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

eclecto-acoustic

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This will ruffle some feathers.

I broke out the Line 6 DT50 Stack yesterday for fun and it actually sounded great. I cranked that sob up and hammered out some rock, hard rock, metal and toned it down with some classical and country riffs. Made me happy I didn’t sell it. Thanks Line 6!

I still like analog better though but I had that DT50HD singing. Probably crank it up later and have a private concert since Covid put a damper on life. :D

This line has me puzzled. Doesn't the modelling only kick in on low volume mode?
 

timbuck2

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This will ruffle some feathers.

I broke out the Line 6 DT50 Stack yesterday for fun and it actually sounded great. I cranked that sob up and hammered out some rock, hard rock, metal and toned it down with some classical and country riffs. Made me happy I didn’t sell it. Thanks Line 6!

I still like analog better though but I had that DT50HD singing. Probably crank it up later and have a private concert since Covid put a damper on life. :D
Feel the same way about my spidervalve mk2 2-12 combo!! killer tones and glad i didnt sell it. That amp rocks.
 

MrTAteMyBalls

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were neighbours (Niederlande) ;)...and around here, that pricing would ring some “to good to be true” alarm bells tbh. There has been some shady stuff going on In my country with ppl offering kempers for crazy prices...so be carefull ;)
If you go for it...if you play acoustic also...defenitly consider a powered one, cause together with the Kone/Kab its great to have a rig that can do both acoustics and electric (amp in room, traditional speaker sound)

Thanks! I am always careful. I trust no one on this planet. Normally they are like 1300 but in the last month I have seen unsold items prices just keep dropping and dropping. There is one locally for 850 after another price drop. If I was finished with my thesis already I would buy it, but I have to wait a couple of months.
 

DownByLaw

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My HX stomp into Fryette Power Station and 2x12 green back cab sounds great, but plug in the Suhr SL67 that's on top of that cab,
or the Fryette CLX to the right of that cab and there is really a difference. I like the HX, but it just doesn't compare in feel, response
and "bigness" of sound to any of my real amps. It sounds one dimensional in some ways. I thought I would use it to record (and still might), but I get better sounds (and a better performance from myself)
from the real thing. Still, the HX is quite useful for a change of pace and the effects, and it can be played at a lower volume with more satisfaction.
Not sure we'll ever be "there" really, but useful tools anyway and have come a long way.

Patrick
 

lp_bruce

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Not sure we'll ever be "there" really, but useful tools anyway and have come a long way. Patrick

Curious why you think we might not ever get "there." What can be accomplished in the digital realm is pretty remarkable. What makes you think that something like the sound of a signal going through a vacuum tube can't be emulated? If not now, at some point in the future? Understanding that the technology is currently at a stage where it really isn't noticeable to the audience and can actually fool some experienced players.

Not arguing where we are now--but wondering why you think we may not ever get there?
 
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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.
A lot of people seem to say a digital rig is better for a touring musician...for starters if people are paying big money (like we do in Australia) for tickets the audience deserves the best sound possible but in a day in age where worldwide logistics is 500 times better, cheaper and easier to organise than it was compared to bands touring with gear in the 60's/70's there is no reason why a guitarist is not able to take a tube amp rig

A hand wired tube amp is going to be extremely reliable and serviceable also a lot of amps I have bought have life time warranties - A great stamp of quality but they have Amazing tone too.
 
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DownByLaw

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Curious why you think we might not ever get "there." What can be accomplished in the digital realm is pretty remarkable. What makes you think that something like the sound of a signal going through a vacuum tube can't be emulated? If not now, at some point in the future? Understanding that the technology is currently at a stage when it really isn't noticeable to the audience and can actually fool some experienced players.

Not arguing where we are now--but wondering why you think we may not ever get there?
I think because an amp does not respond perfectly every time it reproduces a signal. There are so many subtle variations in the response and feel of the real amp due
to how the voltages behave within, and tubes are far from perfect, efficient devices. Tubes add bit of anarchy and the unexpected to the sound in my experience. The digital versions respond too perfectly and I think that is why
they are less musical to my ear. I don't know how they will be able to introduce this randomness to modelers or if it will be convincing.

This is why I run the HX stomp into my PowerStation, it sounds far better this way to me than into powered monitors, and feels better too. If I was to record it I would run it into the PowerStation first
and run a line out from that into an IR and mic the cab at the same time. I haven't tried this yet.

Hope this makes sense, really hard to put a finger on.

Patrick
 

eclecto-acoustic

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A lot of people seem to say a digital rig is better for a touring musician...for starters if people are paying big money (like we do in Australia) for tickets the audience deserves the best sound possible especially in a day in age where worldwide logistics is 500 times better and cheaper and easier to organise than it was compared to bands touring with gear in the 60's/70's.

