Going Ampless?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Telecaster62, Feb 12, 2008.


  1. Telecaster62

    Telecaster62 Member

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    I've got a question for you gigging musician's. I play in a group that has an awesome PA system that is scaleable from large outdoor shows to small club setups. We sometimes run 6 seperate monitor mixes on stage and have a wedge for all of us. I normally use one of my tube amps and mic it to the FOH. The drummer and some of the other guys have a little of my guitar added to their in-ear mixes or to their wedge. I don't normally need any guitar in my monitor for that setup. I'm wondering if for the smaller shows or for shows where we have to have a quick setup and teardown if getting something like one of the new Tech21 character pedals which has an amp/cab simulator and the sound of a renouned tube amp might be a good alternative to using my larger tube amps. I could put my guitar in my monitor wedge and allow the FOH guy to control my guitar out front. I know I'd lose the "feel" I love so much about tube amps but maybe the lack of hassle for those rare situations would be worth it. Ideas? Thoughts? Experiences? Thanks In Advance.
     
  2. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    If I were considering this I'd try to get my hands on an Axe FX an see if that delivered the tones I was looking for. Probably your best bet if you're going ampless.
     
  3. Stratosphere

    Stratosphere Member

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  4. kanderson

    kanderson Member

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  5. Telecaster62

    Telecaster62 Member

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    Thanks. Never heard of that before. Sorry for not being original with my question. I've never even tried going direct before and I'm not really sure that I want to but in some cases it would be very convenient. I like many am addicted to the tone and feel of a good tube amp but also like many realize that sometimes they are impractical and a pain in the arse to deal with. Don't want to sacrifice good tone though.
     
  6. Telecaster62

    Telecaster62 Member

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    Also, I'm not interested in going ampless forever and ever, amen. I'm just talking about an occasional need. I'm interested in hearing from folks who've done this with various results. Not interested in the usual diatribes about tube vs solid state etc. just real world experiences from regular tube giggers who've tried this. I realize I may just have to try if for myself and see. Thanks.
     
  7. Derelict

    Derelict Member

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    there's a ton of options out there. find what's best for you. i'm more of a single-channel-work-the-guitar kind of guy.

    you could do a small, highly portable, low-wattage tube amp like:
    - victoria 518, 5112 (champ, champ w/12" speaker, 5 watts)
    - peavey mini colossal (5 watts, attenuator, tremelo, spkr compensated line out. great gigging features)
    - savage macht 6
    - used silverface champ

    a pedal direct to board like:
    - tech21 stuff
    - digitech bad monkey or screamin' blues (both are stomp-box pedals with spkr compensated line out and actually sound pretty decent)

    or pod-like devices:
    - line 6 podX3, podX3 live, pocket pod
    - digitech newer RP series
    - vox tonelab

    or as others have mentioned, the axe-fx. i don't have any experience with the axe-fx, but my past experiences with do-everything boxes like that, is that there's just too much going on, imho. tons of options and everything you can imagine may be your thing, but i strongly prefer simplicity when playing live. if it were me, i'd just get a small tube amp and mic it up. you'll get that great, familiar tube feel and tone that you've come to love and trust, in a highly portable package.

    ymmv

    :cool:


    edit:
    here's a clip of the mini colossal from peavey's site. just make it past the flange, and you'll be ok. lol

    http://www.peavey.com/assets//media/audio/00590670_5.mp3
     
  8. electronpirate

    electronpirate Member

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    That one has NOTHING on the Tag extravaganza seeking the 'Ford' tone.

    Yes, the Axe-FX will feel more like a tube amp. For me it IS the same thing (YMMV, but just talk to as many people you like who owns one...) And the diversity will have your head reeling...

    Other than that, I definately think a smaller tube amp miked up will work. Hell, even a Zvex Nano and a small 1x12 would be a great option! (Or tiny terror, or the new Egnater...lots of fun out there.)
     
  9. joolzriff

    joolzriff Member

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    what about a laptop running that guitar rig software
     
  10. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    From time to time, I play at a large touristy restaurant/club that requires NO amps on stage and only brushes or HotRods on drums that are behind Plexiglas. I plug my Digitech GSP1101 straight in via XLR and just pray that the house soundman gives us each a decent mix in our monitors.

    As much of a grip it and rip guy as I am, I am always amazed at the quality of the FOH sound when the stage volume is eliminated. Vocal intelligibility and clarity is so much better. Although my GSP sounds great, I do miss the warmth and feel of my Mesa LSC behind me, but for the extremely volume-sensitive yet high-paying gig, I can suck it up and live with it once or twice a month.

    Several of my friends that play in mega-church rock...er...praise bands go ampless and use the Aviom personal digital in-ear mixing system and swear by it. The Aviom system (and a couple others like it) allows each member to have complete control over his or her mix, without having to communicate to the sound operator what they want. It's much like a studio matrix mixer in a compact package.

    I always miss my amp, but can make do when necessary.
     
