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

Defendant

Member
Messages
6,537
Believe it or not, I seem to get some of those differences in modelers when set to emulate some of those simple amps (by simple, I understood you meant Class A amps like a Champ, sorry in advance if not the case). In any case, it is one thing to go from clean to a 5e3 mean; a Recto will not go from its clean to its meanest through touch alone. The GOOD modelers today are at least bridging the gap in regards to those variations in tone we get from simple tubes (I own an Acedo Audio 276, basically a Champ with a EL84 power tube, so I know and love those too!). As for a Recto that goes from clean to meltdown, now THAT would be an interesting direction for digital, exactly because it can't really be done with tubes. If I'm not mistaken, the Litigator amp in the Line 6 Helix does something of the sort
Great post!

By simple I don't mean Class A, though some class A amps fit the bill.

My definition would roughly be: 6 knobs or less, ideally no master volume. That covers most classic fenders (count one Channel on a blackface), voxes, Marshalls etc.

A champ and a 5E3 do definitely qualify - a reason this is important to me is a decade gigging a Victoria double deluxe -pretty much the last word in touch sensitive.

Your point about models following the Amps is interesting -i definitely wouldn't be seeking clean to mean with just a pick out of a recto.

I'll go and have a play. I recall my helix 5E3 doesnt match my Vic for dynamics -but I haven't compared for a while.
 

tinverse

Member
Messages
175
A lot of people saying yes but personally I don't think modelers quite do power amp distortion right. A lot of them get close enough that I would never have an issue in the moment, but I do notice it. At the end of the day a good sound is a good sound.
 
Messages
1,974
Who do you try to impress? I'm already taken and have no interest, sorry.
Well technically you were correct. I have been semi-retired for a few years, so I was acknowledging that. I also have more than two decades where I was first call at Tin Pan Alley Studios in London. Your criticism that I was not a professional, though strictly true, leaves all sorts of nuances about my right to a professional opinion rather lacking.

I admit, it is an appeal to authority. It's just I think my opinion is more measured than yours and even has as much, if not more, credibility. And it seems to agree with the other "professionals" on here.
 
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timbuck2

Senior Member
Messages
1,549
A lot of people saying yes but personally I don't think modelers quite do power amp distortion right. A lot of them get close enough that I would never have an issue in the moment, but I do notice it. At the end of the day a good sound is a good sound.
I can agree with this. Modelers are a shortcut and may do a good job in the end but the ride there isnt as enjoyable as an amp
 
Messages
1,974
what single? just curious.
Waltz Away Dreaming. George Michael and Toby Bourke.

I was a jobbing session man in Toby's band. I brought him (and indirectly George) into TPA studios. Toby's sister (who did backing vox) is godmother to my son. Actually, I'm trying to get her to do some singing on my lockdown demos. She's a bit good.
 
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gregrjones

Member
Messages
308
Chieftain is closer to a Fender than a Vox, but has characteristics of both. Fender-like tone stack and reverb, hybrid output.

DC30 is very Vox, but much stiffer power supply and OT. Top Boost on one side, AC15-style EF86 on the other but with a bass cut on a click.

Clubman is the weirdo.
Really? It's a class A amp with EL84's or maybe even EL34's, I can't remember. It has no negative feedback like we associate with that type of amp.

What I hear is Vox chime and medium gain breakup, Vox cleans and more of a smoother overdrive when pushed by a pedal.

I'm not saying anyone's wrong..... just giving some of my reasoning.
 

Aquinas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,626
Really? It's a class A amp with EL84's or maybe even EL34's, I can't remember. It has no negative feedback like we associate with that type of amp.

What I hear is Vox chime and medium gain breakup, Vox cleans and more of a smoother overdrive when pushed by a pedal.

I'm not saying anyone's wrong..... just giving some of my reasoning.
Eh, I've always heard it as a Fendery sort of chime, kind of like a Blonde. I was wrong about the tone stack - it is weird, split over two stages - but all that means is that it is its own thing. Power tube type doesn't really change sound all that much compared to other factors (it just makes a "handy comparison" due to usual practices) - a Fender Twin with EL34s and the proper OT would still sound like a Twin even cranked - and the Chieftain is a weirdo in that regard, too...

