How Long Before Digital Amps Take Over?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by mbell75, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. guitarman3001

    guitarman3001 Member

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    So it doesn't always apply that newer equals better?
     
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  2. SAVEStheDAY

    SAVEStheDAY Member

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    @mbell75

    Are you looking for opinions or an argument? I see a lot of thoughtful, honest opinions here. You seem to think everyone who disagrees is picking a fight. That's not the case, chill bro.
     
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  3. Doomrider78

    Doomrider78 Member

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    "Sounds great out of the box" is subjective, but that's fine. My point was primarily aimed at the evolution of the amp as a whole: I'd argue that the majority of people don't need 1000 different options on an amp, especially when many of the options require some careful programming of digital footswitches and computer software to actually use them in a live band situation. This is why i think the Tonemaster-style amps are the way forward.

    Using the photography analogy that others have been using here: When digital camera came out, and still to this day to an extent, some models came crammed with every feature under the sun, especially when it came to the pixel war. Now, you see simplification of digital cameras, to a point where they now are simpler to operate and maintain than film cameras.
     
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  4. Doomrider78

    Doomrider78 Member

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    I wonder if this has anything to do with the OP's recent epiphany regarding his Katana :hide:dunno:D
     
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  5. MilwMark

    MilwMark Member

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    I don’t disagree. My only point is that’s what the Katana is already.
     
  6. Funky54

    Funky54 Member

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    Why is this thread in Amps & Cabs. It should be moved to the modeler forum so it’s blocked with my ignore list.

    I think you put it here to fight about and try and exonerate your own opinion. I think digital sounds horrible. There’s my opinion.
     
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  7. MilwMark

    MilwMark Member

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    Why do so many Tube aficionados seem to find discussions of alternate technologies so threatening?

    Not all, mind. But many seem to have a visceral response
     
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  8. bigfoamfinger

    bigfoamfinger Supporting Member

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    Like it or not digital amps are already taking their piece of the pie, and the piece is going to get bigger. As modelers get better more people will "convert". Every person who buys a modeler ISN'T buying a tube amp with that money so it is, and will continue to, affect tube sales

    I love tube amps and I will always have a few of them, but I can't ignore the fact that my Axe III can get very close in tone, has dozens of amps built in, silent recording, headphone jack, easily programmable scenes, and is much easier to haul to shows
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
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  9. OPENYOUREYES

    OPENYOUREYES Member

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    According to fender and the new tm amps its all about the processing power vs their lowend gt amps.
     
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  10. -Empire

    -Empire Supporting Member

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    They have already taken over in the pro live audio world. Every major festival we play there is a increasing percentage of digital units (Kemper, Fractal, Helix).

    At the smaller alt radio festivals the bands with a song or two on the alt charts still have all their boutique pedalboards but at the higher levels there is an obvious lack of amps and pedals. Anyone watch CMAfest last week?

    The audience only hears the signal from the mic on the cab through the PA, you only hear that same signal through your IEMs, so the live cabs serve no purpose except to bleed into the vocal mics. With the live cabs offstage you’re now comparing apples to apples with a digital unit: mic’d tone to mic’d tone through the same speakers / PA / IEMs.

    A lot of people mistakenly confuse “a live guitar cab in the room” with “real tubes,” hence the stubbornly persistent myth that “digital sounds nothing like tubes,” which is due to the different monitoring paradigms.

    Most guys still have their amps at home for studio stuff and nostalgia, but apples to apples they're not worth bringing on the road any more.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
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  11. OPENYOUREYES

    OPENYOUREYES Member

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    But isnt that profile of the actual amp at just one moment and not fluid? so...would amp controls in a kemper work just like on the amp modeled? Remember not all controls on every tube amp even if by the same name all work in the same manor?So if you profile a ac30tb does the tone control work exactly as it does in the ac30?
     
  12. DC1

    DC1 Member

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    There will be tubes as long as people are buying them.

    dc
     
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  13. Colnago

    Colnago Member

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    One of the reasons that I like tube amps is that they don't get obsolete. Everything digital gets replaced quickly, usually every 3 years a new model comes out. We then all need the new model and the cycle never ends. Tube amps, on the other hand, get better with age and we all desire the old ones. I love the concept.
     
