Help going Ampless

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by stevel, Apr 14, 2019 at 4:23 PM.

  1. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Mods: ( @big mike ) please move this if it's in the wrong place - not sure if it belongs in effects, amps, or modelling!

    I've been pondering this for a while.

    Here's what I need:

    Clean (and I mean real, actual clean), Drive (typical light OD - classic rock rhythm), More Drive (saturated, lead tone, sustain, etc.).

    And something to make all 3 of those louder.

    I want to plug my guitar into something that does that, and then that goes on to FOH (preferably via XLR).

    I'm using in-ears, rarely, a floor wedge - but FOH can handle getting those signals back to me.

    I can't buy a $1,500 Helix or whatever. I can't really even dump $500 into this.

    Seems like I need something that models the Pre-Amp and Power Amp sections of an Amp, and then the Cabinet as well, in order to get a decent, non-hi-fi guitar sound through the system.

    I would be OK with running a couple of pedals into a box of some sort that would do this.

    What I'm essentially looking for is an Amp, that has a D.I. out, that sounds like the amp does when it's mic'd up. But in a box instead of an actual amp. One little box that replaces the the amp and that whole signal chain in one unit.

    I'm getting the feeling that pedals into a cab sim isn't enough. Pedals into an amp sim without cab sim isn't enough. You need the whole chain - pre/post/cab/mic emulated (which makes sense of course).

    I could pick pre-amp gain, or pedal gain via models, and that would be OK (so like a small Boss multi-effects) or I'd want to just run my existing pedalboard into a box that does all this.

    Ideally, I'm thinking it could be something I could use my teeny pedal board with, or my bigger pedal board, and use as a recording unit as well (just XLR out is fine for that as well).

    Looks like something like the Hotone Binary Amp and Cab sims might work - but you'd need both - I only want one box.

    Do I need the Ampli-Firebox? $300 is pushing it but it seems like it would do everything I want (and be able to use pedals in front if necessary).

    Or is there something a little simpler that works just as well (like I just need one clean amp model to put my pedals into really) for a bit less coin?
     
  2. jaime136

    jaime136 Member

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    I think the firebox is what you need in your budget range. Before I moved on to the Fractal, I had good results using drive pedals in to the AF. I had an entire no-amp pedal board running into it and it worked well. I took a compressor and various levels of gain into a clean model (I think I used the Twin and IR of a Friedman 4x12) into various modulations and reverb/delays. If you want amp distortion, the models are easily capable of that as well. I only got rid of it all to pair it down to an all in one unit. I was very impressed with what you got for $300'ish bucks. Some guys have trouble with the channel switching scheme, but I never used it that way and it doesn't sound like you will either. They've made some improvements to the reverb and delays, but that was after my time with it, so I cant comment on that.

    I tried gain pedals into just a Two Notes Torpedo CAB and it just didn't work for me. IMHO, you really need the EQ a preamp device provides. I tried all of the heavy hitters (Friedman BEOD, MXR 5150, Empress Heavy, etc.) and something was missing. Sold the cab and got the Firebox and there it was.

    The only thing more simple would be something like the Tech 21 Blonde or others in that series or maybe one of their FlyRigs. A used Amplifier 3 or 6 and would get almost everything you need in one smallish box.
     
  3. Multicellular

    Multicellular Supporting Member

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    Firebox is pretty simple. I hooked mine up to a computer twice in a year +. Once when new to browse all the amp/cab choices, save 6 presets. Once to test the new Archon amp model. I just use it like you would an amp, switch models, adjust knobs, get good results.
     
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  4. biffoz

    biffoz Member

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    I've been a direct-inject player or many years now and used to use the Boss GT-series, early modelers, but migrated back to a pedalboard after some gear issues and perception issues (people simply not respecting your sounds, when they see a modeler, or what they construe as a non-tube, faulty platform).

    I've used both the Helix and AXE FX boxes and certainly think they're pretty awesome, but i've gotten tons of great sounds and mileage using my lowly Tech 21 Character Series preamps: Oxford and Blonde being my two faves, but I've tried them all due to knowing an endorsee who handed me a full box containing every last Character Series pedal!.

    New twist is that I also have a friend who has gotten into the Kingsley line of tube drives and especially their preamps and honestly, the Squire preamp I'm demoing on my board feels and sounds just like an old fender and is very forgiving, allowing great sounds across a broad range of settings and handles pedals great, where the Tech 21 boxes were a good bit more finicky.

    I'll be going back to my T21's soon though and am now on the Kingsley waitlist which is roughly a year, so in the end, I'll use a Kingsley preamp as my amp and I couple it with a Mooer Radar IR/Cab box, possibly upgrading to one of the Two Notes products at some point.

