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

ejecta

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,105
I say this as someone who has had this very conversation with people like Steve Fryette, Roy Blankenship, and other tube gurus. You want to talk about confirmation bias? Dear god. Even those knuckleheads [who make great amps] think digital is "there" now!
I’ve heard Fryette, Friedman and other builders say in interviews they thought modelers have come a long way and sound great for recording but live in the room especially in the feel area.... not so much. That said... appeal to authority isn’t really a strong argument for something so subjective.
 
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Aquinas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,626
Yep! This totally your problem and the reasoning seems to be based a lot on judging people you barely even know and couldn’t have a clue of their motivations.
I don't think their motivations matter in the slightest when their opinions are so obviously biased. Once again, it is the unsubtle ones I have an issue with - the absolute value judgement without enough experience to back it up ones. That is most of those opinions.

I feel perfectly justified in judging the hell out of people who are judgmental without the sense to at least realize their judgements are based on their own cognitive biases. Hence, unsubtle. There are subtle opinions that are valid. Ones that are snap and hyperbolic simply are not.

I’ve heard Steven Fryette, Dave Friedman, and other builders say the exact opposite in interviews. They said digital has come a long way and in the right situation be the right tool but to say “there”.... not so much.
You do realize that Steve is a good friend of mine? That I helped develop products for Fryette?

I haven't "heard it in interviews". I actually know these people. It isn't something I bring up often because it sounds arrogant as hell, but it is relevant here. Trust me, they know digital is "good enough" - their clients are using it. It is shaping how they do their business...

Which all goes back to the original question of the thread - "has modeling really cracked the EOB thing?" The answer is yes, objectively. Whether any individual prefers some other some other solution is a perfectly valid question and their opinions on the matter can be valuable. However, when they make absolute value statements like this:

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.
Then their opinions aren't really worth much.

By the way, one of my personal favorite "crunchy/EOB-ish" tones is an Ampeg V2 that I have cranked up. No modeler can capture what it does (and none have tried, because it is distorting the midrange control, and that is weird). That doesn't mean that they "haven't cracked EOB". It means they can't duplicate that amp. Which is fine - but it doesn't mean I couldn't find some other way to achieve a similar effect...
 

ejecta

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,105
I don't think their motivations matter in the slightest when their opinions are so obviously biased. Once again, it is the unsubtle ones I have an issue with - the absolute value judgement without enough experience to back it up ones. That is most of those opinions.

I feel perfectly justified in judging the hell out of people who are judgmental without the sense to at least realize their judgements are based on their own cognitive biases. Hence, unsubtle. There are subtle opinions that are valid. Ones that are snap and hyperbolic simply are not.



You do realize that Steve is a good friend of mine? That I helped develop products for Fryette?

I haven't "heard it in interviews". I actually know these people. It isn't something I bring up often because it sounds arrogant as hell, but it is relevant here. Trust me, they know digital is "good enough" - their clients are using it. It is shaping how they do their business...

Which all goes back to the original question of the thread - "has modeling really cracked the EOB thing?" The answer is yes, objectively. Whether any individual prefers some other some other solution is a perfectly valid question and their opinions on the matter can be valuable. However, when they make absolute value statements like this:



Then their opinions aren't really worth much.

By the way, one of my personal favorite "crunchy/EOB-ish" tones is an Ampeg V2 that I have cranked up. No modeler can capture what it does (and none have tried, because it is distorting the midrange control, and that is weird). That doesn't mean that they "haven't cracked EOB". It means they can't duplicate that amp. Which is fine - but it doesn't mean I couldn't find some other way to achieve a similar effect...
I’ve heard what I’ve heard and know what I know. You are more than welcome to see things as you wish and I’ll bow out now as I don’t have any interest in discussions with some who sees things like you do.
 
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ChieFender

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
198
I share the sentiment that modern modelers are now on par with real amps in terms of realism in the recording function, with headphones at least. You want to listen to yourself playing thru a HiWatt the size of one of those old fridges that you could get trapped in if you weren't careful? In other words, the sound of Live At Leeds? I'd argue that even something like the Pod Go can get you there, and the Firehawk FX wasn't too far off the mark either. Just for giggles, throw on some bucket brigade delay for thundering aftershocks of sonic delight while you're at it. Loads of fun!

OTOH I have yet to find a sound reinforcement system that adequately translates that feeling into the sensation of a cranked amp rippling the airspace around it. Still working on that. The TMDR got close. But I do get some satisfaction turning off the cab IR of the Iridium and running it into a little Champton. The Iridium Round amp with Drive and Mids cranked to at least 3 o'clock is particularly suited to this noisy endeavor.

Your senses and sensibilities may vary. And they should!
 
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RevDrucifer

Member
Messages
862
My problem isn't with opinions, per se, it is with arrogant, unsubtle opinions that are based in bias rather than any sort of reason.

The "I tried a Helix once in a GC, it sucked, therefore digital sucks and you suck for liking it, get better ears noob" syndrome, if you will.

