NGD: Amplifire - thoughts so far

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by FPFL, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. FPFL

    FPFL Member

    Messages:
    1,488
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA. USA
    As some know I am a *big* fan of laptop as pre-amp (SG, Revalaver). I will track my next demo with those without hesitation - and I left behind the AF2.

    The AF2 is the inarguable gold standard of the digital world but it was too much $$ tied up in one piece of gear that I was using 10% of.

    As my playing has kicked up a lot this year I've rewarded myself with some gear. (I really need to stop for 2015 now!) I recently got a EVHIII 50W head b/c I've always wanted one - and now added a Amplifire for a leave in the car (I drive a lot) solution.

    The others reviews I've read are accurate. Its well ahead of the Digi/Pod/Boss level stuff. Having IR loading alone makes it a non-discussion. If you can stand the wait and you are in this price range, its a no-brainer.

    Yes, its a sliver of the AF2 functionality in every way, also no argument.

    I've only played it thru nearfield monitors in a studio setting, will try it in FRFR tonight, so this isn't a full review, but for what it is, it seems a real sweet spot of price to physical features to quality of sound.

    For a live rig, this seems awful hard to beat. Its "just enough", amp switching and a couple FX, and its easy.

    The modern amps aren't especially close to the real thing so far, like the 5150 and the Recto are someones impression of the two versus a dead replica, but they both sound good, and I'm not a replica guy, I just want good modern sounds so I'm fine with them. The british sounds seem closer out of the box fwiw. The web demos will show you the sounds.

    More importantly to me, the feel and dynamics are good. The volume knob is useful. Different guitars sound different. I tried a Parker DragonFly and a PRS Tremonti last night fwiw.

    The Taylor Acoustic IR from AlecLee with a Piezo pickup in the Parker was fantastic. I'd track that sound for the convenience alone.

    -P
     
  2. Plague Dog

    Plague Dog Member

    Messages:
    2,622
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Location:
    San Pedro, CA.
    I hate reviews like this, now I feel like I made a mistake for buying the L6 Firehawk... But I can take refuge in the fact that I know the Firehawk will work well for what I need.
    I guess the consolation is, these will be around if I ever decide to buy one.
     
  3. mikah912

    mikah912 Member

    Messages:
    5,203
    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    You didn't make a mistake at all, man. You like Line 6 tones, and if they work well for you...go with it. Don't keep one eye on what "The Joneses" are doing. You'll drive yourself cuckoo that way....
     
  4. Tybalt

    Tybalt Member

    Messages:
    500
    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Location:
    California
    You could probably sell the Firehawk pretty easily.

    He's gonna have a hard time doing that if he keeps frequenting this website.
     
  5. Jdstrat

    Jdstrat Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,402
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Location:
    Grinnell, Iowa
    This is true...
     
  6. Plague Dog

    Plague Dog Member

    Messages:
    2,622
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Location:
    San Pedro, CA.
    You got that right.
     
  7. FPFL

    FPFL Member

    Messages:
    1,488
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA. USA
    To be fair I've never played a Firehawk. I'm comparing to a POD HD era fwiw. Importantly, I didn't write to bum anyone out who hasn't even played either!

    The Hwk appears to have a lot of things the Ampfire doesn't, like more FX and amps overall, more FX at once and bluetooth iOS control. That's a a lot, but it wasn't more important to me.

    This was my review. I'm not into guessing what everyone else wants. Nothing is right for everyone other than water, sleep and good friends.

    To me not having IRs in 2015 is just a deal breaker. I don't apologize for that but for some its not important. Is it important to you?

    -P
     
  8. Plague Dog

    Plague Dog Member

    Messages:
    2,622
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Location:
    San Pedro, CA.
    I wasn't really being serious, All the extra's in the Firehawk is what was important to me. I would have to add all that stuff with other pedals if I had gone with the Amplifire. :beer
     
  9. FPFL

    FPFL Member

    Messages:
    1,488
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA. USA
    UPDATE -

    Tried the default AMP presets thru their natural partner a Atomic FRFR Wedge.

    Also tried thru a Mesa 2x12 - both powered by the same type A, 1000W SS power amp.

    The presets sound better thru near fields at lower volumes in my unscientific listen. I wonder if they were dialed in on near fields? I suspect yes.

    Thru this FRFR setup they sound a little harsher and will likely need tweaking to be balanced.

    With the cab sims off thru the mesa they sounded like modellers do thru a guitar cab... there is always that difference in terms of it being polished and even sounding, like its been mixed a little. Some love that, some hate it but it is a trait of modelling IMHO. It doesn't startle me anymore. The AF2 was this was also even with the most raw settings.

    Nothing sounds exactly raw like an amp except an amp. Its why I kept a tube amp. To scratch that itch when it itches.

    The band mix is always its own monster. "Harsh" can mean "cuts thru" - as I first learned with a Marshall years ago. This is all solo playing.

    There is one annoyance with editing sans a PC. Undoing is sometimes automatic and sometimes manual - depending on what you change you can't always leave a preset and get the "save - yes/no?" prompt. Its a small thing but I suspect one of the things that 1.1 might improve.
     