A hand wired tube amp is going to be extremely reliable and serviceable also a lot of amps I have bought have life time warranties - A great stamp of quality but they have Amazing tone too.

But for the price of a single hand-wired tube amp, you could have a floor modeler with 2 more waiting in the wings that will sound EXACTLY the same, up and running, rarin' to go.
 
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The absolute first question reliability, serviceability, warranty but has to absolutely have the best tone and quality. The first 3 things I mentioned seems to get forgotten about a lot.
 

amper

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Personally, I think the Boss distortion modeller pedal sounds fantastic, though I've never gigged with one. Not that I wouldn't, just haven't.

I own and use a Boss BB-1X Bass Driver on my bass board, which is one of their MDP digital modelling line. Within a certain (very low gain) range, it's really damned good.
 

lp_bruce

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I think because an amp does not respond perfectly every time it reproduces a signal. There are so many subtle variations in the response and feel of the real amp due
to how the voltages behave within, and tubes are far from perfect, efficient devices. Tubes add bit of anarchy and the unexpected to the sound in my experience. The digital versions respond too perfectly and I think that is why
they are less musical to my ear. I don't know how they will be able to introduce this randomness to modelers or if it will be convincing.

This is why I run the HX stomp into my PowerStation, it sounds far better this way to me than into powered monitors, and feels better too. If I was to record it I would run it into the PowerStation first
and run a line out from that into an IR and mic the cab at the same time. I haven't tried this yet.

Hope this makes sense, really hard to put a finger on.

Patrick

I think you could bake in any "anarchy" or inconsistencies into the programming. I don't think that's particularly complicated if you understood the parameters. Understanding that one of the things some players appreciate about SS or digital modeling is that it's more consistent. Either way, I'm less skeptical about the limits of digital modeling. We're already at a point where you can "fool" some musicians with it. And modeling will only move forward.

Either way, I think it's good to know what you like and I'm not suggesting you should play anything but gear you find inspiring. It's all good.

But for the price of a single hand-wired tube amp, you could have a floor modeler with 2 more waiting in the wings that will sound EXACTLY the same, up and running, rarin' to go.

And most of those acts using Fractals (Metallica, Def Leppard, etc.) weren't using hand-wired amps anyway. And to your point, if bands put their amps out and mics in front of them, but were using the Fractals backstage, I'm pretty sure nobody in the audience (including musicians) would notice the difference.
 

amper

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Not for nothing, but as someone with over 30 years of experience in pro audio, I can definitely say that the average guitarist is not an expert recording engineer (as if this really needs saying), so for most people whose desired output is a recording and not a live performance, the likelihood of getting an acceptable guitar sound on the deck with a modeller is much higher than the likelihood of doing the same with a real amp and your own studio/mics/skills. And if you are primarily playing for yourself at home, either through monitor speakers or headphones at low volumes, you are going to love modellers a lot more than tube amps.

I've already established that I'm not a huge fan of modelling, despite the fact that I've owned and used some modelling products. And again, I don't need 1000 different good sounds, I need one great sound. I don't need a particular type of amp, I just need an amp that gets the sound I hear in my head. When it comes to guitar, although I love the sound of my Mesa amps, I'm actually getting all of my drive and tone shaping from my pedalboard, and my Mesa/Boogies function as clean pedal platforms.

The next version of my pedalboard(s) will continue in this vein, using analogue solid-state electronic preamps and pedals to get all of my overdrive sounds, and running those into tube power amps and extensions cabs loaded with guitar/bass drivers. However, I am also building those boards to be fully capable of going direct to PA with 100% *analogue* cabinet simulators (either DSMnoisemaker OmniCabSim or Humboldt/DSMnoisemaker Simplifier/Simplifier Bass Station). You don't need a modeller to get world-class sound out of a fly rig pedalboard, and the Simplifier more than any other product line demonstrates this.

There are some things digital does a lot better than analogue. There are some things analogue does a lot better than digital. My signal chain on guitar is 100% analogue true bypass right up to my analog solid-state preamp/amp simulator, except for one thing that is digital true bypass and is a momentary effect only. The effect is the Digitech FreqOut feedback generator. That pedal is so good I never want to be without it again. As long as I'm not stepping on it, it's all analogue. Everything after the amp simulator is digital, because for those effects, digital works better for me (like reverb and delay).

I noticed that people have posted links to the Anderton's video of the comparison between the Boss Nextone amps and actual tube amps. People should understand that while the Nextone amps do incorporate digital effects, their preamplifiers and power amplifiers are analogue solid-state simulations, not digitally modelled. The Nextone amps use an updated version of the analogue circuitry in the Blues Cube amps.
 