In other words, you can't really call it "Fendery" or "Voxy" based on circuit alone. What you hear as "smooth Vox" I hear as 'Fender', because I associate that smoothness with Fender. But it really is just "Matchless-y"!
 

Maguchi

Member
Messages
481
I have nine in the same room as my Helix.

I still use the Helix more.

I'm not the only one.
Doesn't sound right to my ears.

Like knobs and pots, not menu diving, presets and LCD displays.

I'm not the only one.
 
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MartinC

Member
Messages
3,073
Using HX Effects, I think great edge of breakup tones are achievable using any of the following into a regular amp: Kinky Boost (EP Boost), Heir Apparent (Prince of Tone), Dhyana Drive (Zendrive). My personal favourite is the Kinky Boost.

The Ratatouille (Rat) and Horizon (Precision Drive) models can also produce great lower gain tones with a combination of lower gain settings and guitar volume rolled off.
 

Aquinas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,626
Doesn't sound right to my ears.

Like knobs and pots, not menu diving, presets and LCD displays.

I'm not the only one.
The difference is that I don't try to tell people that they are wrong for finding newer technology usable.

You did.

You said, to paraphrase, "Don't bother, just buy a toob amp".

Which is fine when expressed as a personal opinion, but rather less than useful on a digital forum, and wasn't the question which was asked.

Especially not when your stated reason for that opinion is "I'm too old-fashioned to figure out them there new-fangled LCDD's", which has literal nothing to do with sound quality, which was the subject at question.

You're right, you certainly are not the only one. Doesn't make it a particularly impressive club to which to belong...
 

paulmapp8306

Member
Messages
617
If you were disappointed with Atomic and Kemper...my money is on disappointment with QC (and Fractal stuff) too.
Not necessarily.

I never liked that atomic. Kemper is absolutely dependant on the profile. There are hundreds if trash ones to wade through to find the good stuff.

Qc sounds better than kemper but is a beta product almost. Functionality is still very early on.

For edge if break up I'd be going fractal fm3 or full blown afx3 if justifiable.
 

paulmapp8306

Member
Messages
617
The difference is that I don't try to tell people that they are wrong for finding newer technology usable.

You did.

You said, to paraphrase, "Don't bother, just buy a toob amp".

Which is fine when expressed as a personal opinion, but rather less than useful on a digital forum, and wasn't the question which was asked.

Especially not when your stated reason for that opinion is "I'm too old-fashioned to figure out them there new-fangled LCDD's", which has literal nothing to do with sound quality, which was the subject at question.

You're right, you certainly are not the only one. Doesn't make it a particularly impressive club to which to belong...
I dont think "get a toob amp" is valid either.

Gigital units now are indistinguishable in a mix (either recorded or through a desk) to an audience which is what matters.

It's true still that for the player thete can be a difference, depending very much on if you go frfr, amp and cab, and what gear you use for that amplification.

BUT I went to digital BECAUSE toob amps didnt work for me. I spent 1000's but constantly could get the sound in my head.

Either a freq that I couldn't get rid of or add. Or clean was great drive not so much etc etc.

While profilers will give me the same things, modelling offers me the tools to get the tone I'm chasing.

I get toob amps for some people, I get digital for others,,,,and the % that digital suits better is growing year on year.
 
Messages
1,974
I think folk have all become a bit too dogmatic about their positions vis-a-vis modellers, valve amps, etc.

Most folk who use digital stuff use it in combination with other kit they have. If you're playing in a theatre pit and you need to have a low noise floor and a lot of different sounds, it is almost all modellers. Same with function bands (I bought my Helix as a function band solution, not as my main rig - it took less than three months for me to mothball my Marshall halfstack/BF Twin and old-fashioned pedalboard which had been my main rig.

AITR? Try your modeller with a power amp and speakers. Then, if you have to, mic it up. It will be among the best sounds you will ever record. Any of the big three will get you to a really good place soundwise. And best guess is the QC will be just as good too.

Modellers are not without problems and downsides. The Helix doesn't have great cabs unless you can tweak well, but it does have IR storage. The Axe FX has a fiddly O/S, but a good editor. The Kemper is what it is. You need to live with it to appreciate its limitations. The QC will be a bit of time in development to get it to a mature working platform with all the bells and whistles.

