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Has modelling really cracked the elusive edge-of-break-up tones yet?

Chalkdust

Member
Messages
29
Hello, can someone advise me here .. for 5 years or so I have been using Atomic Amplifire 12, and wondering if I should replace it with a more modern unit. I generally operate in clean to classic rock region, and by and large AF12 delivers that, except for the crucial edge of break-up where IMO the tones are thin .. and when I revert to my Mesa and play the same clean tones the room fills with heavenly tones, add a BB preamp and the tone fills out even more, without any fizz.. pure cream.

I tried Kemper Stage 2 years ago and of course it was a major improvement in many areas on the AF12 but again IMO it lacked the love in clean and edge-of-break-up tones, and I sold it, reverted to my valve amps where clean mattered, and or AF12 for all else.

2 years on and all the hoo-har about Quad Cortex I’m fidgeting again. I ordered a Cortex, and like so many waiting ... and waiting ... and .. but fear that I will again be unimpressed by it‘s ability to deliver full and rich clean and clipped tones.

Has anyone else been on my journey and can advise me? Have clean and edge-of-break-up tones really got much better since that red kidney bean of 1999, or should I cancel my order and buy another lovely valve amp?
 

deathbyguitar

Member
Messages
183
Fractal has been great at that sort of thing for quite some time. Just google "Fractal edge of breakup" and you'll get tons of great examples. Helix/HX Stomp should also be able to get you there too. You could feasibly go to your local Guitar Center (if you're in the US, anyway) and try a Helix product and see if it tickles your fancy. As far as the Fractal stuff is concerned, they have a reasonable return policy.

I'm heavily biased towards Fractal but I think all the digital stuff is pretty damn great nowadays.
 

gregrjones

Member
Messages
308
As a worship leader, I live in the world of edge of breakup.

I used to own an Amplifire and while I loved it, if memory serves me correctly, the only real edge of breakup amps it had were the Voxes and a Bassman (although I bet you could dial the Cornford or Dumble that direction).

With modern worship music, edge of breakup lives in the Vox styled amp world. With that said, while I love Vox amps, they seem to sound thin to me when mic'd let alone modelled.

The Fractal Audio stuff (my main rig is an FM3) has these edge of breakup amps (and this list is just in the Vox style category):
- Morgan AC20
- Matchless DC30
- Matchless Chieftain
- Trainwreck Rocket
- Ruby
- Comet (I forget which one is Vox like)
- Vox AC30
- Vox AC15

All of these models will do edge of breakup very well. My personal favorite is the Chieftain, followed by the AC20, FWIW. I couldn't be happier with EOB tones in the Fractal.

And this doesn't even scratch the surface with other non-Vox like EOB amps in the Fractal like Dr Z, Suhr Badgers, various Fender Tweeds and the Deluxe Reverb, amongst many many others........
 
Last edited:

dk_ace

Member
Messages
2,422
Hello, can someone advise me here .. for 5 years or so I have been using Atomic Amplifire 12, and wondering if I should replace it with a more modern unit. I generally operate in clean to classic rock region, and by and large AF12 delivers that, except for the crucial edge of break-up where IMO the tones are thin .. and when I revert to my Mesa and play the same clean tones the room fills with heavenly tones, add a BB preamp and the tone fills out even more, without any fizz.. pure cream.

I tried Kemper Stage 2 years ago and of course it was a major improvement in many areas on the AF12 but again IMO it lacked the love in clean and edge-of-break-up tones, and I sold it, reverted to my valve amps where clean mattered, and or AF12 for all else.

2 years on and all the hoo-har about Quad Cortex I’m fidgeting again. I ordered a Cortex, and like so many waiting ... and waiting ... and .. but fear that I will again be unimpressed by it‘s ability to deliver full and rich clean and clipped tones.

Has anyone else been on my journey and can advise me? Have clean and edge-of-break-up tones really got much better since that red kidney bean of 1999, or should I cancel my order and buy another lovely valve amp?
Fractal or Helix do this excellently already and have for a long time. No need to wait for a qc, you can pick up a used hx stomp anytime and see what is possible.

D
 

Calaban

Member
Messages
2,878
All the top tier units can do it, but...

Your problem is likely in the monitoring.

I don’t think there exists a good solution at the moment. I don’t use my Kemper live for this very reason (among others). And I know people will say to use the Kemper Kabinet but I have my doubts.
 

phil_m

Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,614
I’ve certainly been happy with the Helix for those sort of tones, and I also thought the Kemper and the FM3 do them well, too. I live in that world.

This is one area where I think there’s a big disconnect between what people hear coming from their amp and what the mic is picking up. It was eye-opening (or maybe ear-opening is a better term) when I heard a board recording of myself playing live with an AC-15. I thought my tone sounded great in person, but when I heard the recorded tone, I thought it sounded thin and harsh. So perhaps one of the issues isn’t a limitation of modeling, but what people are expecting a mic’ed tone to sound like with their amp at certain settings.
 

jvin248

Member
Messages
5,837
.

