Funny thing happened at the music store yesterday (Warning: Tube vs Modeler content!)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Kyle B, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. Kyle B

    Kyle B Supporting Member

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    So my friend asks me to go check out some guitars & amps with him. He's middle age, just decided he wants to play guitar. :JAM

    Now, I know what you're thinking LOL ... But this is no ordinary middle-age-I-always-wanted-to-play-guitar cat He's a virtuoso trumpet player, professional musician, composer & audio editor (I know him through work.. we have about a dozen world-class audio engineers working there - knowing them is a fringe benefit for me:aok). If he sets his mind to it, he'll probably be better than me in about 2 years ;)

    So, anyhow, I take him to the local music store. They have maybe 50-70 decent Squiers and Strats, and a few Epi & Gibby LP's. Good stuff. He wants me to give him rock-guitar 101. How to make a guitar sound like a guitar. So I plug into a Mustang III. Supposed to be "the best" low-cost modeler around, from what I read here (First time I plugged into one for that matter). It sounded kinda "blah" to me.. Processed, not chimey or smooth.

    The funny thing is, he hears it too. He fiddled with the knobs for a bit while I played. Then he says "What's wrong here?? I mean, it sounds good, but it's missing something. I dunno what... it's just missing something".

    So I unplug, and fire up a Champ XD instead. Sudden tonal bliss. He starts smiling. He says "That's unreal. That sounds SO MUCH BETTER. And it's the same price as this one? How can that be???" (Pointing to the Mustang)

    I say...

    You know it's coming...

    "Real tubes"
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2016
  2. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    There you have it!
     
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  3. illini

    illini Member

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  4. vintagelove

    vintagelove Member

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    Musicians accustomed to playing acoustic instruments develop an ear for "real".

    I spent years playing classical, and now mostly jazz. Almost all my playing is clean nowadays, and I'm super picky about distorted sounds. I've never heard a modeler clean sound I liked, they'res always a bit of distortion on the sounds (which can sound good for certain styles), but the pure clean ones just don't do it for me.

    Although I'm picky about distorted sounds, I could probably play the unchained riff through a good Marshall for a solid 20 minutes. I guess it's my guilty pleasure.
     
  5. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    Last week I heard a recorded version of an amp modeler and a real amp. The modeled amp was better. It sounded more polished. Live is different than recorded.
     
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  6. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    It's kinda hard to give a proper demo of a modeling amp if you've never touched it before.
     
  7. metropolis74

    metropolis74 Member

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    Never heard of a Champ XP. You mean XD? I wouldn't associate the Champ XD with "real tubes". What makes this story even funnier is that the XD is a hybrid amp. Digital front end with a tube power amp. The 12AX7 is only used a phase inverter. But if it sounds good to you and your friend, more power to ya!
     
  8. LaceSensor1

    LaceSensor1 Member

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    With my boss gt10 it's night and day between low output single coils and humbuckers. It's like it was designed for low output single coils.

    I have a fizztang iv, but it's being long term borrowed by a family member. I never could get past the fizz trails.

    Still, my drri is not matched by either of these. I use the boss gt10 for headphone practice, it's great for this and keeps my neighbors at bay.
     
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  9. Kyle B

    Kyle B Supporting Member

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    Yes, "XD". I fixed it :) TY
    I'm aware the champ has a digital side. But it was the closest thing she had to a "tube amp" in stock. And it sounded sweet!
     
  10. motokev

    motokev Member

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    I agree, great story. I had two super champ XDs and an X2. I always loved the amp, but SOLD all for a better tube amp. I've always been a fan of the Roland Cube amps. I currently have a 80x. They seem to feel better than the mustang or any other modeling amp or effects. BUT, I never play it. I'll go a long time playing my prized tube amps then once in a while fire up the 80x. I think, man this SUCKS ! where's my TUBE amp.
     
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  11. GT100

    GT100 Member

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    I spend a very high percentage of my time practicing. So how the amp sounds while I'm playing is much more important than how it sounds compared to a modeller recorded.

    Lloyd
     
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  12. GT100

    GT100 Member

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    That's not exactly a good feature for any amp to have -needing to know the amp/ tweak it to sound good.

    Lloyd
     
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  13. GT100

    GT100 Member

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    If your friend is a virtuoso on the Trumpet it would be fun to see how fast he can get good on the guitar if he puts serious effort into it.

    Lloyd
     
  14. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    Many people can't wrap their heads around anything more complex than a basic tone stack. There are amps out there perfectly suited to them as well.
     
  15. JCW308

    JCW308 Supporting Member

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    Nothing wrong at all with the SCXD. Great little amp for what it is. What IS wrong is people who have no idea how to use an amp posting about how bad it is when they have no clue how to use it. I have owned both and would choose the MIII v2 over the SCXD for a gig every time. It's definitely chimey (easily) when you know how to use it.
     
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  16. MrLahey

    MrLahey Member

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    I have seen people make world famous amps costing thoisands sound like rubbish. The player blaming thebhear the whole time......Knowing how to use any peice of gear goes miles beyond blaming the gear. Some things require knowledge to achieve ones goals. In proper hands i bet that mustang would have faired better against other amps tube or digital. Ymmv.
    Cheers.
     
  17. Kyle B

    Kyle B Supporting Member

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    Yes, it should. This guy can rip on Jazz, switch over to dixieland, then over to polka, etc... w/o missing a beat. Of course he knows "all the theory" etc.. His upper lip has two small dangling projectiles, about an inch apart - an artifact of blowing on that mouthpiece for hours every day for 40 years. They kinda look like fangs actually... (And we think finger callouses are ugly) He plays in 4 or 5 jazz combos at any given time, and gigs 5-6 nights/week. The kind of cat who can hear a chord and say "That's Cm7b5 augmented" blah blah. (I kinda hate those people BTW LOL)

    So it's really a question of how fast he can learn the mechanics. He's already got the 'music' side down pat. I gotta admit, I chuckled a little watching him plunk plunk plunk on the guitar with his thumb like a total noob... it was just so weird, knowing how damn good he is with a trumpet.
     
  18. Kyle B

    Kyle B Supporting Member

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    Ahhh... I don't wanna suggest this was any sort of rigorous contest or shootout between modeling vs. tube. We were at it for less than an hour. Just an interesting data point - a story about somebody with a great ear for tone and musicality, coming in completely raw, no preconceived notions about any of the crystal lattice stuff we love so much, yet was instantly able to hear something was different.
     
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  19. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    The thing with the Mustang is that they can sound really bad. Take your time with them and they can sound fantastic. If your expectation is that you can plug in, twiddle a knob or two and have it sounding its best, your expectations are flawed. It probably took me a couple of hours to get mine sounding the way I like it.
     
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  20. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Of course he was. He would have heard a difference between a Super Reverb and a Mesa Triple Rectifier too.
     
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