cranking tube amps for taking the most extreme measurements.

So, one day the stars aligned, and a decision was made to work together on an official modeling of the AMT SS-11A and SS-11B tube preamps. We wanted to model a “simpler” product with the new Neural Hybrid Engine and this opportunity was ideal. AMT was happy to work with us to have their product represented in a digital world, so the cooperation was mutually beneficial. We are very happy with the outcome and the new modeling engine works beautifully!

#4 – What has been your most successful plugin so far and what do you think made it so successful?

That is a hard question. It is the music community who decides if a certain product is a success or not =)

Overall, we think that Reaxis, our take on modeling Triaxis, is the most successful. We managed to model the iconic preamp in such a way that many people rated it as “flawless”. We humbly thank the music community for it.

#5 – Every developer has a product that took the company to another level, what product do you feel changed the game for Mercuriall and made you guys a household name in amp sims?

I think that would be our Spark plugin. We spent a year developing it. The most complicated part was the poweramp, especially modeling the way it interacts with other amp components. When you turn up the Master knob on Spark, you can hear and feel the real-world result pretty much.

Did you know: Steve Stevens from Billy Idol’s band wrote us one day telling how much he loved Spark! Looks like we did something right!

#6 – Every company seems to be trying to raise the bar lately, you guys included with your new neural hybrid engine technology. What other sort of things do you as a company want to do to improve amp sim tech across the board?

Oh, there is a lot of research going on. But hey, it’s a secret, so I cannot say much =)

In a grand scheme of things, power amp and cab modeling still have room for improvement.

#7 – We have reviewed some sims that have maintained quality after over a decade, which of your plugins do you feel could end up as one of those timeless plugins?

We are a humble bunch of people, so it’s hard to answer this question =) But if we must, then Reaxis might be the one. After all, it models one of the timeless preamps!

#9 – What’s next for Mercuriall, can you give us any hints or teasers on what you guys have for the amp sim world in the future?

Short-term plan is to update SS-11X with new cool features. Afterwards, we’d want to upgrade the U530 with Neural Hybrid Engine.

After that, we’ll start working on something big. Other than that, no hints =)

Thanks so much for all the question and hope we meet again!

We would like to thank Slava Fyodorov and everyone at Mercuriall Audio for their time and support. Mercuriall Audio have a fantastic line of products that blend professional quality sound with affordable pricing. They also happen to have some of the highest quality freeware products in the industry.

Check it all out at asap!

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