That sort of thing is an opinion, but it isn't the kind you should or have to respect. It is just dumb arrogance. I'd say 99% (to use your number) of people on this thread (or any other like it, pick your poison) who say "no, digital can't do that" are suffering from some version of that syndrome, to a greater or lesser extent.

You are right that everyone is entitled to an opinion, but you aren't right that they should all be treated equally! People who say outright that "digital sucks" fall into the category of "confirmation bias so strong that their opinion loses judgment value".

I say this as someone who has had this very conversation with people like Steve Fryette, Roy Blankenship, and other tube gurus. You want to talk about confirmation bias? Dear god. Even those knuckleheads [who make great amps] think digital is "there" now!

So no, it isn't just "making it into something to argue". It is rational and experiential to me - there simply isn't any way to justify the opinion that "digital sucks" anymore. Such an opinion is clearly confirmation bias and that makes the opinion worthless. Saying something more nuanced - "I prefer my tube amp" or "I am not as happy with" - is another deal, and it is totally fine and justifiable. I even feel that way at times - there is a reason I've kept the nine tube amps I still have!

It is the absolute snap value judgements that aren't worth listening to. The "glowing glass or death" types. They are just wrong.
I have to agree, if I hear someone say “Tubes are better” or “Digital just can’t get that sound”, I take everything else they say with a grain of salt. I’ve spent far too much time behind studio monitors, listening to guitars under a microscope to buy into that BS.

Some dude’s seem to believe the measure of being a man is found in tubes, which is one of the most laughable things I’ve come across in 30 years of playing guitar.

The only thing I’ll agree on is that you can’t get an amp in the room tone from a FRFR setup, because it’s not an amp in the room. Plug into the return of an amp or get a power amp into a guitar cab, there’s your amp in a room.
 

GT100

Member
Messages
3,901
I cracked it within minutes of firing up my Headrush for the first time, personally speaking. Same with Helixs I've played through. The low gain-clean tones are where the modelers are closest to the real thing. Its when you get into real high gain territory that people claim to hear "artifacts"
That’s funny because I read people saying high gains are great and cleans suck.
Then others say the opposite...
 

Aquinas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,626
I’ve heard what I’ve heard and know what I know. You are more than welcome to see things as you wish and I’ll bow out now as I don’t have any interest in discussions with some who sees things like you do.
I strongly believe in falsifiability as a fundamental requirement for discussion. In other words, I believe that if you have an opinion you are unwilling to admit could be wrong then that opinion is wrong.

Because of that I have no interest in conversations with someone who thinks the statement "I've heard what I've heard and I know what I know" is rational in any way. I have a real issue with it, in fact. Unexamined subjectivity is a scourge upon humanity, and someone who thinks that it is a reasonable way to approach the world doesn't have my respect.

OTOH I have yet to find a sound reinforcement system that adequately translates that feeling into the sensation of a cranked amp rippling the airspace around it. Still working on that.
I agree with this to a point - but there is nothing stopping you from using traditional reinforcement with a modeler. In other words, use a power amp and cab. It does reduce the versatility a bit, but it also feels pretty much identical to an amp, including the vaunted clean up (the perception of which is often a function of volume, as well, in my experience).

But yeah, FRFR's don't feel the same. They can feel "fine", but it will always be different. The truth is that most gigs lately have been on ears in any case, so that isn't actually relevant anymore - you aren't going to be hearing your amp in the first place!
 

Elric

Member
Messages
4,870
Fear of missing out is rather strong when it comes to modelers. Because your tone comes out of essentially a computer in a relatively small box, we have a hard time reconciling it could sound or feel as good as the "real thing", those big heads and combos with glowing vacuum tubes. So you start thinking "it is a digital model after all, surely the real thing just sounds better?" but there's just a lot of evidence that with a comparable output system, the digital sounds and feels just great.
This has been evident in the extreme on most YouTube videos over the last four or five years where someone does the "Guess: which is the modeler and which is the amp" schtick. Basically people pick their favorite of the two and then always guess that one as the amp because 'realer' == 'better' and there is no longer a real, clearly defined, difference in digital vs modeling when it comes to recorded material for most listeners these days.

I personally listen for noise. Analog gear tends to not be dead quiet at idle. :D
 

DeadLazy

Member
Messages
1,475
Five years ago I was barely accepting of digital reverb. Today I prefer digital. I kept my glass but some compromises aside, I think digital is superior.

Ten years from now...

I haven’t purchased my last tube amp, but when I buy them it’s a hobby now. I don’t actually use them anymore. I do still take a tube amp to small rooms but that’s because I enjoy it. I don’t think it’s better. I just enjoy playing an amp with glass; I’d take digital any day if I had to choose though.
 

Chadley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,101
Exclusive HX stomp user here after years and years of tube amplifiers snobbery. My secret to edge of break up tones at respectable volume back in the tube amp days was to always play through a drive pedal and roll off the guitar volume to clean things up. King of Tone is my preferred pedal. I just took that same approach with modelers and all the in between tones are there just like with amps.
 

Defendant

Member
Messages
6,537
Rolling the volume down isn’t the measure for me.

A great amp will go from clean to ballsy simply with variation in how your pick/finger is hitting the string.