  10. FPFL

    FPFL Member

    Messages:
    1,488
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA. USA
    2nd update - tried the exact same gear but this time using the Matrix 1000 SS power amp. Maybe I'm crazy but it sounded and felt better than the other also class A 1000W amp.

    Ears are not science folks : )

    Really enjoyed the 5150 Modern preset and putting the H9 after the Afire made for a rig of crazy possibilities.
     
  11. jaded_musician

    jaded_musician Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,833
    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Location:
    Tracy, Ca
    So far, I've not had it sound good through monitors with my band. It sounds very much like a modeled guitar to me. Our monitors are RCF 12's. I'm picking up a little Alto monitor and I'll see if having a dedicated speaker allows me to dial it in for live. It sounds very disconnected compared to what I'm used to with a tube amp.

    At home through a pair of Dynaudio near fields I think it sounds fantastic.

    It doesn't translate well to the larger speakers. Next, after trying it through the monitors didn't sound right, I turned off the cabs and tried it into the effects return of my Redplate Blackverb, and it was better, but didn't compare to the tone of the Redplate. I'm not giving up on it and it's great at home, but for live use, I'm still struggling with it.
     
  12. Will Chen

    Will Chen Member

    Messages:
    5,580
    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Location:
    Allen, TX
    Use the high rolloff of the cab block to smooth out things. Works wonders...
     
  13. dmock66

    dmock66 Member

    Messages:
    726
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Agreed. Also roll off some of the "Air" in the cab block - another way to control some of that.
     
  14. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

    Messages:
    4,828
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    That says a lot about the quality of the monitors. If it sounds good on reference-quality speakers, then any issues with sound quality on other speakers obviously lie with the speaker, not the modeler.

    It may or may not be possible to fix this with equalization. If EQ attempts fail, the only solution is to upgrade your monitors.
     
  15. jaded_musician

    jaded_musician Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,833
    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Location:
    Tracy, Ca
    I also think I will need to tailor each preset for Live vs Practice/Recording. It sounds like a recording instead of live music. I'll try tweaking eq's, air, and effects and see if I can find a tone I can live with. I'm getting an amazing tone with my tube amp, so the bar is set pretty high.
     
  16. FPFL

    FPFL Member

    Messages:
    1,488
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA. USA
    One of the keys to making any modelled system feel like a tube amp, in my experience, is how you set the power amp.

    Many tube amps are effectively out of the box with the power amp on '10'. There is no knob so its hard wired all the way up, if you follow. I know this is not true with many modern amps, but with the classic Marshall designs I know and love this is the case.

    When I see people with a power amp on '2' and the modeller, whatever it is, on 5 I know something won't be as great as possible. Dynamics come from the potential for volume as I think of it. I'm not Jay M. so I'm not using the technical terms : )

    If your loudest chord can only be a little louder, it will never feel like a tube amp. They can knock you over with small changes.

    IMO, you have to bring back one of the faults of classic tube rigs to get the goods of a classic rig - the potential for too much volume - to enjoy the dynamics that risk brings. Make sense?

    The AFire is no different in that regard. It is lovely that I can get a cranked amp sound at bedroom volumes or without drowning an audience in decibels... but I make sure I get my power amp opened up before I set the AFire level.

    Curious what others think and do?
     
  17. jaded_musician

    jaded_musician Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,833
    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Location:
    Tracy, Ca
    I think this is true of all the modelers with IR cabs. I'm still not convinced it can take me to where I want to go sonically, but I'm open to exploring how to make that happen.

    In addition to guitar, I've been a keyboard player my entire life. I've used every kind of sampled piano over the years and I've never had anything remotely sound like a real acoustic piano when it's coming out of speakers. It doesn't sound bad, just doesn't have the feeling an instrument in the room. I think it's a similar issue with the modelers. Electric guitars are always coming out of speakers so I believe it can be done, but I just have to get it all configured right.

    Then I need to convince my band that it's better then my current tube amp rig. It seems others have felt it's exceeded their expectations in a live setting, so I'm holding on to some hope.
     
  18. FPFL

    FPFL Member

    Messages:
    1,488
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Boston, MA. USA
    Modern gigs are as much about not overwhelming the audience with amp roar. Acceptable loudness is way down. More bands than ever playing with drummers behind plexiglass. In this world modellers offer some big advantages.

    I agree that no modeller has yet to confuse me for a tube amp, even with a good power amp into a good 4x12 - but its just a different, very good sound, not a bad sound.

    Its a cleaner sound, inherently a little more polished but more workable at fewer DBs.
     
  19. jaded_musician

    jaded_musician Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,833
    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Location:
    Tracy, Ca
    All true, and I'm not ready to lug a grand piano in the back of my car, so it's a compromise. Perhaps finding good enough is the key.

    My tone, is pretty straight forward and doesn't rely on effects much. A crunch tone, a dab of reverb and delay and a smoother overdriven lead tone is my goal. There's a versatility trade off as well and modelers can give you that in spades.

    My best preset so far is the Deluxe amp, with the overdrive boost into the Marshall cab.
    If I had to use that instead of my tube amp I wouldn't hate it.
     
  20. Karl Houseknecht

    Karl Houseknecht Member

    Messages:
    3,419
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    I have not owned a modeler where that wasn't the case. Still don't.
     

Share This Page