How do core tones of modelers stack up against old school rack preamps?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by rob2001, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    The desktop Tonelab I had didn't sound nearly as good as some of the old rack pre's I've used and it's keeping me from looking seriously at the latest generation of modelers.

    FOR CORE TONES, and besides the Axe (which is still out of my price range) does anyone have experience with something like a JMP1, Mesa Triaxis, ADA MP1, and also use current modeling like a GSP or 11 rack?
     
  2. rsm

    rsm Supporting Member

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    I was a big ADA user back in the day, owning several MP-1's, MP-2's, MQ-1 and the power amps and speakers...I had the full ADA bass rig too.

    I still have an ADA MP-2, Marshall JMP-1, Tech 21 PSA 1.1.

    I also still use a Vox Tonelab blue desktop (in the insert loop of my G-System), had a ToneLab LE, had an Axe-Fx Ultra, and a Zoom G2 (now have a Zoom G2.1Nu).

    Marshall JMP-1 is great IMO, I can get many convincing Marshall tones from it. ADA MP-2 is PITA to dial in, but sounds much better than the MP-1 and is very versatile. There are several tube voicings, and the outbound GEQ freed me from needing the MQ-1 which I used with my MP-1. The PSA 1.1 is small, compact, and can get a wide range of tones Fender, Marshall and Mesa...not too much on the Vox though. I use these direct with speaker sim / emulation outs direct to a Bose L1 Model II system.

    For what I use my low end modelers for, I find the all-in-one convenience and compact size with usable tones just another toolset that works for me.

    From the preamps I have now, I prefer the JMP-1, but the range of tones, no tubes and size with SansAmp, the PSA 1.1 is very close.

    I've not owned a Triaxis. There are also the Rocktron pre's new and used...I haven't tried them in a very long time.
     
  3. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Thanks for the detailed response.

    My main concern is direct recording. I recorded with a JMP1 many years ago and loved it. Right now i'm recording with a JCM 800. It does what I need it to do but a simpler path would be cool.
     
  4. rsm

    rsm Supporting Member

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    If you like the JMP-1, maybe that is the route to go, unless you want to try something else...the PSA 1.1 with the sansamp out is direct recording friendly, but you need to see if you like the tones. They are not easy to resell IME, even though I don't use mine much these days, it isn't worth selling at the price it would go for.

    I look at the PSA as a solid state analog preamp / modeler predecessor to the digitial modelers.


    I'd guess many of these old preamps are available in the low-mid $100s, except the Triaxis, H&K, maybe the high-end Rocktron like the Prophesy II (which is an all in one with effects)

    The new crop of digital modelers is worth a look too, IMO.
     
  5. Proco

    Proco Member

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    You could use your JCM800 and then a Palmer Speaker sim. with dummy load box... tube sound and analog simulation of cabinet.
     
  6. Bobby D

    Bobby D Member

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    i have owned the JMP-1, the ADA MP-1, Zoom 9050 and 9150, Mesa Quad Preamp (thats a beast) Rocktron Pro GAP, and probably a few others i am forgetting.

    my POD HD 500 sounds better than all of them. the Mesa Quad Preamp was really quite nice though, i miss that one -- paired with the little 20/20 mesa power amp, it was a deadly little rack rig (with an intellifex for effects)
     
  7. HillbillySims

    HillbillySims Supporting Member

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    I have a ADA MP-1 Classic & Kitty Hawk Quattro preamp... me personally, I like the drive sounds in them better than my Fractal Ultra..
     
  8. HillbillySims

    HillbillySims Supporting Member

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    The Zoom 9150 is pretty nice too I have a couple of those lying around
     
  9. sahhas

    sahhas Member

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    i used to have the zoom 9150...i really did like that.
    should have kept it....

    always wanted to get the digitech gsp units, there were still pricey about 10 yrs ago, for me anyway.....

    haven't thought about them much lately, there's so much out there....
     
  10. jlynnb1

    jlynnb1 Member

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    I wouldn't compare an older tonelab to anything newer like an 11r or hd....not even something like a gdp. Totally different worlds.
     
  11. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Right. I'm assuming the latest generation of modelers are light years better than that tonelab desktop I used.
     
  12. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Actually, I have an old ADA Micro-cab II. I wonder if that would work using the 800's line out? I suppose it would.

    Still, some versatility would be cool. I'm leaning towards a JMP1.
     
  13. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

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    I have owned an ADA MP-1 with their single space 200W power amp; replaced that with a Marshall JMP-1 with a 8008 Valvestate power amp. Gigged and recorded with this rig quite a bit, going direct from the speaker emulated out to the board. It worked well, but I eventually replaced it with a Line 6 XT Live direct to the board, and was happier with that solution. I now have a HD500, and it is FAR superior to the XT Live in tone and functionality, no comparison at all.