And even with all that, what are working guitarists playing?

There's a reason for that. Other people can deny it if they wish, and that's fine; there will always be room for magnificent eccentrics in music, I hope. But for the disciplined player who is scraping a living hustling gigs and sessions, and who needs reliability, versatility, replicability, and a wide variety of good sounds, as well as a pretty quick pre-gig setup and post-gig breakdown, it's a total no-brainer. Those on the steps above me have roadies to move their kit around and techs to set-up for them. They can indulge in their Tube Amp cork-sniffing.

If your running costs allow you to be a collector and user of vintage kit, great. But it's pretty much the same as cars. A 1960's Ferarri or Alfa is a thing of beauty and really special. In terms of performance, versatility, and around the track in the hands of the Stig, a new BMW M3 will post a better time. (This doesn't mean that I wouldn't like to own a 33 Stradale; of course I would. But I couldn't afford to own one and maintain it properly.)
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
7,248
I think folk have all become a bit too dogmatic about their positions vis-a-vis modellers, valve amps, etc.

Most folk who use digital stuff use it in combination with other kit they have. If you're playing in a theatre pit and you need to have a low noise floor and a lot of different sounds, it is almost all modellers. Same with function bands (I bought my Helix as a function band solution, not as my main rig - it took less than three months for me to mothball my Marshall halfstack/BF Twin and old-fashioned pedalboard which had been my main rig.

AITR? Try your modeller with a power amp and speakers. Then, if you have to, mic it up. It will be among the best sounds you will ever record. Any of the big three will get you to a really good place soundwise. And best guess is the QC will be just as good too.

Modellers are not without problems and downsides. The Helix doesn't have great cabs unless you can tweak well, but it does have IR storage. The Axe FX has a fiddly O/S, but a good editor. The Kemper is what it is. You need to live with it to appreciate its limitations. The QC will be a bit of time in development to get it to a mature working platform with all the bells and whistles.

And even with all that, what are working guitarists playing?

There's a reason for that. Other people can deny it if they wish, and that's fine; there will always be room for magnificent eccentrics in music, I hope. But for the disciplined player who is scraping a living hustling gigs and sessions, and who needs reliability, versatility, replicability, and a wide variety of good sounds, as well as a pretty quick pre-gig setup and post-gig breakdown, it's a total no-brainer. Those on the steps above me have roadies to move their kit around and techs to set-up for them. They can indulge in their Tube Amp cork-sniffing.
Amen. I used the Axe-Fx 2 with an Atomic FR for monitoring for years, always worked great except adjusting it from the front panel was a nightmare. Axe-Fx 3 and FM3 are much better in this regard, Helix and QC even more so.

I ditched the Axe-Fx 2 rig when the Axe-Fx 3 came out, didn't have the upgrades I wanted and was too expensive and at the same time I was reconsidering if I need all the capabilities in the first place. Went back to tubes.

Since then I have come back around to modelers and just use them for different things. I keep my big heavy tube amps for my own enjoyment and if I did gig anymore I would rather take a modeler. Or my BluGuitar Amp 1 because that's super small and light too. When you are your own roadie it's just not fun to haul around heavy combos or amps and cabs.

It's ridiculous to be dogmatic about this stuff when you can just use all of it if you want! I run digital fx into my tube amps and use modelers for direct recording, through headphones, as travel rig etc.

I understand not wanting to use modeling if your usecase is "guitar, amp and two pedals" type simplicity. Modelers are massive overkill for that. But for cover band type stuff or people with massive pedalboards they can really simplify your life.
 

James Freeman

Member
Messages
1,992
Unrelated to 'edge-of-breakup' be here my situation;
I use amp+cab when practicing or noodling because it is easy, fun, authentic, and I have no neighbor volume issues.
I use modelers for anything requires "in-the-box" sound like capturing a cab with a microphone, effects, or any processing for recorded sound.
I also often use Helix into a Class D Poweramp into a Cab, in my experience it sounds 99.9% like a real tube amp once you understand how actual volume relates to the modeler Master/Drive controls, also very fun.

In other words, there is nothing like moving real air through a real guitar cab, tube amp or modeler.
 
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