  14. aryasridhar

    aryasridhar Member

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    Digital amps have a long way to go to overrun tube amplifiers in my opinion (not ONLY in terms of sound, but also in terms of reliability, ease of repair, thermal management & Voltage Spike Handling.

    Reliability & Voltage Spike Handling:-

    Just like the PC’s, or Mobile Phones these digital units run similarly.

    The Core Code (BIOS or Firmware) which is the interface between the core hardware and the Operating System. This is written on ROM, which is electrically programmed, meaning has every chance of writing down the instructions as written, and crashing the unit.

    The Operating System code (A digital amp is as good as it’s operating system), Remember when a bad OS installed, we do see issues like hung OS, errors etc.

    Voltage Spike Handling:-

    Now the power supplies for these units are not Transformer Based, almost always are SMPS based, just as our PC or Laptop power supplies are made of. Now these units can handle spikes to an extent but not as reliably as the good old transformer can and still stay alive after a big spike.

    Whereas the chips in the digital units run at very tight voltages, with a blown voltage spike protection system in these units, can burn out the primary chips with just 2-4 seconds of a major spike (have seen several such units from various manufacturers).

    Ease of Repair:-

    The boards on these units are multilayered, maybe as many as 16 layers or more, which is absolutely a horror to trace and repair without schematics, now obviously manufacturers wouldn’t share schematics of these units. Even with the schematics it is not an easy job to fix and repair and call it a reliable repair. These boards are use and throw, meaning even the manufacturers do not bother to repair the units, they rather replace the boards when something goes wrong.

    Thermal Management:-

    The most important bit, these units are cramped with components, with the primary processors heating up (meaning the thermal bits are also moving) given the nature of a floor digital unit for example.

    The floor units do not have fans in them, so heat isn’t escaping out, due to the design.

    Bottom line, if any of these issues were to happen during a gig, pretty much the next solution is to hook up straight to an amp.


    Now if all the above were fixed, I would maybe then start comparing how these sound against tube amps. Solely since I do NOT want to invest in a digital unit only to have it as an EXPENSIVE PAPERWEIGHT when it fails Out of Warranty.
     
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  15. MixMinisterMike

    MixMinisterMike Supporting Member

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    You grab a profile of an amp at its native settings for whatever you consider a kick-ass tone.
    The EQ controls on the front are more for what a sound tech would use to tweak your amps' tone for a specific room when used live. For people gigging a lot that can be more useful than wrestling with the idiosyncrasies of a specific amp's tone stack when dialing in for a room.
    The gain control doesn't work like an amp's gain control either, it acts like a boost before the amp.
     
  16. woof*

    woof* Member

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    Threatening?
    lol
    No, just silly.
     
  17. MixMinisterMike

    MixMinisterMike Supporting Member

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    In Live at Pompeii - Pink Floyd address the criticism they have for using new technology in their music. It's the same refrain today.

    And the Digital & Modeling board is filled with people threatened when someone likes a different modeler than they do. :)

    Why an artist wouldn't want to use the widest array of tools available to push their craft forward is beyond me, and there's nothing less ROCK than being a curmudgeon and sounding like your close-minded dad.
     
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  18. mbell75

    mbell75 Member

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    It is strange isn't it? Especially considering that these modern day, reissue tube amps with PCB boards, different transformers and way different tubes sound quite different than the original tube amps from the 60s. Companies that made those vacuum tubes are long gone or haven't made vacuum tubes for decades. Sure, you can find them for outrageous prices online but I don't know many paying thousands for tubes. All these reissues are a huge downgrade compared to the real deal amps from the 60s anyways, so I have no idea why so many tube snobs hold on to them so tightly. The original tube amps are quite superior to the reissue tube amp sitting in your Guitar Center.
     
  19. BearBryan

    BearBryan Member

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    LOL, he has been insinuating that they are dumb luddites with outdated technology that they won’t won’t let go of, for no other reason than they are too dumb to realize the future, for the entire thread.
     
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  20. duality

    duality Supporting Member

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    In the future, all amps will be digital for 15 minutes
     

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