Volume Knob Interactivity/Dynamics Question for Neural DSP Tone King Imperial and other Modellers


TDPRI Member
Nov 13, 2021
Hi all, random observation I've been having with the Tone King plugin, was wondering if anyone seems to have a similar issue.

At certain settings, rolling-off the guitar volume doesn't appear to make the amp cleaner but seems to lower the volume in a rather "unnatural" way, this is particularly when the amp is set at a lower volume setting. The higher gain OD pedal also appears to be very resistant to cleaning up, as rolling back the guitar volume when that is engaged seems to only decrease the overall volume as if you were using a post-everything volume pedal. I've checked my input settings on my Focusrite 18i20 and also lowered the input gain setting on the plugin.

Has anyone else noticed this? Seems like there is some kind of compression worked into the plugin. The main reason I'm asking is that I was considering a Quad Cortex for a while but this phenomenon does change my mind a little, I'm a big volume knob-style player and I find that the HX modelling pulls it off well. I still love the Neural Tones, but it's an interesting observation. As a secondary question, what do ya'll do to maximise volume knob dynamics in modellers? Cheers


Feb 22, 2020
I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination but I've played all the Neural DSP plugins (Tone King was my favorite) and I use the guitar volume knob all the time and I have not noticed that issue. I think it's like the real amps - if the amp breaks up early (don't remember if the TK does, tbh) and you add a high gain OD pedal you'd have to roll the guitar volume almost all the way off to clean it up as the amp has nowhere else to go.


Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Nov 28, 2006
Los Angeles, Ca
If the 'master' volume is set low and the gain is up, even real amps don't clean up that well.
That being said, even though software amps are getting really really good, there are application areas where they haven't quite nailed it yet.

I'm starting to wonder if whatever interface is being used has some influence on the tones we try to get. I use a UA 'Apollo' and the inputs sense and adjust the input impedance coming from a guitar or a mic and even pedals. *This only works with the UA (Brainworx, Softube, UAd) ported amps but they do seem to clean up better than the IK or Neural stuff I've tried via native (where the impedance matching of the Apollo doesn't have any effect).

IDK - just thinking out loud.


Friend of Leo's
Jun 19, 2009
Nashville TN
I'd treat the guitar like I would a vocal performance. Set up a rig that you can play with dynamics and mic it.


Dec 18, 2007
What I have noticed with my setup some time ago is, that a plugin standalone, had a different volume, than when plugged via into a DAW. I couldn't crack that for a long time. Interestingly also, I've noticed, the same strange volume pot behaviour - when on 10, everything was roughly fine, when backed up a notch, the sound immediately dropped in volume and saturation. It was kind of as disengaging in an overdrive pedal.

What solved pretty much every issue, was dropping a buffer between the guitar output and the soundcard input. Suddenly the tone was consistent again, there were no volume and saturation jumps and everything behaved more like you know it from a real amp.

You can simple plug in any Boss pedal, if you don't have a dedicated buffer, or your usual pedalboard, that has one.

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