  11. Telecaster62

    Telecaster62 Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I'm thinking that using one of my small amps mic'd is not what I'm getting at since I already do that on many occasions. I actually used my Champion 600 mic'd at practice last night but I still had to go through the hassle of setting up the amp, mic'ing it, running my pedals and adjusting the mic'd tone. Might as well use the big amp and not mic it or any mic'd amp for that matter. I think I'll try a SANSAMP or the new Tech21 stuff and run an emulated signal direct for practice and see if it satisfies me. I'd like to be able to plug in and be up and running it a minute or two. It's not that I'm lazy it's just that on those few and rare gigs where time is of the essence, I'd like some workable alternative to setting up and micing an amp.
     
  12. Derelict

    Derelict Member

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    :cool:

    you can definitely make that work.
     
  13. powermatt99

    powermatt99 Member

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    I did this with a Pod 2.0 a few years ago at a small P&W venue. It worked well. What I lacked in tone, we made up for by reducing stage volume and achieving a cleaner mix. I did get tone-positive comments and a lot of people wanting to check out my rig. I used Shure IEMs for monitoring.
     
  14. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    I used to play in a band with a SansAmp Tri AC into the board and out of the monitors and mains. I now carry it as a backup in case my amp goes down. It's totally serviceable and can sound quite good, but no inspiration playing that way really.
     
  15. Telecaster62

    Telecaster62 Member

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    Thanks again. Now we're getting somewhere. I think the real questions I've been asking is 1. Do these none amp based solutions sound good enough to even merit using them in any situation and 2. Does losing the feel of an amp make it unbearable. I really like the Tech21 Liverpool pedal and I have a Bad Monkey so I'll try that combo and see how it goes in practice. The only downer is that the Liverpool and Bad Monkey only have 1/4 outputs so I'll need to go through an additional direct box to get XLR and eliminate any noise issues live. I play alt-country and classic rock so I don't use any additional effects.
     
  16. jzgtrguy

    jzgtrguy Member

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    There are lots of solutions for you. Small amps mic'd to computer software like guitarrig to digital modeling solutions running the gambit from Axe-fx to vox. I am on the wait list for an Axe-fx. I have yet to play one but I hear it feels like a real amp which is where most digital amps fall short. Your guitar is supposed to sound like your guitar too. I got interested for the simplicity of having one rig for everything. Electric, Acoustic, Archtop, effect, everything.

    Good luck.
     
  17. danel59

    danel59 Member

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    I would like to try the Liverpool as well. But going back to your question, I have a Koch Pedaltone that I have used direct on a number of occasions including a soundtrack for a movie (not sure what's going on with it) and it works and sounds very good. I would recommend that. It is a 4 tube preamp with switching of clean, overdrive, boost and a 1/2 watt power amp to give you some extra grind. Add some reverb at the board and maybe a delay pedal and voila you're good to go. I have used this more than I thought I would and do like it when I can't take my real amp on stage. I am also on the list for the Ethos Overdrive pedal which also has a record/speaker emulated out and I have heard good results from clips on those as well. The Koch has a pretty good "feel" factor to it as well. I have also done the POD thing and for my ears and taste I prefer the Pedaltone
     
  18. myles111

    myles111 Member

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    Try to find an older Mesa Formula single rack space preamp. It even has emulator outs and has three footswitchable channels. In a three rackspace rig you have space for the preamp and two rack spaces left for effects, rack tuner, or whatever in a light and compact setup.

    The first single space thing in the rack below (just below the Furman) is one of these.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. steadygarcia

    steadygarcia Member

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    From experience, I would say that yes, they do sound good enough to merit using. I was in a similar situation where I was playing a weekly gig in a bar with a 10-piece reggae band. I got so sick of hauling all my gear up the stairs of that bar every Wednesday night (guitars, amp, large pedal bag), especially in the winter, that I decided to try my Pod XT direct. I bought a balanced 1/4" to XLR cable and plugged it directly into the snake. I got tons of compliments on my FOH sound, and apparently all the delay and reverb effects sounded much clearer than they used to when I mic-ed my amp. The only drawback was that we had a crappy monitor set-up on stage, with only two mixes. I could barely hear myself. Actually, it was so bad, that after a couple of weeks I went back to my amp. But it sounds like you've got an excellent monitor situation, so I would say -- go for it.

    I don't know about the Liverpool and Bad Monkey, but with the Pod, the 1/4" outputs are balanced, and they pump out tons of signal. (In fact, I had to turn the output way down because the sound tech was having to pad my channel.) So all you need is a short, little 1/4" TRS to XLR cable and you're laughing. Plug it straight into the snake on stage. No need for a direct box -- the Pod itself (and I presume your gear too) is in effect just a super-glorified direct box.

    LC
     
  20. Miles

    Miles Member

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    I use a PODxt for church Mass running my acoustic or electric through it. It works great for volume control and adding a little chorus or delay through the church sound system. I'm a teacher and I sing with a choir of children each Friday morning. The PODxt has presets to save and easily accessible tuner and can sit on a mic stand which works great for my uses.

    So, if you're needing something more "on the floor" that Tech21 might be more successful on a budget. Otherwise, something up at your waist that is controllable might also work well.

    Miles
     

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