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Modelers that react to Guitar Volume Changes?

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4,370
While most modelers have a fine reproduction of the amp tone, they don't respond well to rolling back the volume knob.
Helix, Kemper, and Axe-Fx all do this very well. Some say the Kemper might even do it better than real amps do owing to that compressor parameter in the amp block. The Axe-Fx III has something similar.

I might suggest that if you feel like the modelers aren't doing it as well, it's likely due the volume at which you are playing.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
14,019
My fender GTX100 cleans up as well as any tube amp i have owned which number in the double and possibly triple digits. I mean that, i'm not exaggerating. It's also the #1 consideration for me when picking an amp, so if it didn't i would not be using it. Actually does it better then many tube amps i have had. I use treble bleeds too by the way. They are a total necessity for me. Note however that while most do, not ALL of it's models do it that well. A few actually are lousy at it. But the models i use all do it well and my fav couple do it fantastically well.
 

DavidTCIC

Member
Messages
294
Dunno, my 11R does at and actually reacts awesome to the insane volume changes in my rig. Of course it cleans good with the volumd pot
 

benxiwf

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
575
Helix/variants/Pod Go do this well. Helix Native has the same engine so if you have a good interface and like to use computer modelers that will work. Blue Cat Axiom also does this well but does have a little different approach though the presets make it pretty easy to tweak to a good tone quickly.
 

Cactusprick

Member
Messages
350
In my experience, Kemper does this the best out of everything I've ever owned. It carries loud and clear signals while the volume knob is dimed and gain cleared up.
I have never owned/used Axe-FX 3 (but other fractal units) so cannot comment.
 

Troglite

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
155
Without making it sound like it will solve world hunger... you might want to try using a Radial Dragster between your guitar and the computer interface you are using with your software modelers. It’s only $50 new... cheaper if you can find a used one.

it’s not magic. It just allows you to tweak the impedance between your guitar and the input on your computer interface. But in my experience, it helps restore some of the feeling you get when playing a real tube amp and allows me to fine tune my tone. It’s especially effective if you play single coil pickups.
 

Variable

Member
Messages
369
One thing about the Axe FX line (2, 3) that hasn't been mentioned is that their inputs are pure analog, including the impedance sim. It will switch out the input resister depending on whether the patch is set to go straight in, or you're using a pedal sim (like a fuzz) that has less than 1Mohm on the input. You can also set this yourself. This means it will accurately simulate the whole input circuit (which your guitar and cable are a part of) fully analog and is interactive like a real amp circuit.

I'm not sure if any other modelers do that, but wanted to point it out since it's pretty cool, and will affect the feel and treble response, especially when rolling down the volume. The reason this isn't done in software is because you can't model that type of interaction since it's different with every guitar and cable circuit, electrically speaking. Even two guitars with identical pickups and wiring will be a little different and create a different circuit interaction due to differences in component tolerances. The Axe picks that up.

Not sure if any other modelers do that, but wanted to call it out.
 

Guitardave

Member
Messages
9,829
I use treble bleeds on my guitars and I love how they clean up when rolling back the volume with a real amp. While most modelers have a fine reproduction of the amp tone, they don't respond well to rolling back the volume knob.

Are there any out there that do respond well? I have Bias FX2, S-Gear, Amplitube, Archetype Plini, and Mercuriall SS-11X.

Is there an interface or pedal chain before going into the computer that can help? Does this work okay in a profiler (Kemper) versus a modeler?

Or is this simply a characteristic of tube amps that has not been properly captured in current modelers / profilers?

Thanks!
I've already owned most of the major ones and they all do it surprisingly well. But amp models and signal paths vary a lot and it often takes some real understanding of how to tweak them if you aren't hearing what you want right away.

I have a much harder time with the listening to my guitar thru studio/PA/IEMs then I do getting the volume knob response I want.

I didn't read all the posts but I'll suggest you check out the the DSM Simplifier. I'm used to playing a clean/ish amp with pedals and it's the easiest and most natural sounding unit I've owned. No effects, very limited selection of amp models - but it's tiny and fits on my board without forcing me into using menus/etc. It's analog and has that super immediate response I like.

I wouldn't choose it if I was looking to record and have a wide range of amps/effects/cabs or needed automated switching of functions.
 

Mark Al

Member
Messages
891
I have never played a Kemper but have 3 years on a Helix and one week on a Axe-Fx III.

The Helix is pretty good there, responds very well to your guitars volume, but some models are worse than others, that said, that goes for real amps too.