I like and use modelers and plugins, but I’ve never come across one that accurately simulates the differences a good, simple tube amp gives through varying pick/finger attack.

To be honest, generally most more complicated tube amps lose this as well, so there’s that.
 

ejecta

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,105
Rolling the volume down isn’t the measure for me.

A great amp will go from clean to ballsy simply with variation in how your pick/finger is hitting the string.

I like and use modelers and plugins, but I’ve never come across one that accurately simulates the differences a good, simple tube amp gives through varying pick/finger attack.

To be honest, generally most more complicated tube amps lose this as well, so there’s that.
I agree... the whole rolling your volume down for me isn’t the test either. It’s like you say it’s not about pick dynamics. When you have a well designed simple one channel amp they excel at this and the more channels and especially the more it’s capable of higher gain it loses this as well in my experience. Maybe some guys just don’t know or care about this dynamic which is fine but to act like people like you and I are just tube snobs incapable of being honest with ourselves about modelers is just a stupid argument.
 

Guitardave

Member
Messages
10,210
Modeling does just fine with edge of breakup tones as long as you are comparing with a mic'd up amp.

Many classic amps are so loud at "edge of breakup" that I don't trust that I (or most) really perceive the sound all that accurately. It's always strange to have discussions regarding fairly subtle things that in real world only occur at such high volumes and in environments with lots of competing noise. I know I have an impression of my favorite amp that changes constantly depending on volume.

I've spent years with both technologies and usually use tube amps for gigs and modeling for situations where volume is an issue (home, recording, silent stages, etc.)
 

DeadLazy

Member
Messages
1,475
I agree... the whole rolling your volume down for me isn’t the test either. It’s like you say it’s not about pick dynamics. When you have a well designed simple one channel amp they excel at this and the more channels and especially the more it’s capable of higher gain it loses this as well in my experience. Maybe some guys just don’t know or care about this dynamic which is fine but to act like people like you and I are just tube snobs incapable of being honest with ourselves about modelers is just a stupid argument.
My favorite amps were and are one channel amps, that I like specifically because I find them responsive.

I just disagree that you can not do the same with a model. On both my Stage and Helix I’ve found the dynamics I want.

I only recently went digital a few years ago so my entire life it’s been an amp in the room and despite that, I’ve come to see it as a myth; especially when we talk about volume. It’s different and has some unique qualities but if I blast your face with a sound, even a good one, I think we are actually hearing less, not more. It depends a lot on your set up but that’s always been true.

I love my Plexi’s, but anything that needs to be driving at 100+ db to sound good... maybe it doesn’t actually sound so good. Maybe it’s sympathizing with a captor.

But yeah, it’s sounds snobbish when people wax poetic about playing dynamics and how whatever they think they perceive is truth.

It’s all in our heads. Once I got that into my head, I could give a crap if it’s sounds like a real amp. Give me a musical tool and I’ll put it to use, and digital can be dynamic and musical. How good or bad that is depends on the composer and the player.

**I do like the sounds I get out of my Plexi at lower volumes at home. But we all know what I’m talking about.
 
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TubeStack

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,745
I have an FM3. The “edge of breakup” tones sound great and are impressively touch responsive. But a real amp still feels far more satisfying and lively to play.
 

Afcollett

Member
Messages
128
If the OP was disappointed with the KPA I don’t know what to say, if a experienced person profiles an amp on the edge of breakup well, that’s what you get out of it, same dynamics and feel, eq and adjust to take out the mic sound if you like, enhance the things with the wide range of included parameter if you feel the need and then it’s down to how you monitor it, a big big part of the final result and the yes the Kemper Kone/cab is all that.
 

Watt McCo

Member
Messages
11,228
I agree... the whole rolling your volume down for me isn’t the test either. It’s like you say it’s not about pick dynamics. When you have a well designed simple one channel amp they excel at this and the more channels and especially the more it’s capable of higher gain it loses this as well in my experience. Maybe some guys just don’t know or care about this dynamic which is fine but to act like people like you and I are just tube snobs incapable of being honest with ourselves about modelers is just a stupid argument.
Pft. You'd probably argue the sky is blue, too, even though that's just what you THINK it is. If you were as smart as me, you'd know it's really just colorless. And all those artists smearing their blue/purple/orange/ref paints on the canvas to try to capture their perception of the sky are just fooling themselves thinking the color can somehow change based on time of day!?! Can you imagine?

 

Jdstrat

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,882
Mine is the least qualified voice on TGB, being a mediocre home headphone player. But after years of frustration with different devices seeking a pleasant edge-of breakup tone without fizz or crackle or other unpleasantries, Pod GO has ended the frustration. I enjoy most of the amp models, and most of the stock cabs. And I just play. That's the most telling evidence in my particular situation--I'm spending 90% less time tweaking.

I have a little board on the floor in the fx loop, with a couple Joyo amp pedals and an Amplifirebox, and it's all great fun to the ears.

Things like touch and feel and other subtleties like that are lost on me. I have almost no history with real tube amps, and I'm not skilled enough to really dial in on the 50 shades of touch that may or may not exist in any given model.

Pretty happy player here.
 




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