    I may grab an AmpliFireBox while waiting for my Kingsley to see if it impresses me so much that I cancel the Kingsley list, but we'll see. The coolest thing about the AFB is that it has built in cab sims and IR's, so it's a well-integrated solution.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019 at 7:09 PM
  5. hobbes1

    hobbes1 Member

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    Amplifire Firebox or Line 6 Hx Stomp. Small, flexible and sound great.
    Will require some patience to learn to dial in your tones. What FOH gets will likely sound different that what you get in your IEM's and/or your wedge. This is due to each item being intrinsically different (design/speaker(s)/placement, etc). You will need to learn to live with the differences and exploit them to their best advantage. Good luck!

    ps/ head over to the Digital Modeling forum for LOADS of reading material, discussion, arguments, opinions, etc.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019 at 7:21 PM
  6. Hamer95USA

    Hamer95USA Member

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    Good subject of discussion. Move to Digital & Modeling forum please. I would recommend any of the Tech 21 Character pedals as an amp platform and you can still use your pedals.

    Guitar George
     
  7. jaime136

    jaime136 Member

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    Absolutely on the Tech 21s. As a proof of concept to myself, I bought the Joyo American Sound for 30 bucks and got some pretty good results. Didn't mean to insinuate that they are lesser.

    Do the Character Series pedals have an XLR? I don't think the Joyo did.
     
  8. biffoz

    biffoz Member

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    No XLR on the T21's. Coincidentally, before I used those, I had a Joyo American Sound someone tossed me and it was cool (still have it). That said, I think it's a bit rattier sounding than the T21 boxes, but it was fine, both to the touch and it recorded well too.
     
  9. DustyRhodesJr

    DustyRhodesJr Supporting Member

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    Possibly Vox Stomplab or Behringer V Amp.
     
  10. uitar99

    uitar99 Member

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    I recently found a barely used Pod XTL floorboard for $100. I use it a back up to a pod xdl floorboard I bought in probably 2007/8. It always comes through. There must be tons of this stuff out there used and cheap.
     
  11. bob-i

    bob-i Member

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    Several years ago I bought an HD500 mostly to use with an amp using the 4 cable method. It works really well. I have some modeled stomp boxes before the amp, time base effects in the amp loop.

    This week I decided to try going ampless at a rehearsal. I downloaded quite a few patches, took some things from each and created 8 patches from them. I cover everything you mention and more, including some U2 and Floyd delay type patches.

    At rehearsal I plugged into the console, and because I had no control over the monitors, I used a little personal monitor. It sounded very good, and the band didn’t know I wasn’t plugged into the amp I usually use.

    And this is a unit obsolete for several years.
     
  12. stevel

    stevel Member

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    But won't the Tech 21s have to go through some kind of Cab Sim?
     
  13. shredtrash

    shredtrash Supporting Member

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    I would go Firebox and a few pedals. That's what I do and it works really well!
     
    stevel and jhideout like this.
  14. jaime136

    jaime136 Member

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    They don't use IR's, but they have a built in emulation which is pretty good. A lot of people get good results out of them.

    I would still recommend the FireBox...the problem I had with the Joyo version was there wasn't enough clean headroom to run it as a "pedalboard into a clean amp" rig. But, I like my cleans pristine, your mileage may vary. If you like a little hair on them, you should be fine.
     
  15. biffoz

    biffoz Member

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    I lived with the native Tech 21 cab sim forever, but the Mooer Radar really made things much better. In phones, you can really hear the harshness of the T21 vs. the Radar.

    I have friends who have ditched the Radar for the Two Notes stuff, saying it's better (which I don't doubt), but my main diss on them is the size of the boxes—not pedalboard friendly. I'm lame that way.

    Looking a the new Greer SOMA preamp a bit too and might have to give one a try. The demos I've seen seem to focus on the cranked dirt side of it, but there should be some good cleans in there somewhere. *-) Ever hopeful.
     
  16. Frank67

    Frank67 Member

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    I recommend a Tech21 FlyRig 5 (for basic sounds and effects; v2 is coming with really useful upgrades) and a Mooer Radar (to handle power amp and cab) ... meets your price point, is tiny, versatile and sounds really good FOH. You do not absolutely need the Radar - but it sounds noticeably better than the tech 21 built in cabsim IMHO.
     
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  17. mikebat

    mikebat Member

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    Less than $500?

    That will be a challenge. Don't underestimate the importance of a little room reverb at the very least to make it enjoyable to play. A super dry signal is tough with in-ears.
     
  18. c_mac

    c_mac Member

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    I use a Tech21 Liverpool in conjunction with a Carl Martin Rock Bug. I turn off the cab sim on the Tech21 and use the Open setting on the Rock Bug. I do this to take advantage of the XLR out on the Rock Bug. This setup sounds great and can be had pretty cheap. You’ll want a couple of overdrive pedals to go with it since you’ll be using the Tech21 as the preamp. One of the things I like best about this setup is that it stays analog.
     

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