'edge of breakup' can be achieved with a clean amp, a Fuzz pedal, and rolling the guitar volume back, here he's trying for clean but between clean and fuzz is breakup.



Seems like that breakup feature can be achieved with a clean amp and a Joyo American Sound pedal (with dialing in the knobs, slightly different than shown here but this gives a range of examples).



So if these types of pedals can get 'close enough for Rock 'n Roll' ... do you need fancy tube amps or spendy modelling rigs?

.
 

Johnny_guitar

Member
Messages
172
Buy a real amp as this will never disappoint. I have the Boss GT-1000core and it sounds good but its still missing the resolution, response and feel of analog gear. Other modelers may do a better job, but still...
FWIW, I've have a ToneMaster Deluxe Reverb, a GT-1000, and a Strymon Iridium, and the line-out on the ToneMaster sounds considerably more realistic than the comparable models on the GT-1000 or the Iridium.
 

RevDrucifer

Member
Messages
862
I’ve certainly been happy with the Helix for those sort of tones, and I also thought the Kemper and the FM3 do them well, too. I live in that world.

This is one area where I think there’s a big disconnect between what people hear coming from their amp and what the mic is picking up. It was eye-opening (or maybe ear-opening is a better term) when I heard a board recording of myself playing live with an AC-15. I thought my tone sounded great in person, but when I heard the recorded tone, I thought it sounded thin and harsh. So perhaps one of the issues isn’t a limitation of modeling, but what people are expecting a mic’ed tone to sound like with their amp at certain settings.
I believe that to be the case 90%-95% of the time.

After spending time in studios with guitar players, it never ceased to amaze me how little they care about what happens after the sound leaves the speakers. Years working on all those tones but the second it leaves the speaker cone and makes it’s way past the grill, who cares, right? That’s the soundguys job, or the engineers job!

It’d do every guitar player some good to get a 57 and stick it in front of their amp, record it and listen back to it. Try it in a bunch of different positions. You’ll start paying attention to where the soundguy is putting it at your next gig, I can tell ya that much!
 

sws1

Member
Messages
11,549
Hello, can someone advise me here .. for 5 years or so I have been using Atomic Amplifire 12, and wondering if I should replace it with a more modern unit. I generally operate in clean to classic rock region, and by and large AF12 delivers that, except for the crucial edge of break-up where IMO the tones are thin .. and when I revert to my Mesa and play the same clean tones the room fills with heavenly tones, add a BB preamp and the tone fills out even more, without any fizz.. pure cream.

I tried Kemper Stage 2 years ago and of course it was a major improvement in many areas on the AF12 but again IMO it lacked the love in clean and edge-of-break-up tones, and I sold it, reverted to my valve amps where clean mattered, and or AF12 for all else.

2 years on and all the hoo-har about Quad Cortex I’m fidgeting again. I ordered a Cortex, and like so many waiting ... and waiting ... and .. but fear that I will again be unimpressed by it‘s ability to deliver full and rich clean and clipped tones.

Has anyone else been on my journey and can advise me? Have clean and edge-of-break-up tones really got much better since that red kidney bean of 1999, or should I cancel my order and buy another lovely valve amp?
I modeled my own Ac15 set to edge of breakup, using my Kemper. Gig with it often. Sounds just like it.
Or I should say, it sounds like my AC15 being mic'd with an SM57 slightly off-axis.
 
Messages
289
Fractal or Helix do this excellently already and have for a long time. No need to wait for a qc, you can pick up a used hx stomp anytime and see what is possible.

D
Ive sadly never played a fractal. Theres none around to try and i have a few high end tubes amps so its not worth 3k for me. But i got a hx stomp 6 months ago since my son is 1 and a half and sleep alot and my wife does not like 100w amps on 10 hours a day. so i can play quitely now when i cant crank my babies. And honestly i barely used it this whole time. Even after weeks of making custom presets and even buying the highest rated ones. Wow it was a let down. BUT the new update last week, holy crap man! it went from pretty crappy in my opinion for anything but high gain or cleans. To now its honestly amazing once you dial it in. I made a matchless profile with some good IRs and good lord. It actually sounds super close to my real amps. It honestly makes me kind of mad cause im A TUBE SNOB lmao i build them and buy them and loveee the old tech. something about it excites me, so i dont want to admit some tiny little black box can compete with my 4k amps with 1k cabs.

But finally, it does. Its not exactly the same, but no one will ever know the difference. its just too good now. I know fractal is leagues above line 6. So if the stomp is this good, i REALLY want to get my hands on an axe fx, maybe a kemper or QC when its out.
 

dwoverdrive

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,031
Modelers have always fallen short with overdriven tones when the guitar volume is backed off. I think the best ones do edge of breakup ok.
 




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