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Low volume portable rig - Kemper, Helix, Amplifire, BIAS...

jruano

Member
Messages
1,145
I have my whole guitar-pedals-amp rig for live use, and also a smaller version for in the house practicing, but I'm now looking for a lower volume rig I can use when volume is a concern or I need mobility (travel).

I've used decent modeling in the studio sometimes, never for myself other than a few PODs I have laying around and Amplitube (which I never seem to be able to use for more than 10 minutes).

What would you recommend?... I don't mind spending a buck or two to get something I'm comfortable playing with. Ideally I would like something that sounds and feels good on headphones too.

Thanks in advance, not a lot of experience here.
 
Last edited:

mikah912

Member
Messages
6,864
I have my whole guitar-pedals-amp rig for live use, and also a smaller version for in the house practicing, but I'm now looking for a lower volume rig I can use when volume is a concern or I need mobility (travel).

I've used decent modeling in the studio sometimes, never for myself other than a few PODs I have laying around and Amplitube (which I never have seem to be able to use for more than 10 minutes).

What would you recommend?... I don't mind spending a buck or two to get something I'm comfortable playing with. Ideally I would like something that sounds and feels good on headphones too.

Thanks in advance, not a lot of experience here.
Plenty of great solutions available. But help us narrow it down: What genres do you wanna play/specific tones are you chasing? Also, are you cool with a VST solution tied to a laptop?
 

jruano

Member
Messages
1,145
Plenty of great solutions available. But help us narrow it down: What genres do you wanna play/specific tones are you chasing? Also, are you cool with a VST solution tied to a laptop?
Classic rock tones, americana, blues rock, country, power pop... let's call it traditional, I don't need high gain. I'd rather avoid the laptop if possible.
 

mikah912

Member
Messages
6,864
Open to options.
I always say start small and go from there. And since the Fractal AX8 is out of stock, that takes them off the table. Helix LT or Amplifire 3 is probably your best starting bet. Helix is a more complete platform, but Amplifire gives you fantastic value for the money if you're just dipping your toes in the water.

I've had both, and in my experience Helix has a lower noise floor, better headphone amp/input and more options for crafting the sorts of tones I like. Also, it has the Trainwreck Express amp sim which is just fantastic, touch sensitive and perfect for most of the genres you mentioned. See also the Matchless DC30 channels on Helix. Neither is on Amplifire, but Amplifire has the Friedman BE100 channels.
 

RolandKorg

Member
Messages
3,926
I, too, dislike using Amplitube for more than a few minutes. Don't know why.
I've recently started using Bias FX on my iPad. I have an Apogee Jam interface. The app is just a lot of fun to use. Again, i don't know why, as the UI isn't that drastically different from Amplitube. I like the Bias effects and implementation, and the selection of amps i have without buying additional stuff is pretty cool. I'm using it, so far, only with headphones or the iPad speaker. Haven't yet tried it with studio monitors.
 

JefeMaximo

Huge Member
Messages
2,397
If you were to go with a modeling rig, do you plan on carrying a powered monitor, or using the PA at the venue?

If you are planning to bring a powered monitor, a small solid state combo amp and a pedalboard might be a nice lightweight alternative.
 

jruano

Member
Messages
1,145
I, too, dislike using Amplitube for more than a few minutes. Don't know why.
I've recently started using Bias FX on my iPad. I have an Apogee Jam interface. The app is just a lot of fun to use. Again, i don't know why, as the UI isn't that drastically different from Amplitube. I like the Bias effects and implementation, and the selection of amps i have without buying additional stuff is pretty cool. I'm using it, so far, only with headphones or the iPad speaker. Haven't yet tried it with studio monitors.
Been meaning to download it to try it out, will it work with a basic iRig on the iPad?
 

Frank67

Member
Messages
1,271
If money is not the primary concern, you cannot go wrong with the Kemper IMHO. It is pretty portable, although there are even more portable options out there. Into the front of house, it just rocks.
 

RolandKorg

Member
Messages
3,926
Been meaning to download it to try it out, will it work with a basic iRig on the iPad?
I think i've seen it working with an iRig in some youtube demos. If not specifically with Bias, with Amplitube, and which app you use shouldn't make any difference. Just check your input and output metering within the app. With Bias FX, it's at the bottom left and right of the screen.
 

Elric

Member
Messages
4,567
What about the BIAS Head?
You would probably want to check Bias on the Computer or iPad to make sure it was a good choice for you, since the Head is very similar to the desktop plugin (i.e. it is a hardware version of the plugin)... Be aware it only has reverb as an effect, too, so it is really basically like an amp moreso than others in that regard.

I know you wanted to 'avoid the laptop' but I assume that means not be tethered to it all the time. But, is interfacing to the computer important, like say for direct recording, having a built-in interface can be a really nice feature for that which some have and some don't? Also, what is your budget? You mention the KPA so I assume you have a fair amount to spend.
 

steve_rolfeca

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
331
Been meaning to download it to try it out, will it work with a basic iRig on the iPad?
The original iRig will work for continuity testing, but that's about it.

You need a good-sounding digital interface from 1K, Apogee, Focusrite, et al before you can really experience what the latest IOS apps are capable of.
 

jruano

Member
Messages
1,145
The original iRig will work for continuity testing, but that's about it.

You need a good-sounding digital interface from 1K, Apogee, Focusrite, et al before you can really experience what the latest IOS apps are capable of.
Can you suggest something not too crazy I can use with the iPad?
 

BigWave

Member
Messages
501
I picked up an Irig HD just to try out some of the Ipad options. So far I prefer Bias FX. The Irig HD works fine. Just be sure to select the low latency option in Bias FX.
 

jruano

Member
Messages
1,145
Just stopped by the local GC on the way back home and bought a Focusrite iTrack Solo. See if that makes a difference
 

jruano

Member
Messages
1,145
Getting my feet wet with Bias amp and FX on the iPad through the MuSo on the living room, these apps have certainly come a long way. What do you suggest for headphones?
 




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