The Axe-Fx is even better, very pleased with the response.
Owned Helix for years, and Axe III for almost two months, I can sure testify that Helix is OKish in this aspect, but the Fractal in general responds much better than Helix, to rolling down guitar volume knobs.

When rolled down guitar volume, Axe III retains the clarity of top end, the overall tonal balance and more importantly the dynamics, while Helix tends to get a bit dull and lifeless.

This is a general assessment in my experience across a dozen amps I use often. And granted some Helix models do better than others, but Axe does it excellently across the board, and the result is generally more satisfying, to my ear and fingers anyway, YMMV.
 

James Freeman

Member
Messages
1,089
Modern modelers have accurate 12ax7 modeling and it responds to grid amplitude changes and loads just as well as a real 12ax7.
 

SwirlyMaple

Member
Messages
258
One thing about the Axe FX line (2, 3) that hasn't been mentioned is that their inputs are pure analog, including the impedance sim. It will switch out the input resister depending on whether the patch is set to go straight in, or you're using a pedal sim (like a fuzz) that has less than 1Mohm on the input. You can also set this yourself. This means it will accurately simulate the whole input circuit (which your guitar and cable are a part of) fully analog and is interactive like a real amp circuit.

I'm not sure if any other modelers do that, but wanted to point it out since it's pretty cool, and will affect the feel and treble response, especially when rolling down the volume. The reason this isn't done in software is because you can't model that type of interaction since it's different with every guitar and cable circuit, electrically speaking. Even two guitars with identical pickups and wiring will be a little different and create a different circuit interaction due to differences in component tolerances. The Axe picks that up.

Not sure if any other modelers do that, but wanted to call it out.
Helix does this too, FWIW.
 

AintNoEddie

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
544
Says who?

Every modeler I ever tried responded to guitar volume changes and cleaned up. One exception might be the first-gen Line6 Axsys 212.
I was also under the impression that most of the recent modelers do a very good job. So I'd ask - which modeler does NOT react to guitar volume changes?
So I'm not an experienced user of modelers, but I use Amplitube almost daily and I am still amazed how well it works (esp. if you consider the cheap price). Mostly I'm on the Fender Twin & it cleans up really well. My guitar is also with a treble bleed, FWIW...
 

dk_ace

Member
Messages
1,952
Without making it sound like it will solve world hunger... you might want to try using a Radial Dragster between your guitar and the computer interface you are using with your software modelers. It’s only $50 new... cheaper if you can find a used one.

it’s not magic. It just allows you to tweak the impedance between your guitar and the input on your computer interface. But in my experience, it helps restore some of the feeling you get when playing a real tube amp and allows me to fine tune my tone. It’s especially effective if you play single coil pickups.
This is good advice. I forgot about that thing. Pod guys used to use them and I expect it would help a lot with a purely software rig.

D
 

-Empire

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,970
One reason that we perceive modelers to not clean up as well is the lack of a live guitar cab in the room and/or playing at low volumes. When you’re playing a real amp next to you, a percentage of the audio from the speaker is fed back into the amp through your pickups, which increases the effective amount of gain. The amount of signal being fed back is reduced when you play lighter or roll down your volume knob, which “exaggerates” the effect of rolling back your volume knob. So when you break this feedback loop by playing through monitors at lower volumes or headphones, rolling back your guitar’s volume knob has noticeably less effect.

Much more in depth explanation of this effect from the man Cliff himself here: https://wiki.fractalaudio.com/wiki/index.php?title=Amp_block#Cleaning_up_gain_with_the_guitar

The AX3 and FM3 have a compression section on the amp block. One of the compressor types is “feedback”, which takes some of the output signal of the amp block and feeds it back into the input. Even without this enabled, these two fractal units feel the most realistic to me (I’m a lot more comfortable playing guitar in the control room with the amp mic’d up in the live room anyway). But with the feedback compressor type enabled on the amp block, even just set to 1-2, the effect of rolling back your guitar’s volume knob is dramatically increased, and the feel is much more like playing with a live guitar cab in the room. Obviously when using close-mic’d IRs and playing through studio monitors or FRFR it still sounds like the signal from a mic on a cab in another room though, which is a whole separate issue that trips up some people who are used to playing their amp in the room with them.

With all that said, in my opinion here is how they rank in this area, in descending order:
  1. Fractal AX3/FM3
  2. Kemper/Iridium
  3. Helix / POD GO

Helix switches actual resistors?
Yes, the guitar input of Helix is analog and has a variable impedance that can be changed manually or automatically and takes place before the AD conversion.
 
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