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DownByLaw

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2,285
I think you could bake in any "anarchy" or inconsistencies into the programming. I don't think that's particularly complicated if you understood the parameters. Understanding that one of the things some players appreciate about SS or digital modeling is that it's more consistent. Either way, I'm less skeptical about the limits of digital modeling. We're already at a point where you can "fool" some musicians with it. And modeling will only move forward.

Either way, I think it's good to know what you like and I'm not suggesting you should play anything but gear you find inspiring. It's all good.



And most of those acts using Fractals (Metallica, Def Leppard, etc.) weren't using hand-wired amps anyway. And to your point, if bands put their amps out and mics in front of them, but were using the Fractals backstage, I'm pretty sure nobody in the audience (including musicians) would notice the difference.
I guess at some point they may be able to rely on a.i. to incorporate the randomness into models, but the horsepower needed to do that is probably pretty far away.

I don't mean consistent as in sound from day to day (which modeling is quite good at), but consistent within the context of 1 performance. It's a very nuanced thing and hard to put a finger on. I.E. when you play acoustic guitar, hitting the same E chord many times in the same song, the guitar will react a bit differently each time. Not extraordinary so, but it's there. Amps are similar in this regard imo (organic is an overused word, but that's what I got). When playing the real thing I am often pleasantly surprised by a random tonality/harmonic or some other behavior, not so with the HX. I think modeling can impart a certain homogenous quality, which is not what I am shooting for, and music will be boring if everyone achieves their sound with the same modeling suspects.

I find the Stomp to be inspiring and quite good, but I'd estimate it's about 80% there give or take (and somewhat model specific). As I only record and don't play out, and I don't have the limitations of not using the real thing,
that last 20% or so means quite a bit. That being said, if the Stomp will give me something I can't get out of my other gear I wouldn't hesitate to use it on a recording. Time will tell.

I will say amp modeling tech is accelerating far faster than drum modeling tech. I play drums as well and electronic sets have not improved much if at all since the DDrum 4. Feels and sounds artificial and I would never use
electronic drums (unless for a specific type of music) for recording rock or jazz.

Patrick
 

amper

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Indeed. Consider that anyone 30 and under is a digital native. That is, they have only known a world with home computers, the Internet, mobile phones, etc. And for them, technology is much more instinctive than it is for most people my age (mid-50s) or older...

Most, but not all. I'm 51 (which is admittedly not "mid-50s or older", but I'm pushing that bracket. I've been a computer owner since 1981, and I've been on the Internet since 1986 (before the World Wide Web was even invented). I founded the first 100% broadband end-user ISP in America. GenX built the systems that made the younger generations "digital natives". What's great about GenX is we're the last generation to remember what the world was like before ubiquitous cable TV, video recording, and Touch-Tone telephones, let alone cellular telephony and personal computers, but we still are perfectly literate in and comfortable with later technologies.
 

amper

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I’d contest that the biggest thing modeling companies need to focus on is the feel and the tone. That’s clearly what is keeping analog players from jumping ship. I really hope that we aren’t as far along as we’ll ever be there and I think we still have great strides to get it as good.

What's lacking in "feel" and "tone" is largely a result of the fact that CPUs and software still aren't fast enough to capture all the nuances of a dynamic phenomenon like musical instrument amplification, and there's good reason to believe that they never will be. Digital is great for recording and playback. Simulation is a completely different ball of wax.

Reading about Amdahl's Law gives a good overview of why. Computation speed is always going to be limited by bottlenecks. Analogue is literally instantaneous and continuous. Digital is, by definition, discontinuous. The only way to simulate a continuous phenomenon digitally is to sample as many times to as fine a resolution as your processing budget will allow, and interpolate between your points of sample, but there's no way for digital to do this instantaneously. There will always be some latency with digital, and that latency can only be reduced to the point where there's nothing left to parallelise.
 

eclecto-acoustic

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Most, but not all. I'm 51 (which is admittedly not "mid-50s or older", but I'm pushing that bracket. I've been a computer owner since 1981, and I've been on the Internet since 1986 (before the World Wide Web was even invented). I founded the first 100% broadband end-user ISP in America. GenX built the systems that made the younger generations "digital natives". What's great about GenX is we're the last generation to remember what the world was like before ubiquitous cable TV, video recording, and Touch-Tone telephones, let alone cellular telephony and personal computers, but we still are perfectly literate in and comfortable with later technologies.

A generality, of course, since I'm 17 years your junior and also remember the world without those niceties. I never had to really "do life" without them, so maybe that's where the real difference lies.

It does make me curious about the future of computing though, when MY kids will be the ones making software and devices. You can tell that a lot of the current generation of user experiences are rooted in analog simply by the graphics chosen, or the fact that even the more esoteric devices and plugins rely on the image of a knob or a button.
 

amper

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For $250, this analogue box smaller than most effects pedals will in my opinion blow any digital modeller right out of the water in sound quality.

 




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