    I did feel the overdriven Marshall tone in the JMP-1, using the internal speaker emulator, was on par or a bit better than the Marshall sims in the XT Live. However the cleans were better in the XT Live, and the unit in general was far more versatile. The tones in the HD500 are better than the JMP-1, if you are going direct into the board or recording. Can't comment on the two into a power amp and cab, haven't used the HD in that way yet.

    Now that I have the HD500, the JMP-1 and 8008 are going to get sold. No reason to have them.
     
  14. jlynnb1

    jlynnb1 Member

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    I can tell you that the 11r excels at Marshall tones....
     
  15. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    i'm not quite convinced digital modelling is necessarily the best way to go so far, considering how great and how functional analog-modelling gear works.

    as an appreciator of parsimony, I think a few analog components that model sounds based on EQ, compression, etc. can be at least as effective as complex digital models of each component in the signal chain.

    ergo, i prefer the tech 21 stuff to some of the more complicated modern modelers out there. IMO, they just do the best job of getting you a "ready to go" tone right out of the box with minimal adjustment but a lot of room for dynamics... .dare i say "like a real amp."

    i guess i prefer analog modeling because the tone is "actually happening" versus a digital approximation in the form of 0s and 1s. Once you transition to the imaginary world of digital stuff there are a lot of different things you can do that you can't quite do in the physical world (or at least not easily), but you also lose something I think is very important. Again, it all depends on who you are and what you're trying to do.
     
  16. jlynnb1

    jlynnb1 Member

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    The 11r is super simple to dial in and responds just like analog gear....
     
  17. GuitarTone

    GuitarTone Senior Member

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    A few years ago there was a big craze on the forum I hung out on for the Peavey Rockmaster, so I joined the craze and bought one for $85 on eBay...it was horrendous, talk about real tube 'fizz', that thing was proof that tubes can fizz like crazy.
     
  18. Bo Faulkner

    Bo Faulkner Member

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    I get a far better end result into a p.a. system with my HD 500 vs my old ada rack and miced 4x12. Plus it is just a tad ligher
     
  19. guitarnet70

    guitarnet70 Member

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    Try an Ibanez valbee: Fizzmaster!!!!! Tubes only are not enough...
     
  20. drwiddly

    drwiddly Member

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    I think modellers have come a long way in recent years but, in my limited experience, I don't think the lower end of the market is close to any of the good rack preamps. except for the Digitech GSP101. I currently own a JMP-1, a Sansamp PSA 1, a Rocktron Piranha and a Voodu Valve as well as the GSP1101, a Pod xt 'bean', a V-Amp Pro and a Tonelab desktop. I've yet to have hands on experience of an Axe FX, an 11r or the Pod HD range.

    At the moment I'm lovin' the GSP for it's incredible versatility and excellent range of tones. I've tried it on its own, with the Piranha or JMP-1 in the loop and in the loop of two tube combos I have. In every case it's been excellent. I used to have a Pod xt Pro and tried to set that up with one of the tube amps using the 4CM but, no matter what I tried, it sounded pretty awful. The GSP, on the other hand sounded great from the off and with tweaking got better and better. The thing I really like if the ability to use the GSP to model a tone and then switch to the amp with the GSP augmenting with effects, gate, etc. Lots of versatility.

    I'm more than prepared to believe that the Axe FX and the 11r are better still but I doubt that either of them can integrate into your present rig like the GSP and they're expensive here in the UK.

    Here's my thoughts (for what they're worth) on gear I own or have owned:

    Pod 2 - Lots of tones but an ever present digital sheen. Crunch tones were awful.

    Pod xt & xt Pro - A step up but still digital sounding. very useable for recording but not good for live work.

    Tonelab desktop - Some great tones in this box but some awful ones too. Again better for recording than live.

    V-Amp Pro - Surprisingly good for the money. Much better for live work than a Pod. Terrible speaker sims though!

    Sansamp PSA 1 - Not the best for clean tones but everything else from light crunch to screaming lead is right on the money.

    Marshall JMP-1 - Lots of classic Marshall tones in a 1u rack. If you like the Marshall 'sound' you'll love it.

    Rocktron Piranha - I'm still getting to grips with this (recent GAS purchase) but it's great for hot-rodded Marshall tones. Seems to have a bit more gain than the JMP-1.

    Voodu Valve - Oldie but goodie. Sounds like a tube amp with a basic (but great quality) set of effects. In a direct comparison with my old Pod xt Pro, this sounded full, rich and real (analogue??) compared to the Pod which sounded fake and harsh (digital??).

    GSP1101 - A very good modeler. Just a hint of digital harshness which can be dialed out on most settings. Good set of effects and amp models, Its ability to integrate with an existing rig makes it really stand out from the crowd. On the downside, the tuner's not great.

    Apologies for going on (and on).
     

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