Digital distortion... Can anyone hear it?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by prof2915, Oct 5, 2005.


  1. prof2915

    prof2915 Guest

    Yesterday I played a borrowed Line6 Spider at a rehearsal.

    I had adjused the different channels (clean, crunch, rythm distortion and lead distortion) to the best of my knowledge.

    The clean sound worked rather OK, but when I kicked in any of the distortion channels the guitar just disapeared...

    I had to rise the volume of those channels soooo much and still - althougt there was a lot of "noise" from the amp - it just did not cut.

    I will remain a "tube nerd" :dude
     
  2. themusicboxstudios

    themusicboxstudios Member

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    agreed, my friend has a crappy marshall sold state halfstack, and that thing sounds so tiny and horrible in a band. blah. it's just sickening.
     
  3. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Yes, I can always hear digital distortion, and I detest it. I have never been able to get one usable or even tolerable distorted tone out of any piece of DM gear, at any volume - and not much clean either. The only one I've heard that's even come close to good was some sort of software plug-in (Bomb Factory I think, definitely not Ampfarm or Amplitude) that someone posted a clip of in a multiple blind test a long time back... and even then I thought it was a DI'd tube preamp, not an amp.

    If you mean can I hear it in a mix - no, not in the right way. It just disappears volume-wise, except that it's so harsh-sounding that it remains irritating, but still without any real body or power. Even many analog solid-state amps don't cut it in the same way that a tube power stage will, although some of them are OK.

    I also don't think there has been any fundamental improvement since the technology first came out, despite what a lot of people seem to say about it getting 'closer'. I don't hear it that way at all - although I agree that the level of detail reproduction is getting better, I still hear it as as thin, grating and unnatural as it always was.

    Just my honest opinion.
     
  4. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    I've been using modelling technology since it came out (yes, before the POD) and it's been a useful part of my setup, I still prefer a good amp but for DI'd recording I get perfectly good sounds from NI's Guitar Rig that are certainly not thin or grating.

    I wouldn't judge all digital gear by the Line 6 Spider, that's like saying judging all Les Pauls after playing one cheap copy.

    fwiw, I've heard some bad sounding tube amps too.
     
  5. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I'm not. I'm judging all digital modeling gear by all the digital modeling gear I've heard - which is quite a lot, from the Roland VG-8 onwards - and owned, both hardware and software. I've never got one acceptable overdriven or any really good clean sound out of any of it, ever. And never heard anyone else do when I was actually in a room with it either. It seems to be possible to bury it to some extent in recordings, but not entirely- it's harder to tell in mp3 clips, but that's because analog sounds like crap there too ;).

    I've heard bad-sounding tube amps too, but never one as bad as a 'good' digital modeler.

    Just my opinion.
     
  6. prof2915

    prof2915 Guest

    Of course you´re right.
    All I wanted to say is, that there´s something "strange going on" with digital distortion... It just doesn´t work like tube distortion, but maybe one can get acceptable sounds from digital stuff when one knows how to dial the sound in :rolleyes:
     
  7. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    John-For clarity, I wasn't referring to you with that comment.

    Modelling takes some tweaking and at best you still don't have the responsivness of a good amp, but as a recording tool modelling technology has been invaluable to me and I've got many good to great tones from it over the years.
     
  8. ABKB

    ABKB Member

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    I can also hear the digital amps. And yes, there are crappy tube amps out there as well, I know. But the good of digital vs. the good of tubes is no contest. And I also agree that I am getting sick of hearing how "close" modeling is getting. But I remember hearing in 1978 how "close" solid state amps were getting. Well, it's 2005 and I have yet to hear a great SS amp. No doubt there are good ones, but not great ones. I have the feeling if I am still kicking in 2025 I will STILL be hearing how close is modeling is getting. Also, I am not jumping on anybody here who does it, but I have yet to figure the fascination with direct recording. Good amp+good mic+good recoring medium=good recording (unless your a lousy player like me :rolleyes: ) But for the best recording of a Fender sound, you cant beat a good Fender amp. For a good Marshall sound, Marshall etc.. I recognise not many people can afford a bunch of amps to do this with, me included. And for that I can appreciate the folks who do direct recording. But it is not the real thing plain and simple, nor does it sound like the real thing (although when dialed in it may still sound good). If I were forced to do a session using a pod or something like that, I would always be thinking whenever I heard it how much better it would have been if I had the REAL amp to work with. To sum it up, modeling to me is like a cheap date. I might "get some" that night, but I am not going to respect it in the morning.
     
