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If modeling is “just as good as the real thing” these days, why is analog still super popular?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by stratchamp57, Jul 5, 2020.

  1. stratchamp57

    stratchamp57 Supporting Member

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    Honest question. I hear of so many people these days ditching their amps and pedals and getting a Helix, Kemper, or a Fractal unit, and claiming it’s “just as good” as the real stuff. So if it’s really that great these days, why are tube amps and analog pedals still selling really well?

    Just wanted to get peoples opinion on this matter. I’m not saying one is better than the other, I’m just curious why real amps and pedals are still really popular, when apparently digital has “caught up” to the real deal according to a lot of people.
     
    hollowearth, yawiney and Roe like this.
  2. Senor Forum

    Senor Forum Gold Supporting Member

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    I mean, it isn't. It just isn't. I've owned an Axe FX 2, AX8, Axe FX III, Helix LT, Stomp - it's damn good, but it just isn't as good.

    That said, it's convenient as hell, and gets you pretty close a lot of the time.

    For a touring musician, I'd imagine it's a godsend.
     
  3. jeremyjh

    jeremyjh Member

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    I think it depends on the application. I personally can't tell the difference with recorded music. That is what modelers really excel at. I would guess for live sound modelers are probably very often going to sound better than what could be achieved in a given venue. They will not produce the same experience for the musicians, but that's really not what either of those applications is about. There is definitely something very really different about the "tube amp in the room" experience and while some modeling solutions can get close, the ones I have heard are not quite the same playing experience.

    What I'm less certain about are the role of digital in a pedal board. I have real analog drives, but I'm not sure I could tell the difference substituting a good model of that particular drive and still playing into a tube amp if it was done in a blind test setup. A lot of people - including me - have beliefs about their pedals that I'm not sure are true, but can't falsify.
     
  4. Dr.Twang!

    Dr.Twang! Supporting Member

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    Butter never wished it tasted more like margarine.
     
  5. Nick Sorenson

    Nick Sorenson Rocketfire Guitars Supporting Member

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    I have some good OD pedals that sometimes don't sound as good (to me for a particular tone) than those on my Zoom G1on or G3xn. However, the analog versions do sound analog and I can hear a difference. Sometimes it's better.
     
  6. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    +1 to the idea that it seems just as good in terms of recordings. I'd be stunned if anyone could reliably tell modelers from actual amps in recordings, particularly in the full mix of a song.

    But at the end of the day, the best gear inspires you to play. For some, the features and signal chains of the digital units does that. For some, it's the glow of some tubes and the push of a real cab. Whatever floats your boat.
     
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  7. SteveO

    SteveO Member

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    I wouldn't say one is better or worse than the other, but they're definitely different. Much in the same way that a Marshall is different from a Boogie is different from a Vox is different from a Twin Reverb.
     
  8. ballynally

    ballynally Member

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    What an interesting thread:rolleyes:
     
  9. PaisleyWookie

    PaisleyWookie Member

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    I agree. Touring musicians? Yeah it’s awesome. Cover bands? Awesome. But for me, a real amp is still better.
     
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  10. Bucksfan70

    Bucksfan70 Member

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    because modeling isn't as good as the real thing, as you say. modeling and digital effects have annoying digital artifacts and simply don't sound as good.
     
  11. TS808

    TS808 Member

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    A "real" amp? There are some pretty good analog or digital amps out there such as the Katana and Blues Cube. To me, those fall into the "real amp" category. Ten years ago, the digital and analog amps weren't as good as some of the ones out there today, but Roland/Boss are doing a pretty good job of producing tones that are better than some tube amps I've played in the past. More and more I'm seeing solid state and digital showing up at live performances and in the studio.
     
  12. Senor Forum

    Senor Forum Gold Supporting Member

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    Well those are actual amps.
     
  13. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

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    .

    You know, all those old brands with products going back to the 1950s have invested so many Marketing dollars to convince buyers that old is bestest that the new companies have a hard time competing.

    Did you need to have the same PC computer that Bill Gates wrote DOS on to get great tone from your Spreadsheet?

    New is always better in nearly every product category except for guitars and amps.

    Eventually gear buyers will figure that out.


    .
     
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  14. guitarlix

    guitarlix Member

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    Until the most recent generation of modelers and modeling updates, there was a clear difference. Now I'm not so sure anymore - The tones that I'm getting out of the Line6 Pod Go are absolutely stunning - both tone and feel. No complaints whatsoever (I don't do the IR / cab-modeling thing and am going modeler -> power amp -> actual guitar cab)

    My previous 4 amps were Mesa Boogie Mark IIC+ (original), Bogner Duende, Boss Nextone and Ceriatone OTS 20. I'm very much a feel/dynamics player and the Pod Go amp and drive pedal models are simply fantastic...astoundingly so to me (however, I will note that the Mesa Mark IV model sounds off to me...but the rest are spot on as far as I'm concerned. I also don't do chug-chug so don't know about that either)

    I'm sans tube amps now and honestly, think this rig sounds as good if not better than my past analog rigs! (especially at lower volumes)
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
  15. scott58

    scott58 Member

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    These darn kids today and they will never appreciate the crackle of good vinyl at 33 1\3.
     
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  16. Guitardave

    Guitardave Supporting Member

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    I've been up/down/sideways and it's just a different vibe to using "digital" gear with menus. In many respects it's "better" - and honestly unless you really are used to working with the traditional stuff it can be a lot simpler. You can buy "presets" where people with lots of understanding of how gear works do the heavy lifting.

    But I've been using digital, analog and all sorts of gear for years.

    I prefer the simplicity of the analog style pedals with a simple Fenderish tube amp for gigs because I use so little in the way of effects that it doesn't really matter.

    If I needed diversity of tones/effects/automated switching/running direct to the PA/recording/etc. I'd go with modeling gear.

    But really I'm at the point where I can happily switch back and forth between the technologies and have a blast.
     
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  17. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Supporting Member

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    Thank you... have owned Line 6 and Kemper....went back to all tube amps for playing live...... for recording direct... all tube..see below...the modelers just don’t do it for me with their sound and feel.....
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
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  18. Senor Forum

    Senor Forum Gold Supporting Member

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    One thing I will say is that I love the versatility of modelers. One thing a modeler has yet to do for me, though, is give me that feeling of intimacy I have with my tube amps.

    I love the act of walking up, playing a few notes, turning the knobs - searching, just searching for that sweet spot.

    I mean, I can tweak my modelers, sure, but it just doesn't give me that same warm and fuzzy feeling I get when I'm turning knobs, rolling tubes, soldering in a new speaker combination, etc.

    My amps and I have a connection, and I have yet to feel that connection with a modeler.
     
  19. NorCal_Val

    NorCal_Val Member

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  20. AlanH

    AlanH Member

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    To be honest I'm more than happy with my analog fly rig going into a SS amp at the rehearsal room - sounds killer to me.
     
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