- Amp: determines which kind of amp will be emulated. Possibilities include Tweed (Fender), British (Marshall-ish sounds) and California (for Mesa-esque tones).
- Mod: choose between Clean, Hi-Gain and Hot Rod.
- Mic: Since this pedal includes a cab simulation, you can choose how your virtual mic would be placed, choose between Classic, Center (close miking at the center of the loudspeaker) or Off-axis (close miking once again but this time with the mic at the edge of the speakercone).
Beware: contrarily to the GT2's celebrated predecessor, the Sansamp Classic (or the original SansAmp for, the lucky -few- ones who have one) the cab sim on this model can NOT de deactivated: the GT2 was NOT designed as a "normal" distortion box, but aimed at being plugged directly in a mixing board/recorder/soundcard (NOT an amp), as a sort of DI box --which by the way makes it all the more a shame that no XLR output is provided in addition to the 1/4 jack, doesn't it?
With the poweramp stage and the cab being emulated, an effect loop (even one with an insert like on Marshall's original Guv'nor) also would have been welcome...
The manual is clear, yet it will take you a little while to get through all the possible configurations, but everything is rather simple to understand... And if you just can't, well, consider yourself lucky not to have spent more in a real amp.
I can hardly compare these simulations with the original amps but they all sound good to me. I use it with a Mexican Fender Fat Strat and occasionally with a cheap mic (but the GT2 can be used with a bass too).
I don't like the British (Marshall) settings too much as it's a bit too much in the high-mids, but the Celifornia (Mesa) mode is perfect in my opinion as far as distortion is concerned. Both provide powerful sounds although none tend to range on the modern side (it's OK to play ACDC, Guns N' Roses, Nirvana or early Metallica, but don't expect modern heavy or nü metal sounds). Oh, and by the way, turn your guitar's volume knob WAY down if you expect any clean sound from either of these two modes -- even with single coils...
The Tweed (Fender) emulation is in my opinion one of the strongest points in this unit. Not only does it give a great clean sound, but it also reacts surprisingly well to virtually any distortion pedal placed ahead of it (I tried with a Big Muff, a Boss DF-2, a cheap Belcat OD, a Metal Muff and a Zoom Tri-Metal), which can make up for the lack of a second channel.
The cab sims sound average to good, sometimes a bit muddy, but at least from one setting to another you definitely can hear a difference.
The GT2 does respect the dynamics in your sound and contrarily to many other amp simulators its organic sound WILL give you the sensations that you'd feel playing on a REAL amp -- even if you play it with headphones!!! In high-gain settings there tends to be a certain hiss but a good noise reducer (ISP's Decimator for instance) will do the trick.
This stompbox was one of the first things I bought when I decided to switch from a basic guitar gear to a home studio-oriented equipment, almost 4 years ago. I already had a Korg AX1500G but although I loved (and still love) its reverb and cab sims there was NO WAY the Korg's digital amp sims would respect dynamics -- while the GT2 definitely does.
To this day the GT2 is still an important part of my sound, I live in a flat and since my (oh so tasteless) neighbours wouldn't appreciate too much a tube amp being recorded at night I still haven't felt the need to get a "real" amp since then. Yet, I like to switch from clean to distortion within the same song, so actually I use it most of the time in Tweed/Clean mode so that the distortion is provided by another stompbox. With a better budget at the time I think I would have given the SansAmp Classic a try (but hey, it cost 4 to 500€ at the time!), but I'm really satisfied with this one. It won't disappoint you as long as you take it for what it is: a DI-oriented gear aimed at making your recoring life WAY easier.