  9. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    Maybe you're not hearing what I hear - not a put-down, I know for certain that a lot of people don't, including some whose hearing I definitely respect - and I don't think I have super-special ears or anything either. There's something inherent in the digital-modeling sound that I find grates unbearably, and it's extremely obvious (to me) when I hear it. Even 'conventional' digital effects don't seem as bad.

    And it's not to do with tweaking, or dialing in. The thing I dislike about it can't be dialed out, it's nothing to do with settings - I've tried, with several very different devices from different manufacturers (and some software), some of which I owned over quite a long period before I finally gave up. In all that time I couldn't get one sound that was entirely free of that grating characteristic. It's difficult to describe, but it's something fundamental to the way the sound is generated.

    On the other hand, I can get perfectly usable sounds out of analog solid-state mostly. Not the same as a tube amp, but still fundamentally OK, and with enough care and EQ, often very good.

    I've tried to explain this several times, and all I can say is that there are some people who know what I'm talking about and others that don't, and that's not meant as a good/bad judgement at all.
     
  10. Tellmetime

    Tellmetime Member

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    I know exactly what you're talking about.
     
  11. ASATClassic

    ASATClassic Member

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    Couple of anecdotes..

    #1 Every couple of years, I go to Guitar Center and plug into a few modeling amps. My initial reaction is always "that sounds terrible". If an amp doesn't sound good with all the knobs straight up, it doesn't give me much hope.

    #2 I played a gig last week and the other guitarist had a Line 6 amp. I had a Fender with a Tubescreamer. He kept turning up his amp, but it could never quite "cut". It was loud, but not in the right way. Kind of a weird phenomenon.

    Conclusion: Get a tube amp.
     
  12. FUSER

    FUSER Member

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    The Line 6 Distortion modeller Dm4 is actually quite decent.
    SOme of the models like the TS, Micro Amp, Rat, Tube driver are quite good.
     
  13. fuzzface

    fuzzface Active Member

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    IMO the line 6 's OD /Distortion and the lot always sounded amateurish. They are fun to play with, their delays are ok, but for some sound studios using protools claim their pod's sound bigger than a real 64 Bassman or a Marshall stack, ...... come on
     
  14. HBob

    HBob Member

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    After seeing U2 I don't remember ever thinking that the Edge had crappy tone at any point in the show. He was switching from old Vox amps to a couple of POD Pros and several other pieces of gear in a huge set up. If digital sucks so bad I think it would stand out in a set up like that. His tone was great throughout the show.
     
  15. Tellmetime

    Tellmetime Member

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    Is it possible that The Edge started with the Vox amps and you got into extasy immediately, a positive trauma that you couldn't get rid of? I mean, maybe you didn't really hear the sound from the POD stuff in that state of mind? I think so.
     
  16. CerpinVolta

    CerpinVolta Member

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    I had a Line6 Spider 2 head for...oh about a week...I wish then i could have gotten a good tube amp but as money dictates i ended up going with a Marshall MG 250. Not a great amp by anymean but it held me over for a while until i could buy my Mesa Boogie MK IV.

    The line6 tone just didnt cut IMO. Dont know what it is but nothing compares to the warmth and character of a good ol' tube amp!:dude

    I will say though that my Vox Tonelab has done a pretty good job for me. Not dead on but i think its the best modler out there. Kills Pod and Line6 IMHO. I am selling it though to help pay for some nice analog stuff.
     
  17. HBob

    HBob Member

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    Not the case. The Edge looked at me back stage and said "I'm real scared, HBob." I smiled and shook my head. "Easy now, my little Irish friend," I said, "just play it the way I showed you. And remember, start off playing thru the POD." Well that cheered him right up and he wound up getting out there and putting on a fine show. True story.
     
  18. prof2915

    prof2915 Guest

    Hi again.

    I gave the Line6 Spider a last chance on the bands second rehearsal.
    I had tried to "fine tune" the settings and was hoping that the sound would be better this time.

    Well this time I could hear the distorted sounds :) BUT they sounded awful :(

    I had brought my "grab n´go" pedal (Bad Monkey) and I ended up using just the clean channel of the Spider (sounds rather bad as well...) + the Bad Monkey for the distorted stuff.
    Sounded sooo much better:dude

    I´m not saying that all Line6 stuff sucks, but the Spider definitely does. (and yes, I KNOW it´s a cheap amp, but still...)
     
  19. scook

    scook Member

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    Less and less everyday. Look how far we've come!
     
  20. TimeSnow

    TimeSnow Member

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